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Old November 19th, 2009, 01:03 AM   #1
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AVCHD Workflow

I have a new Canon HF20 for shooting videos of the kids and playing back on a 52" HDTV. Produced videos are 3-10 minutes. I'm trying to put together a workflow that maximizes quality and ease. Can the experts help?

My starting point: My PC seems
AMD Phenom triple core 2.1Ghz, 3GB RAM
Window Vista Home Premium 32bit
ATI HD3600 graphics (1GB)

Camera Settings: I'm shooting in MXP 24MBS. The quality seems a bit better than other modes and storage is not a big issue for me. Does the higher bit rate require more processing while editing?

File Download (Pixela), this seems to be the only thing Pixela does OK

NLE: Power Director8 - this is a problem. Power Director8 isn't stable on my machine. I also tried Premiere Elements and it was too slow. Can you recommend other NLEs? Especially products I can try a free download. My PC is a bit under powered, so effiient products that are stable are my priority.

Output and Playback: I am debating between Blu Ray and WD TV HD Media Player. First, I don't have a Blu Ray burner, but my understanding is that I can burn DVDs with H.264 and palyback on Blu Ray. Is this true?

The WD TV HD Media Player supports "H.264 MP@L4.1 and HP@4.1 up to 1920x1080p24, 1920x1080i30, or 1280x720p60 resolution." It sounds like an interesting alternative and would speed production without having to burn a disk. Any recommendations for this product?
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Old November 23rd, 2009, 12:09 PM   #2
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I recommend Edius for editing and the WD player for playback.

Edius is available as a free tryout for a month, it's incredibly stable and in case your machine is not powerful enough to handle your video natively, you can transcode to Canopus HQ and edit away. And in case the full version scares you, go for Edius Neo.

You're not the only one skipping over BR - I made the same decision, and I love my WD player.

Good luck,
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Old November 24th, 2009, 07:52 AM   #3
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I'm shooting in MXP 24MBS. The quality seems a bit better than other modes and storage is not a big issue for me. Does the higher bit rate require more processing while editing?
No. At least not that you'll notice.

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I also tried Premiere Elements and it was too slow... ...My PC is a bit under powered, so effiient products that are stable are my priority.
Editing AVCHD requires an amazing amount of processing power so you may not be happy with any software on your current machine.

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...my understanding is that I can burn DVDs with H.264 and palyback on Blu Ray. Is this true?
Yes, but you have to limit the data rate. I tried this a couple of times without complete success. My Samsung player apparently cannot read a DVD fast enough so the picture stutters badly. I cannot remember exactly, but I think I limited the data rate to 15Mb/s.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 09:34 AM   #4
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I recommend Edius for editing and the WD player for playback.

Edius is available as a free tryout for a month, it's incredibly stable and in case your machine is not powerful enough to handle your video natively, you can transcode to
Why do you recommend Edius specifically? Other programs (Vegas, Avid, Premiere) offer free trials also. I'd say the stability of Vegas and Avid are very good also. And clearly, if one is going to transcode, any NLE will work as you are no longer editing AVCHD files.

Just curious what you feel the major advantages of Edius are over its more well known, and popular competitors in the AVCHD workflow.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 11:39 AM   #5
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Why Edius?

I felt like the OP needs a solution for simple and quick editing without complex corrections or special effects - and Edius fits that bill. It's fast - the only NLE with a true realtime performance, no need for rendering except with very complex filters, and it's inexpensive. It has a small footprint on your PC, and it supports all of the video formats in use today, both acquisition and delivery formats (Neo supports most formats, including AVCHD).

I didn't say it's better than the others! They all have strengths and weaknesses. I tested all of them from FCP through Adobe, to Vegas and Avid - then went back to Edius knowing it does everything I need, and from the description, will do everything the OP needs, and a ton more.

Both Neo and v5 should edit AVCHD on the OP'c PC without any transcoding.

Please prove me wrong if any other NLE offers all of the above for only $150 (Neo).

Peronne, I hope that answers your question.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 12:06 PM   #6
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Ervin,

Really, I was just curious. I was reading something in the latest HDVideoPro magazine that compared all the NLE's and they had mentioned that some news agencies had gotten Edius for their field work on the laptops, so apparently it's quick and good with quick cuts. However, the article didn't mention AVCHD specifically.

I also noted that "The Videoguys" have started carrying Edius too (I bought my first Vegas from there years ago) so it seems that business for Edius is picking up.

Does Edius have anything that specifically speeds up AVCHD workflow? Can it leverage a GPU for instance? Apparently, I am going to be doing more work with 5D footage so that could be quite useful. After attending the Sony Expo and learning that there is nothing forthcoming to assist in that area, I am even more interested in jumping to something to make my workflow easier.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #7
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As far as GPU acceleration, Grass Valley considers it's not necessary, so it has very limited usage as far as I know.

For speeding up AVCHD they launched an add-on for Neo 2 just a few days ago, it's called Booster, and it is supposed to handle 3-4 streams of AVCHD in realtime. Speculation is that it will get thorough testing on the entry level Neo, then they will make it also available for the full version.

If they do that, I think Edius will gain even more popularity... too bad GV does little to advertise it.

[I just Googled around, GV claims that an Intel i7-based PC can handle 3+ streams of "full" 1920x1080 with smooth timeline scrubbing and full quality preview using the HDSpark HDMI out board. Edius Neo 2 costs $230 and runs on XP/Vista/W7].

Google "edius neo 2 booster pdf" for the official GV flyer.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 12:42 PM   #8
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Thanks, I'll check that out. I am really on the fence, because I've been looking to jump to Avid for numerous reasons, but at this price, I might be able to swing both.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 08:56 PM   #9
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Video Studio

Hi, I have a similar setup in terms of camera (Canon HF100) and computer specs and was recently asked to video a family member's wedding. I used Video Studio x12 pro and it handles AVCHD files really well because it creates lower quality clips for editing. When you are finish, it outputs the final sequence back to AVCHD or DVD using the original AVCHD files.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 09:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Perrone Ford View Post
Thanks, I'll check that out. I am really on the fence, because I've been looking to jump to Avid for numerous reasons, but at this price, I might be able to swing both.
Not sure what happened in the meantime, but a few years ago I tested Avid briefly, but dropped it quickly because it was first transcoding everything to QT on import, and that, depending on the quantity and type of the video material imported, took up significant time (depending on computer speed).

Does Avid still do that? The 'beauty' of Edius is that you can import hours of video with a quick click, and start cutting the next minute, no matter what your sources are, same format or tens of different video formats, different frame sizes or frame rates.
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Old December 16th, 2009, 09:46 PM   #11
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Not sure what happened in the meantime, but a few years ago I tested Avid briefly, but dropped it quickly because it was first transcoding everything to QT on import, and that, depending on the quantity and type of the video material imported, took up significant time (depending on computer speed).

Does Avid still do that? The 'beauty' of Edius is that you can import hours of video with a quick click, and start cutting the next minute, no matter what your sources are, same format or tens of different video formats, different frame sizes or frame rates.
No, Avid doesn't do that. They've made some massive gains in the past 2 years, and Media Composer 4 looks to be one heck of a program. I can drop and go with Vegas so I'd hate to lose that. And I need to find out a few things about Avid before I make the jump. I am somewhat less than impressed by the plugin structure of Edius. Seems to really be built for newscutting or other no-frills work. That's fine, and that would generally have been great 2 years ago, but I find more and more that my work is getting creative. The high quality apps bundled with Avid alone would cost as much as they charge for the program. When I looked at adding Boris, Sonic, and some other tools to my Current Vegas workflow, I was right at the Avid price point.

I'm sure my Avid trial in the spring will net some answers, but for now, I'm just researching options.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 12:19 AM   #12
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AVCHD Workflow

I have now tried the following pieces of the original and recommended workflow.

NLE: Premiere Elements, Power Director and Sony Vegas Movie Movie Studio. These are all trial downloads of the latest versions. Premiere Elements was very slow. Power Director very buggy. Sony Vegas Movie Studio is working well, but has it's issues as well. First, using AVCHD native editing it is the fastest of the bunch. It is generally stable; however mutiple JPEG images and certain custom rendering settings seem to make rendering more crash prone. I also like the fact that the full versions of Vegas are well used, so there is solid user community and internet support and comments. For these reasons, I did not venture on to trying Edius.

I purchased the WD HD Media box for playback. I found using the 8Mbps 1440 x 1080i 1.33 ratio Windows Media rendering in Vegas produces good results on my HDTV. Higher bit rates don't seem any better. I am a bit confused by the rendering settings, since I would expect 1920x1080i with either square or 1.33 pixel ratio to be optimal, but this yields boarders all the way around the video.

One clear dissappointment is that JPEG images (typical camera resolutions) do not render well (clearly worse than the video). In particular, hair has a choppy look to it. Any help on this?

Note, multiple full resolution JPEGs also seem to make rendering less stable.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 09:39 AM   #13
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Grass Valley EDIUS Neo 2 with AVCHD Booster Option
The Perfect Solution for Editing AVCHD

Native AVCHD files have previously been difficult to edit with NLE software, due to the high compression of the video, and often required dedicated hardware solutions. The new EDIUS Neo 2 Booster allows for smooth, full-frame editing of native AVCHD video in software only, courtesy of a newly-developed AVCHD codec engine that can process more than 3 real-time streams simultaneously with EDIUS Neo 2 (tested with an Intel Core i7 CPU system - just like the Videoguys' DIY 7 system configuration).

Grass Valley EDIUS Neo 2 with AVCHD Booster option is an affordable NLE software featuring basic, entry-level range of tools and features, EDIUS Neo 2 software is perfect for those new to video editing. Yet it also provides powerful nonlinear editing features common to all EDIUS solutions, such as real-time, multi-track, mixed-format HD/SD editing, chroma keying, titling, and Blu-ray Disc and DVD authoring. Built on the same highly-acclaimed technology as the EDIUS editing software, EDIUS Neo 2 offers native editing of various formats including AVCHD, HDV, DV, Windows Media, and QuickTime and provides a seamless, real-time workflow that supports the mixing of all formats within the same timeline.

The EDIUS Neo 2 Booster makes real-time AVCHD editing an affordable reality and enhances Grass Valley's commitment to the real-time "anything in anything out" editing platform. The EDIUS Neo 2 Booster is compatible with Windows XP, Vista (32-bit/64-bit) as well as 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the new Windows 7 Operating System.

Videoguys Blog - EDIUS Neo 2 Booster Realtime AVCHD Editing Solution, Blu-ray Disc Authoring... and more!

Gary
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Old December 17th, 2009, 11:40 AM   #14
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Seems to really be built for newscutting or other no-frills work.
It really does excel at that kind of stuff. You can work really quickly in it. In his presentations, Mike Downey makes a bit deal about all the stuff you can do without going into menus. But it is a pretty good all-around editor. I certainly don't think it is limited to news.

The thing I like most about Edius is the information display. You've always got current time, in, out, duration, and total time right there on the screen. I'm currently doing most of my work in Vegas and that lack is something that really bugs me. The other big draw is the real-time-atude. Even dropping quality and frame size, Vegas bogs down easily--makes it hard to gauge a good dissolve length for example.

I actually kind of like the way Edius handles filters. Kind of a toss-up with Vegas--much different presentation but it gets you to the same place.

Also from Mike Downey's presentation, a lot of wedding people use it. Its got a pretty darn good multi-cam mode (sorry only got Vegas 7 so I can't compare).

Note: I'm using Edius 5 with Canopus HQ. I really can't speak to Neo with AVCHD.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 12:18 PM   #15
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The thing I like most about Edius is the information display. You've always got current time, in, out, duration, and total time right there on the screen. I'm currently doing most of my work in Vegas and that lack is something that really bugs me. The other big draw is the real-time-atude. Even dropping quality and frame size, Vegas bogs down easily--makes it hard to gauge a good dissolve length for example.
Um, I've always got that information in Vegas too. Not sure what you mean. But yes, Vegas can get bogged down easily. It's decision to not leverage the video card for anything was probably viable with SD, but with HD, and especially mpeg4 based HD, it's getting hammered. They will either have to change course, or get passed by.


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I actually kind of like the way Edius handles filters. Kind of a toss-up with Vegas--much different presentation but it gets you to the same place.
How does it handle filters? Can you describe the difference?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Tejral View Post
Also from Mike Downey's presentation, a lot of wedding people use it. Its got a pretty darn good multi-cam mode (sorry only got Vegas 7 so I can't compare).
Oh, multi-cam in Vegas isn't too bad, but could certainly be smoother. I haven't done a multi-cam shoot since moving to V9, but I may try it out.

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Originally Posted by Andy Tejral View Post
Note: I'm using Edius 5 with Canopus HQ. I really can't speak to Neo with AVCHD.
There have been some conflicting reports on Canopus HQ. I'd really like to get a sample and have a look at it.
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