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Old December 15th, 2006, 04:04 PM   #1
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How do I convert m2t for use with Avid?

I have been asking lots of questions on this board, leading up to the purchase of my HD110 and have just one more.

I am curious about the workflow with this camera. I will also be getting new editing gear at the same time as the camera, and I am wondering what workflow is best for editing the footage shot with this camera. I will be using the hard drive recorder with the camera, and if at all posible I would prefer to edit with Avid. I know Avid has problems supporting the MPEG 2 transport files straight from the camera, but I have seen people talking about overcoming this problem by using mpeg streamclip to convert the files, then importing the converted files into Avid.

Could someone please go into more detail with how to do this conversion and importing process with MPEG Streamclip, and does this process work for 24p footage as well? I would prefer to be able to edit on a native 24p timeline if at alll possible.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 10:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Grunseth
I have been asking lots of questions on this board, leading up to the purchase of my HD110 and have just one more.

I am curious about the workflow with this camera. I will also be getting new editing gear at the same time as the camera, and I am wondering what workflow is best for editing the footage shot with this camera. I will be using the hard drive recorder with the camera, and if at all posible I would prefer to edit with Avid. I know Avid has problems supporting the MPEG 2 transport files straight from the camera, but I have seen people talking about overcoming this problem by using mpeg streamclip to convert the files, then importing the converted files into Avid.

Could someone please go into more detail with how to do this conversion and importing process with MPEG Streamclip, and does this process work for 24p footage as well? I would prefer to be able to edit on a native 24p timeline if at alll possible.
Hi Adam,

There are a number of ways you can capture the .m2t tape footage outside of the Avid. One way is with a freeware capture program called Capt DVHS. To download, go here: http://www.yamabe.org/index.html

You can also use other NLE's like Avid's Liquid Series, Vegas Video, Adobe Premier, or Canopus Edius to reliably capture .m2t tapes with. Once captured as a .m2t file, you can then import the files directly into an Avid bin, using Avid's import tool.

If you are using a HDD recorder on your camera, like the DR-HD100, then you can just import into the Avid right off of the drive. This seems to be the easiest way to get the HDV1 footage into the Avid world.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 02:58 AM   #3
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My advice would be use another NLE if you can - especially if you want to shoot 24, 25 or 50 or 60 fps. As you probably know AXPro/MC/Symph only support 30fps and they do that very badly indeed.

Since running into exactly this problem, I have acquired Edius and Liquid as alternatives. IMHO, Liquid is the most useful solution. Support is fantastic for HDV1 and it also makes a good capture/transcode utility for creating DNx files for import into your Avid HD project, if you really insist on using Avid.

Avid is about 15 months late delivering on its iniitial promise to deliver HDV1 24 and 25fps so I wouldn't hold your breath.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 05:21 AM   #4
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Avid Xpress/Media Composer can work using the MPEG STREAMCLIP (free software) method transcoding each .m2t to DNxHD.

Currently, as Anthony said, only 30P .m2t can be directed imported into Avid. The problems usually occur when trying to go back out to tape.

Avid says after the new year, but again as stated above, I wouldn't hold your breath either. Avid's main concern right now is getting their systems Intel Mac compatible.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 11:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony Michael Wilson
My advice would be use another NLE if you can - especially if you want to shoot 24, 25 or 50 or 60 fps. As you probably know AXPro/MC/Symph only support 30fps and they do that very badly indeed.

Since running into exactly this problem, I have acquired Edius and Liquid as alternatives. IMHO, Liquid is the most useful solution. Support is fantastic for HDV1 and it also makes a good capture/transcode utility for creating DNx files for import into your Avid HD project, if you really insist on using Avid.

Avid is about 15 months late delivering on its iniitial promise to deliver HDV1 24 and 25fps so I wouldn't hold your breath.
The method Anthony describes here I have heard of other people doing successfully. Think of using Liquid as your capture tool and rought edit tool. Then export the Liquid timeline as a DNx file. Import the file into AXPro/MC/Symp, and do your finish work. Output to another HD tape or disk format for distribution.

Don't plan on printing back to HDV tape out of Avid - it does not work reliably yet. If you need to do that, just stay in the Liquid NLE system.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 12:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Carl Hicks
Don't plan on printing back to HDV tape out of Avid - it does not work reliably yet. If you need to do that, just stay in the Liquid NLE system.
Actually, after some initial problems, I managed to get the "Export to HDV Device" to work quite well. Since it's not very well documented I suspect that some people just cannot figure it out (it took me a very long time, trust me).

Anyway, here it is (NTSC world experience):

1. When your HDV (DNx) sequence is finished, add at least 10 seconds of black at the beginning and some more (I usually do at least 20 sec) at the end.
2. Make sure your HDV device is connected directly via FW to Avid and recognised by it (try machine control and if it's operational you are good to go). It has to be turned on and have enough power to stay on (if it's the camera it is best to connect it to the wall plug, also, make sure the camera is in VTR mode)
3. Use "Export to HDV Device" command. Select "Create New Transport Stream" and hit OK.
4. Go for a coffee - it could be a long haul, depending on the length of your sequence. (a 7-min project took some 35-40 minutes)
5. When all is done, Avid will record the program to tape. I had very bad experience with Panasonic 'Master' tapes, so I switched to SONY HDV tapes and all is good.

Done. Now you have a m2t file sitting on your computer and this process can be easily repeated. All that you need to do is to go to "Export to HDV Device" and this time select "Use Existing File", find it and off you go. The recording to tape begins immediately.

Hope this helps...
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Last edited by Jiri Bakala; December 18th, 2006 at 07:15 PM.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 12:45 PM   #7
 
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I'll tack an AVID XPRESS PRO HD question to this thread (since it directly relates).

Can you convert native HDV footage (M2T files) to the Avid DNx codec? I was under the impression that Avid Xpress Pro HD was using their own codec for HDV editing, but the site says that Avid is editing it natively. Which is it?

Last edited by Peter John Ross; December 18th, 2006 at 01:32 PM.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 12:51 PM   #8
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Actually, I don't do a rough edit in Liquid and then export. If I want to use AXPro or MC for the cut, I export the captured clips from the Liquid rack (bin) and then import into Avid. I would only make a sequence of any of the clips first in Liquid if I wanted to apply proper scaling algorithms first. I'll only cut in Liquid if I'm going to finish up there.

You can use Avid to offline/online HDV1 24 or 25fps if you manually adjust source TC and reel in Avid from your SD clips imported from Liquid and then export an ALE file back out into Liquid and conform in Liquid. Then you repeat the batch export process, batch import your upscaled 1080P DNx files into the decomposed Avid offline master clips and online in the Avid as normal. This is useful for long form projects where DNx would not be a sensible proposition until online.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 12:52 PM   #9
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Just one more question-

I will be using the Hard Drive recorder with the JVC, not capturing from tape. So if I understand correctly I can use Liquid or MPEG Streamclip to convert the m2t files to avid's dnx codec? Does this same approach allow me to edit 24p in Avid, not just 30p? Or am I still stuck at 30p no matter what when using Avid Xpress Pro?
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Old December 18th, 2006, 03:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter John Ross
Can you convert native HDV footage (M2T files) to the Avid DNx codec? I was under the impression that Avid Xpress Pro HD was using their own codec for HDV editing, but the site says that Avid is editing it natively. Which is it?
You can edit HDV natively, mixed in with any resolution (hurrah for Open Timeline), but most recommend transcoding to DNxHD and cutting with that instead. Native HDV editing just isn't that great an idea regardless of your NLE - GOP compression is just not suitable for editing. You really need a codec that has every frame, such as DNxHD.

But yes, you can do it, and even have Avid render any effects to DNxHD instead of HDV.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 06:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Grunseth
Just one more question-

I will be using the Hard Drive recorder with the JVC, not capturing from tape. So if I understand correctly I can use Liquid or MPEG Streamclip to convert the m2t files to avid's dnx codec? Does this same approach allow me to edit 24p in Avid, not just 30p? Or am I still stuck at 30p no matter what when using Avid Xpress Pro?
You cannot cut 24p HDV1 natively in Xpress Pro but, yes, you can use Liquid and Streamclip to convert to DNx which you can then import to a 24p project.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 06:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Shaun Wilson
You can edit HDV natively, mixed in with any resolution (hurrah for Open Timeline), but most recommend transcoding to DNxHD and cutting with that instead. Native HDV editing just isn't that great an idea regardless of your NLE - GOP compression is just not suitable for editing. You really need a codec that has every frame, such as DNxHD.

But yes, you can do it, and even have Avid render any effects to DNxHD instead of HDV.
Yes, DNx works better than native HDV1 in Avid for many reasons BUT the issue here is that you can only ingest and edit HDV1 720p/30 natively in Xpress Pro, Media Composer and Symphony Nitris. For other frame rates, you need to capture (or import if it's not acquired to tape) and then transcode to a format that the traditional Avid software family does support. Since there are project types for 720p/24 and 1080p/24 you can transcode to either DNx flavour to import and then edit in the Avid. Since there is no 720p/25 or 50 project type as yet, you only have the option of 1080p/25 or 1080i/50 (25PsF) if you shoot at 25fps.

I repeat, 24fps and 25fps HDV1 are not natively supported for capture or import in Xpress Pro, Media Composer or Symphony Nitris. For these frame rates you must capture/import and transcode in another application before importing into the available project types within Avid.

This may seem crazy some 18 months after the HD100 was launched but it is - unfortunately - true.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 06:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Antony Michael Wilson
Yes, DNx works better than native HDV1 in Avid for many reasons BUT the issue here is that you can only ingest and edit HDV1 720p/30 natively in Xpress Pro...
Er yeah, sorry I jumped out of context a little bit ;)
Quote:
This may seem crazy some 18 months after the HD100 was launched but it is - unfortunately - true.
Indeed. The last official word on release date was "Q4 2006" which is quickly coming to a close. Many of us have been harassing the arse off Avid over at their forums - finally got a response from an Avid rep, looks like we'll be getting some kind of solid answer within a day or so (insert muffled laughter here).
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Old December 18th, 2006, 07:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Shaun Wilson
Native HDV editing just isn't that great an idea regardless of your NLE -- GOP compression is just not suitable for editing.
That's sooo untrue. I've been editing HDV natively in every NLE and doing so from the first day HDV arrived in the USA years ago. It's Avid's non-Liquid products that have a problem -- not native editing itself. You simply keep the myth alive with unsupported comments like this.
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Old December 18th, 2006, 07:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Antony Michael Wilson
Yes, DNx works better than native HDV1 in Avid for many reasons BUT the issue here is that you can only ingest and edit HDV1 720p/30 natively in Xpress Pro, Media Composer and Symphony Nitris.
Tony, I am pretty sure that you can transcode HDV1 to DNxHD after ingest and then edit in DNx - although, unless one is doing serious compositing or coulour correction, there is little benefit to this fairly rime-consuming precess. I guess the one thing that works better with DNx is that QT reference export could be used (although, I haven't found a setting that would deliver satisfactory quality for SD DVD).
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