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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
For VIXIA / LEGRIA Series (HF G, HF S, HF and HV) consumer camcorders.


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Old April 25th, 2008, 02:51 PM   #1
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Canon HF10 newbie question

I just bought an HF10. I tried reading through some threads, but didn't get this answered. My question deals with getting the AVCHD files onto my computer. The manual of course says do not transfer files directly from the camera, but only use the supplied software. Is this necessary? I know I can use a card reader for my SD card, but what about the built-in memory? Can I just use the USB cable and my XP machine will recognize the camcorder? Can I download from the camera onto a Mac too?

Another question: What are some NLE programs that can handle AVCHD files? Any one recommended over the other?

Thanks.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 03:50 PM   #2
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Robert: I'm about as green as you are - a week longer and Mac-only. The first time I went to dnld a 2min test I was screaming because: 1) Their Mac software was INOP.. 2) the cam needed an external power supply 3) the file format could not be seen by the heaviest app I had: the latest v. of Final Cut Express (there's a backdoor..) 4) iMovie and a couple of other apps could not see their file format.. (turns out iMove '08 does - but that's another $70 of software you need...$49 on Amazon) I run an intel iMac with plenty of muscle and latest OS.

I was thinking; I need to shoot to a card - like I do with my Sanyo Exacti which fires right out of the reader - but it's still (I assume) in the same format?! I gather once iMovie '08 arrives this rant will mellow, but as much of a fan of Canon's high end lens' and DSLR, I'm not impressed with this division of the company.

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Old April 25th, 2008, 04:22 PM   #3
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I bought the HF100 (same thing as HF10 minus internal flash) and it comes with ImageMixer 3 SE by Pixela. You'll use this software to copy from the camera to the PC. Install that software before you plug the camera into the PC. Also, one thing that kept frustrating me is when I plugged the camera to my PC's USB port and turn it on (playback mode), nothing would happen. After trying several USB ports & thinking something was wrong, I opened the LCD screen and you have to scroll over to PC/Computer and hit select. Then, Windows should recognize the camera. Let me know if you have any other issues.

As far as NLE software, I use Sony Vegas 8.0b and it works great!

Make sure you have a pretty powerful PC if you expect to edit AVCHD realtime. I have a Quad Core 6600 (2.4Ghz) with 3GB RAM and works pretty fast.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 04:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Scholl View Post
The manual of course says do not transfer files directly from the camera, but only use the supplied software. Is this necessary?
You can copy the files off directly, but you have to know where they are. I'm going from memory here, so I hope I get this right (I'll check later), but on the card the actual clips are located in the following directory:

/private/avchd/bdmv/stream/xxxxx.mts

On Linux (which I use), this is the only way to get the files off. What you give up this way, though, are things like thumbnails and metadata associated with the clips, which I don't miss personally, but could be an issue if you have 100's of clips on the card.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 10:41 PM   #5
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I copy the .MTS files directly off the card into a project folder located in the Captured Video folder my NLE (Pinnacle Studio 11 plus) looks for. Studio sees the thumbnails, and if for any reason I want to use Pixela's ImageMixer or their viewer all I have to do is point those to that folder.

When I'm done editing and finished with the project, I copy the project folder with the .MTS files to a couple of exernal 500GB hard drives for storage.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 12:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Scholl View Post
I just bought an HF10. I tried reading through some threads, but didn't get this answered. My question deals with getting the AVCHD files onto my computer. The manual of course says do not transfer files directly from the camera, but only use the supplied software. Is this necessary? I know I can use a card reader for my SD card, but what about the built-in memory? Can I just use the USB cable and my XP machine will recognize the camcorder? Can I download from the camera onto a Mac too?

Another question: What are some NLE programs that can handle AVCHD files? Any one recommended over the other?
Canon's supplied Mac software is crap. At best, it won't do you any good, they don't provide any software that can deal with AVCHD video at all, conversion, editing or even as simple as playback. At worst, it can interfere somewhat with installed software that does the job better.

For the video, iMovie '08, Final Cut Express 4.0 and Final Cut Studio 2 can read the cards from a card reader or from the camera.

I don't know about the PC side. I use Windows for a lot of different things, just not for video work.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 12:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Jim Cancil View Post
3) the file format could not be seen by the heaviest app I had: the latest v. of Final Cut Express (there's a backdoor..)
I'm not sure it's a back door. You mean that you have to convert it first before you can play it? If you only want to play it, then yes, it's annoying and seems unnecessary. It would be nice if simple playback could have been done with Quicktime, but for editing, it's best to convert it to an editable codec first.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #8
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After much experimentation, I've managed to load footage from my Canon HF100 onto both a

MacBook Pro (OS 10.5.2) running iMovie '08 via a USB card reader.

-- Open iMovie '08, plug in the card reader containing the scHD card. iMovie immediately sees the card and displays the video files, which can be then moved to the browser pane using the iMovie interface.

-- BUT I found it's crucial to NOT delete from the card any files (incl .MTS videos) except via the camcorder's own interface. That's a lesson I learned the hard way when dragging a few specific video files to the trash directly from the card. That action upset the internal housekeeping on the card and prevent proper display of the rest of its stored videos. To get the card functioning properly again, I had to reformat it. That can be painful. So be forewarned.

And to a Mac Pro 2.66 dual core (OS 10.4.11) running Final Cut Pro (FCP) 6.0.2 via USB cable.

-- Could not make FCP recognize the card reader. So went to the supplied USB cable, connecting the HF100 to the Mac Pro. That in turn makes it mandatory to give the camcorder external power via the supplied power cord. I don't know why, since the USB is a powered connection.

-- Here is the work flow that functioned perfectly.

HF100 must draw external power via the power cord.

Plug in USB.

Twist dial to VCR Movie mode.

Then, turn on Canon. Ensure it appears on desktop.

Now, start FCP.

Create and apply an "easy set-up" setting specifically for Canon HF100. This is necessary to allow FCP to accommodate the AVCHD files and convert them to ProRes 422 format. Here are the setting I used that worked fine for me:

Sequence Preset: Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) 1920x1080 60) 48 kHz
Capture Preset: HDV-Apple ProRes 422
Device Control Preset: Non-controllable Device (this was a big surprise)

Set the logging bin.

Use Log and TRANSFER, NOT Log and Capture

The movies on the Canon card should now appear on the list of clips available to transfer to FCPs data store; once they are transferred, they will appear in the browser bin.

This was my first use of ProRes 422 and I'm impressed its image quality and seamless integration into a timeline with native HDV footage.

Hope the workflow laid out above helps save others from the hours of experimentation I had to invest.

BTW, I'm using the HF100 as a B-roll camcorder along side my Sony FX7. It's my first Canon camcorder and I'm impressed by the quality of the image.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 11:27 AM   #9
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As stated below, for Windows, Sony Vegas Pro 8 should support the files natively. If you don't want to shell out for the Pro version Sony Movie Studio Platinum 8 also natively supports .mts files.

I don't have a Canon but I have a Sony SR12 and it it works perfectly.

30-day Trials are available for the above software so just experiment

Enjoy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Scholl View Post
I just bought an HF10. I tried reading through some threads, but didn't get this answered. My question deals with getting the AVCHD files onto my computer. The manual of course says do not transfer files directly from the camera, but only use the supplied software. Is this necessary? I know I can use a card reader for my SD card, but what about the built-in memory? Can I just use the USB cable and my XP machine will recognize the camcorder? Can I download from the camera onto a Mac too?

Another question: What are some NLE programs that can handle AVCHD files? Any one recommended over the other?

Thanks.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 01:06 PM   #10
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Jeff: I'm sure it's not a 'Backdoor' to those of you who know FCE .. but I simply wanted to see 2min of action ..but had to spend an hour on the forums before I found out about Log and Transfer ..which is probably about pg. 300 in the FCE manual. (I'm on pg.4) Anyway...

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Old April 26th, 2008, 01:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cancil View Post
Jeff: I'm sure it's not a 'Backdoor' to those of you who know FCE .. but I simply wanted to see 2min of action ..but had to spend an hour on the forums before I found out about Log and Transfer ..which is probably about pg. 300 in the FCE manual. (I'm on pg.4) Anyway...
I really don't know FCE that much either, I've spent only a few hours in it with the previous version. I just did a search in the manual for "AVCHD" and it showed what to do.
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Old April 26th, 2008, 01:43 PM   #12
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maybe someone here has an answer to this, canon did not, if you shoot to card and transfer then delete most but not all of the files, it seems the camera still has all the thumbnails on the card, it does not check and update the thumbnails and in order to get rid of them you would need to manually go one by one in camera and delete and delete from playlist each one.

Is there any way to make the camera do this? Maybe the software it comes with (I have not installed it yet) does something like this?

Anyone else see this as a problem?

I mean if shooting a quick clip and doing multiple takes you can have many takes, and only need two that worked, its much easier to transfer from the computer and delete the bad ones, then to go one by one in camera and go through the delete cycle, and delete all from this date would delete the two you need, and putting them back from the computer would not register on the camera. Its a problem.
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