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Old March 24th, 2009, 08:07 AM   #16
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Currently in this system I have an XFX GeForce 6600.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:34 PM   #17
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AGP card?

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Originally Posted by Terry Lee View Post
Currently in this system I have an XFX GeForce 6600.
I can't tell if there is Pure Video support for that card, based on the nVidia site:
NVIDIA PureVideo

where they give this:
http://www.nvidia.com/docs/CP/11036/...Comparison.pdf

Is this an AGP card? The Pure Video for the AGP cards does appear to be more limited than for PCI or for PCI-e.
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Old April 2nd, 2009, 01:04 AM   #18
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vdpau decoding support for playback in openSUSE mplayer

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Originally Posted by Lee Matheson View Post
In the end, I decided to go ahead, and I ordered one BFG nVidia 8400GS PCI graphic card. Its inexpensive, and I have 3 old PCs in which I can test it on, to see what its GPU does for offloading the H.264 encoding from AVCHD to the graphic card, and smoothly ( ? ) displaying it on my monitor. If it works on the oldest PC, I'll purchase more of the cards for the other old PCs in our flat.

Note that does not solve encoding issues.
I'm still waiting for the 8400GS nVidia card to arrive. But in the mean time, the good news is the Packman packagers for openSUSE Linux 3rd party applications, now have available a packaged version of mplayer ( MPlayer-1.0rc2_r29116-2.pm.2r ) that will use a vdpau capable graphic card for decoding ( only if such a card is installed on one's PC). This also requires the nVidia proprietary graphic driver to be is in use on one's openSUSE Linux install (and not the vesa nor openGL graphic driver).

I was thinking I would have to custom compile mplayer when my graphic card arrived, but this appears no longer to be the case.

Until my graphic card arrives, I can't comment on the stability of this Packman packaged mplayer version, nor if there are any tearing or other issues. But its a positive step forward to have a packaged version of mplayer available for quick installation on openSUSE Linux. I'm hoping this will significantly improve the playback of AVCHD videos on my older PC.
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Old April 5th, 2009, 03:37 AM   #19
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Some early test results of old computer upgrade

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Originally Posted by Lee Matheson View Post
I'm still waiting for the 8400GS nVidia card to arrive. But in the mean time, the good news is the Packman packagers for openSUSE Linux 3rd party applications, now have available a packaged version of mplayer ( MPlayer-1.0rc2_r29116-2.pm.2r ) that will use a vdpau capable graphic card for decoding ( only if such a card is installed on one's PC). This also requires the nVidia proprietary graphic driver to be is in use on one's openSUSE Linux install (and not the vesa nor openGL graphic driver).
As noted, I ordered the BFG 8400GS PCI card last week. Card specs here: BFG Tech - BFG NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS 512MB PCI . The card just arrived by mail yesterday and I could not resist playing with this card in my oldest PC, so I gave that priority and tried it out. For the testing on my openSUSE-11.1 PCs, all running KDE-3.5.10, I did not custom compile MPlayer, but rather I used an rpm packaged by the Packman packagers, who are a group of packagers who package rpms for openSUSE. Packman Packager for openSUSE - MPlayer

Hence I tested the latest packged packman MPlayer-1.0rc2_r29116-2.pm2 on a 9 year old PC (athlon-1100 (1GB RAM) with the new nVidia 8400GS graphic card noted above) running openSUSE-11.1 with KDE-3.5.10. This old PC has a 1x/2x/4x AGP slot (no PCI-e bus). I removed the PC's existing nVidia MX400 (64MB) AGP graphic card (which had been using the openGL driver for nvidia) and replaced it with the nVidia 8400GS PCI card and then I installed the nvidia proprietary 180.44 graphic driver.

With the nVidia 8400GS, and MPlayer, and the Nvidia proprietary 180.44 graphic driver (using VDPAU (the Linux Pure Video equivalent)) this 9-year-old old PC was able to smoothly play back 2 of the H.264 trailer videos from this web site that I tried: H.264 Demo Clips « H264info.com

The two successful videos that were played back (on this old PC with the new card and VDPAU) were Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer - 720p Trailer, and Serenity - 720p “On HD DVD” Trailer. They BOTH have LOTS and LOTS of movement. The playback had problems playing back a 3rd video trailer: I Am Legend - 1080p Trailer (more details on that problem later - I obtained the typical green MPlayer VDPAU screen after 10 seconds or so of playback).

For example, in the cases that worked, with MPlayer, playing Serenity trailer on the 9-year old athlon-1100 with the 8400GS PCI card and VDPAU, the video played smoothly, and the athlon-1100 CPU load of MPlayer was only 4% to 5% load. Trying to play the video without VDPAU on that old PC results in the video freezing. This freezing without VDPAU was also true on that old PC with the MX400 AGP card (that was removed). The Serenity trailer is H.264 encoded, 1280x720, at 4.8MB/sec with LOTS and LOTS of movement.

Playing the same Serenity trailer video on a 5-year old athlon-2800 (2GB) with nVidia FX5200 AGP (128MB RAM) and openSUSE-11.1/KDE-3.5.10 with MPlayer (without VDPAU) resulted in 75% cpu being used by mplayer and 18% Xorg and the video played poorly, jerking and with a massive audio/video desynch (ie it was NOT watchable on the athlon-2800 with the FX5200 AGP graphic card).

Playing the same Serenity video on a 6-month old (Dell Studio 15 laptop) with Intel Core2 Duo P8400 with Radeon HD3450 (openSUSE-11.1/KDE-3.5.10) with MPlayer resulted in 70% cpu from MPlayer, but that very new laptop PC gave a smooth video playback.

The downside to this new hardware was the nVida 8400GS 180.44 proprietary graphic driver was very unstable on KDE-3.5.10 on the athlon-1100 doing regular (non-multimedia related) functions. I was not able to get more than a couple of hours operation with out the graphics failing and a reboot being required. On a KDE4 install, the proprietary nVidia driver was mostly non-functional with only minute or two of operation before a freeze on KDE4. Hence the PC is debateably not useful with this lack of stability, and hopefully nVidia will continue to improve the stability of their driver with and without VDPAU.

When using the VESA desktop graphic driver driver with the nVidia 8400 GS PCI card on this old athlon-1100 PC (where there is no VDPAU support with VESA driver), the PC is stable, but very slow (slower than the MX400 AGP card with the openGL driver).

Its possible this new BFG 8400GS PCI graphic card is not completely compatible with the old PCI bus on this athlon-1100, and in a week or two I hope to try it out on the slightly newer (5 year old) athlon-2800 PC mentioned above.

On the web site where I noted I obtained the test videos, the I Am Legend - 1080p Trailer would run on MPlayer for about 10 seconds and then fail with a solid green screen, with a series of errors, such as:
Code:
[vdpau] failed VDPAU decoder rendering: An invalid handle value was provided
[vdapu] Error when calling vdp_video_mixer_render : An invalid handle value was provided
[vdapu] Error when calling vdp_device_destroy : An invalid handle value was provided
[vdapu] Error when calling vdp_presentation_queue_display : An invalid handle value was provided
[vdapu] Error when calling vdp_presentation_queue_block_until_surface_idle : An invalid handle value was provided
But given NONE of these videos could be played BEFORE, the new 8400GS card using MPlayer with vdpau was installed is a big improvement. But clearly its also experimental (due to the lack of stability).

As a further note, I also saw the same green screen failures (anywhere from seconds to minutes into playing a video) with MPlayer and VDPAU when playing back a standard DVD compliant MPEG2 file (720x480, NTSC (29.97 fps), 2.845Mb/sec). Those failures are not too serious from a practical perspective, as those videos can be played without VDPAU on the same graphic PCI card and same PC (albeit without VDPAU there is 75% CPU load as opposed to 5% CPU load with VDPAU). But MPEG2 DVD format is very common, so clearly there are problems here, either with the nVidia 180.44 driver or with the MPlayer VDPAU implementation.

In summary, both the nVidia 180.44 graphic driver, and the VDPAU driver in ffmpeg/mplayer are not stable yet (on this 9-year old PC) with the BFG 8400GS (512MB) PCI graphic card, and the driver/software is STILL experimental as is noted. However it has TREMENDOUS potential for breathing new life into a very old PC.

I'll likely be trying this BFG nVidia 8400GS PCI card on a 5-year old Athlon-2800 sometime in the next few weeks.
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Old April 25th, 2009, 02:03 PM   #20
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Minimum editing computer specs editing on Sony Vegas

First of all I am a real newbie to consumer camcorder video. I am a stills photographer in the fashion/model industry. Recently I acquired a Sony SR 11 camcorder and took it on a trip to Europe and Thailand. I now have lots of clips shot in HD mode (AVCHD) and I have reached the stage where I want to do some simple editing. I want to install Sony Vegas Platinum editing software on my computer but I have been seriously scared away from going any further in this editing process after reading on this forum just how difficult this is going to be with the kind of computer I have. So my question is HOW DIFFICULT IS THIS REALLY GOING TO BE?? Suppose I would want to make a 20 minute edited video with a few simple transitions and some titles and a basic audio music/narration track. I have a PC with an AMD Athlon64 3000+ CPU running at 1.8 GHZ, 3 Gigs of memory, Asus V9570 nVidia GFX 5700 128 MB graphics card and two internal Hard Disks @ 160 GB each. I have heard all sorts of horror stories that rendering a 20 minute AVCHD video will tie up my computer for hours and hours or even days to render such a project. Is this so? In short is it impractical to even consider editing in AVCHD with this computer settup. Along with now having to consider acquisition of a blue ray burner and player, do I really have to upgrade my whole computer package to something like quad core capability etc etc. Can I be a happy hobbyist working on AVCHD with my current computer or will it be like watching paint dry to do any editing projects. Any comments would be greatly welcomed. Specifics on how long it really takes to do these HD editing tasks would also be warmly welcomed.
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Old April 25th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #21
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Use neo scene to convert the footage to 16:9 SD and your problems would be non-existent.

Stop recording in HD mode altogether and you would have no problems at all.

HD is nice. But people are obsessed with it. If you can live with SD just do that: quit shooting HD until you have a better computer and bluray burner.

If you cannot, then you must pay the price timewise and financially.
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Old May 1st, 2009, 02:08 PM   #22
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Correction - VDPAU works great

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Originally Posted by Lee Matheson View Post
The downside to this new hardware was the nVida 8400GS 180.44 proprietary graphic driver was very unstable on KDE-3.5.10 on the athlon-1100 doing regular (non-multimedia related) functions. I was not able to get more than a couple of hours operation with out the graphics failing and a reboot being required. On a KDE4 install, the proprietary nVidia driver was mostly non-functional with only minute or two of operation before a freeze on KDE4. Hence the PC is debateably not useful with this lack of stability, and hopefully nVidia will continue to improve the stability of their driver with and without VDPAU.
Just a post to correct the quoted qualification. It turns out the problems I experienced with VDPAU on the BFG nVidia GeForce 8400 GS (512MB) PCI card were specific to an old PC. ...

VDPAU (and the playback of High Definition Videos) works great with this card on a different PC.

Specifically, I removed the BFG nVidia GeForce 8400GS PCI (512MB) graphic card out of the PC in which I was using it (an older (9+ years) athlon-1100 PC with an MSI KT3 ultra motherboard) where that PC was having the problems with the desktop.

I put the BFG nVidia GeForce 8400GS PCI (512MB) graphic card in my slightly newer athlon-2800 PC (+4 years old Asus A7N8X Deluxe motherboard ) and installed the proprietary nVidia driver (180.51) and KDE-3.5.10 w/openSUSE-11.1 works great. No corruption. vdpau works fabulous on this athlon-2800 with the 8400GS card.

I'm thinking now the problems I experienced on the athlon-1100 were PC specific, ... either
  • the power supply on the 9 year old PC was simply too old, or
  • there was a problem with interrupts, or
  • it was just a basic compatibility between the motherboard on that 9 year old PC and the graphic card.

So I am happy to report success on this and I can recommend the BFG nVidia GeForce 8400GS (PCI) card to PCs of the same vintage as my athlon-2800 ! It provides a High Definition Video playback capability that this old PC simply did not have before.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 01:53 PM   #23
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Playback is one thing and editing is another.

One of the less demanding NLE's I use, PowerDirector 7 Ultra, specifies AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ as minimum for editing AVCHD. I had an HP with that processor, 3GB RAM, and the integrated Nvidia 6150LE graphics.

It would just barely "choke along" on the 1440x1080 clips and might possibly begin to handle a few 1920x1080 clips if I was willing to exercise a lot of patience and even try to work in very short segments.

I priced that computer to go fast and it did.

I have a Q6600 based machine with an Nvidia 8800GT 512MB card that does edit my stuff but shows signs of "dragging tail" when I need it to step along but it does do fairly well editing with PD7, for working with Pinnacle Studio 12 I have a Core i7 based machine coming.

Jeff's comment about folks being obsessed with HD is not necessarily true. Once one has seen their own HD content properly edited to their satisfaction and displayed on an HD large screen TV they are "hooked" but not necessarily "obsessed".

Almost all of what I produce to be distributed (training video for a Defensive Handgun class I teach or stuff for other family) is rendered to SD. But if it was shot in 1920x1080 and edited in HD before being burned in SD to regular DVD when played back it always seems to look noticeably better than the SD I used to shoot and produce.

And when you consider more and more folks are playing their DVD movies on upconverting DVD players hooked up to LCD and Plasma TV's it tends to look even better.

No obsession going on here and I understand some being reluctant to make the move into HD. It can be quite a financial shock not easily absorbed and if SD meets their needs and gives them what they want, that's fine. It's "content" that counts.

Neoscene conversion is helping some folks, but is not compatible with Pinnacle Studio (which while not most folks preference, is a very fully featured all in one NLE) and not needed in PowerDirector 7 Ultra, both of which edit AVCHD natively.

Things are sure changing fast and no matter what you get your hands on it is obsoleting as you get it.
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 05:46 PM   #24
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Old vs new computers

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Originally Posted by Bruce Foreman View Post
Playback is one thing and editing is another.
Indeed. ... although of course both are important.

On my old athlon-1100 w/1GB RAM and a nVidia MX440 (ie no vdapu and no pure-video) running openSUSE-11.1 Linux (KDE-3.5.10), I can not play any HD videos with any sort of real time speed. BUT I can edit them with the Linux program kdenlive. And I can render them (albeit it is VERY slow). Now the editing is not "precise" to the frame (because of the noted problem with HD playback) but it can be done, and the athlon-1100 can then encode and output HD videos (that take forever to encode). Of course, the athlon-1100 can not play its own videos properly after they are output.

My experience is I spend more time picking videos, and moving them about on the time line, and adding transitions, than I do encoding. If encoding is slow, I can always do something else.

The point? Well, the point is with the right software, even old PCs can use an NLE and encode. Its slow. Very slow. But they can encode (with the right software). But they can't play at any sort of realistic speed without the hardware.

I currently do most my NLE editing (in Linux with kdenlive) on a relatively new laptop, which has an Intel Core2 duo P8400 cpu (4GB RAM and a Radeon 3450 graphic card). I do it on that laptop because my Athlon-2800 , while it can encode (and with the nVidia 8400 GS card playback even better) is still very slow at encoding. Very slow. The Intel Core2 duo P8400 is much faster.

But even that is not fast enough for me, and I have ordered a new Intel i7 Core based PC (desktop) that I plan to use for my AVCHD. It will hopefully be just that much faster in editing. The speed of new hardware is always nice.

There is work ongoing with video software in Linux (and I would be surprised if this were not also the case in Windows) to enable NLE (such as kdenlive) to use the GPU available decoding in graphic cards (such as vdapu) to indirectly improve the editing speed. Ideas are to improve the speed of the timeline presentations (where decoding is needed) .... That capability is not there yet (as it is desired to be able to do this to the frame level), ... it is being worked on, and if it is obtained, then old PCs (such as my athlon-2800 with its 8400GS card) will have a new lease in life (with increased editing speed) when it comes to NLE (and not just in playback). ...

Speaking of which, testing today proved my athlon-2800 w/nvidia 8400GS and vdpau can play back better (h.264, mpeg1/2, and .wmv videos) than the Intel Core2 duo P8400 with radeon 3450. Thats all because of the offloading of the video to the graphic card GPU. Its truely "a thing of beauty" to see an old PC perform so much better than a newer PC which should be 3x faster (but in this case, is not).

BUT, overall, I think I agree with your views. I happen to think older PCs can be made to work with HD videos, and the capability of older PCs to edit HD may actually improve with time (with new software taking advantage of offloading to the GPU) ... BUT, ... despite all of that, it still is no substitute for the speed and easier edits that one gets with brand new state of the art hardware.

When I get my new Core i7 up and running with openSUSE-11.1, I'll post as to the success (or failure) of my NLE efforts. Based on what I've seen with my athlon-2800 (w/8400GS) and my Intel Core P8400, I'm pretty optimistic.

P.S. Just a note - the above is all based on Linux experience. I don't do windows (not since 1998).
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Old May 6th, 2009, 06:56 PM   #25
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I got my Dell XPS Studio 435 Core i7 920 based computer a couple of days ago. Makes me want to kick everything else out the door.

All I've had a chance to try so far is editing some AVCHD that brought my Q6600 quad core to it's knees, with the new box it went smooth real smooth. The OS is Vista Home Premium 64bit and so far everything looks stable.
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Old May 10th, 2009, 07:52 AM   #26
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My Intel Core i7 also arrived

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I got my Dell XPS Studio 435 Core i7 920 based computer a couple of days ago. Makes me want to kick everything else out the door.
I know what you mean. My Intel Core i7 arrived on Tuesday last week ... its a custom built Asus P6T Deluxe V2 with the Intel Core i7 CPU, 6 GB RAM, nVidia GTX 260, and 1.5 TB hard drive. It simply "smokes" in terms of speed. Very nice.

I've rendered some videos with it with openSUSE-11.1 Linux programs avidemux, xvidenc and h264enc, and it was fast. Especially h264enc and it makes me wonder if Intel put microcode in the Core i7 to speed up h.264 encoding? ... Anyway, I have yet to try out a NLE with it. I'm currently creating some panorama shots with it (stitching various images together) and hope to get around to testing my favourite Linux NLE (kdenlive) later this week.
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Old June 11th, 2009, 03:56 PM   #27
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Editing Canon HF S10 clips w/kdenlive on Intel Core i7 920

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Originally Posted by Lee Matheson View Post
I know what you mean. My Intel Core i7 arrived on Tuesday last week ... its a custom built Asus P6T Deluxe V2 with the Intel Core i7 CPU, 6 GB RAM, nVidia GTX 260, and 1.5 TB hard drive. It simply "smokes" in terms of speed. Very nice.

I've rendered some videos with it with openSUSE-11.1 Linux programs avidemux, xvidenc and h264enc, and it was fast. Especially h264enc and it makes me wonder if Intel put microcode in the Core i7 to speed up h.264 encoding? ... Anyway, I have yet to try out a NLE with it. I'm currently creating some panorama shots with it (stitching various images together) and hope to get around to testing my favourite Linux NLE (kdenlive) later this week.
I've been using kdenlive (with openSUSE Linux) with video clips from my new Canon HF S10. kdenlive is "hit and miss" when it comes to handling that resolution. A recent update to mlt and kdenlive helped a bit but they are not quite there yet. If I move back and forth in the video preview, it will sometimes shows up corrupted and I can NOT select a specific frame (at the 1920x1280 @ the Canon's highest bit rate). Hence for the time being, I find it best to reduce the video from 1920x1080 to 1280x720 8000 KBits/sec resolution and that edits easily with kdenlive. Note this is simply a hiccup in kdenlive (or one of its dependencies) in handling this high resolution/high bit rate. My Intel Core i7 920 based PC has lots of horsepower and memory to handle this high resolution bit rate.

So for my openSUSE-11.1 PC (KDE-3.5.10), I use the ffmpeg command:
Code:
ffmpeg -y -i 00017.mts -f avi -vcodec mpeg4 -b 8000000 -acodec ac3 -ab 128000 -s 1280x720 17.avi
I also purchased a monopod and it helps significantly in reducing the video jitter. Its not as good as a tripod, but I confess I hate (refuse to) carrying a tripod. But a monopod is doable and the videos are nice!! I'm still struggling a bit to find a good site to host the 1280x720 resolution videos.

I'm heading off to South East Asia on vacation in 4 days. Hopefully I'll get some good videos.

Also - as an aside - my ancient (5+ year old) 32-bit athlon-2800 with 2GB RAM (and a PCI bus (not PCI-e) nVidia 8400GS graphic card) can play the raw 1920x1080 @ the Canon HF S10's highest bit rate video clips with no problem using nVidia vdpau (Linux Pure Video equivalent) technology, at about 15% cpu loading. ie all the video decoding is effectively off loaded to the nVidia 8400GS Graphic Processor Unit (GPU).
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