Help Request: What program to use to convert from H264 to HDV? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Cross-Platform Post Production Solutions > High Definition Video Editing Solutions

High Definition Video Editing Solutions
For all HD formats including HDV, HDCAM, DVCPRO HD and others.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old December 16th, 2009, 10:56 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tampa, FL USA
Posts: 42
Help Request: What program to use to convert from H264 to HDV?

Please bare with me as I tried to search via google and via the forums before posting.

I'm a post production audio specialist. I work mainly in Pro Tools (PC) when editing audio for video. Lately, I've been receiving more and more H264 videos bigger than 1GB. (usually 1080p). For some reason, Pro Tools for Windows doesn't like h264 1080p videos and it has been recommended that I convert them to DV or HDV format. I'd like to keep the HD detail, as it's important for my work.

What open source, free, or program under $99 can I use to convert from h264 to HDV?

Any advice is appreciated.

Thank you

Last edited by Sean Scarfo; December 16th, 2009 at 12:20 PM. Reason: subbed
Sean Scarfo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 16th, 2009, 01:59 PM   #2
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Minnesota (USA)
Posts: 2,171
You'll lose detail converting 1080p H264 (presumably 1920x1080 AVCHD) to HDV. HDV limits 1080 line video to 1440x1080, and also is not as efficient as H264 (image quality per bit wise). I'm not familiar with Pro Tools and it's not clear to me what you are actually doing with the footage, so I'm not really sure what to suggest.
Robert M Wright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 17th, 2009, 07:00 AM   #3
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tampa, FL USA
Posts: 42
well Digidesign Pro Tools is an DAW / Audio Editor which can import video into the timeline.

Typically, I import a single video (only 1 video can be imported into the time line at a time with Pro Tools LE) to a video track (similar to how Final Cut/Vegas have seperate video and audio tracks. )
I then log/spot/marker locations for sound effects samples, music and other sound issues.
Then I add said above to traditional tracks, and then process said tracks to the liking of the director/producer/who ever leads the project.

The problem with Pro Tools (at least for windows), since it tries to process Audio before video, I either get choppy playback of h264 video, or the video freezes up. This only seems to happen on HD videos (a few 720, but more and more frequently with 1080p material) I've posted this issue on Digidesign forums and they recommended to convert the video to form of DV.

I need HD as some sound effects need to be precise, so I'm unsure which program will get me on the correct road. I suspect if I can convert to some form mpeg2 HD video, it'll meet my needs fine.

Any suggestions?
Sean Scarfo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 17th, 2009, 02:07 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Minnesota (USA)
Posts: 2,171
I understand you are editing the audio track. What's not clear to me, is what you are actually delivering to the client. Are you delivering just an audio track, that the client will mux with the video stream, or are you doing the muxing and sending back the video in it's final form (or something else)?

When you convert AVCHD to some other format, with most cheap conversion tools, you will also most likely change the audio format as well (and likely degrade it). For example, you could easily wind up converting the audio from AC3 to MPEG-1 Layer 2 audio (and put a quality hit on it, right off the bat).

While I'm still not clear on detail, I'd suggest you might download an evaluation copy of Edius Neo 2. You can pretty easily convert AVCHD to high quality MPEG-2, or a number of other formats, including their Canopus HQ intermediate codec (which might actually be ideal for your purposes - if your app can open the files, and that's likely). Neo 2 comes bundled with a neat little utility for easily converting AVCHD to either MPEG-2 or Canopus HQ (without even having to open the files in the NLE). If it works well for you, you can buy a copy of Neo 2 at B&H Photo for about $170.
Robert M Wright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 20th, 2009, 02:18 AM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 1,259
I would definitely recommend TMPGEnc Xpress 4.0. It's $99 and is a fantasitc program (there is a 14 day free trial). It can convert H.264 to another codec and do much, much, much more.

I'd also recommend dowloading the DNxHD codec pakage from Avid. It's free and is an excellent codec for sharing video. DNxHD is a much higher quality and better performing codec than HDV.

HTH.
__________________
Avid Media Composer 3.1.3. Boris Red and Continuum Complete. Vegas 8.0c. TMPGEnc Xpress Pro 4.0
Peter Moretti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22nd, 2009, 11:27 AM   #6
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Little Rock
Posts: 1,383
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Scarfo View Post
Typically, I import a single video (only 1 video can be imported into the time line at a time with Pro Tools LE) to a video track (similar to how Final Cut/Vegas have seperate video and audio tracks. )
I then log/spot/marker locations for sound effects samples, music and other sound issues.
Then I add said above to traditional tracks, and then process said tracks to the liking of the director/producer/who ever leads the project.

The problem with Pro Tools (at least for windows), since it tries to process Audio before video, I either get choppy playback of h264 video, or the video freezes up. This only seems to happen on HD videos (a few 720, but more and more frequently with 1080p material) I've posted this issue on Digidesign forums and they recommended to convert the video to form of DV.

I need HD as some sound effects need to be precise, so I'm unsure which program will get me on the correct road. I suspect if I can convert to some form mpeg2 HD video, it'll meet my needs fine.

Any suggestions?
As suggested, convert it to DV and be done with it if that is what your system can support.
You keep stating that you need HD because sound effects need to be precise.
SFX being precise has nothing to do with the video track being HD or SD, it has to do with you understanding time code and frame rates.
Back before quicktime movies, clients would send me a standard definition VHS, 3/4, or beta version of their 2K film.
__________________
David W. Jones
www.joneshdfilms.com
David W. Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22nd, 2009, 03:03 PM   #7
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tampa, FL USA
Posts: 42
Thank you all for your suggestions. I'll look into the trial versions of those apps you mentioned as well as the codecs.

Robert,

I won't be muxing the audio and video together (I stick with what I do best as I don't have Final Cut or Vegas, and Pro Tools rendering back to Quicktime is sometimes a bit flakey. ) Typically I can extract the audio by itself into Pro Tools and save it as a wav/aif file. So I have half the battle done right away, it's just the video stream itself that's being a pain.

David,

Like I said, I prefer to stay in HD. HD makes my work flow easier especially with the precision I'm trying to utilize. I understand time code / frame rates, but I work creatively with my initial spotting passes and then go back and nudge audio as needed.
I know you're trying to help, but you wouldn't tell a Final Cut user to switch to Avid or Vegas if Final Cut is apart his/her preferred work flow.
Sean Scarfo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22nd, 2009, 09:14 PM   #8
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Little Rock
Posts: 1,383
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Scarfo View Post
David,

Like I said, I prefer to stay in HD. HD makes my work flow easier especially with the precision I'm trying to utilize. I understand time code / frame rates, but I work creatively with my initial spotting passes and then go back and nudge audio as needed.
I know you're trying to help, but you wouldn't tell a Final Cut user to switch to Avid or Vegas if Final Cut is apart his/her preferred work flow.
Sorry you took my suggestion the wrong way Sean, You asked for help, and as was suggested when you asked pros on other forums, I gave you a similar answer based on my 30 plus years of audio for video and film work. I have been a ProTools user from day one, and thought I was being helpful by suggesting that spotting to time code was a much more accurate and time saving method than trying to rely on the resolution of the picture on the screen for spotting cues. I didn't sound like your computer had the horsepower to lock a full quality HD picture to your Protools timeline, which is why I and others suggested a DV movie.

All the Best!
__________________
David W. Jones
www.joneshdfilms.com
David W. Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 22nd, 2009, 09:59 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 444
Sean - as a video guy (not a sound guy) I can only recommending going to an intraframe codec that is processor light that Protools will like.

I believe in you case this is likely to Motion JPEG or DVCPROHD codecs. Protools is possibly going to be able to handle DVCPROHD better than MJPEG A (or B) at HD sizes, as it's from the Digidesign family and DVCPRO HD was an early front runner in terms of HD Codecs and was made to be handled on less processor power than more recent codecs.

Motion JPEG is a much older format, and Pro Tools may not be optimized to handle it at such high frame sizes.

But I'd be willing to bet that those would be your best options.

HDV would be a very bad choice because it is an intraframe codec.

I very much question people who deliver you files for sound work as H.264 in the first place though - as it's not frame sync accurate so you'll never have exact frame accuracy going back with your sound... converting at your end to another format isn't going to solve that problem, as the damage has already been done.
__________________
www.afterglow.co.nz
Craig Parkes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 23rd, 2009, 06:08 PM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Minnesota (USA)
Posts: 2,171
I don't know if you could import WMV into Pro Tools or not, but if you can, and have Windows 7, that might be a really easy way to go. I don't know if the Win 7 version of Windows Movie Maker can read AVCHD (.mts) files or not either, but it might. I know Windows 7 supports HDV (.m2t) files now.
Robert M Wright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 23rd, 2009, 06:15 PM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Minnesota (USA)
Posts: 2,171
Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Parkes View Post
HDV would be a very bad choice because it is an intraframe codec.
As long as he's simply editing audio, HDV intraframe compression shouldn't be an issue really (unless it's a really slow computer by today's standards).
Robert M Wright is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 24th, 2009, 10:37 PM   #12
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tampa, FL USA
Posts: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
Sorry you took my suggestion the wrong way Sean, You asked for help, and as was suggested when you asked pros on other forums, I gave you a similar answer based on my 30 plus years of audio for video and film work. I have been a ProTools user from day one, and thought I was being helpful by suggesting that spotting to time code was a much more accurate and time saving method than trying to rely on the resolution of the picture on the screen for spotting cues. I didn't sound like your computer had the horsepower to lock a full quality HD picture to your Protools timeline, which is why I and others suggested a DV movie.

All the Best!
David,

I think we're having a communication issue as I didn't take your suggestion anyway in particular.

I appreciate everyone's feedback as it's obvious I don't have the answers myself. If you don't mind me asking for a bit more information in regards to how you believe that spotting by timecode would save me time, I'd be open to hearing those details.

99% of the time, the directors/producers I work with don't give me time code to spot with, so I have to go through every movie, film, video from beginning to end and spot manually.

--
Just in case someone needs to know my specs of my pc.
Q6600 - Quad Core
4 GB of Mushkin Ram
Abit IP35 Mobo
2x640 GB Western Digital 'Blue' AAKS Harddrives (no raid)
1x1TB - Seagate 7200.11 Harddrive
1x500GB - Western Digital Harddrive
8800GT

My computer isn't the latest and greatest... but it isn't no slouch either.
Sean Scarfo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 24th, 2009, 10:39 PM   #13
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tampa, FL USA
Posts: 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert M Wright View Post
I don't know if you could import WMV into Pro Tools or not, but if you can, and have Windows 7, that might be a really easy way to go. I don't know if the Win 7 version of Windows Movie Maker can read AVCHD (.mts) files or not either, but it might. I know Windows 7 supports HDV (.m2t) files now.
WMV can import into Pro Tools, but I've never tried it in PT as WMV has never been a format that's been cross platform compatible.
Sean Scarfo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 25th, 2009, 10:39 AM   #14
Trustee
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Little Rock
Posts: 1,383
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Scarfo View Post
David,

I appreciate everyone's feedback as it's obvious I don't have the answers myself. If you don't mind me asking for a bit more information in regards to how you believe that spotting by timecode would save me time, I'd be open to hearing those details.

99% of the time, the directors/producers I work with don't give me time code to spot with, so I have to go through every movie, film, video from beginning to end and spot manually.

.
I would suggest you spend a little time with your ProTools manual, and pose the question about time code to your instructors at IADT who should be able to show you first hand how to spot to time code from within your ProTools session, as you have clearly glanced over that ability.

All the Best!
__________________
David W. Jones
www.joneshdfilms.com
David W. Jones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 25th, 2009, 12:49 PM   #15
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tampa, FL USA
Posts: 42
Thank you for taking an interest and pointing me in a direction. I'd be happy if you could be more specific how you believe it will speed up my workflow.
Sean Scarfo is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Cross-Platform Post Production Solutions > High Definition Video Editing Solutions

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:32 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network