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Old September 29th, 2008, 07:58 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by Larry Horwitz View Post
Thanks for the clarification Steve. Then the Sony Vegas mpeg2 to BD path you are burning with MF6+ is a red laser disk? I have yet to find a way to make a red laser disk which plays unless I transcode to AVC. Nor have I found a way to do so with the recently released Corel Movie Factory 7 Pro either. What is your method?

Larry
Or possibly you are going to blue laser BDs?
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Old September 29th, 2008, 09:36 AM   #47
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No one is talking about MPEG-2 to H.264. Input to Vegas is ProRes 422 HQ, Canopus HQ, DNxHD, or uncompressed -- all from PC or OS X NLEs.

Two separate paths from Sony Vegas: MPEG-2 to BD burned by MF6+ and AVCHD to red-laser burned by Nero.

As Tom and I worked-out these these two paths -- we may have come to the conclusion there's no need to worry about BD-5/BD-9.
I am still trying to digest this and it just doesn't feel right.

You are apparently using Song Vegas to either make BluRay disks with MF6+ for authoring the disk, or using AVC from Sony Vegas 8 Pro to make red laser disks with MF6+ if I understand correctly, and are not making BD5 or BD9 format disks.

You feed Sony Vegas with ProRes 422 HQ, Canopus HQ, DNxHD, or uncompressed input from other editors like Final Cut for ProRes 422, Avid for DNxHD, or Canopus HQ from Edius? I am not aware that Sony Vegas 8 Pro accepts ProRes 422 or DNxHD input formats, but perhaps it does so via its XDCam 422 support. And the XDCam HD422, which Vegas Pro recently supoports in 8.0c, is an mpeg2 format still using I-frames, DCT, but no P or B frames / GOPs.

Isn't your original camera acquisition format also mpeg2 to begin with? If not, where does your uncompressed video come in from?

Larry
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Old September 29th, 2008, 02:47 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Larry Horwitz View Post
I am still trying to digest this and it just doesn't feel right.

You are apparently using Song Vegas to either make BluRay disks with MF6+ for authoring the disk, or using AVC from Sony Vegas 8 Pro to make red laser disks with MF6+ if I understand correctly, and are not making BD5 or BD9 format disks.

You feed Sony Vegas with ProRes 422 HQ, Canopus HQ, DNxHD, or uncompressed input from other editors like Final Cut for ProRes 422, Avid for DNxHD, or Canopus HQ from Edius? I am not aware that Sony Vegas 8 Pro accepts ProRes 422 or DNxHD input formats, but perhaps it does so via its XDCam 422 support. And the XDCam HD422, which Vegas Pro recently supoports in 8.0c, is an mpeg2 format still using I-frames, DCT, but no P or B frames / GOPs.

Isn't your original camera acquisition format also mpeg2 to begin with? If not, where does your uncompressed video come in from?

Larry
Larry, you are correct.

I am trying two things, just to see what's possible:

1.) I already do BD-5/9 with footage from a Sony XDCAM-EX1, which is mpeg-2, 35mbps VBR (HQ) 4:2:0. I shoot it in either 60i or 24p. The best authoring method for this is TSMuxer 1.8.4b, authoring to BDMV structure, (BD-5/9) which plays from red laser disk, with chapters, DD 5.1, but no menus. I have no issues with this workflow, I just don't get menus. The cam's native footage does require one pass through Vegas to get the bit rate down, 35mbps is too high. But the output file remains mpeg-2, 1920x1080 i60 or p24, vbr 30mbps peak, 25mbps av, 20mbps min. This is the visual quality champion for red laser authoring.

2.) The other thing I'm trying is to do pretty much the same as above but with menus at a reduced image quality. For that, the mpeg-2 has to be transcoded to AVC h.264 compatible with AVCHD authoring if it is to smart render, or just inputting it as mpeg-2 if allowing Nero or MF to transcode. No true 24p without pulldown this way, and there is an adverse hit on quality. So the idea is to let the Sony Vegas AVC encoder handle the transcode since it presumably does a better rendering than MF or Nero. This works fine for MF but doesn't work at all with Nero. Nero passes the file through supposedly (100% smart rendering), but it plays only the menus. The video itself plays as a dark screen. The same file smart renders with MF and plays fine, but there are no motion menus for AVCHD disk authoring, just the static menus. Nero can do full motion with AVCHD authoring. MF can do full motion authoring for DVD or BD, but not AVCHD.

You're probably thinking AVC h.264 at 16mbps should look as good as the 25mbps (average) mpeg2 rendered file from the original source 35mbps VBR, but it does not. Doesn't matter what encoder is used, MF, Nero or Sony. Just the way it is.

I hope that helps to clarify. In any case, I do not use Vegas to author or burn, only to transcode an input file that will be subsequently used in TSMuxer 1.8.4b, or MF or Nero.

The object of 1.) and 2.) above is to burn on red laser media. These non-menu/non-motion-menuing, bitrate limiting problems go away with true authoring onto BD25/50 media.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 03:42 PM   #49
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Thanks Tom. I now understand things a lot better, and see that BD5/9 disks are really not the end products here. I wish I had an EX-1 to really appreciate how such things look after passing through the various conversions in workflow 1). as you and Steve have labelled it.

Workflow 2). with the penalty of mpeg2 to AVC is something I am altogether familiar with. For this reason alone, I am very glad to have switched to acquisition using an AVCHD camcorder, since my own experiences clearly reveal that AVCHD without transcoding obviously beats HDV mpeg2 to AVCHD using any software I have tried.

Exactly as you state, 16 mbit/sec AVC transcoded HDV originating at 25 Mbits/sec looks grossly worse to me. I atribute this clearly inferior result to the faulty logic / misinterpretation that since the 2 (mpeg2 and AVC/h.264) encoders differ by roughly 2 to one in their encoding efficiency, that a conclusion can thus be drawn that starting with 25Mbit/sec mpeg2 and encoding it to 16 Mbit/sec is somehow analogous to starting with raw, uncompressed video from a true sensor and A to D converter output and then comparing encodings done, one at 25 Mbit/sec mpeg2 and the other at 12.5 Mbit/sec AVC. This WOULD be the correct comparison. The key which is entirely missed is that ***RECOMPRESSION*** is an entirely different matter than singularly compressing one way or the other, even though it has been discussed and erroneously treated as if it were the same. There is no reason to presume that recompression of 25 Mbit/sec mpeg2 into any subsequent bit rate AVC transcoding will preserve the content, given the lossy and asymetrical processes in first expanding the GOPs back to isynchronous frames.


My interest in all of this is not entirely academic.

I have a very large collection of HDV and HD DVD material from the last several years which I now want to convert to be compatible with BluRay, and I do not want to use BluRay media and burners even though I have both here.

The key issue is my best coding stategy, and I would dearly love to make mpeg2 red laser disks to avoid recompression entirely. My best shot is, apparently, the TSRemux path you have provided, but I have made little headway. I'm going to give it another try to see what I am doing wrong, but I have yet to find a way to generate the BDMV output.

Thanks for your clarifications and very useful alternatives here Tom.

Larry

Last edited by Larry Horwitz; September 29th, 2008 at 09:28 PM.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 06:22 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Larry Horwitz View Post
My best shot is, apparently, the TSRemux path you have provided, but I have made little headway. I'm going to give it another try to see what I am doing wrong, but I have yet to find a way to generate the BDMV output.
Larry
Ah-hah!!!!

I didn't say TSRemux! That's a different program. I've used it, and it doesn't work.

You need TSMuxer 1.8.4b. The names sound similar but they are different programs.

I will be very happy to help you with the workflow. It's not hard. Below are the important steps.

1.) You have to demux your HDV audio and video into separate elementary streams.
2.) Render the HDV audio to DD5.1, 48khz, 448kbps.
3.) The video stream is fine as it is, 25mbps 1440x1080, no rendering needed.
4.) TSMuxer1.8.4b will combine the above elementary streams, and output the BDMV folders.
5.) Burn the folders to BD5/9 with Nero Burning Rom using the following settings, DVD-ROM UDF 2.5, manual settings, no-multisession.

Feel free to ask questions, happy to help. You'll get there.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 07:50 PM   #51
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Coming late to the party...

Sorry to come into this discussion so late but it took a while to get approved to post into the forums. My observations may not be that useful anymore but here's what I have found with my own experiences with Nero, Vegas, and Sony DVD Architect. Please forgive that I am very new to the AVCHD format and went there directly from DV (D8 actually) so no experience with HDV.

Background info - I now shoot with the Sony HDR-SR11 (AVCHD format). I've tried a number of things to 'transcode' the raw footage to other formats which could be edited easier.

1. Based primarily on Larry's experiences I updated my Nero to the latest version and began with Nero Vision. This was largely successful if I did very little true editing and just provided Nero with the AVCHD footage to build a menu'd AVCHD disk. This was head and shoulders better than the PMB (Picture Motion Browser) software that came with the camera as I had more options for the footage and the menus. Where Nero fell short was if I had more than a few simple cuts to make... One note here is that the PMB software was able to read and play the AVCHD disk that Nero created (as well as the Nero Showtime player, of course).

2. I also tried to transcode the AVCHD footage into AVI via a set of AVIsynth scripts and Virtual Dub. This seemed to work but at the expense of very large files and ultimately a future render required to build an AVCHD disk at the end of it all. I quickly abandoned this effort.

3. I ultimately went to Vegas to try how it worked with AVCHD on the advice of a friend that also has an AVCHD cam as well as Vegas. Vegas will input the AVCHD into the timeline and allow you to edit it natively but we've found that Vegas has NO smartrendering at all with AVCHD. Further, the render to full 1920x1080 AVCHD (at least from 1920x1080 AVCHD source) is frought with crashes and hangs running on our two separate machines. We were unable to output more than a couple of minutes (at the very most) with any siginificant edits done on the timeline. We were able to get pretty far rendering to 1440x1080 but even then it wasn't always successful. On top of this rendering to AVCHD was painfully slow (I'm afraid this is probably the case for any solution right now)

4. Still working in Vegas, we then looked at transcoding the source AVCHD footage to another format to do the editing work. Then at the end render back to AVCHD for burning to disc. We were successful with this strategy (apparently the render to AVCHD is mostly buggy when the source is AVCHD - go figure). I don't know if it is the optimum but what we've tried lately is rendering the source AVCHD to 40Mbps mpeg2 for editing in Vegas. This yields video files that are manageable to work with and Vegas seems to handle them pretty well.

5. Output - so far I've burned 'AVCHD' discs from the Vegas timeline (no menus) as well as creating a full menu disc via DVD Architect. I say 'AVCHD' since my blu-ray player (Sony BDS301) recognizes it and plays it fine but when I examine the structure on the disc it would appear to actually be BDMV. This is confirmed by trying to play the discs via Nero Showtime (it refuses to play it and tells me that I need the Blu-ray/HD plug in) as well as the PMB AVCHD player (it just says the disc is NOT AVCHD and gives up). This is independant of whether the final media is rendered to Sony AVC in Vegas or in DVD Architect (though DVD Architect can actually render to higher AVC bitrates than Vegas can).

So what does all this mean? I'm not entirely sure yet as I only have the one blu-ray player available to test on. So far all the blu-ray discs I've made (either true AVCHD or BDMV) have played. Not sure how they would do on a PS3. BTW, I also tried to output a 25 Mbps mpeg2 BDMV disc to play on my blu-ray player. It couldn't keep up with the bitrate and stuttered after only a few seconds (as others have already reported). I would like to try to output a 20 Mbps AVCHD disc from DVD Architect and see how that plays in the BDS301.

Not sure if I've added anything to the discussion but those are my random thoughts for the moment.

Bruce
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Old September 29th, 2008, 08:35 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Larry Horwitz View Post
Isn't your original camera acquisition format also mpeg2 to begin with? If not, where does your uncompressed video come in from?
The ACQUISITION format is really irrelevant as there are so many options. I count about 8: HDV, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX, XDCAM 422, HDCAM, DVCPRO HD, AVC-Intra, and in rare cases today, AVCHD/AVCCAM.

The only things that are relevant are:

1) The codec used to export your timeline. This INTERMEDIATE could be the same as the aquisition format, but today is less likely to be: for example, HDV, AVCHD, AVC-Intra would not be used. There are, however, six nearly lossless 422 formats: ProRes 422 HQ, ProRes 422, DNxHD, Canopus HQ, CineForm CF, and our old friends 8-bit or 10-bit uncompressed.

These are the codecs used to transfer data to other applications used in FINISHING: in particular creating a 5.1 surround sound mix.

2) If an HD optical disc is created, there is a final DISTRIBUTION encode:

a) If one is making a BD, you have 3 choices. Practically, MPEG-2 is the best option as it is the fastest to do the job. And, MainConcept seems to be the best of the CONSUMER priced codecs.

b) If one is making an AVCHD disc, there is only one choice: AVCHD. And, the only one that makes acceptable quality is Sony's. It seems to be the best of the CONSUMER priced codecs.

3) If one is going back to HD tape, then the intermediate is encoded to a tape format. Either by your computer or by the VTR.

As should be obvious -- I'm talking about a workflow that would be used by a "pro" or "prosumer." HOWEVER, there is no reason the workflow couldn't be used by a "consumer." For example, if your consumer NLE can export 4:2:2 nearly lossless video -- it can be used.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 09:01 PM   #53
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OK all you smart people. Most of the stuff I have read in this thread are somewhat over my head, although, I think I understand some of it. Holy smokes, and I bought an AVCHD camcorder thinking there would be no problems with producing quality playable discs. Now for the question that will definately expose my ignorance: Can I combine footage from an HDV camcorder (FX7) and that from an AVCHD camcorder (SR11) and use one of the cheaper editing programs to make a final product using both sets of footage and make it look good with little or no loss of PQ?

Respectfully,
Mike

PS. I know this is off topic, but I wanted to come to the best people with the most smarts.
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Old September 29th, 2008, 09:19 PM   #54
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The ACQUISITION format is really irrelevant as there are so many options. I count about 8: HDV, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX, XDCAM 422, HDCAM, DVCPRO HD, AVC-Intra, and in rare cases today, AVCHD/AVCCAM.

The only things that are relevant are:


Steve,

I am beginning to assume the defensive posture once again, since I entirely and absolutely disagree that the acquisition format is irrelevant when it comes to making red laser disks for use on BluRay players.

My own experience has been that if one is interested in making red laser disks which play on BluRay devices / software players, the only 2 choices which preserve the inherent beauty and quality of the original video intact are those which take HDV or AVCHD directly to the player's codec without intervening recompression(s), conversions, and all the other multi-step processes which add degredation (to say nothing of huge processing delays) to the workflow. When I acquire using AVCHD, never recompress, and deliver AVHD to the player, or if I record HDV/mpeg2 and deliver mpeg2 to the codec of player, the results look fabulous. Once I start transforming the video through a chain of recompression, the quality drops. It is both my belief and my experience that these lossy compression schemes such as mpeg2, mpeg4, etc. are NOT intended to be cascaded, transcoded, or otherwise chained together unless you are willing to take the quality compromise. Both the lossy DCT and motion estimates used to form the original P and B frames are irreversible and lossy, and data is thrown away with each step, never to be recovered.

The simple and best solution is to acquire in the same format as you deliver / distribute if such an option exists, and thus AVCHD acquisition delivers superior video to transcoded mpeg2 if the red laser disk is inherently encoded in the same, AVCHD, format.

In all fairness to your workflows / approaches, I readily admit that professional users will fail to find adequate flexibility in the tools I prefer to use, and may indeed resort to Vegas or other NLEs. My experience with AVCHD using Vegas 8.0c on the fastest chip set that Intel offers has been quite dismal however, both in terms of stability as well as rendering speed, so I personally resist any workflow where Vegas is an integral part. The professional is regrettably left with pretty immature and complex workflow choices even now that AVCHD has been out for quite some time. I am not surprised that the latest post from Bruce Spell has similar comments, since the Vegas forum is littered with such complaints, my own included.

Larry
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Old September 29th, 2008, 09:36 PM   #55
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Bruce,

I agree that the Nero Vision solution lacks the sophistication of most of the other editors. The fact that it does allow very good and extremely fast cut editing and clip splitting, re-arrangement, and merging with no re-rendering is where I like it best.

DVD Architect 5, Sony's very recent update to their Vegas Pro suite, does not create AVCHD disks. I can only assume from your post that either you burned true BluRay disks (which it does support) or that your Sony set-top player is willing to accept a non-standard disk from DVD Architect 5. Are you recording on red or blue laser media?

Larry
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Old September 29th, 2008, 09:45 PM   #56
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Mike,

My experience has been that mixing HDV and AVCHD on the timeline is generally supported by the cheaper programs like Nero and Video Studio but the codecs these programs use are not capable of really preserving picture quality that well. There is no way to SMART render such a mixed timeline, and the recompresion hurts the picture quality in terms of detail, color, and motion artifacts.

Your best hope of doing what you want would be to use a program with MainConcept's encoders / codecs such as TMPG Express 4 or Sony Vegas 8 Pro, both of which allow for preserving detail as well as using sharpening, color correction, and other filters to offset some of the pcitrue quality losses. If you are on a budget, TMPG Express 4 will make the mixed AVCHD/HDV timeline into an HD format video file (albeit with cuts-only editing) using MainConcept encoding for about $90, well below the cost of Vegas. You can put a menu on it optionally or burn it straight to AVCHD with programs like Movie Factory 7 (just released) or Nero.

Larry
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Old September 29th, 2008, 09:56 PM   #57
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Tom,

Again thank you for your help. My need is slightly more complex, since my HDV mpeg2 content is now mostly in .evo files which can be readily demuxed to .mpv and .mpa video and audio streams respectively. The program I have used to do this is a little piece of freeware called EVOdemux.

Download EVOdemux 0.627b6 - A HD DVD Demultiplexer with an easy-to-use GUI and capable of saving streams. - Softpedia

I need to see if there is an easy way to get to the formats which TSMuxer needs.

Thanks once again,

Larry
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Old September 29th, 2008, 10:01 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by Larry Horwitz View Post
DVD Architect 5, Sony's very recent update to their Vegas Pro suite, does not create AVCHD disks. I can only assume from your post that either you burned true BluRay disks (which it does support) or that your Sony set-top player is willing to accept a non-standard disk from DVD Architect 5. Are you recording on red or blue laser media?

Larry
Larry,

Sorry I didn't explicitly say in my previous post but I'm only burning red laser media (I have no blu-ray burner yet). As you've correctly surmised the Sony BDS301 appears to 'recognize' the red laser BDMV disc and play it. The funny thing is that it 'recognizes' it NOT as blu-ray (which it truly isn't) but it labels it AVCHD when it plays it.

I don't know how well these discs will play in other blu-ray set top players. I also don't know if Nero can play them since I don't have the blu-ray/HD plug in for my Nero s/w.

Like Steve and Tom have reported, I have had no success in taking Sony Vegas rendered AVC files (media) into Nero Vision and outputting a true AVCHD disc. While Nero says the file is compliant and will smart render the video it never completes the job. Nero gives no errors or indications as to what's wrong it just quits responding.

I'm still looking for alternatives...

Bruce
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Old September 29th, 2008, 11:41 PM   #59
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Bruce,

Thanks for your reply.

Sony's description of the red laser authoring from DVD Architect 5 on their web site says:

"Blu-ray specific functionality
Use DVD Architect Pro 5 software to burn a BDMV high-definition title to standard DVD media. (Requires a Blu-ray player that supports BDMV on DVD)."

These disks do indeed play on my PS3 as well as my Sony BluRay player, but are not, strictly speaking, AVCHD disks. In fact, some of them I have authored come from HDV material which is placed on the disk as mpeg2 25 Mbit/sec 1440 by 1080.

Like other disks which have been discussed in this thread, they are a non-standardized format, which, (at least speaking for myself) I would be reluctant to use. My HD DVD library here of 100s of disks is a recent reminder of how a format can quickly become unreadable / obsolete.

As regards taking rendered material from Vegas into Nero and then authoring, my experience partially disagrees with Steve and Tom. If I use the Sony AVC renderer (NOT the Mainconcept) and make 1920 by 1080p 29.97 fps NTSC video file output as a .m2TS with 192 kb/sec stereo (2 channel) Digital Dolby, Nero accepts and then neaerly instantly Smart Renders this Vegas output to a menued disk which plays and works properly in my PC player Total Media Theater (Arcsoft) but not in Nero's own Show Time player.

If you have read my earlier comments, you will know that I am NOT a big fan of re-rendering, and even more so absolutely detest transcoding from one mpeg format to another, so I don't especially like to use this workflow. I do use it however when some filtering and effects or color corrections or more complex editing force me to use something more powerful than Nero.

I have the optional HD DVD Blu Ray plug in for Nero, so perhaps this is why Steve and Tom report no luck or poor luck with their experiments. I have not tried these disks in my set top players, and my guess is that they may not be fully compliant AVCHD disks either.

Larry

P.S. My most recent PS3 firmware treats the DVDA disk as a Data Disk and refuses to play it. My Sony set top player with firmware released in the last few months, plays it without complaint. Kinda hard to figure why Sony software creates disks which 2 very current Sony models handle entirely differently. The non-standard format being created is yet another mystery........why does Sony do such bizarre things??

Last edited by Larry Horwitz; September 30th, 2008 at 12:51 AM.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 01:01 AM   #60
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Larry,

I think you and I are in agreement on many aspects of the AVCHD discussion. I know that Sony doesn't advertise writing AVCHD from DVD Architect (or Vegas) but it's a bit shortsighted in my opinion since they were one of the founders of the format.

Maybe I should take a step back and state my goals (well, at least near term).

1. I want an easy method to archive my 'raw' footage directly from the source. For this I'm simply writing the PMB created M2TS files (along with other metadata) to DVD for storage. This works as long as I don't shoot a single clip longer than just over 1 hour (otherwise I'll exceed the capacity of a DL DVD). I've already violated this desire once and had to split the resulting M2TS file using PMB. At the time I only had Nero and for the life of me couldn't piece the two clips back together seamlessly without some trouble at the join point. That's what initially led me to Vegas in the first place.

2. I will need to be able to edit the footage to some degree. I'm not a power editor (I'm not into production) but I do often use multiple angles/cameras which I need to sync and cut or dissolve between. The Vegas multi-camera workflow works remarkably well for this. I would also like to do simple fades and dissolves at times. While the Nero interface was simple and easy for me to work in I wasn't able to do that kind of editing on my footage. Hence I tried out Vegas (Premiere, which I've also used in the past, doesn't yet natively support AVCHD until CS4 is available. I guess we'll all have to see how they do).

3. Once I've completed the editing I need some way to output. Most of my discs will go to people that only have SD players. Therefore I need a way to edit once and deliver output both to SD (for others) and to HD (for me and few others). I'm hoping to find a suitable workflow to realize this goal. As you've mentioned the drawbacks to Vegas/DVD Architect at this point is that first, Vegas doesn't smart render AVCHD source material (very bad in my book just like it is in yours) and second, it only outputs HD in BDMV. It does satisfy the goal, however, of one editing project to output both SD & HD with little change. BTW, I eventually plan to get a blu-ray burner and then will want to output the same project direct to blu-ray without having to re-edit. I don't think I'm asking too much.

4. Since I couldn't get DVD Architect to create a true AVCHD disc, I then thought I could do all editing in Vegas and render out a final AVCHD edit master M2TS. I would then bring this into Nero and create the final AVCHD disc with menu (though Nero's menu options aren't as vast as DVD Architect's). My horror so far has been that I've been unable to get a clean AVCHD M2TS output from Vegas (I've only tried the Sony AVC encoder, btw) that will make it through Nero's build a disc process. I'd really like to discover why I'm having difficulty here as I certainly don't want another render step (even though Nero says that it would 100% smart render the file delivered from Vegas). I believe the disc created by Nero would be the most compatible AVCHD version. Since you've had success here I'm hoping you'll be able to shed some light on this phase of the process that seems to be eluding Steve and I. Maybe it is the fact you have the blu-ray/HD plug-in instaled - I don't know.

Bottom line - this is all very new to me and I'm learning as fast as I can. I was hoping that AVCHD had become a bit more mature by now but it looks like the edit solutions for this format are still a bit leading edge.

I appreciate all the experiences and very sound advice that you, Steve, Tom, and others have provided in this thread. It's really helped me tremendously just getting this far.

Bruce
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