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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 12:29 AM   #1
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Next long term investment: HDV or AVCHD

Hi, I've been reading throughout the forum to make up my mind. I've always wanted to have the latest in technology, since I'm getting married soon I'm planning on making an investment in an HD camcorder. Since I'm spending a lot in many other things, I have to make a smart investment. Now, onto the dilemma; which I know many other people are in a similar situation...

HDV or AVCHD.
On one hand, HDV is fairly well supported for editing and you can record 60 min per tape, whereas a 30GB HDD AVCHD camcorder allows you to record 2 hours approx and editing is not fully supported yet. (BTW, which to you think might have the beefier requirements for editing once AVCHD gets supported?)

I might not edit that much at first, but having to depend on a laptop to transfer the 2 hours of video to be able to get back to recording, where with tape, I can easily carry a pack of 10 to a vacation or a weekend trip. of course, I can take my laptop, but it's extra weight and lots of space.

I'm leaning over to the HDV format. Is there any recommendation you guys can give me to fully make up my mind. I'm planning on buying a camcorder by the end of September. Even if I was to leave out the hassle of the two hours of recording, what are other factors which make one format better than the other? I've heard about compression and fast motion. Has there been any new developings with this year's camcorders? And lastly, which brand would be the best to buy, considering image color, sat, OIS, etc? I'm looking at a range of $800 to $1200 USD. (I hope they get a bit cheaper by September).

If there is anything I got wrong about the formats or something important that I missed please feel free to educate me. Thanks.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 12:38 AM   #2
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I have both the Sony FX1 (HDV) and the Pany SD1 (AVCHD). I edit on a PC with Vegas 7.

At this point, AVCHD is a bit of a pain to work with. Nero crashes frequently, and the solution with Elecard/Cineform does not work on my computer for unknown reasons.

I have a very specific use for my AVCHD cam that it fills well (rcheli-cam). Other than that, I'm not very excited about the format.

My FX1 is the good ol' camera. Works every time. The workflow is well established and easy to edit with.

Perhaps AVCHD will be like when we first saw HDV. Clumsy and slow at first, but easy now.

Wait and see how the NLE's support it. Until then, I'd go HDV.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 01:58 AM   #3
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Derek,

Can't AVCHD be converted into a more NLE friendly format?
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 10:19 AM   #4
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And what about compression, which format loses more information and ends up affecting the editing process?
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 11:06 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luis Zapata View Post
I might not edit that much at first, but having to depend on a laptop to transfer the 2 hours of video to be able to get back to recording, where with tape, I can easily carry a pack of 10 to a vacation or a weekend trip. of course, I can take my laptop, but it's extra weight and lots of space.
Given the practical consideration you just mentioned I'd say HDV is a good choice for your current situation. It's a proven format which is widely supported for editing and requires less processing power to deal with, whereas AVCHD is in its infancy and would require you to be a cutting-edge adopter. If you buy an HDV camcorder now and find that 2-3 years down the road AVCHD starts to make more sense, you could sell the HDV camcorder then and move on.

I have a Sony HC1 camcorder for personal use and love it. I can see how AVCHD might be more convenient someday, but that doesn't change the usefulness of HDV in the present.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 01:21 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Peter Moretti View Post
Derek,

Can't AVCHD be converted into a more NLE friendly format?
At present, I convert it with Nero to Cineform AVI, which is NLE friendly. The only problem is Nero, it seems to run alot of errors frequently.

With the AVCHD to Cineform AVI, AVCHD isn't too bad to work with at all. Nero encodes AVCHD to Cineform at about 1/3 real time. So the benefit of AVCHD capture is lost in the encode time. But the size of the camera for me, outweighs that negative.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 01:53 PM   #7
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Actually, I think I'd wait and give both HDV and AVCHD a miss. The next generation of more robust tapeless formats are coming out in the next year. Sony's releasing the XDCAM eX series, which I'm sure will prompt Panasonic to update their cumbersome P2 media. Canon's probably keeping their cards close to their vest, but I'm sure will be offering something new in response.

In the next year or so I think you'll see affordable professional HD formats, with workable tapeless media solutions, becoming available to us mere mortals. Then we can dispense with these "prosumer" transitional formats like HDV and AVCHD altogether.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 02:31 PM   #8
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Brian: the original poster says he has a camera budget of ~$800-1200, so HDV and AVCHD are his logical choices for now.
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 04:42 PM   #9
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Oops. Missed that little detail. Yeah, that makes sense.

(Although we can hope that XDCAM will drop to that level, can't we?)
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Old April 23rd, 2007, 11:29 PM   #10
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Yes, we sure hope so, one day. Ok then, it seems I might be considering the Canon HV20 come this September. Has anyone had any experience with the HV20. I heard something about HDV and fast motion that didn't get along well, is it true? What can I expect when filming on HD? I know HDV is a great technology, but I don't want to set my expectations to high.
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Old April 24th, 2007, 01:33 AM   #11
 
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HDV and fast motion Very fast motion and difficult shooting situations. V1 came through like a champ. So did the Canon XLH1, and Sony Z1.
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Old April 24th, 2007, 01:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Luis Zapata View Post
Yes, we sure hope so, one day. Ok then, it seems I might be considering the Canon HV20 come this September. Has anyone had any experience with the HV20. I heard something about HDV and fast motion that didn't get along well, is it true? What can I expect when filming on HD? I know HDV is a great technology, but I don't want to set my expectations to high.
I have the FX1, and I have the HV20. While the controls are different on the HV20, the video is fantastic. It won't win in low light situation, but actually is a bit sharper than the FX1 in full daylight shooting. It shoot 24p, the first time I've tried it, as well as standard 1080i. 24p has more motion issues, but that is something you have to learn about in any 24p situation. Go for that camera, it is great.
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Old April 24th, 2007, 08:25 AM   #13
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Go with HDV hands down... it's a format that is well used.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 03:15 AM   #14
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To my mind AVC is more suitable for consumer cameras - it is more advanced codec than MPG2 / HDV, but by that I mean more advanced in terms of creating an image that looks better.

Although it can look better, the lower bit rate seems to mean that compression artifacts are more pervasive. It is only once you start to grade a piece of video that those non-obvious artifacts start showing.

If the bottom end of the bitrate for AVC (not the peak) was signficantly increased I would be much more interested. I really don't want to be using a consumer format.
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Old May 3rd, 2007, 07:40 AM   #15
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If the video is for you and you own a HDTV ( 1080P is incredible) and editing isnt a must I would go for ACHDV. If simple editing is all you want the same is true, I have Nero working well and burning disks that look stunning on Blue Ray, I havent quite played with HD DVD as of yet but will try it shortly.

ACHDV allows you to instantly cut entire scenes from the HD at any time and theres no sluggish capturing from tape (the amount of time this saves is staggering)

Not having 100s of tapes to deal with is truly a bonus as well, the money I have spent on HDV and tapes I could have bought an ACHDV camcorder. Personally I would wait a week or two and see if folks are editing ACHDV with success in Vegas, again simple editing is easy in Nero but theres an order to it to keep it from freezing and speeds up the progress. I made a 20 minute video with transitions, 45 different clips all cut, and rendered fairly fast in Nero. If I have luck doing some real editing in Vegas I will say ACHDV cant be beat. I distribute my videos to others which might be challenging but if it was based on run and shoot for myself and show others on my 1080P system the choice is ACHDV hands down........the DD 5.1 is pretty nice as well!
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