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Old January 16th, 2013, 01:10 PM   #1
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Easiest HD format for editing?

Kind of a spinoff question from a post yesterday, which HD file formats are generally the easiest to edit with, as in less resource-needy?

I have been ingesting SD video as AVI for years and am comfortable with my workflow. I just shot some HD with a small AVCHD camcorder and it was quite slow editing my timeline. My PC is a newer laptop, 2.4ghz, Windows 7 64bit and 8 gigs of ram. I then tried shooting some footage with my Canon Rebel EOS digital camera which saved as MOV files, and they were just as quick and easy as when I was working with AVI. We just ordered a Canon Vixia HF R300 which can capture to AVCHD or MP4 and am hoping the MP4 will be also easy to manipulate.

After this experiment, I will eventually need 2 full size/full featured HD cams for weddings.

Thanks all.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 02:34 PM   #2
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Re: Easiest HD format for editing?

Whether you have a video card will play a large part in how well your newer computer can handle things, and, to a lesser extent, your chipset (Intel i5 or i7, for example) which allows parallel computing.

I use Sony Vegas and the Canon .mov HD files and don't have very much trouble at all, even layering material from three cameras, and I've only got an AMD triple-core 2Ghz, with 6G RAM and NO video processor.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 02:58 PM   #3
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Re: Easiest HD format for editing?

In very general terms interfame types of compression such as MPEG2 (HDV, XDCamEX, XDCamHD) is very mature and can be edited with your average computer solution. Others such as H.264/AVCHD are less edit friendly and require a great deal of computer processing horsepower to handle.

Intraframe compression such as DNxHD, ProRes, or DVCProHD will require much less processor power but will require more IO bandwidth. This is a balancing act. Something in the 100mb/sec range can give very good visual quality while keeping IO demands modest enough for most drives to handle a few streams of content.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 03:13 PM   #4
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Re: Easiest HD format for editing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
We just ordered a Canon Vixia HF R300 which can capture to AVCHD or MP4 and am hoping the MP4 will be also easy to manipulate.
MOV files generated by the EOS Rebel contain H264 encoded video which should edit with exactly the same speed as AVCHD or MP4. If editing is slow when working directly with the files the camera produces, then convert the files to a different intermediate format before editing. Common intermediate formats are DNxHD, ProRes, MJPEG and Cineform. The conversion may take a few hours, but then editing is smooth and easy.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 06:09 PM   #5
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Re: Easiest HD format for editing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
Kind of a spinoff question from a post yesterday, which HD file formats are generally the easiest to edit with, as in less resource-needy?
Simplest will be an intra frame only DCT based codec, which effectively means I-frame only MPEG2, or DVCProHD.

Going to interframe or to more complex frame encoding (AVC/H264) will both up the workload, and until recently I'd believed either technique had pretty much the same effect. In fact, that's not true. Staying with MPEG2 and going interframe (HDV or XDCAM) needs far less work than staying I-frame only and using H264 (such as AVC-Intra, XAVC etc). And hardly surprisingly, interframe AND H264 requires the most resources. That's why many computers will struggle with native AVC-HD.

As reference, look at this chart which I linked to before and scroll down to Figure 5 which compares various codecs - it's pretty obvious that XDCAM needs less resources than all the other AVC based codecs, even though they are all intraframe. The chart is from Sony, and whilst I tend to take manufacturers claims fairly sceptically generally, then since this is for their XAVC presentation I'm inclined to believe it.

They did make the point that whilst they see XAVC as having advantages in some respects, it's not seen as a replacement for XDCAM for the foreseeable future, and that's largely due to interframe MPEG2 being relatively easy to edit with compared to any AVC based codec. (Even one of theirs! :-) )
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Old January 17th, 2013, 10:58 PM   #6
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Re: Easiest HD format for editing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Darryn Carroll View Post
I just shot some HD with a small AVCHD camcorder and it was quite slow editing my timeline. My PC is a newer laptop, 2.4ghz, Windows 7 64bit and 8 gigs of ram. I then tried shooting some footage with my Canon Rebel EOS digital camera which saved as MOV files, and they were just as quick and easy as when I was working with AVI.
Get a PC with an i7 processor and a GTX card, and edit in Premiere Pro CS6 - you don't have to transcode anything. Just drop your AVCHD/H.264 into your timeline and edit and export.

Laptops have many bottlenecks, avoid them for heavy editing and rendering.
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