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Sony HVR-Z5 / HDR-FX1000
Pro and consumer versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old April 21st, 2012, 09:01 PM   #1
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Errors with AVCHD encoding

Just wondering if people are still buying HDV format cameras. I have recently sold my pair of PD-170 cameras and started looking at some consumer AVCHD camcorders. Since doing some tests I have had a few rare cases where files were not able to be transferred into the editing programs. They play fine on the camcorder but unknown errors occur in transferring. I have tried highspeed SDHC/SDXC cards of various brands and none seem to be any more reliable than the others in my tests.

Because of this, I am questioning the reliability of AVCHD, at least in the consumer grade camcorders and looking at going back to HDV or hybrid prosumer camcorders such as the FX1000 or Z5U with an MRC1k as I do not have enough cash to spend on XDCAM or other types.

Is HDV still recommended or is it too old a system to use now?

Also, am I correct in understanding that the Z5U and FX1000 can record in 1080p/30p or is that something the higher models can do.

Thanks
Mark

Last edited by Mark Chafe; April 21st, 2012 at 10:12 PM.
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Old April 21st, 2012, 10:26 PM   #2
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Re: Errors with AVCHD encoding

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Originally Posted by Mark Chafe View Post
Is HDV still recommended or is it too old a system to use now?
HDV is 25mbps 4:2:0 mpeg2 in a transport stream recorded on tape. There are new camcorders which record similar mpeg2 files to flash memory. Notable models include the Canon XF100 and XF300, Sony EX1, EX1R and EX3 and JVC HM150, HM650 and HM750. While mpeg2 is old compared to the mpeg4 standard, I expect it will still be used for a long time.

It sounds like you may have faulty software or hardware. What program and card reader are you using to transfer the AVCHD files to your computer? If the flash memory cards play in the camera, they should also play on your computer.
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Old April 21st, 2012, 11:22 PM   #3
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Re: Errors with AVCHD encoding

I have a NX5U, SR11, XR500 and CX700 all AVCHD cams and gave up tape several years ago. Never had ANY problems with AVCHD on my PC that is now over several years and many gigabytes of files. First AVCHD camera was the SR7 which I think went out of production 5 years ago!!! Always transfer using the Sony software which joins files for clips over the FAT32 file size limit and renames to the date and time shot was taken. I don't miss video tape at all. Though I do backup all my data to LTO3 data tape !!

I think the problem is your PC or the software you are using. If it plays in the camera its the PC or software. Class 4 cards are fast enough as recommended by most manufacturers though I either use the internal memory in the cameras or 32G Class10 Patriot cards. Class 10 cards are low cost these days so little point in using anything else. Use the software that came with the camera for transfer. Using the PC OS to transfer files from the card is a sure way of creating errors.

My work flow is to use the Sony software to transfer files to a directory named for the project. Backup these files to data tape. Then use files from the directory in my NLE . Mainly Edius 6.07 occasionally Vegas11 or Premiere Pro CS5.5. Usually leave files on the cameras until project is finished and I know both files and project are backed up then I delete from camera. All the cameras have at least 7 hours of video storage which is enough for a few projects so not a problem.

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Old April 22nd, 2012, 01:59 AM   #4
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Re: Errors with AVCHD encoding

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Originally Posted by Mark Chafe View Post
Also, am I correct in understanding that the Z5U and FX1000 can record in 1080p/30p or is that something the higher models can do.
The FX1000 does 24p and 30p over 60i, that is, in a 60i stream. The Z5 does this too, as well as doing true 24p and 30p.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 06:11 AM   #5
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Re: Errors with AVCHD encoding

The camera I tried was the Canon HF M400 with some class 10 SDHC cards. A lexar and a transcend 16GB. Both with the same results.

I transferred the video 2 ways. One via the usb cable direct into the camcorder, and alternatively copying the avchd folder to the hard drive and transferring from there. Same results were observed in both FCP and iMovie. 2 Clips were on the card at the time. One was 30 seconds, the other 2m05s. The 2m05 second clip failed to transfer into the program in all cases. It starts to transfer but halfway through the progress bar it stops and comes back with a warning symbol or "error" caption. Another clip failed to transfer as well but I forget what length.

I have only had 2 clips so far fail, however still right now a little concerned. Not saying I never had problems with HDV or DV tape, but right now I feel a bit more confident especially with a hybrid system.

Mark
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 09:05 AM   #6
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Re: Errors with AVCHD encoding

I can't help with the Mac as all mine are PC's progressing from Win XP to now Win7. But I can say that at the moment I have logged close to 6 Terabytes of AVCHD without a problem. All my projects are theatre so the clips are usually around 1 hour in length. Each camera takes about 12mins to transfer its 2 hour clips. I run 4 camera multicam shoots so end up transferring close to 8 hours for each show. Edius and Vegas will edit with the RAW files so no need to transcode.

It's your software. Transferring AVCHD is a file transfer just like copying from a USB stick or hard drive. It's not like DV or HDV where the transfer speed needs to be maintained. There are many using Mac's with AVCHD but there are particular ways of doing log and transfer that need to be followed I think. Maybe a Mac user can respond or post on the FCP forum

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Old April 22nd, 2012, 12:07 PM   #7
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Re: Errors with AVCHD encoding

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Originally Posted by Mark Chafe View Post
Same results were observed in both FCP and iMovie. 2 Clips were on the card at the time.
FCP and iMovie have more trouble ingesting clips from a corrupted or non-standard AVCHD catalog than most other NLEs. To ensure compatibility, make sure you reformat the flash card in camera before use. Also, don't remove the battery from the camera while it is turned on.

In the case of a flash card that FCP and iMovie won't ingest. I would suggest copying the .mts files directly off the card using an OS/X terminal window and converting them to Quicktime using Clipwrap.

ClipWrap: Easy AVCHD and HDV conversion for the Mac
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