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AVCHD for pro applications: AG-AC160, AC130 and other AVCCAM gear.


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Old January 14th, 2009, 01:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by George A. Ross View Post
Jeff,
...I do have a BeachTek XLR adapter (I do have wireless mics & would need an XLR input for them) & LANC for my tripod; I'd need a Varizoom for the 150 as well as some large SDHC memory & those aren't cheap. Thanks
George:

I use the Sennheiser for wireless. It has a XLR and a mini plug cable for the reciever. Does your wireless reciever have an option for a mini plug cable?

Getting a zoom controller and the excellent focus/iris controller for the HMC-150 is pretty expensive. Cost wise, those controllers (maybe it's all in one for the Sony?) are probably a lot less for the Sony.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 02:29 PM   #17
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As far as mpeg2 vs H.264, & this is IMHO, I think H.264 is much better. I say this because I own a blu-ray player & there's no comparison in PQ between the 2; I've seen far more artifacts with mpeg2 movies than those encoded with H.264 or even VC-1.
I don't think you can draw conclusions about the codecs for camera use on the basis of Blu-Ray discs. The former need to be done in near real time, the latter don't, and would normally be done with a least two coding passes in much longer than real time. For coders that can get the most out of the system, there's no doubt that H.264 will give better results *at the same bitrate* than MPEG2, but for near real time coders in relatively cheap cameras I don't think H.264 will get anything like as much out of the system as it's theoretically capable of.

The drawback to H.264 is that it requires a lot of power for native editing, and realistically needs transcoding for editing. Absolute quality will depend not just on codec but bitrate as well - high datarate MPEG2 will be much better than a lower rate H.264.

For professional use it may be more appropiate to use MPEG2 at a higher bitrate than H.264, it will give the same quality but be far easier to edit. The downside is higher file sizes.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 02:30 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Jeff Kellam View Post
George:

I use the Sennheiser for wireless. It has a XLR and a mini plug cable for the reciever. Does your wireless reciever have an option for a mini plug cable?

Getting a zoom controller and the excellent focus/iris controller for the HMC-150 is pretty expensive. Cost wise, those controllers (maybe it's all in one for the Sony?) are probably a lot less for the Sony.
My BeachTek is a model DXA-4S which was recommended when we were doing all TRV900 shoots that only had a stereo mini mic input; no XLRs. The BeachTek worked fine so long as it was grounded properly. It has an AUX input, which I've never tried, switchable Stereo/Mono & separate Line/Mic switches. My wireless mics are made by Samson.
A Varizoom for the HMC would cost $240 min as it controls Zoom/Focus & Iris Control. I do have a LANC controller that would be compatible with the FX1000. It's from an old Sony tripod that was used with the TRV900. The LANC was built into the tripod's handle so I removed the handle & inserted it in a heftier Bogen tripod & used it with the HVR-Z1.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #19
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But how do you store your masters or your raw footage? Tape still is a super-reliable, dirt-cheap and very compact method of storing your work.
Tom,
I still have DV masters (raw) from wedding shot 8 years ago. I also have their final edit DVDs in case something happens to their DVD.
But, what's wrong with archiving the AVCHD masters (raw, unedited) to BD for storage or just the final edit of the BD or DVD? I guess I'm not seeing a difference so long as everything is backed up.
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Old January 14th, 2009, 11:16 PM   #20
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.....For professional use it may be more appropiate to use MPEG2 at a higher bitrate than H.264, it will give the same quality but be far easier to edit. The downside is higher file sizes.
David, there are still real differences in how the two codecs process the signal, and handle motion, for example. AVCHD continues to enjoy the advantage there, even with higher bit rate MPEG2, because frame prediction methods are different, etc.

The real advantages of MPEG2 over AVCHD are only in the number of available cameras that support HDV/MPEG2 and the current ease of editing.

But that scene is changing every day. A year from now--maybe even 6 months--I doubt ease of editing AVCHD will be much of an issue. There will doubtless be a boatload of solutions out by then that will likely make editing MPEG4 about as simple a matter as editing MPEG2. Remember all the gyrations we all went through when first sorting out how to edit HDV?
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Old January 14th, 2009, 11:42 PM   #21
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But how do you store your masters or your raw footage? Tape still is a super-reliable, dirt-cheap and very compact method of storing your work.
Tom, you are quite right about the ease with which tapes can be archieved.

I transcode the AVCHD file to DVCProHD using the Main Concept transcoder from Panasonic's site. I can then copy the transcoded file to a backup drive with little trouble and be secure in the knowledge that my my original files are backed up.

Once edited, I will have to treat it much as I do HDV, where I back up to external drives plus burn a master copy to DVD, or BD.

That means for each project I shoot I will have my original Premiere Pro project file, a copy of it on a backup drive, and a copy on BD.

Not nearly as clean and simple as SD on tape, but what is? It should be workable.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 05:27 AM   #22
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Hard drives are getting cheaper than tape, but not by much (depending on your tapes) and the latter is arguably more reliable. I still have all my master tapes from the past ten years and am confident I could recapture video from most of them; the number of hard drives I've had fail during that period is sobering. With today's tape cameras you can record an hour of video for a few bucks and have your permanent archive as soon as you're done recording, plus record simultaneously to solid state or an HDD recorder if you have the right camera and accessories. With a solid-state only camera you have to take time to archive the data and sustain that archive indefinitely - for which the most reliable option may be a DLT tape! Plus you may need to transcode the footage to a less compressed format for effective editing, which reportedly takes longer than capturing footage from tape.

The biggest benefit I can see for today's solid state cameras is longer continuous record times compared to miniDV tape; other than that they're just trading one set of workflow issues for different ones.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 05:37 AM   #23
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The real advantages of MPEG2 over AVCHD are only in the number of available cameras that support HDV/MPEG2 and the current ease of editing.
What I'm saying is that AVC-HD will unarguably yield better quality than MPEG2 *at the same bitrate* - and the amount depends on the individual coders used - but with a high enough bitrate MPEG2 can be better than AVC-HD. The ease of editing argument is the attraction at the moment to using MPEG2, and just accepting the somewhat higher bitrate. You can still get 50 minutes of XDCAM-HD on a 16GB SDHC card.
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But that scene is changing every day. A year from now--maybe even 6 months--I doubt ease of editing AVCHD will be much of an issue.
I accept that point in principle, but I think your timescale is very optimistic. It also means that to buy an AVC-HD camera in one or two years time means you will have to upgrade your edit system, buying an MPEG2 camera doesn't.

I don't deny AVC-HD may be the way of the future, but still feel MPEG2 may be a better overall choice for the next few years.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 08:34 AM   #24
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I don't think conversion times are much of an issue now. As an example I have SR11 AVCHD cam I can transfer to the PC using the Sony Motion browser software an hour( about 8G at 1920x1080i) in about 15 mins and then use either Cineform Neo Scene or Canopus HQ to transfer to a very editable intermediary file in about the time it would take to capture an hour of tape. In the case of Neo Scene it will convert 1 hour of AVCHD in about 20 mins. Canopus HQ takes about 40 mins so both are less than the tape capture with the present versions. I can only assume it will get better in the future. I back up to 50G Bluray every so often from the hard drive that at the moment is about the same cost as tape for this time.

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Old January 15th, 2009, 09:57 AM   #25
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I don't think conversion times are much of an issue now. As an example I have SR11 AVCHD cam I can transfer to the PC using the Sony Motion browser software an hour( about 8G at 1920x1080i) in about 15 mins and then use either Cineform Neo Scene or Canopus HQ to transfer to a very editable intermediary file in about the time it would take to capture an hour of tape.
So you have no time advantage over capturing from tape and have the added time requirement of creating and maintaining your master archive - plus you didn't say how much computer horsepower you need to do the conversion in the time specified. If AVCCAM offers visibly better quality than HDV then it may be worth the new workflow requirements, but it doesn't appear to be a simpler or more efficient solution.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 11:34 AM   #26
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Big advantage for me of the SR11 is long record times and no tape changing to worry about. Transfer to PC is probably the slowest from a hard drive camcorder like the SR11 rather than a flash memory based camcorder. Once the program time gets over an hour there is a big advantage over tape. Capturing an hour and 40 mins from tape will require tape changes as well as capture time. If the event is longer there will always be tape changes. For programs shorter than 1 hour one can just back up to 8.5G DVD disc as fast as any other burning, say 20 mins. For a 1 hour program that means I can transfer to the PC and backup to disc in a lot less time than it takes to capture tape to the PC. Also there is a time advantage if I just want to edit short pieces in Vegas which does not require any conversion to edit realtime on the timeline.
I do mainly multicamera shoots of long programs so have to mix with two FX1 outputs as well as SR11 so this is worth the conversion time to be able to edit in realtime in Edius. It is difficult to compare quality at the moment for me as it is not fair to compare a $1300 1 chip camera with a $5000 3 chip camera whatever the recording process. However the SR11 produces a stunning picture easily equal to the FX1 in good light.Personally I would love an AVCHD version of the new Sony FX1000 with hard drive and flash card recording.
I agree backup is an issue but i have adopted the approach of keeping a copy on hard drive as well as optical disc and do not find this to be a problem now I have it all figured out.Having copies on the hard drive, in my case indexed by the Sony Browser software makes it easy to find things by folder or date. Beats sorting through boxes and I can use again immediately no recapture!!!!
As far as PC I have a Quad core Q9450, 8G RAM running Vista 64.

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Old January 15th, 2009, 01:54 PM   #27
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So you have no time advantage over capturing from tape and have the added time requirement of creating and maintaining your master archive - plus you didn't say how much computer horsepower you need to do the conversion in the time specified. If AVCCAM offers visibly better quality than HDV then it may be worth the new workflow requirements, but it doesn't appear to be a simpler or more efficient solution.
Kevin, I am seeing an improvement in picture quality in going from HDV (Canon XHA1) to the HMC150, especially in sports and low light situations. However it is more difficult to discern if these differences are all due to MPEG2 vs. MPEG4, or other camera design parameters. I am willing to invest some time to develop the new workflow, because from what I have seen, it has a lot of promise.

Last edited by Steve Wolla; January 15th, 2009 at 01:54 PM. Reason: Error correction
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Old January 15th, 2009, 02:08 PM   #28
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Hard drives are getting cheaper than tape, but not by much (depending on your tapes) and the latter is arguably more reliable.
As far as I can see, hard drives are clearly far cheaper than tapes based on a $10 miniDV tape. They are less than half, and that allows a redundant backup drive for each archive. That is better than tape, a non-backed up tape has no redundancy. I have quite a few threads where I have done comparisons.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
I still have all my master tapes from the past ten years and am confident I could recapture video from most of them; the number of hard drives I've had fail during that period is sobering.
If that were 1000 tapes, 100 per year, or 13,000 GB, I could store that on nine 1.5TB hard drives and 9 back up 1.5 TB hard drives. 18 X $130 = $2,340. Or 1,000 tapes @ only $5.00 = $5,000. The tapes I used were $10.00 each.

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Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
With today's tape cameras you can record an hour of video for a few bucks and have your permanent archive as soon as you're done recording, plus record simultaneously to solid state or an HDD recorder if you have the right camera and accessories. With a solid-state only camera you have to take time to archive the data and sustain that archive indefinitely - for which the most reliable option may be a DLT tape! .
What? A hard drive backup is extremely quick, it's not a factor. You are going to record to tape & HD? Why? Because you can work off the hard drive so you don't have to capture? You don't have to sustain a tape archive indefinately? What about the space for tape storage? What about a backup to the tape?

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Plus you may need to transcode the footage to a less compressed format for effective editing, which reportedly takes longer than capturing footage from tape.
Simply not a factor for 90% of users. For those who have problems, a computer upgrade and NLE updates will cure it just like when HDV first was released.

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Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
The biggest benefit I can see for today's solid state cameras is longer continuous record times compared to miniDV tape; other than that they're just trading one set of workflow issues for different ones.
That and;
1. tape dosen't support full raster HD
2. SS media dosent need to be captured
3. SS media files have metadata attached like date, location, shoot name, etc.
4. you can stop and review footage anytime, take the card out for a upload, etc. and you don't lose your place/timecode, you just start recording again when you put the card in.
5. etc.

With the newer SDXC cards coming out with super high speeds and up to 2 TB capacity, the market will probably see a few changes in the future. With a 2 TB card, optical media will be done for. Tape is already almost done.

http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/15389-N...tore-2-TB.html
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Old January 15th, 2009, 02:19 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
So you have no time advantage over capturing from tape and have the added time requirement of creating and maintaining your master archive - plus you didn't say how much computer horsepower you need to do the conversion in the time specified. If AVCCAM offers visibly better quality than HDV then it may be worth the new workflow requirements, but it doesn't appear to be a simpler or more efficient solution.

Another benefit (depending on what you are using it for) is instant review. You can take any clips you like and delete the rest instantly. You aren't required to capture them all and fish through them later. I've found this to be a huge benefit.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 03:11 PM   #30
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HMC-150 and Edius

Anyone out there using the 150 and Edius 5?

I have an FX-1000 but are wondering if the world of cards would be better for me as I am sick of the whole tape rewinding and just using tapes. Hard drives are cheap these days so I don't see having to purchase more drives as a problem.

I am interested to know how long it takes to down load a 16gig or 32 gig card to my computer and would I then need to convert the file?

What device do I need on my computer in order to read the file?

Also what about recording either live or after the shoot to a DVD recorder. Assuming this is straight forward - RCA out and the camera downconverts there and then tot eh recorder I hope).

One more - Is the zoom speed painfully slow like with the DVX100 or fast as with the Pana DVC30/DVC62? Hoping the later!

I am running a 3 gig dual core PC with 2 gig ram. It flies.

thanks

Martin.
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