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Old December 8th, 2008, 11:17 AM   #1
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Timeline stutter; mice teeth

I love editing videos in Vegas, but I have a couple annoyances I'm hoping you can help me fix. Here is the work flow I'm following now:

1) Import MPEG2-TS files (.m2t) from Sony HD camcorder (HDR-HC9)
- Camcorder outputs MainConcept MPEG-2 files
- 29.97fps interlaced, 1440x1080x32
- .m2t files are about 50min long
2) Since there is too much stutter on the timeline with the .m2t tiles, I must render to NTSC DV Widescreen AVI "intermediate files:"
- Video: 29.97fps, 720x480
- Pixel Aspect Ratio: 1.212. OpenDML compatible.
- Widescreen NTSC DV video files compatible with Sony Video Capture
3) Edit my video using the intermediate files; save the project
4) Replace my AVI intermediate files with orignal MPEG2-TS files
5) Render my project to the default settings of "MainConcept MPEG-2"
- Video: 29.970 fps, 1440x1082
- Aspect ration: 4:3
- Video quality slider setting = 15 (runs from 0-31)
- Variable bit rate

Here are the annoyances I'm looking for help on:

- I'd love to be able to edit the MPEG2 files directly in the timeline, but I don't
see how this can happen without a $3000 PC plus fast storage solution. I'm
not even sure that would help. My current PC specs are:

CPU: 3.0GHz P4630, 3GHz2MB L2 Cashe
Bus: 800MHz front side bus
RAM: 2GB PC-3200 400MHz DDR
Disk: 4 SATA internal drives, no raid, 71000RPM, capasity at 80-90% on each
OS: Win XP, SP3
NLE: Sony Vegas 6

- The final video is plagued with mice teeth on fast pans. It's truly awful. I've
actually shown DV versions on HD displays to audiences because the experience is
so much better for motion that my HDV movies. I've played around with the bundled
deinterlacers in Vegas 6, but they all seem to spit out the same crud for motion.

I'd appropriate any suggestions you'd like to offer to fix these annoyances. My budget for new hardware and software is $1000. I really don't care about optimizing rendering time, but I HATE timeline slowness and preview stutter (thus my use of intermediate files) so any upgrade dollars should target that problem first.
Regards,

Will
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Old December 9th, 2008, 01:55 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Thornburg View Post
My current PC specs are:
CPU: 3.0GHz P4630, 3GHz2MB L2 Cashe
Bus: 800MHz front side bus
RAM: 2GB PC-3200 400MHz DDR
Disk: 4 SATA internal drives, no raid, 71000RPM, capasity at 80-90% on each
OS: Win XP, SP3
NLE: Sony Vegas 6

- The final video is plagued with mice teeth on fast pans. It's truly awful. I've
actually shown DV versions on HD displays to audiences because the experience is
so much better for motion that my HDV movies. I've played around with the bundled
deinterlacers in Vegas 6, but they all seem to spit out the same crud for motion.

I'd appropriate any suggestions you'd like to offer to fix these annoyances. My budget for new hardware and software is $1000. I really don't care about optimizing rendering time, but I HATE timeline slowness and preview stutter (thus my use of intermediate files) so any upgrade dollars should target that problem first.
Regards,

Will
No Pentium4 system is capable of dealing with native HD footage. The P4 is 3-5 years older than HD footage. You can get aroudn that limitation if you are using multiple CPU Xeon systems of the same generation as the P4, but again... $3K system in no time.

To handle native HD you need at least a Core 2 Duo (if not a quad) or one of the programs that does gear shifting (swapping out the media for you).

I tried m2t files from a sony cam on my Core 2 duo with 2GB of DDR 2 ram. The result is that editing was simply not possible at any decent frame rate or at any decent quality setting.

Some here may be able to coax a Core 2 Duo into working (by dedicated OS drive, and software RAID storage for the video data, etc).

Secondly, Vegas6 is pretty old now (two years or more?) and you could probably do with an upgrade. I skipped 7 and went to 8. I love the memorized window docking (even if it doesn't realy work as expected) and the some of the snapping features.

From what I have read, Vegas is experiencing some growing pains to go to HD, though it is a wizard at SD. That is why my hurdle to go to HD includes three cams AND the need for a complete edit system upgrade. in other words, for me to go HD, I'd probably need to put $12K into the jump... and that just isn't going to happen (heck that was all my gross receipts from this entire past year!)
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Old December 9th, 2008, 07:41 PM   #3
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Will, welcome to the troubles of HD. From your specs, I see your cam is shooting 1080i, there is little you can do to stop the "mouse teeth" you are referring to besides avoiding fast pans.

As far as editing with your original files, it's very difficult for any system to do that. Mpeg2 is a highly compressed format, which to show a preview real time, has to be uncompressed real time, then have your edits added. I shoot with a JVC HD-100 (720P resolution), using Vegas 6, and if I create any type of interlaced video with a fast pan, you can still see those horrible interlace lines.

I could not get my system to preview until I started using intermediate files myself. I ended up using a produce from Cineform called Connect HD, which basicly uncompresses the files into AVI's. I then edit with these files, and use them for the final render as well.

The interlacing will show no matter what you do, unless you are carful not to pan too fast. I suggest watching some TV, with a DVR if you can on a good HD TV. If you pause it during a pan, I bet you can find even the big guys have the mouse teeth. This has always been in our TV's, the only reason we didn't know was because our TV's couldn't pause, and the resolution was too low to show it.

Heh, as I write this, I looked up at my TV, there was a shot of a few kids running arcoss a beach. Their legs showed the lines without me even looking for it. I guess my point is that it happens to everyone, most viewers don't even notice (and even less care), unless it is a big part of the screen & lasts too long.

I hope this helps a bit, just my thoughts.
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Old December 10th, 2008, 03:28 AM   #4
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To address your issues, as you know, you need to upgrade your hardware.

An example of what I found doing a quick search of the Dell site for you turned up the Dell XPS 630 available for $1200. It has Vista 64 bit and 8GB of ram and a Quad core processor. It comes with a very nice 640GB hard drive. If you were to buy that system, you could take one of your old hard drives put it into the Dell, use the restore disc and reinstall windows on that drive. Then use the 640GB drive as your video storage drive. Problem solved. (unless your old hard drive is IDE, then you would want to buy a new SATA hard drive for $100and use that instead).

It is not a bad deal, but you could build your own for less if you wanted.

I don't see you needing a $3K machine.


Dell Laptops and Desktops with Windows Vista 64-bit
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Old December 10th, 2008, 06:51 PM   #5
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You guys are awesome!

Jason Robinson and Jeff Harper: Thanks for the spelling out the reality of the situation. It's good to get come confirmation on my fears. I actually tried Vegas 6 with my MPEG files on a system with a dual-core AMD Opteron 1200 series CPU. It was MUCH improved, but still not very usable (it was also running XP SP2 which I think is 32 bit). I assume what I'd want to do before repeating that test is get a 64 bit OS and a quad core CPU. Would a second CPU help? I'm still unsure what the main needs of timeline editing are: Is it CPU/Memory or disk I/O. If the latter, would using shorter MPEG clips in the timeline help any?

Justin Deming: I was afraid of that. I thought there may be some good deinterlacers out there which would help. The algorithms highlighted at What is deinterlacing? The best method to deinterlace movies show examples of the "teeth" converted into a blur which I would much prefer; I just can't seem to do that in Vegas. If anyone has had luck here, I'd love to get the details.

Regards,

Will
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Old December 10th, 2008, 08:16 PM   #6
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Will, take a look at the HDV to SD deinterlace: surprise! on the Sony Vegas forum.
I'm sure you'll find some suggestions to minimize your "mice teeth" problems.
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Old December 14th, 2008, 03:09 PM   #7
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The cheapest way to increase performance is to upgrade Vegas. The rendering engines with HDV in later versions are much faster than 6. You also don't need to get 64bit Windows to run a Quadcore and it has been shown that more than 2 or 3 gig of RAM doesn't speed up renders much. You don't need to RAID hard drives as they are more than fast enough for HDV which is exactly the same bitrate as plain old DV.

What you need is plain old Windows XP and the cheapest quadcore you can find. I have the Q6600 and editing HDV is smooth in all but the highest quality preview window. Editing speed is all in the CPU. It is not effected by having huge amounts of RAM, a RAID, or a fast video card. 64-bit is essentially irrelevant at this time since the extra RAM is not utilized efficiently. The extra hassles with drivers does not seem to be worth the time and money. If you build them yourself, you can get a mobo, cpu, RAM upgrade for probably under $450 that would fix your problem and you wouldn't need to deal with a new OS.

Your computer is probably 1/8th the speed of a quadcore and Vegas 6 compounds that problem.
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Old December 18th, 2008, 01:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
The cheapest way to increase performance is to upgrade Vegas. The rendering engines with HDV in later versions are much faster than 6. You also don't need to get 64bit Windows to run a Quadcore and it has been shown that more than 2 or 3 gig of RAM doesn't speed up renders much. You don't need to RAID hard drives as they are more than fast enough for HDV which is exactly the same bitrate as plain old DV.
That's good to know, thanks! Will Vegas 8 make much difference with regard to timeline performance when the clips are MPEG2? That's really my holy grail. I'm sick of using intermediate AVIs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
What you need is plain old Windows XP and the cheapest quadcore you can find. I have the Q6600 and editing HDV is smooth in all but the highest quality preview window. Editing speed is all in the CPU. It is not effected by having huge amounts of RAM, a RAID, or a fast video card. 64-bit is essentially irrelevant at this time since the extra RAM is not utilized efficiently. The extra hassles with drivers does not seem to be worth the time and money. If you build them yourself, you can get a mobo, cpu, RAM upgrade for probably under $450 that would fix your problem and you wouldn't need to deal with a new OS.
Are you using native MPEG2 when you say HDV editing is smooth on your Q6600?

I'm not sure I understand why a dual or quad core would help with timeline editing since that is not a parallelizeable process. I can see how it would help with rendering and general computing performance with multiple applications running but timeline editing seems it'd be tied to a single CPU thread and therefore would not see any performance gain from multiple cores.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
Your computer is probably 1/8th the speed of a quadcore and Vegas 6 compounds that problem.
Understood; thank you for the info!

Will
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Old December 18th, 2008, 03:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Kujbida View Post
Will, take a look at the HDV to SD deinterlace: surprise! on the Sony Vegas forum.
I'm sure you'll find some suggestions to minimize your "mice teeth" problems.
Oh wow! That is exactly what I was looking for Mike! Miceteeth are G O N E !

Also, for fast motion without ghosting, I set File -> Properties -> Deinterlace method to "Interperpolate fields." If I select "blend fields" I'm still able to eliminate the mice teeth, but I wind up with ghosting.
Regards,

Will
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Old December 18th, 2008, 04:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will Thornburg View Post
I'm not sure I understand why a dual or quad core would help with timeline editing since that is not a parallelizeable process. I can see how it would help with rendering and general computing performance with multiple applications running but timeline editing seems it'd be tied to a single CPU thread and therefore would not see any performance gain from multiple cores.
I was under the impression taht multiple cores DOES make a difference because all the effects layers (colro correction, saturation, etc) are essentially real time effects that need to be processed in order to complete each preview frame. The preview speeds on my 3GHz P4HT system are slightly slower than on my 2Ghz Core 2 Duo system. The latter system is a true multi-core CPU, where as the former is a fake multi-core system. Even though the P4 system has a RAID0 stripe, the previewing is smoother on the core 2 duo system.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 08:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus Marchesseault View Post
The cheapest way to increase performance is to upgrade Vegas. The rendering engines with HDV in later versions are much faster than 6.
Agree. I can capture and edit HDV footage from a Sony HVR-A1 on a lightweight Core 2 Duo laptop (1.8Ghz, 2GB RAM), with no problems using Vegas 8. (Vegas 6 was barely usable on a much faster desktop system.) I am working with the M2T files as captured. It's not super snappy, but certainly usable. Make sure your preview mode is set to "Preview - Auto" or lower, unless you're really looking for detail.

Re deinterlacing - the post cited from the Vegas forum is a bit confused, but the recommendation is correct - use blend or interpolate for deinterlacing in the project settings (I prefer interpolate). Vegas is very smart about managing interlacing - if you are rescaling footage, it will actually separate the fields behind the scenes, scale them, and then recombine them. So 60i HDV will become 60i MPEG2 for DVD with no artifacts.

I get best results from HDV to DVD by 1) editing in an HDV project 2) using 'interpolate' deinterlacing in the project settings and 3) forcing 30p in the render settings.
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