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Old August 29th, 2012, 09:22 AM   #1
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Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

This has proven to be a deceptively tricky question that no one outside of this forum has been able to answer yet. I would greatly appreciate any help on this. This is a twofold question:

1) The Video from the Canon Vixia M50 hooked directly to an HDTV via HDMI looks amazing... exactly like Blu-Ray quality. How can I preserve this same quality once it's off the camera and be able to play it back? Ideally, I'm looking for a playback solution on a Mac via the built in HDMI, but if Blu-Ray is the only way (which I doubt), then I'm willing to go that route.

2) How can I edit the MTS files without converting them to another format? Is Adobe Premier C6 the best way? If so, what steps should I follow to create the project, import and export MTS files?

Background Info on this question:

The reason I ask is simple. I simply want to be able to view and edit the amazing video this camera takes, preserving 100% of the quality and play it back off camera. Who would of known this would prove to be so difficult without even Canon being able to help...

I originally thought that if I imported the footage into FCPX using the best 1080p settings, the footage would look the same. I was wrong... the colors are more saturated and the sharpness doesn't look as crisp as played directly through the camera.

Then I tried simply re-wrapping the MTS file as a MOV file using ClipWrap. No conversion... just a file type change. When I played this through my MacMini's HDMI on my HDTV, the same thing happened... that "Blu-Ray" sharpness and color was gone!

So logically, I'm assuming that A) the problem is either the Mac's video card and HDMI port isn't capable of producing the same quality as the Canon's HDMI... or B) once you change the file type from MTS to Anything else, the video will look different... perhaps due to a codec or something.

So if anyone could help me resolve this, I would be INCREDIBLY grateful! Thank you!
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Old August 30th, 2012, 07:58 AM   #2
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Many NLEs can edit native AVCHD files, some much better than others. I use Grass Valley's Edius 6.07 (recently replaced by version 6.5) and like it. It works well on my system. Edius Neo software also works well with AVCHD files at a lower price point.

You may want to use a different format to save the edited files to reduce the quality loss associated with recoding to a lossy format such as AVCHD.

To preserve the camera original AVCHD file you probably need to take it directly to BluRay Disk, or take the file to a hard drive in a computer that has decent play software and HDMI output. Even then it will be subject to varitions in the quality of the play back system, including the BluRay player.

You alrady hve noted this - often computer graphics cards and monitors (including graphics card with HDMI outputs) are oriented to computer uses and computer color space, not to typical television color space. This results in a different look that you may find to be unsatisfactory.

Some people have problems dealing with this in the Mac world, probably related to their workflows rather than an available technology issue.
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 10:49 AM   #3
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Thanks for your response Don.

In my case, I'm dealing with the Mac world, so as you mentioned, I need to find the best NLE and playback solution.

- Is the built-in HDMI out on a Mac-Mini Server capable of looking like a BluRay? I have to imagine it can... but I don't know for sure. Does anyone here have experience with that?

- For software playback...Lots of people talk about VLC. I tried it but can't notice a difference. I really think my initial problem is preserving the file type. It looks amazing coming from the camera... so if I keep that file type without any conversion along the way, isn't it logical to assume the quality shouldn't change?

The true test would be to edit something on the computer, put it back on the SD card and play it back through the camera.... then I would know if it's a Mac issue or a fie conversion issue. I wonder if the Canon Vixia would allow you to do that?
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 10:35 PM   #4
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Salta View Post
...Ideally, I'm looking for a playback solution on a Mac via the built in HDMI, but if Blu-Ray is the only way (which I doubt), then I'm willing to go that route.

2) How can I edit the MTS files without converting them to another format? Is Adobe Premier C6 the best way? If so, what steps should I follow to create the project, import and export MTS files?

Background Info on this question:

The reason I ask is simple. I simply want to be able to view and edit the amazing video this camera takes, preserving 100% of the quality and play it back off camera.
I can't speak for macs but the ideal way, imo, is to edit native. Premiere Pro lets you do that.

1. Import and edit native - no transcoding whatsover
2. Once you've locked the edit
a. Export Premiere Pro project to AE for finishing or
b. Finish in Premiere Pro and export using AME
3. Create TIFF sequence master
4. Create web/blu-ray or whatever delivery format you want from this master. If exporting to blu-ray, you can use Adobe Encore.

I have a question though: FCP doesn't really change the footage when importing, unless you are transcoding. It just rewraps to MOV. How are you viewing this footage?
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Old September 4th, 2012, 09:37 AM   #5
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sareesh Sudhakaran View Post
I can't speak for macs but the ideal way, imo, is to edit native. Premiere Pro lets you do that.

1. Import and edit native - no transcoding whatsover
2. Once you've locked the edit
a. Export Premiere Pro project to AE for finishing or
b. Finish in Premiere Pro and export using AME
3. Create TIFF sequence master
4. Create web/blu-ray or whatever delivery format you want from this master. If exporting to blu-ray, you can use Adobe Encore.

I have a question though: FCP doesn't really change the footage when importing, unless you are transcoding. It just rewraps to MOV. How are you viewing this footage?
Thanks for your response Sareesh.

I was viewing the footage through the HDMI out on my MacMini Server connected directly to my HDTV (the same input that I connected the Canon Vixia to to compare)

You are correct about re-wrapping. Even re-wrapping the original MTS files off the SD card using ClipWrap still has a negative effect on the look of the footage. I tried playing back with both QuickTime Player and VLC... neither looked as good as the footage directly from the camera.

My goal is simple... and in two parts. Firstly, I'm simply looking for a way to playback the files off the camera and have it look as good as it does playing back directly from the camera. Once I accomplish that, then I will know that if I edit the footage and preserver the same format, it will look just as good.

But so far, no one has been able to figure out how to accomplish this.
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Old September 4th, 2012, 09:58 AM   #6
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

My camera is a Sony and I am PC based so answer may not be exactly for you with Mac and Canon. Some cameras HDMI output will change the 60i file to a 60P file. Not sure if the Canon does this. Second the native files just copied to a Bluray disc will playback fine on something like a PS3 without any authoring. In my case the quality is identical to playback from my cameras. These native files can also be authored in DVDArchitect 5.2 and I think Encore.
Simple way forward if there is not much editing is to first backup the original files. Then edit in camera using divide and delete to get to the files that you want.
If you need to do further editing there will be no choice but to re encode. I too use Edius 6.07 on the PC edit native and see no variation on export/re-encode making a Bluray disc. Files can of course be played from a player like the Media Players Overview

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Old September 5th, 2012, 09:32 AM   #7
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Thanks Ron. The PS3 BlueRay approach sounds promising. However, it's my understanding that you CAN edit in Adobe Premier C6 natively without any trans-coding or conversion.

Does anyone know if MTS files copied back to the Camera will actually play from the camera? Or will that mess up and corrupt the file directory?
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Old September 5th, 2012, 09:47 AM   #8
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Yes I also have CS6 and you can edit native as do Edius and Vegas. But if you alter the files on the timeline by cutting or applying a filter or transition, the whole timeline will be render for output. You can then choose what codec to use for that render. Either MPEG2HD or h264 AVC. h264 takes a long time on most computers unless there is hardware acceleration. MPEG2HD is a lot quicker and if the timeline is short so that the data rate can be high I can see little difference on playback from a BLuray disc. With the Intel Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge PC's there is the option, at least in Edius, of hardware accelerated encoding which will encode to h264 file in about half the realtime of the timeline. Again I see little difference from the original.

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Old September 5th, 2012, 10:00 AM   #9
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

OK, thanks Ron. So I need to Babystep this and see where the quality goes awry.

Ideally, I'm looking for a computer based playback solution that looks as good as it does off the camera. but so far, I can't find a way to play it off the Mac and have it look like the camera.

I will first try to Burn directly to BluRay from the camera (need to find the right burner compatible with both the camera and Mac... any suggestions?)

If THAT works, then I will try to import to CS6 with no editing and burn to BluRay.

If THAT works, then I will try to edit without transitions... and if successful, WITH transitions.

If I can preserve the quality up to this point, then I can start looking for other export and playback options.

Your thoughts?
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Old September 5th, 2012, 10:37 AM   #10
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Can't help you with the MAC as my knowledge is all Windows PC based.

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Old September 5th, 2012, 10:39 AM   #11
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Thanks for your help ron.

Any Mac Gurus out there?
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Old September 5th, 2012, 01:30 PM   #12
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Tom, actually you should post in the mac forum.and you will get the specific help you need. Your question is more related to post production, methinks.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 12:12 PM   #13
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Agreed. I just don't see a sub-category that applies. (This isn't a FCP issue) Can I create one?
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Old September 9th, 2012, 12:30 PM   #14
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Sorry, my mistake. You edit in PP, that's where you should post your question I think since they'll have details on how to use PP to do what you want. I know I would take this to the Vegas forum for example since I edit in Vegas. Just a thought.
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Old September 9th, 2012, 09:52 PM   #15
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Re: Please Help - Preserving AVCHD quality off camera

Hi Jeff,

Actually, my first question only deals with the camera. What's the best way to get the SD card's contents on a Blu-Ray. (my first goal is to confirm that the quality of the unaltered clips looks as good from Blu-Ray as it does off the camera... then we'll get into which editor can edit native and preserve the same quality.. which I believe is Premier C6 on Mac)

I just bought a Samsung external Blu-Ray burn but it seems that I have to use my Mac to do the burning. The documentation on the M-50 and the Blu-Ray player stinks. How do I actually decide what is going on the Blu-Ray without going through an editor. Do I use something like Toast 11 to manage this?
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