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Canon VIXIA Series AVCHD and HDV Camcorders
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Old November 15th, 2010, 10:32 PM   #1
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Questions and help needed!!

Hello
Not your typical kid here, hope this doesnt get passed up because I am young. Need info and help. I have been trying to read up on all types of videography, tips and tricks etc.

Ive put together some equipment even though im still young, Ive saved every dime I can, made some bad purchases (like the fx7, no one wants me to shoot in tape format) Im trying to do the best i can to further my passion.

currently i have

sony fx7 (tape)
canon hf s20 (avchd)
nikon d300
toshiba laptop
(specs - pent dual t3400, 2.16 ghz, 3gb ram)

assorted lens, flash, couple of led external lights, external brackets, couple of tripods, misc etc.

i shot some footage for my first "real job" at a moto cross track on the canon. it looks good when i review it thru the video camera. i dont have editing software and was trying to decide on what to buy so i downloaded the vegas demo from the sony website.

here is my question.

- i downloaded my footage from the sd card to the laptop
- i opened the vegas trial
- when i drag footage into the timeline it loads fine

problem =

when i play the timeline the audio is fine, but the video is super stop and go. dont know what to call it, jerky?

what i think but i need a for sure answer =

- my laptop is underpowered to hand this kind of job, need to look at a desktop to do editing (suspect this will need to happen anyway)
- the trial version wont edit hd footage because it is just a trail version (saw this on this forum somewhere I think)
- i have messed up somehow setting up the canon or something got changed in the field at the shoot and its my fault

Thank you all very much for any and all help you can offer

Brian
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Old November 15th, 2010, 11:45 PM   #2
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oh and i will add.

i didnt even install the supplied canon editing software. i had read it was better to skip.

really want to post up some test footage to see what this looks like in various modes, get ideas for shooting in the future, etc.

Thank you.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 10:28 AM   #3
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You likely hit the nail on the head with the first possible answer - That Canon is tapeless/AVCHD, right? Very horsepower intensive compression format, and your laptop is probably just choking on it.

Check the DVi threads on working with AVCHD, you'll find you need a fairly current, preferably quad core machine to work with it effectively, and get smooth playback. You might find a current laptop will do just fine, but you'll want to check before you spend.

Have you tried shooting some test HDV footage with the FX7 and working with it? It will perhaps be a bit smoother and give you a little better idea of how Vegas works, as HDV is a little less horsepower intense.

Tapeless definitely shifted the tables around (I don't think you can even buy an tape based consumer cam anymore....?), and once you get a sufficiently beefy computer, you'll find it's workable, but it does take reasonably current hardware to play AVCHD well.
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Old November 16th, 2010, 01:32 PM   #4
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most of my friends are into gaming computers, going to take the footage to one of their houses when i get a copy of vegas. a couple have 3ghz and up processors, 6 to 8 gigs of ram, dual vid cards, etc. figure i will be able to see if thats a fix. im looking into building a computer over the winter when i wont be doing any shooting.

i emailed sony about the trial version of vegas editing hd footage and didnt hear anything back. guess i need to buy a copy of vegas to start with.

i have done some work with the fx7 dv footage but it was all at school. was great to work with cause the school had avid. now that im out i dont have access to computers with firewire and editing software. i jumped into buying the fx7 cause i was dumb i guess, wanted a really sweet setup but now its just sitting. friends that ride want hd footage so i bought the hf s20 - figured it would be easier to shoot and edit sd cards. guess not so much.

even though im a super noobie and ill never be good at this i want what i do to look the best. a couple of friends and i are talking about doing a mini documentry, doing the score, doing the post, having a showing. most people dont want to deal with a kid i guess. i start university next spring at unc for medicine. i wanted to go into journalism but my dad and step mom wont let me. they said there is no money in it. i really wanted to be a war journalist or work in racing. so much for that...

thank you
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Old November 16th, 2010, 06:21 PM   #5
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Hi, Brian....................

You may find your laptop actually can handle AVCHD fine, if extremely slowly.

That your audio is fine and it will actually play makes me think the Vegas demo you have is time limited and not HD crippled.

I suspect the problem is actually your graphics chip not being man enough for the job and choking on the data.

You may be able to edit fine as long as you don't want to play it from the timeline.

You really need to go haunt the Vegas forum to see what tips and tricks people have for getting the best out of their systems, you'll probably get chapter and verse on what is the best self build system as well.

Good luck with Med School.


CS
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Old November 16th, 2010, 11:49 PM   #6
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i found an avchd player (vlc media player) and it at least plays my clips. when i say play it just like the vegas demo, the audio syncs but the video is super laggy. the vegas demo wouldnt play more than 10 sec of video before it locked up. at least the vlc will play the whole clip so i can see how i did. end result = no editing but at least i know what i shot looks decent. so yeah its my laptop that isnt cutting it, just got it cause it was a cheap and could get me thru the last couple of years of school lol. not going to worry about investing in vegas or avid or any software at the moment since i wont start building my computer until after the xmas break.

already checked out some threads on computing power. im trying to school myself on that as well. looks like min of 2.5g on the processor, dual video cards a plus and at least 6 gigs of ram. priced out some decent parts tonite and im looking at 1200-1500 for a pretty good system. 4tb of hd's, 3ghz processor, 12 gigs of ram, dual 1gig video gards and lots of cooling. ive been reading the forum for weeks before i actually posted. trying to get as much info as i can lol. im an overkill kinda dude lol

and thanks. not looking forward to it really. my dad and the step witch think they know best. and i would so love to see NZ. i hear the snowboarding is wicked good. there is a how here called "Coast Watch" about the maritime and fisheries police. its crazy some of the stuff they do. had no idea what paua was until i saw that show. guess its a big thing there? lol.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 02:49 AM   #7
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Could be the hard drive, too. If you put your media on the same drive as used by the computer for startup, applications, etc., then it would definitely choke. The hard drive will be trying to do several things at once, and has to interrupt the data flow for other operating system tasks.

Try an external hard drive connected via Firewire or, best yet, SATA. And for best results, use a pair of drives set up as a striped RAID.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 02:07 PM   #8
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thanks. so should 1tb be enough for 3 hours of avchd shot in hd? want to have some room left over for test projects i want to do over the winter. i tried to look for a scale i guess you would call it? something that lists how much high def or standard def footage takes up how much hard drive space? something else my friend said was the hd speed could help? i checked my laptop and its a 250gb/5200rpm hard drive that is half full. so what speed hard drive should i look for? wonder if best buy is the best place for this or should i get something online from a computer dealer like tiger direct or new egg vs a computer, vaccum, tv, phone dealer like best buy? lol
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Old November 18th, 2010, 02:03 AM   #9
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Er, Brian.............

Check the Forums, there's everything you need to know here, you simply have to look.

Getting an expert in the subject you're now asking in the XL2 Forum is as likely as finding frogs on Mars.

You're talking about machine build, this is not the Forum for that.

CS
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 02:01 PM   #10
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AVCHD space requirements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Coulthard View Post
thanks. so should 1tb be enough for 3 hours of avchd shot in hd?
AVCHD takes about 15GB per hour of footage. That 1TB will fit over 600 hours of AVCHD in full HD (at 25Mbps).

As for the external drive, I would probably buy a cheap SATA USB2 enclosure and a cheap 1TB internal SATA drive and put the two together. Probably less expensive than buying a factory-made external drive. I got my own mostly from TigerDirect.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 12:42 AM   #11
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macbook pro yo!
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Old November 24th, 2010, 05:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Predrag Vasic View Post
AVCHD takes about 15GB per hour of footage. That 1TB will fit over 600 hours of AVCHD in full HD (at 25Mbps).

As for the external drive, I would probably buy a cheap SATA USB2 enclosure and a cheap 1TB internal SATA drive and put the two together. Probably less expensive than buying a factory-made external drive. I got my own mostly from TigerDirect.
1TB / 15Gb = 66, not 600! :-O 1TB will go pretty quick. Such is life with big fat video files.

As for a drive: If you intend to keep the footage around for any length of time and want your drive to double as a backup, a RAID 1 enclosure with two drives might be a better way to go.

Best,
Aaron
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Old November 25th, 2010, 01:52 AM   #13
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Configuring your system to natively edit AVCHD is a BAD IDEA, and an arms race you can't win. The reason your system chokes on AVCHD footage is because the video is so highly compressed that it takes enormous power to process the codec. I have an uberpowered brand new Mac Pro tower with the newest chipset, plenty of RAM, and a very nice graphics card, and while I can play AVCHD in Premiere (FCP simply hates it -- don't even try; using wrapper software is also a terrible, half-assed solution), even adding a simple crossfade transition between shots takes a long, long time to render out. My computer is not the problem -- AVCHD is itself the problem.

The best solution is to transcode AVCHD to a format that's friendly to your machine and software. I like H.264, because it's easy to process and work with, looks great, and my video is destined for the web so will need to be further compressed in any case. Transcoding takes very little time on my system, and I export from Premiere. Then I can use it in Final Cut or After Effects with ease, and it still looks fantastic. The Vixia cameras are sweet, and AVCHD gives you so much picture information that even when transcoding you won't lose too much quality (though I suggest always shooting progressive and never interlaced, so that you will have more image information to begin with).

Cheers, and have fun! I love my HF S20. I may buy two more!
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Old November 25th, 2010, 02:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Holmes View Post
1TB / 15Gb = 66, not 600! :-O 1TB will go pretty quick. Such is life with big fat video files.
serves me right when I respond at wee hours of the night, without double-checking... Hopefully, the correct answer still sounds good enough, since he was asking if he could squeeze 3 hours of video on that 1TB drive.
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