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Old September 3rd, 2009, 09:42 PM   #1
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Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 - Native Lossless Editing of ACHVD ?

Please excuse my ignorance of video terminology (as well as other things video) as I ask the following question(s):

Reading various posts in several forums has led me to believe that Pinnacle Studio 11/12 and Cyberlink Power Director 7 Ultra are the only 2 programs (or, only 2 reasonably low priced programs) capable of editing AVCHD files “natively” in a “lossless” fashion [maybe this is dated information].

I suppose this means that with either of these programs, I could import AVCHD files (.mts) from the SD card from my Canon HF200, place them on the video timeline, trim out scenes that I do not want, then resave the files in the same AVCHD (.mts) format without any losses. Am I right? If so, I should be able to place the edited files back onto the SD card then back into the camcorder and view them on the camera’s LCD screen. My initial intent is to do a simple edit of my AVCHD files on the SD card to eliminate unwanted footage in order to permanently store the remaining video back onto the card as my archive (store only footage I desire to keep), and do this in a lossless fashion. In the future I will use this pared down video for further editing and processing. Am I correct that this can be done?

In a previous life, I have sparingly used Pinnacle Studio 7,8,9 and 10. I was always impressed by its simplicity …. easy to use w/no instruction. However, it appeared to be a bit buggy. Now, years later, I am currently interested in possibly replacing my old Pinnacle software w/Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9, but I don’t know if it will edit AVCHD files natively as I described above. Sony (and others) claim that Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 will edit “Sony AVCHD” …. whatever that means! Does this mean that it will only edit “SONY” AVCHD? (I find this hard to believe). What is special about “SONY” AVCHD? Does this mean Vegas Platinum can’t edit Canon ACHVD (.mts) files? Can it edit Canon HF200 created .mts files “natively” in a “lossless fashion?

In addition, can Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 edit 24p and/or 30p clips created on the HF200?
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Old September 4th, 2009, 02:40 AM   #2
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Editing AVCHD and lossless in one sentence is an oxymoron. Editing material that is compressed with a GOP structure in itself will by definition suffer quality loss on export.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 06:49 AM   #3
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“Editing AVCHD and lossless in one sentence is an oxymoron. Editing material that is compressed with a GOP structure in itself will by definition suffer quality loss on export.”

I understand your response. Thanks for the education! However, this begs the following questions: (1) Does editing AVCHD “natively” as discussed in my original post (editing = only simple deletion of unwanted segments – no transitions) produce better quality output than transcoding to edit then saving back to AVCHD? (2) Can Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 “natively” edit & save AVCHD in that same manner (natively), and, if so, does it accomplish this function on par (same quality or better) with Pinnacle 11/12 or Cyberlink Power Director 7 Ultra?
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Old September 4th, 2009, 07:04 AM   #4
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1. That begs the question why do you want to export back to AVCHD? What is your delivery medium? SD cards? Why not export to BR?

2. I'm not qualified to answer that. Sorry, but I just don't know.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 08:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Plack View Post
... Does editing AVCHD “natively” ... (editing = only simple deletion of unwanted segments – no transitions) produce better quality output than transcoding to edit then saving back to AVCHD?
1. Yes Vegas Movie Studio can edit AVCHD natively, and for simple edits on a fast computer VMS will be acceptable. Minimize filters, tracks and special f/x to get decent performance. IMHO, I'd pick Vegas over Pinnacle or Power Director anyday.

2. Generally using your native format will produce better quality output. But ... you might transcode for the following reasons:
  • better playback performance on the timeline
  • faster encoding when outputting video
  • better quality output when color correcting and applying certain special f/x
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Old September 4th, 2009, 11:58 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Harm Millaard View Post
1. That begs the question why do you want to export back to AVCHD? What is your delivery medium? SD cards? Why not export to BR?
I thought I explained in the original post. Perhaps I did not make myself clear, or, I had written the explanation from a novice’s point of view; a vision that maybe doesn’t make sense to one that understands the current world of video manipulation and distribution methods.

I am not concerned with a delivery medium AT THIS TIME; only with archival storage in the highest quality. I have assumed (maybe wrongly) that leaving data in AVCHD would meet that criteria. I intended to leave/store the archival AVCHD footage on the SD card itself, albeit w/removal of undesirable/unwanted footage to save space; hence my desire to remove that unwanted footage in a manner that would result in the least loss and still be playable thru the camera (for use when visiting friends/family w/o computer or blue ray). I will only edit/render/burn projects from this archived data at a later date; maybe years from now, as I will first edit & burn the 1TB of family movies I recently converted from Beta, 8mm and DV tape.

Maybe it is best to archive in some other manner? If so, my knowledge ends here. If I were to transcode the data to another format now (w/little knowledge), I wouldn’t be able to play that footage back thru the camera, and, maybe I’d pick the wrong format/codec and discover that at a later date. I’m sure I’ll eventually read and understand what to do and why it is done. My main concern at the moment is obtaining the right software solution, as the Sony Vegas product is available at a great discount over the next few days. I simply wanted to ensure that it would do what I need it to do (native editing with very little loss) as good or better than Pinnacle, which I was assured would edit AVCHD natively.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 12:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski View Post
1. Yes Vegas Movie Studio can edit AVCHD natively ....
Ahh …. Now that’s what I am looking for! Thank you!

Can I be so bold as to ask you (from my original post):
Nearly all of Sony’s advertising states that Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 (and I quote) “will edit Sony AVCHD” …. whatever THAT means. Does this mean that it will only edit “SONY” AVCHD? (I find this hard to believe). Is there something different or special about “SONY” AVCHD vs that produced on other brands? (I assume not, it wouldn't make sense, but want to be sure) Does this mean Vegas Platinum can’t edit Canon HF200 ACHVD (.mts) files? Will it handle clips done in Canon HF200 24/30p? (embedded in 60i stream so I hear, tho I currently do not understand this yet).

Note: Everywhere I turn it looks like Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 will outperform Pinnacle (tho learning cure might be greater), and you have confirmed this ….. I simply wanted to be assured about the native editing thing …. As I had heard that only Pinnacle and PD7 accomplished that, which, like I said, might have been dated information.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 01:18 AM   #8
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Wayne, it's best if you install the free Vegas Trial and drag some of your MTS files onto the Vegas timeline, then you'll know for sure if it works for you.
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Old September 5th, 2009, 01:57 AM   #9
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All the modern programs I've tried edit AVCHD natively but if you want to put files back to the camera you might find very few Pixela will recognize, they have to be rebuilt into MTS files that the Canon can play, you can just use your camera as a storage device but unless Pixela will recognize the files you have no hope of playing them from your camera, if it works the same as the Canon HF10 that I use,

I did have some limited success with Pinnacle Ultimate something or other, think it might have been 12, but found it to prone to crash to be of any use to me, I use Corel ProX2 and it handles the Canon MTS files very well, but you do need a fast computer, unless you do like I do and use proxy editing, this uses a low resolution file to edit but links back to the MTS files to do the final render, in the case of Corel they call them Smart Proxies because they work in the back ground, with now further input, apart from initially setting the proxy resolution.

Cheers Bryan
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Old September 6th, 2009, 08:47 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Michael Wisniewski View Post
Wayne, it's best if you install the free Vegas Trial and drag some of your MTS files onto the Vegas timeline, then you'll know for sure if it works for you.
Thanks! Didn't realize there was a free trial. It's not even crippled in any way from what I can tell. I can see why I cannot get anybody to answer my questions directly .... from what little I have looked at so far, it is much more complex than I had imagined .... and it does not appear to be able to save back to the same format Canon .mts. I can see that I will not be able to understand its capabilities (related to the questions I asked) in a short time (it might take me years!) so I bought Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 9 ProPack for $60 just now ..... couldn't pass up the rebate/price. However, it irritates me that I will never really know if Pinnacle is any different in respect to its being able to save in the same format that came off the camera. Looks like it would take me 6 months to research and I don't have time for that (that's why I asked the question here). I was afraid I was not knowlegeable enough to even ask the question .... and I've come to the conclusion that my fear has been realized! I can see my own ignorance on the subject, which is frustrating. Thanks again. You've been more of a help than you know.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 09:17 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Bryan Sellars View Post
.... if you want to put files back to the camera you might find very few Pixela will recognize, they have to be rebuilt into MTS files that the Canon can play ..... unless Pixela will recognize the files you have no hope of playing them from your camera ... I did have some limited success with Pinnacle .... prone to crash. ... need a fast computer
After getting the Vegas trial that was mentioned by the poster above, I can see why you mention the problems I am likely to have. I brought in some test files from my camera, and, without even editing them I tried to find a method to save them in their existing format and could find NONE. Vegas estimated a file size that was significantly altered for every available output format (if I've looked at the output methods correctly). I also noticed that I can rename the Canon .mts files to the Sony .m2ts designation and still have it play in VLB. Not sure what that means yet. Still wish I could understand why some mention that Pinnacle and PD7 were the only two programs that could edit the Canon .mts files natively .... I assumed this meant that they could be SAVED in the same format. It appears I will never know the answer to that one (Pinnacle does not offer trial software). However, it might be a moot point anyway, because even if Pinnacle DID accomplish what I had envisioned, I'm still not sure I would buy the program (I'm not sure the feature would be worth it) when I consider the bugginess I had run into a few years ago, your comments about its being crash prone, and the many similar comments I have found from others as I peruse the web.

Thanks for the reply!
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Old September 6th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #12
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In Vegas you can output your video to an AVC/H.264 file using the following encoders:
- MainConcept AVC/AAC
- or the Sony AVC encoder

You'll find these options under File | Render As ... After you render your video, you'll end up with a file that can be played by most software that supports AVC/H.264. But you'll have to run tests on the software and camcorder you are trying to use to see if it works for you.

The good news is DVINFO has great Vegas forum.

Note:
AVC/H.264 is a highly compressed lossy format. It's preferred as a light weight format for playback. But everytime you output using an AVC/H.264 encoder, more information is thrown out. You're proposed workflow of editing in an NLE then storing the output onto a card will put the video through one generation of compression.

For high quality backups the following formats are commonly preferred: AVI, MOV, Cineform, DNxHD, ProRes, MXF. But as you noticed the trade-off is a significantly larger file size.
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Old September 6th, 2009, 11:42 AM   #13
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[QUOTE=Wayne Plack;1319035]After getting the Vegas trial that was mentioned by the poster above, I can see why you mention the problems I am likely to have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Plack View Post
I brought in some test files from my camera, and, without even editing them I tried to find a method to save them in their existing format and could find NONE.
That's because none exist. Camera manufacturers use proprietary hardware to encode their files onto the cards. You cannot do this in commercially purchased software.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Plack View Post
Vegas estimated a file size that was significantly altered for every available output format (if I've looked at the output methods correctly). I also noticed that I can rename the Canon .mts files to the Sony .m2ts designation and still have it play in VLB. Not sure what that means yet.
Vegas has the means to create small, highly compressed files, but the more it compresses it, the more data it has to throw away. Changing the name of the files, doesn't change what is inside them. The native files are in a proprietary format.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Plack View Post
Still wish I could understand why some mention that Pinnacle and PD7 were the only two programs that could edit the Canon .mts files natively .... I assumed this meant that they could be SAVED in the same format.
They mention this because they are mistaken. Simple as that. However your assumption was incorrect. To a person versed in video editing, saying that a program can edit something natively means that you do not have to do a conversion on the video files in order to place them on the timeline of the chosen software. In this case, you can take your camera files and place them in the editing program with no further steps. This used to be customary and common for many types of video. It has NOTHING to do with how the files will be output.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Plack View Post
It appears I will never know the answer to that one (Pinnacle does not offer trial software).
Sure you will. Pinnacle cannot do what you envision. Nothing commercially available will. At $100 or $10k. Now you can rest easy.

By way of analogy, think of your complete video like a 100 story building. What you are asking is akin to removing the 12th floor, the 30th floor, half of the 74th floor, most of the 89th floor, and asking that the building operate as though unaltered. You cannot chip away at the structure of the video files (by removing unwanted parts) and have it simply carry on as before. Each frame of video in AVCHD is dependent on the frames next to it, just as each floor of a building is dependent on the floors adjacent to it. Neither will operate correctly unless measure are taken to ensure correct operation. In video, this means re-rendering the video.

When you re-render the video, you can save it again as AVCHD which will introduce further significant color and resolution loss, or you can save in a format that either eliminates further loss, or one that minimizes it. Both of those options will cause a large increase in file size. Avid's DNxHD 36 is a nice choice, but somewhat problematic in Vegas. Jpeg2000 (I believe you have this in your Vegas program already) is also a good solutiuon but again has some issues specific to use in Vegas.

NONE of these formats will be able to be played by your camera. You will need to seek out a different way of playing them back. There are some EXCELLENT solutions for that.

Sorry that your introduction to video has been this difficult, but once you have a firm grasp of some basic concepts, you'll learn to work around the issues.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 12:54 AM   #14
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So please, yes or no, can you edit Canon AVCHD in Sony Vegas?
Thanks.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 01:18 AM   #15
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This is not a yes or no question.

I can take the SDHC card from a Canon HF-S10 and drop the file directly onto my timeline in Vegas Pro and edit it.

I can take the compact flash card from a Canon 5D and drop the files into Vegas Pro and edit it.

These two cameras write different flavors of AVCHD. The HF-S10 writes AVCHD in the consumer standard of about 17Mbps. The 5D at 40Mbps.

I cannot SAVE the edited video in such a way that it will play back on the camera it came from. There are very few cameras and NLEs that allow this.

So your question very much depends on which version of Vegas you're talking about, which version of the Canon AVCHD you're talking about, and also what you mean by "editing".
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