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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 November 16th, 2010, 03:40 PM   #1
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HMC150's AVCHD SDHC chip to a DVD?

Earlier this month I got an HMC150. I used it last week to record three of my daughters’ high school varsity soccer games, and I’ve been trying ever since the first game to produce a DVD. So far I’ve spent probably 20 hours trying, and have not been unsuccessful. Initially, I’d expected to do titling, editing and fading - but I’ve long since given up on the fancy stuff. I just need a product. The coaches are expecting DVDs for training purposes and I’m feeling bad, and under a lot of pressure. If I could get a DVD of exactly what I recorded I’d be happy enough – for now at least. Here are the software packages that I’ve tried:

1) An EDIUS NEO2 BOOSTER (Ver. 2.5) installation CD came in the Panasonic box. I registered the 150 and received a serial number that allowed me to install the software. I loaded up the software and found it totally non-intuitive as to how to get started. After a couple of hours going around in circles I finally figured out that I wouldn’t ever discover by myself how to input my video, so I browsed for hours through the 600+ page manual – looking for clues on how to capture video. I spent more time than I want to admit to, and was none-the-wiser. The software still seemed to have no mechanism to capture the video.

2) My wife had given me a Pinnacle Studio Ultimate version 11 for Christmas last year that claimed on the box to be AVCHD compatible (I was already thinking about the 150 and AVCHD). I finally opened the box, updated online to version 11.1, got my “Customer Care ID”; my “dream glow” activation key; and activation keys for both “H.264” and “MyMPEG-4DivX”. I put all the keys in and expected to be able to do something with my SDHC cards. Nope! It will read in the AVCHD files and deposit them where I tell it. But it tells me when I try to add the clips to a project that there is an “error in reading” for each and every segment. It did this over and over. Nothing records to DVD if I try to output anyway.

3) I tried Windows Live Movie Maker. I downloaded a copy last Sunday night, so I assume it’s the latest and greatest. It doesn’t allow for a lot of options associated with the capture, but how it supposed to function is far easier to figure out. So, I captured the AVCHD files with Movie Maker and that part seemed to work. The files are all annotated as AVCHD (comforting), and if I double click any one of them, it plays nicely on the monitor. SO, I created a simple title, and attempted to finally create a DVD. It seemed at first that it might be working, but after few minutes into the process the computer froze up and I got the “not responding” system message (I had nothing else running). I tried this about four or more times (and wasted a DVD each time).

I subsequently attempted to point first Pinnacle, and then EDIUS to the files that Movie Maker captured, but that didn’t work either. I got read errors or file type not found messages.

4) Finally in desperation, I tried my old DvDirect by Sony that I’ve been using to turn my digital 8 into DVDs without having a computer involved. The instruction manual claims it to be AVCHD compatible. But the USB socket does not operate the 150 as it did for my old Digital 8 camera. If I manually force the 150 to play, it sees nothing. There is an SD card slot, but the SDHC cards are not recognized. So my old easy “work flow” is not an option with my new camera..

Help please! I’m slow, so instructions have to be very specific. If I have to buy something that’s OK – so long as it is VERY intuitive or else comes with very clear documentation.
How are folks who do this for a living using the output from the 150’s AVCHD’s chips? Are you making DVDs?


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Old November 16th, 2010, 07:43 PM   #2
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I would try downloading the trial version of the Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum Production Suite, which is the consumer version of the Vegas Pro video editor. You can do almost anything with Vegas, and it's fairly easy to learn.

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Old November 17th, 2010, 09:17 AM   #3
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Download 30 days trial of Sony Vegas, I think you'll be happy you did. First I would use your HCM150 software to transfer all your video into your computer open Vegas and then import your video onto Vegas timeline, or you can drag the video onto vegas timeline, both of this method will work. You say all you want is tittling and fade, that is so darn easy to do. If you need some basic learning with Vegas, Go to youtube type in Vegas tutorial, you'll get a craps loads of them, a lot of them are very good for beginner and some even for advance. Good luck.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 11:35 AM   #4
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In a pinch, can't you just take the analog out of the camera to the Sony DVD direct? At least that way you can make a quick DVD for the coaches and then experiment with software solutions. I'm assuming that the 150 will play back over the analog out. I'm also sure the quality will be fine for training purposes. In the future if you are in a static location, you might want to think about making using the analog outs and making a DVD recording on site. I do that at dance recitals and give the studio a wide shot DVD right after it's done. Basically they use it for evaluation of how the overall dances looked on the entire stage.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 12:07 PM   #5
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Richard - I have the HMC40 and actually prefer Edius Neo 2.5 Booster over Premiere Elements and Vegas. My Panasonic HMC40 came with Barry Green's HMC book and there are many tutorials available on the internet and at the Edius web site.

Are you saving your clips to your computer off the SDHC card first and then bringing them to the timeline? I ask this because you mentioned a "capturing" problem with Edius.

Like others mentioned, you could download the trial version of Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD and see if you like it.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 12:32 PM   #6
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David is correct that is the best way to do a quick transfer to DVD.
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Old November 17th, 2010, 04:11 PM   #7
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Making progress with the AVCHD to DVD

I took Guy’s suggestion and last evening downloaded the Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum Production Suite. I was impressed with the documentation and with the interface. I re-captured the clips from the SDHC chip; drug them to the timeline; created a title, and made a movie (saved to the hard drive). The selections felt more obvious to me than with the other software I’d tried - and it seemed to work. I was surprised however, by how long it took my computer to actually create the movie to disk. I thought I had a fast PC, but it took hours.

I subsequently wrote the movie I’d saved out to a dual layer DVD. That step didn’t take but a few minutes, and I was given a success message. Sadly, it fails to play in my (old) DVD player in the bedroom. I discovered that this morning so didn’t send the movie to school with the girls. I thought I’d selected MPG-2 output, but I must have done something wrong. I’ll worry with that tonight.

I tried to use my Sony DvDirect as I have in the past – just to get something into the coaches’ hands. But it doesn’t “see” the camera output via the USB port. It was advertized as being AVCHD compatible, but I wonder.

I’m anxious to watch some tutorials on available online, as Bruce suggested. I got a nice DVD with the camera that goes over the functions of the camera itself. It was good for me and probably accounts for my first attempt looking fairly good on the computer screen ( getting fuzz in tracking movement though).

I’ll give Edius Neo 2.5 Booster another try when I get a breather. Especially since I already own it. I suspect that as I get more exposure to the process that fewer things will appear obscure to me. I normally find it fun to learn, I just feel like I’m letting fplks down by taking so long. I’m three games behind already, and they have two more this week. I’m off now to try that movie I made yesterday in another DVD player.

Thanks all.
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Old November 19th, 2010, 04:33 PM   #8
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If you are down scaling HD video to SD format ( what a standard DVD uses ) then be prepared for long wait-times with all software packages.

If I am editing a video that will be delivered as a DVD, then I first drop all my video clips on to the timeline, make my basic adjustments for color and contrast ( LEVELS, HSL Adjust, Color Balance plug-ins ), then render the entire timeline in SD resolution ( 720x480 ), which I make sure is being saved to a different physical hard-drive. ( it takes forever if you are writing the new rendered file to the SAME hard-drive )

Once this new SD resolution file is done, then I bring it in to the Vegas editor and do my final edit, which will then render really fast to MPEG-2 format, which is the format used to build DVDs.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 06:31 AM   #9
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if you weren't that far away from Miami, i would be more than happy to sit down with you and help you on your project.

you said dual layer DVD, why?
is the game really longer than 2 hrs?

you have an HD camera and DVD video is ALWAYS standard def.
make sure that what you wrote wasn't a blu-ray on DVD disc.

you need to down convert the video to Standard Def. the software should do this automatically...
when you said it took buta few minutes, it leads me to believe that the video is still HD-Bluray and not SD-DVD.

it should take you at minimum half of what the whole length of the movie(soccer games are 45minX2, so that's 1:30 hrs.

unless you were just doing a recap... :P
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Old December 8th, 2010, 04:53 PM   #10
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Thanks for the help everyone. I’m still learning.

Following Guy’s suggestion, I downloaded the Sony Movie Studio HD Platinum Production 10 and soon started cranking out standard single layer DVDs. The “help” really helped me. Love it, but all I ‘ve done is just create DVDs with a few seconds of title on the frontend.

Now, though, I need to correct what I hope is a recording screw up. I am unaware of any changes made to the camera settings, but the last entire game was captured with a very blue cast. I could easily see it even in the display at camera start-up, but was nearly game time & I didn’t know what to do but record anyway. I thought maybe it was because of the cold. It was very cold for Florida – low 40s and windy vs. 60s and 70s in past recordings. But on the computer the game has exactly the same heavy blue overcast.

Does this sound like something the EDIUS NEO2 might correct? And on a more serious vein, does it just sound like a setting got changed – or is this symptomatic of a camera problem. I’m planning to do some recording trials in the yard as soon as it warms up (Won’t be today).
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Old December 8th, 2010, 05:05 PM   #11
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Blue cast, common issue. You bumped the preset from daylight to tungsten. Fairly easily corrected in nearly any software. No big deal.
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