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Old May 10th, 2010, 07:16 PM   #1
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Premiere CS5 Plays Nice with NX5U

I've been toying with Premiere CS5 on a Mac Pro where I work and discovered that it handle's the NX5U's timecode just fine, as long as it's reading the MTS files off the original card and not individual files copied to the computer. Playback and scrubbing through big files was very smooth. The Metalogging view is especially nice for logging and preview (up to full screen). Once imported I was able to export to ProRes with all metadata intact, including original timecode.

I'm working in FCP so this is not a practical solution for the timecode problem, but it's good to know at least one program on the Mac is reading the timecode.

Also, AVCHD editing performs MUCH better than on CS4, though I haven't done much to see if it suffers in any crucial areas.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 08:19 PM   #2
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thanks for the feedback

I'll be getting one of the CS5 suites that includes Premiere & Photoshop, and it's reassuring to know as a Mac and FCP user that this could be a temporary workaround to ingesting AVCHD footage and preserving original camera timecode when exporting to Pro Res. And then import that footage into FCP.

I assume that Premiere has a similar feature to FCP's Log and Transfer and that you can select what transcode option you want to go through.

With Premiere how many flavors of Pro Res are available to transcode to? I assume the regular 422 and LT?

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Old May 10th, 2010, 09:36 PM   #3
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You can use either the Media Browser or import clips into a project and then preview, select in-out points, and add meta data. In either case you need to first import any clips into a project that you want to transcode to ProRes. Importing doesn't involve any transcoding and only takes a second.

Premiere looks to just be reading whatever codecs FCP has in the Quicktime conversion option, so presumably you need FCP on that machine to have the ProRes codecs. It has the same five flavors: 422, HQ, LQ, Proxy and 4444. You have to do a bit of tweaking to set the same frame size, interlacing if any, etc. It doesn't automatically match the source. But you can create profiles pretty easily. The export is through Media Encoder.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 09:46 AM   #4
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Hi Matt

That's a relief -- but tell us, if you copy the whole contents of a card (not just the .mts files) to a harddrive and import from the harddrive, do you still get timecode etc.? I presume you do, but I'd like to be sure!

Also, what are the specs on the Mac Pro you're using? Working with AVCHD natively should in theory test the limits of most systems -- does it run hot? Is it unstable?

Looking forward to your response! FCP is so bad with AVCHD -- Log & Transfer keeps crashing, and requiring whole system reboot etc. etc. that I am seriously looking at Premiere (if it works with a new MacBook Pro with i7 processor, that is.)


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Old May 11th, 2010, 10:46 AM   #5
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I've been editing from AVCHD for the past two years on FCP with a dual-core notebook. (Originally with a Canon HF10 as a b-roll camera, now with a NX5U added as a primary.) It works fine. Like most archive formats it requires an ingest process, which I would like to be faster, but isn't unworkable. There is a known bug that FCP can crash when shuttling around a clip. Easy work around, don't do it. Just play the clip to find the right one, import the clips you need and then trim in the main timeline. Not really a big deal. If it's requiring a complete reboot, you may have something else wrong with your system. Personally, I'm using a Macbook Pro with 4GB of Ram, a dual-core 2.4ghz processor and I have lots of various codecs and video tools installed, even a Matrox MX02 Mini Max and it's not the fastest, but it's certainly stable and working for my fast-paced schedule. (note: I often edit while on the road.) In my experience, if something like FCP is crashing as much as you say it is, it's highly unlikely that a program like Premiere will be any more stable. There's something else going on there.

I don't really get why everyone is so bent on editing the native AVCHD files? It's an amazing archive format since it maintains great quality with very little space. I keep one raid array just to store the AVCHD masters. I then transcode the fat working files for the necessary projects, which are on cheapo standard external drives (I often have to go back to the archives since I do motorsports, and when we do profiles, it's great to pull historical footage of teams.) The work files for individual shows can eventually be deleted (though, to be honest, I just buy LaCie rugged hard drives and never seem to actually delete anything)

To me, it's almost a perfect workflow and archive solution.

Ryan Douthit, Producer
Driving Sports TV
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Old May 11th, 2010, 02:47 PM   #6
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Maybe not so nice

Adam, the timecode is picked up as long as the mts file is inside the original file structure. So if you copy your entire card as is to the computer, that works fine. You can even drag and drop individual mts files from the stream folder and it will grab the timecode.

Now for the bad news. I noticed a problem with some NX files I was testing today where red colors in the footage were producing lines that looked a little like interlacing effects, except that the footage was 720p. I was seeing these lines in the Media Browser even before importing. Worst of all, these lines are present in the exported ProRes files. The same files looks fine when viewed with Movist or when imported into FCP. It's clearly something with Premiere and these AVCHD files.

I'm pretty new to Premiere so I'll start a thread in the Premiere forum and see if anyone can figure this out. I don't think it has anything to do with the various playback settings, which are all on full, since none of those should affect exporting to ProRes.

I'm using a Mac Pro dual quad core 2.8Ghz and it doesn't seem to be pushing my system much, but all I've done is throw a few clips in the timeline, no effects or anything where you might start to see performance break down. This Mac does not have a graphics card that supports the Mercury playback engine, by the way, something that people have been raving about. And no laptops on the market have a supported card either. But the Mercury engine only kicks in for certain kinds of rendering, as far as I understand. Systems without a supported card should still do everything if only a bit slower. The new i7 MB Pros should handle things fine, though I would check other forums and see what people are saying.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 08:07 AM   #7
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Problem Footage

Here's a still of the problem I'm having. So far it's the only footage I've seen this with but I'll keep testing and see if I can reproduce it. This is from my wife's dance recital in a theatre that was not lit for video, so I was fighting against hot spots all the time, but none of the red was overexposed. As I mentioned, the clips look fine when viewed outside of Premiere or when transcoded to ProRes in FCP.

PP CS5: Strange Artifacts with NXCAM AVCHD Footage
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Premiere CS5 Plays Nice with NX5U-mts.jpg  
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Old May 12th, 2010, 10:30 AM   #8
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When you export an edited sequence from the Premiere Pro timeline, does it look okay or does it still have the weird semi-interlacing going on?

My first impulse is to suggest that perhaps since editing AVCHD is so processor intensive it gives you a scratch quality preview in the editing application but will output just fine.
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Old May 12th, 2010, 10:51 AM   #9
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hey matt, had a similar problem with nx5 footage in final cut that was output as rgb 8 bit then reimported to the 10 bit project that created it. is your timeline set to 8 bit by chance?

for me, the problem has been avoided in final cut by keeping everything pro-res until the last minute then outputting as 10 bit using compressor.

i used to have the same issue with my dvx100b in final cut so for me at least it's not the nx5 that's causing the issue. something mysterious in the way the editing software handles rgb files (i assume! you can never seem to find a straight answer on things like this...)

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Old May 12th, 2010, 11:12 AM   #10
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It's the same when I export from the timeline, whether to ProRes at matching settings, or to h264 at 30p. The sequence is set to the AVCHD 720-60p preset which matches the footage, but I don't think that has anything to do with it since the lines are appearing in the Media Browser, which previews the mts files straight from the card, even before importing. The problem was also replicated on a MacBook Pro.

I think any NXCAM user thinking of getting Premiere CS5 should download the trial first and see if this is happening on their system.
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Old July 3rd, 2010, 07:39 AM   #11
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Looks like the problem I was getting is a known issue with Premiere, apparently a chroma bug:

CS5 and AVCHD chroma bug
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