Frustrated -- HF100 Workflow at DVinfo.net

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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old December 13th, 2008, 02:36 AM   #1
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Frustrated -- HF100 Workflow

I've been reading lots of sites and trying to work this out for days, so please forgive me if this is a rehash for you regulars... Out of all the sites I've been reading I like this one the best so I'm making my first post here.

I bought an HF100 and really like it. I like what AVCHD offers. I used the Sony Vegas trial beforehand and really liked it so I bought a copy of the Platinum version when I bought the camera. What I'm trying to work out now is my workflow -- how to actually work with these AVCHD files. Vegas will edit them fine, I mean essentially the "capture" phase of things, before I even fire up Vegas.

The first step is an easy way to just view these files. I tried VLC (hated it), the K-Lite Codec Pack (included ffpshow or whatever it is) with Media Player Classic (meh), as well as the ImageMixer software that came with the camera (absolutely hated it!) and they all sucked trying to play these files on my computer. I have a 2.2GHz dual-core Opteron, 2GB of RAM and while I know this is baseline sufficient for editing (I plan to upgrade in a few months), I think I should be able to at least just preview these files at full speed/without problems. I finally found CoreAVC and it works quite well with Windows Media Player. I do still have a small glitch where the raw mts files don't show video till I click on the WMP window (m2ts created by ImageMixer work fine) but I can figure that out or just deal with it.

The main thing I'd like to nail down is a solid, easy way to get the footage from the camera to my computer. Too bad the Windows Picture and Scanner Wizard doesn't work with these files, as what it does is really all I want. ImageMixer that comes with the camera has importing capability, but I hated that program with a passion as I said above. I'm a software engineer by profession and I can write a small program that will do what I want but surely there's already something that does this?

So what I'd like to know here is how are you all working with these files? How are you viewing them, how are you getting them off your camera, how do you group them and name them on your computer, what programs are you using, etc.? [EDIT: forgot to mention, this also includes pulldown (30p in 60i)... do you do that at this stage?]

Thanks for any response.

Last edited by Chris Nielsen; December 13th, 2008 at 04:26 AM.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 05:43 AM   #2
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Chris, I'm using the HF10, but no difference in the workflow.
I've tried Vegas Platinum 9 and just hated the interface. Since I normally use Premiere CS3, I was considering upgrading to CS4 - which I probably will do some time - but in the interim I've been using Premiere Elements 7, which I think does a tremendous job for the price.
I can choose to download straight from the camera into it and store the files on whichever scratch-disc I choose. It has so many editing choices already built-in - as a well as export options. I've been so impressed that I still haven't missed the full-blown Premiere Pro...
My PC has an Intel Core2 Quad Q6600 processor with 300Gb RAM and runs the application really smoothly.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 08:56 AM   #3
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what i'm doing with my hf100, is connecting the camera to the computer, and on windows it mounts the camera as a removable drive. after it is mounted, i go into that drive and copy the AVCHD folder, which is inside the "Private" folder to a directory I have setup on a hard drive.

So far I haven't felt a need to rename those files, but if needed, you could rename the files to something more memorable than 0001.mts, or could make a sub directory that has a name that makes sense, like "Jamaica 2007", and move the appropriate files into those folders.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 09:51 AM   #4
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i take .mts files directly from the HF100's SD card by dragging a copy of the BDMV>STREAM folder directly to my Desktop. They can then be immediately reviewed and judged, (if neccesary discarded) by double clicking each of them in sequence, which opens them in my default viewer. I have many ways to view them but prefer Nero Show Time as my default.

The ones which I keep are then loaded into the NLE I use.

Larry
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Old December 13th, 2008, 11:52 AM   #5
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So either by hand, or you do it from your NLE? Ugh.

Let me ask this: is there any good reason to keep the folder structure and other files (like from the AVCHD folder and up)? If I just copy nothing but the mts files over will I hate myself in a year when I want to do something with my footage that I can't because I didn't keep the folders and other files?

Thanks guys.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 08:40 PM   #6
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The folder structure is only useful if you want to directly burn an AVCHD disk with all the recorded clips unedited using a device like Canon's DW-100 burner.

The folder has thumbnail stills used by the Hf100 to navigate on its primitive playback screens.

You will also find still images saved as JPEGs if you made any still image recordings.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 08:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chris Nielsen View Post
So either by hand, or you do it from your NLE? Ugh.

Let me ask this: is there any good reason to keep the folder structure and other files (like from the AVCHD folder and up)?
Not really. I do like others, copy the MTS files directly from the card to a "review" folder. I use the Pixela player that comes with the camera (don't like it much but it does work) for review simply because the "open file" menu lets me rename them on the fly as I review them.

I rename them to something related to the part of the project that will mean something to me whenever I edit. On a current old Texas fort project the living history cavalry unit MTS files were renamed to Cav_Patrol_001.MTS or Cav_Drills_013.MTS. The clips on the archeology volunteers excavating the foundation of the old Butterfield Station became Archeol_Excavating.MTS

Then each group is moved to a subfolder under a project folder and this is all copied over to 2 external drives for safety (so I have my original video on 3 drives).

It's easy once you do it a time or two.

Then it's a simple matter of editing in either Pinnacle Studio 12 or Cyberlink PowerDirector 7 Ultra, both of which edit AVCHD with no transcoding necessary (I hear Premiere Elements 7 will do this also). Output is first to standard def DVD for any distribution as this is still what most folks have, and then to HD WMV files for me. I used to view these with Windows Media Player on my computer monitor but now have Western Digital's newly released WD TV, a simple little media player with 2 USB input ports and an HDMI output to my 42" LCD 1080p TV.

I have an external hard drive cleaned off for putting these files on for playback on the TV but for right now I'm running HD video to the TV with thumb drives. First test was a 26 minute project shot with the HF100 at 1920x1080 17Mbps, edited in Pinnacle Studio 12, and rendered to a 1920x1080 HD WMV file (this render took 12 hours!), then copied over to an 8GB thumb drive which was plugged into the WD TV and it played great! (Looking about as good as the original files played from the camcorder with an HDMI connection).

I do not mess with "pulldown" nor worry about the 30p being in a 60i wrapper. I shot a couple of projects at 30p and went back to 60i for most things as it looked to me a tad sharper. 30p will give you a bit of image "lag" on the LCD and the same thing if you monitor audio (need to use headphones that exclude all external sound or you will be hearing things twice).

Nor do I mess with 24fps as I believe this to be an archaic holdover from the film motion picture industry. Our DVD players and TVs (LCD and plasma) deinterlace as necessary and the 24fps frame rate can lead to motion blur/unsharpness.

I go for a cinema like look with the Cine mode enhanced by boosting contrast, brightness, and color depth with custom settings. Cine mode by itself can look a tad flat but the custom settings do not kill the slightly muted color/contrast and still leave the extended dynamic range of Cine setting.

This is one great little camcorder, I have a pair of them for 2 cam setup when necessary and I attempt to use external mics as close to actors as I can for better audio.

Hope you find some of this info useful to you. But don't get frustrated. Keep things simple and get to work with it.

Last edited by Bruce Foreman; December 13th, 2008 at 11:43 PM.
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Old December 13th, 2008, 11:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Nielsen View Post
So either by hand, or you do it from your NLE? Ugh.

Let me ask this: is there any good reason to keep the folder structure and other files (like from the AVCHD folder and up)? If I just copy nothing but the mts files over will I hate myself in a year when I want to do something with my footage that I can't because I didn't keep the folders and other files?

Thanks guys.
still easier and less time and labor intensive than capturing the footage off of tape.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 01:21 AM   #9
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Hf10

After the camera is mounted as a removable drive, I simply copy the files over and put them into folders which I name and organize as I wish. It's very manual but it works and who needs a program to do that?

I use Vegas Pro to edit, it's a great program decently powerful/feature rich and I love to edit the raw M2TS files w/o having to transcode / waste space.

For playback, CoreAVC is a must, though it's still a bit glitchy, I also have PowerDVD which supposedly uses hardware accel, but it plays back the clips SMOOTHLY the only negative (besides price) is that when you launch a file there is a few second delay/buffer in beginning of the clip for it to start.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 02:05 AM   #10
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still easier and less time and labor intensive than capturing the footage off of tape.
Aye, which is one of the reasons I bought an HF100. My friend (who works on snowboarding films) was trying to talk me into an HV30. But I have zero interest in working with tape.

Last edited by Chris Nielsen; December 14th, 2008 at 02:43 AM.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 02:06 AM   #11
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After the camera is mounted as a removable drive, I simply copy the files over and put them into folders which I name and organize as I wish. It's very manual but it works and who needs a program to do that?
I'm just looking for a convenience solution here. The little Picture Wizard that Windows has for moving pics off your digital camera is nice and simple in the way it copies and renames files for you. I'm always looking for ways to reduce time spent on repetitive tasks, it's just my nature. I'll probably end up writing a little .NET app to do this at some point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Angelo Alberico View Post
I use Vegas Pro to edit, it's a great program decently powerful/feature rich and I love to edit the raw M2TS files w/o having to transcode / waste space.
Do you just change the file extention to m2ts when you're renaming/cataloging your files? If so, why?

Last edited by Chris Nielsen; December 14th, 2008 at 02:43 AM.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 03:02 AM   #12
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...

Hope you find some of this info useful to you. But don't get frustrated. Keep things simple and get to work with it.
I've read your post through several times, Bruce. Most definitely helpful!
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Old December 15th, 2008, 01:17 PM   #13
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Just purchased a Canon VIXIA HF-100 from Amazon. I set it to 24p and Cinemode right out of the box, and really like the results.

I go the route of converting to AVI (Lagarith Lossless) and editing there. Also happy to say that my homebrew 35mm DOF adapter works well with it (just required two adapters: 58mm -> 52mm and 52mm -> 37mm).

I do as others here have mentioned - simply copy the .mts files from the card after the camera is mounted as a drive in Windows.

This thread really helped me:

Mini Guide - AVCHD to Anything Using DGAVCdec - VideoHelp.com


I am a tad confused on how it is actually handling the "24p". Does it add pulldown on the fly, keeping it in 29.97? The files I get from the camera, although captured in 24p, and certainly good-looking in terms of cinematic aesthetic, show 29.97 fps.

Last edited by Frank Ladner; December 15th, 2008 at 02:19 PM.
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Old December 15th, 2008, 07:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Frank Ladner View Post
Just purchased a Canon VIXIA HF-100 from Amazon. I set it to 24p and Cinemode right out of the box, and really like the results.

I go the route of converting to AVI (Lagarith Lossless) and editing there. Also happy to say that my homebrew 35mm DOF adapter works well with it (just required two adapters: 58mm -> 52mm and 52mm -> 37mm).

I do as others here have mentioned - simply copy the .mts files from the card after the camera is mounted as a drive in Windows.

This thread really helped me:

Mini Guide - AVCHD to Anything Using DGAVCdec - VideoHelp.com


I am a tad confused on how it is actually handling the "24p". Does it add pulldown on the fly, keeping it in 29.97? The files I get from the camera, although captured in 24p, and certainly good-looking in terms of cinematic aesthetic, show 29.97 fps.
Thanks, I'll check out that thread.

I believe you said it right, the camera adds pulldown on the fly to package your 24p footage as 30p in a 60i container. Been reading up a bit on that the last few days and I'm pretty sure that's how it works. If you remove the pulldown you should end up with 24p, but I'm not sure if it'll still be in a 60i container (probably not), or if it'll become 48i or just pure 24p? I guess it depends on the tool you use.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:07 PM   #15
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I read through that miniguide on converting AVCHD to anything else, and I think its too complicated.
have you tried MEGUI? I was using MEGUI as a way to back up bluray m2ts files and converting them from 30 gigs to 8 gigs. But then I realized I could use them on the AVCHD files coming out of my Canon HF100. What I do is rename the mts files to m2ts after copying them from the SD card to my hard drive.
Then I use tsmuxer to split the AC3 from the m2ts file.
Then I use MEGUI and its built-in AviSynth script creator to set it up with deinterlacing options if needed. I tried this with 24p and 60i shots. It will analyze the fiile for you and automatically figure out what kind of deinterlacing it needs to do withether its reverse pulldown for 24, or just regular interlacing like for 60i.

The result, is a smaller m2ts file that is deinterlaced so it looks great when playing it back (i turn off deinterlace in coreavc) on a pc. If you don't deinterlace, then it looks like crap when playing it back on a pc, unless your decoder is set to deinterlace on the fly...which is not good if your PC isn't fast enough to do that.

By the way, i go from the 17mb/s m2ts file, to a 6 or 7 mb/s m2ts file using 2 pass encoding. I noticed that since bluray movies at 1080p look great at only 7mb/s, that my home movies should be fine too.

MEGUI is free...
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