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Old June 6th, 2004, 12:33 PM   #1
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Successful HDV editing on a budget PC

I recently bought an HD1, and will be upgrading my PC hardware and software accordingly in the near future. However in the spirit of 'let's try it and see' I had a go yesterday at editing some HD footage on my rather underpowered home machine.

The PC in question has a single AMD Barton 2500+ running on an MSI6570Pro m'board, with 1Gig 333MHz dual channel RAM, two cheapo Maxtor 80GB 7200rpm IDE drives (no RAID, no SATA), and a $12 generic firewire PCI card. The NLE is Premiere Pro 1.0 with the Mainconcept MPEG Pro plugin installed.

So....here's how I got on:

1) Initially, I wasn't able to capture from the camera directly into PPro using the Mainconcept MPEG capture option - the application would freeze. However once I turned off the 'display on screen during capture' option, capture worked 95% fine. I say 95% because during 15 min of captures I had two minor glitches in the captured footage. Doh!

2) So ... I then tried capturing with the little CAPDVHS.EXE freeware app that's available on the web (Google for it) and that was 100% successful. So my workflow became: capture raw footage with CAPDVHS, then import the .ts files into a PremierePRO project.

3) Editing in PPRO was uneventful. It is not possible to smoothly scrub along the timeline - there's a lag while the footage catches up to the cursor - but once you find your edit points all the normal PPro functions (fades, filters, etc work fine). And the smart rendering only re-renders the parts of the footage that have been changed. Quality of the re-rendered transport stream was fine.

4) Exporting the project back to the camera using the Mainconcept "Export to file and then to deck" option worked great the first time I tried it, but on subsequent attempts I experienced occasional glitches. So I tried exporting the project to a .ts file on disk, closing Premiere, and then sending the .ts file back to the camera using WRTDVHS.exe (a companion freeware app to CAPDVHS...). That worked 100%!

5) I was particularly interested in authoring some DVDs from the HD1's footage, to see if the extra resolution in the raw HD footage provides better 480p MPEG2 files that I've been able to achieve from my 480i DV cameras.

The easiest way to encode the footage is directly from the timeline using the DVD templates provided by the Mainconcept plugin. The resulting MPEG2 was 'reasonably OK', but not as good as I had been hoping for.

6) So....I decided to try exporting to a .ts file on disk, and then opening that file with the Avisynth2.5 frameserver (which would allow me to encode the footage with other standalone encoders).

As I discovered, there is indeed a way to open a transport stream in Avisynth2.5, using the MPEG2DEC3.dll plugin. The first step is to open the .ts file with a modified version of DVD2AVI called DVD2AVI-TS (available at http://pbx.mine.nu/dvd2avi/). Save the project as a D2V file and then use the MPEG2Source="file.dvs" command within your AVS script to access the video stream.

One snag I encountered was that DVD2AVI-TS would open the raw .ts streams captured by CAPDVHS, but for some reason would not open the edited ts streams exported by PPro. This was easily fixed however by doing a quick remux (CapDVHS.exe provides a remux option) of the .ts file.

7) Once I had the .ts file successfully open in my avisynth script, I tweaked the gamma up a notch with the 'levels' command and applied mild spatio-temporal smoothing using the Fluxsmooth plugin (set on it's default values). To encode the file, I opened the AVS script in Procoder and encoded it using the default 'high quality NTSC DVD' template, with aspect ratio set to 16:9.

The end result was great! - much-reduced luma and chroma noise and a good improvement overall on what I achieved at step 5. And most importantly - definitely a step up from what I've ever been able to achieve from DV footage using similar smoothing and tweaking. So I'm happy.

The bottom line? 1) a Barton 2500+ machine seems to be borderline for successful import/export with the Mainconcept plugin in Premiere, but is OK for import/export with more basic freeware tools. Editing with this machine and PPro1.0 is reliable but rather tedious (I will definitely be investigating AspectHD in the near future). And with a bit of post-processing, HD1 .ts files can be directly encoded - via Avisynth - to produce very very nice 16:9 480p DVD footage.

Overall, much better progress than I was anticipating 24 hours ago! I hope this blathering will be of some help to others who are just starting out.
Graham Hickling is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 8th, 2004, 10:42 PM   #2
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One other thing - following a tip from Tom Roper in another thread I've found that TMPGEnc Xpress will directly load the transport streams I've exported out of Premiere. Xpress encodes to Windows Media 9 as well as mpg, which will be useful now that MPEG4 standalone players are becoming available.

As well as being much cheaper than Procoder, XPress has the advantage of allowing for input of separate video and audio files, so that you could for example pull in a multichannel audio stream alongaside the video from your m2t file, and export as a multichannel wmv.
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Old June 9th, 2004, 12:07 AM   #3
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<<<-- Originally posted by Graham Hickling : Xpress encodes to Windows Media 9 as well as mpg, which will be useful now that MPEG4 standalone players are becoming available. -->>>

WHAT mpeg4 standalone players...(pounding on table)?
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