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AVCHD Format Discussion
Inexpensive High Definition H.264 encoding to DVD, Hard Disc or SD Card.

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Old August 9th, 2009, 05:44 PM   #1
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AVCHD advice

I have an hfs 100 that i plan on using 90% of the time capturing family vids. I plan on doing very basic editing. I have an external usb hard drive that i want to archive my vids on as well as make copies on disc. i want the ability to disconnect the hard drive and hook it up to anyone's comp and be able to show vids. I am assuming archiving on the external hdrive in avchd will make that difficult to play vids on others comps. So, without too much loss in quality but increasing file sizes i wanted to convert all my AVCHD into AVI using Cineform. From my understanding Cineform AVI should be recognized and playable by just about most comps out there on the market? Yes or no?
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Old August 9th, 2009, 08:27 PM   #2
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Just a thought but have you had a look at the WD TV HD Media Player it's only small and will attach to a TV with hdmi or composite it works from any usb2 HDD or usb2 flash memory, and will play just about every format there is including AVCHD 1920x1080i. it would be easier to attach to a TV without the problems of incompatibility with computer systems.
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Old August 9th, 2009, 10:17 PM   #3
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Hi Stacy

Bruce Foreman has one of these players and says they are awesome!!!! I'm not too sure about computer connections!!!

What I do for people who don't have an HDTV is use the free Transcoder Software 2.1 from Panasonic. You can transcode the AVCHD directly to DV-AVI in either widescreen or 4:3 too and produce very good looking MPEG2 files that will play on any DVD player or computer!!! It's worth getting but unless you want complications just use the SD transcoding as the DVCPRO often needs extra codecs like RayLight!!

I do weddings and 99% of brides don't have a BluRay player so this makes life easy for me!!

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Old August 9th, 2009, 10:41 PM   #4
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Will the cineform version avi play as well on any dvd player?
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Old August 9th, 2009, 11:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Stacy Hostetler View Post
Will the cineform version avi play as well on any dvd player?
I haven't heard of DVD players being able to read Cineform AVIs, but there are many DVD players out there that can play multiple computer formats like: WMV, MP4, standard AVI, & MOV etc. But, it can be a crap shoot to depend on that. You probably won't know until you're standing in front of the machine, whether it will play back your video or not.

Cineform AVI's on a USB hard disk are a fairly reliable way to show off your video, BUT you should take care to download and include the free Cineform NEO player for both the PC and MAC. The downside is, you might have to deal with installing software on the computer, and then you have to worry about whether the computer is fast enough to play the video properly.

Personally I find the Western Digital HD Media Player to be a very reliable way to be able to show your video. It supports a wide range of video formats and there's almost always a monitor with composite inputs somewhere close by. It's quite a good and inexpensive solution especially with HDMI inputs becoming more common,

The best of all worlds is to have your video on disk, in a commonly support format like WMV, MP4, or MOV and a Western Digital HD Media Player so you have the option to show it on a computer or on a TV.
"Ultimately, the most extraordinary thing, in a frame, is a human being." - Martin Scorsese
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Old August 10th, 2009, 01:11 AM   #6
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Stacy -
I think you're mixing up a few things...

AVI and AVCHD are simply file formats, any computer that has sufficient horsepower can play back video (HD video may be more problematic, but SD should play on almost anything 5 years old or newer). You can always downconvert (usually there's a utility included with the camera software package) to SD for better playback on older machines.

You still need both a player (Windows Media Player, VLC, whatever software came with your camera, etc...) installed on the machine you want to play back on, AND the appropriate CODECs for the specific file format. Not every computer will have the software OR the proper CODEC... you should have those on your portable HDD, to install as needed.

DVD's are typically limited to SD video, although it is possible to record BluRay HD to a regular DVD, and some BR players will play it back. Neither DVD or BR are designed to play AVI files AFAIK...

I know this is a brief description, but hopefully it will steer you onto the right path, or at least a little closer.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 07:41 PM   #7
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The WD TV media player has 2 USB inputs for use with just about any USB mass storage device. While you can easily use an external USB hard drive you can just as easily put the files you intend to show on a USB "thumb" drive and play them from that.

A 26 minute HD WMV file (1280x720 60p) file shot with a Canon HF100 takes up 965MB on an 8GB "thumb" drive leaving me room for several more files. The WD TV unit itself is not much bigger than a game controller, it with a "wall wart", HDMI cable (and composite cables for use with non HD TV) should pack in a small camcorder bag for convenient transport to friends houses.

The system works just as well for digital slide shows, being a media player this thing handles digital image files, music files, as well as a variety of video formats.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 10:02 PM   #8
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Well what i was looking at, was that most players on computers seem to support just about all the other codecs except avchd. I was just looking to convert into another format with keeping the quality as close to the original. I know that avchd is really compressed but was not concerned with the size of the files. I just wanted to be able to haul around my portable hd and play formats of vids that any old machine would be able to play. Plus i gotta be honest, i don't quite get what i am supposed to be dragging to the ext hard drive. These darn mts files have like a bunch of files not just the vid and with another format i could make a library and change the name of the files so when i looked at the hdrive it would look organized. The avchd files are freakin all over the place. With another format it just looks way easier---drag 1file and ur done. There is absolutely no organization when the avchd files get downloaded from my camera to the pc.
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Old August 10th, 2009, 10:05 PM   #9
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By the way the West Digital media player does look really nice. Just was trying to get around taking a second device somewhere to play vids but it may come to that.
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Old August 12th, 2009, 10:36 AM   #10
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That WD media player does look nice.. I'm wondering how user friendly the menu interface is and how well it plays various formats (xvid, dvd rips, h264, etc..)

I was actually going to convert an old computer into a media player so I could rip my dvd collection onto it, but this looks like it should do the same thing at a much cheaper and smaller footprint
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Old August 12th, 2009, 02:59 PM   #11
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The WD Media player is brilliant if you want a tiny portable unit to play a variety of formats directly to an HDTV. The user interface is intuitive, and easy to use. It will play all of the more highly compressed formats (AVCHD, BR, WMV, etc.). It will not play high data rate HD avi files such as Cineform (100 mbs).
You load up a small USB drive (like a WD Passport) with the media you want to play, then all you need is the little media player, the USB drive and an HDMI cable & you can play the programs on any HDTV. The whole thing almost fits in your pocket and takes 30 sec to set up. It's perfect for situations where you're not sure what kind of equipment is available at your destination.
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Old August 13th, 2009, 08:48 AM   #12
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Answer to the original question

The original question was whether transcoding AVCHD files to Cineform is a good idea. Assuming you are talking about NeoScene, when you transcode AVCHD, it will convert into Cineform codec; on a Mac, it will wrap it in QuickTime; on Windows, it will be AVI. Either way, it will have 4:2:2 colour space and will be very, very big. In order to play it on any computer other than the one used for transcoding, you'd need Cineform's codec (free download).

More practical solution would be to import (or transcode) your AVCHD into your NLE (iMovie, Final Cut, Premiere; or if on Windows, Vegas, Premiere Elements/Pro, Pinnacle Studio or something else). From there, you can export the movie in QuickTime (on Mac) or WMV (on Windows), among many other choices. The resulting movie will be a single movie file (rather than dozens of individual AVCHD clips), it will be compressed (based on your choice at the time of export), it will be HD, good quality and reasonable size, with the quality being directly proportional to the size of the file. The resulting file will be playable without requiring additional codec(s).

This is what I've been doing with my AVCHD (acquire in iMovie, "Share" as QuickTime MPEG-4 to an external drive; any computer with QuickTime can play it back).

The workflow will work with an ordinary external HD for playback on a computer, or with that Western Digital device everyone seems to be so enthusiastic about here, for playback on HDTV.
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