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Panasonic LUMIX LX / FZ Series
4K and AVCHD via compact point & shoot "bridge" cameras.


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Old June 27th, 2015, 11:03 PM   #1
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FZ1000 AVCHD or MP4??

Hi Guys

Our very busy Chris Hurd hasn't found the time yet to make a forum for bridge cameras so I'm posting this here in the meantime.

What is the advantage or shooting AVCHD against MP4 ...my camera can do both at 108050P and the file sizes are much the same too. The IQ looks very much the same to me too. The only disadvantage I can find is that AVCHD will split the file into a second one if you hit the file size limit (2GB I think still) MP4 will allow the file to run to 4GB but after that you are sunk ..recording will stop so at 50P the max you can shoot is 20 minutes before recording grinds to a halt whereas AVCHD will create 2 or more files until the camera record limit is reached at 30 minutes.

I found that MP4 seems to be easier on the edit timeline and need less processor horsepower ... In terms of image quality is it a "poorer" format??? MY FZ1000 does it's 4K only in MP4 and it looks awesome

Anyone care to comment??

Chris
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Old June 28th, 2015, 05:15 AM   #2
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Re: FZ1000 AVCHD or MP4??

Hi Chris,

I have found that AVCHD gives the same picture quality for a smaller file for final delivery, but MP4 is definitely quicker on the timeline. I notice it most on a school production shoot where I use 4 cameras. If I shoot in MP4, there is less stuttering in multicamera view..

The difference in apparent image quality seems minimal and if your final delivery is DVD, then I would use what gives you the easiest to work with as they will both look the same on DVD.

Roger
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Old June 28th, 2015, 07:00 AM   #3
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Re: FZ1000 AVCHD or MP4??

Thanks Roger

I shot 60 seconds with AVCHD 1080 50P at 28mbps and my MTS file was 199mb ... I then shot with MP4 50P at 28 mbps for 60 seconds and the file was exactly the same size !! I really thought the MTS file would be a LOT smaller!!

So the only difference here would be that the MP4 recording non stop would reach the 4GB limit in around 20 minutes and then stop recording ... the AVCHD would split in around 10 minutes at 2GB and then create a second file up until 20 minutes and finally create a third split file for 10 minutes when the camera limit was reached. OK so you can get 30 mins non stop on AVCHD and 20 minutes on MP4 as the 4GB limit is reached before the camera limit.

If of course you shoot at 25P (which I prefer) the bit rate is only 20mbps so the 4GB limit is reached at 27 minutes which is close enough to the camera limit ... it is certainly way easier to import one 4GB file than have to import 3 MTS files via a utility so they stitch together correctly . Yes MP4 seems to br far more fluid on the time line and I cannot see any issues on the IQ of the MP4 ... Sadly in AVCHD there is no real 25P ...they call it 50i with a sensor output of 25P so I'm guessing that it's a 25P file in a 50i wrapper

I still have some weeks of "play time" left so I'll try a few comparisons next week

Chris

Chris
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Old July 1st, 2015, 11:10 AM   #4
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Re: FZ1000 AVCHD or MP4??

Chris,

The reading and research I've done indicates both AVCHD and MP4 use the H.264 CODEC. And from what I can see I can't find any IQ difference. So I use MP4 mostly. Since I generally record very short "takes" the file limit is never reached, and in the U.S. there is no "time" limitation.

I'm using a GH4 these days and love that 4K rendered to 1080p after editing.
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Old July 4th, 2015, 11:01 PM   #5
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Re: FZ1000 AVCHD or MP4??

Hi Bruce

Nice to touch base with you again! I see you had a bunch of cameras for sale here too .. The GH4 is a great camera! The limit doesn't worry me at all and although I do have the 30 min limit on AVCHD the MP4 format is limited to 4GB which even at 50FPS is still 20 minutes of footage and I rarely do more than that in one take so my files are more manageable ...Yeah I find that Sony Vegas seems to like MP4 a lot better on the timeline plus because of the different audio format Vegas also doesn't have to go thru it's audio peak routine so that saves a bit of time. On the FZ cameras due to the huge file sizes, MP4 4K isn't limited to 4GB as that is reached very quickly!!

I get pretty good footage even at MP4 25P which is at 20mbps instead of 28 for 50P ... I used to shoot 50P so I could get decent slomo but these cameras also have a 100 fps slomo mode so I use that instead

Chris
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Old July 5th, 2015, 03:01 AM   #6
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Re: FZ1000 AVCHD or MP4??

Hi Chris,

I find much the same as you, no noticeable image difference between AVCHD and MP4 at the same bitrate, which is 24mbps maximum for 25p and still none at 50p (which I don't normally use, I prefer 25p like you) which is 28mbps for AVCHD and 35mbps for MP4.

It's worth checking some of each footage with Mediainfo, or whatever the Windows equivalent is, to see whether it's high, medium or low profile and whether it uses CABAC. MP4 used to be, possibly still is by some manufacturers, used for a quick and dirty low quality, easily exportable format. If the two codecs use the same settings, then the quality should really be the same.

I prefer the MP4 file structure, particularly for holiday footage, since it is dated and easier to sort.

Dave
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Old July 5th, 2015, 06:12 AM   #7
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Re: FZ1000 AVCHD or MP4??

Thanks Dave

I switched to MP4 mainly because I like to shoot in 25P and these cameras don't seem to have an AVCHD mode for 25P unless I'm getting confused .. The have a 1080 50P which they call progressive and then a 17mbps 50i mode and then a 24mbps 50i mode BUT with a sensor output of 25 fps ....I'm not sure if that's 25P in a 50i wrapper or just a higher interlaced bit rate. However their 24P is also progressive.

I got confused so I stuck with MP4 that does 25P at 20mbps, 50P at 28 mbps and of course 4K at 100mbps ... I'll have to record some footage in AVCHD 50i and sensor outout of 25 and see what Sony Vegas considers it to be progressive or interlaced ..Have you any idea???

Chris
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Old July 6th, 2015, 02:34 AM   #8
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Re: FZ1000 AVCHD or MP4??

Hi Chris,

I don't know your cameras of course, but my Canons shoot AVCHD as 25p, store it as 50i, but when put on the timeline and not de-interlaced, Vegas treats it as progressive footage anyway since the two fields are the same. At least that's what Vegas Pro 9 did with my HF S100 PF footage.

I don't see the logic of splitting 25p footage into 50i for storage, unless it's the only way to give the choice of shooting 50i if you want to. I did think it was only Canon that did it, maybe not?

Dave
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Old July 6th, 2015, 03:27 AM   #9
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Re: FZ1000 AVCHD or MP4??

Thanks Dave

I must shoot a bit of AVCHD 50i/25P and see what Vegas says it is?? It might be so it handles motion better?? We all know that 50i is great for motion and you get no blur or staggering and if that's combined with identical 25P frames you get a 25P timeline that has both advantages.

I shot a realty condition report on the Panasonic today in MP4 25P and even with quite fast camera movements I never noticed ant blur on the footage although it was visible now and again on the EVF (my EVF's are electronic not optical like cameras with mirrors) The MP4 looked pretty good I must admit

Chris
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