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Old Oct 27, 2008, 05:24 PM   #1
Brer Bear
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AVCHD to .mov Files too big

When I downloaded my canon HG10 clips over to Imovie they used up an incredible amount of hardrive space. The Canon which has a HD of 40 GB used up 251GB on the IMac. Is this normal or did I transfer them wrong.
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Old Oct 27, 2008, 05:45 PM   #2
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Not AVCHD but HD in general

Nope. Sounds about right. I just imported 2.5GB which yielded a 12GB import folder. HDV is the same. Shot 2hrs of HDV and have a 90GB file now. Wait until you try to export
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Old Oct 28, 2008, 02:52 AM   #3
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Hard drive yummy. Eat it all up. (<-- AIC monster.)

Back in reality, you'll probably want to archive just the raw AVCHD files rather than the converted ones: 8GB of raw files equates to 40 or 50GB converted. I make a disk image the size of the SDHC card + .1GB on an external drive and copy the entire SDHC card contents into it. That way, whenever I click on the archived .dmg file, it mounts on the desktop and iMovie behaves just as it would had I connected the camera or an SDHC card reader. Pretty handy.

Andrew.
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Old Oct 28, 2008, 03:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtaj View Post
Hard drive yummy. Eat it all up. (<-- AIC monster.)

Back in reality, you'll probably want to archive just the raw AVCHD files rather than the converted ones: 8GB of raw files equates to 40 or 50GB converted. I make a disk image the size of the SDHC card + .1GB on an external drive and copy the entire SDHC card contents into it. That way, whenever I click on the archived .dmg file, it mounts on the desktop and iMovie behaves just as it would had I connected the camera or an SDHC card reader. Pretty handy.

Andrew.
So true, welcome to the world of AVCHD, but you knew the job was dirty before to took it.....

Anywho, archiving the raw files into a disk image is probably the best workflow.
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Old Oct 28, 2008, 05:00 AM   #5
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Brer Bear,

In addition to the earlier "what" and "how" repsonses, here is the "why".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brer Bear View Post
The Canon which has a HD of 40 GB used up 251GB on the IMac.
Your camera stores your clips in AVCHD format. iMovie and Final Cut Express can not handle native AVCHD files, thus on import they convert AVCHD into Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC). And since AIC is having a lesser compression, your target MOV file is considerably bigger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brer Bear View Post
did I transfer them wrong
Nope.
Due to this size explosion, indeed it is better to archive your native AVCHD files.

If you use Final Cut Pro as editor, your workflow is different. FCP does recognise the AVCHD codec. No need to convert for editing purposes. No size explosion.
Beware: editing in native AVCHD is CPU intensive. You have the advantage of smaller file sizes, but you require more CPU muscle.

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Old Oct 28, 2008, 09:03 AM   #6
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I find this incredibly ironic and sad - apple discontinues firewire so people are forced into these avchd camcorders, and then they don't even freaking support the format, forcing us into absolutely absurd file sizes due to incompatibility and a workflow nightmare.

Way to go, Steve....NOT.
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Old Oct 28, 2008, 09:32 AM   #7
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The ways of the Lord are inscrutable!

In many way we try to "understand" and "unravel" the mysteries of in this forum. To some degree we manage.

Considering that all new tapeless camcorders use USB as transfer mechanism, dropping firewire is not such an illogical move.

The bad thing is that with USB transfers we are back in the dark-ages of supplier propriety storage formats. Formats beneficial to the camcorder suppliers, but more diffucult to work with for end-users.
You need to create your own workflow for archiving. Depending on your CPU juice you will need to transcode the format to anything usable for your editing software.

Firewire was and is great. First your original tape serves as archive and you have no dealings with propriety stotage formats: on import via Firewire the material is stored in a format usable for your editing software.
For iMovie and FEC this still may involve a transcode, for FCP the transcoding is not necessary.

Indeed it is ironic that Steve sees AVCHD as the future, but his entry level editing software does not support those formats.
Steve-guessing: he may be worried about the performance of iMovie and FCE when working with native AVCHD.

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Old Oct 28, 2008, 09:58 AM   #8
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With regard to iMovie, HDV is no easier to work with than AVCHD -- iMovie works great with AVCHD imports. You can't play AVCHD files natively, but you also can't drag copy HDV files and play them on a Mac either -- both have to be transfered somehow. AIC import times ares similar, as are file sizes once imported. And frankly, consumer HDV is a dying format. Circuit City has 10 HD camcorders on display 1 uses a tape -- once you shoot with solid state you understand why. Manufactures won't be offering tape much longer IMO. It seems they're already refocusing all their R&D (professional HDV is a whole other story).

I agree dropping firewire is unfortunate, but also understand Apple's marketing direction. Worse is Apple's move towards glossy only LCDs!! I do WISH Apple would offer native AVCHD editing (without transcoding) and .MTS playback, but that gets back to cross-product marketing. Apple wants the world to use iTunes and buy an AppleTV, neither which aid from .MTS files.... that's why I have a PS3
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Old Oct 28, 2008, 10:12 AM   #9
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CMD is me,

I do not fully agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CMD is me View Post
With regard to iMovie, HDV is no easier to work with than AVCHD -- iMovie works great with AVCHD imports. You can't play AVCHD files natively, but you also can't drag copy HDV files and play them on a Mac either -- both have to be transfered somehow.
You are right about iMovie transcoding HDV as well. To be more precise. iMovie and FCE transcode everything into AIC that is other than DV!

You are wrong about a Mac being able to play AVCHD or HDV native files. To do so you need the correct QT plugin.
> In my case I am so "lucky" to have FCP. Thus my QT is able to play all formats supported by FCP including native AVCH and HDV.
> In my case I am so fortunate to have plenty of CPU juice in my Mac and have the dough to buy FCP.

I will not start the tape vs tapeless and AVCHD vs HDV thread again, but there is a difference in compression and file size between HDV and AVCHD. AVCHD is the newer of the two, it has higher compression and smaller file sizes. Thus your Mac needs to work harder to decompress and recompress these files. This is most noticeable for FCP users that use the native files.
For iMovie and FCE users the native files will be transcoded to AIC once providing the editor with easier to handle files. Easier meaning much bigger but less CPU intensive to process.

Regards
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 08:05 AM   #10
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Luxury

The reason (IMHO) Steve went down the path of transcoding to AIC and not editing AVCHD natively is that editing AIC is much less CPU intensive than editing AVCHD.

I hang out on forums specifically for digital video, and the PC guys - while happy that there software can edit AVCHD - constantly complain that they need the very top hardware to be able to do it and often it's a case of rendering after simple edits. And yet 3 year old iMacs running iMovie can do it

Some PC editing software also uses transcoding to be able to get the hardware requirements down.

We are spoiled in that AIC is a very good codec. You wouldn't believe how good it is compared to things in PC-land.

My advice to keep file sizes down is to take a look at something like FlamingoHD and Voltaic. Flamingo is a clip manager for native AVCHD files, allowing you to transfer, organise and view AVCHD clips. Voltaic will convert them for use in FCE. You get to keep all your footage and have easy access to it.
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Old Aug 22, 2009, 01:48 PM   #11
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is there any reason you can't re-code the huge files?
I used AIC once and it was a ugly bag of worms since I had 30 tapes to deal with. 36gigs / tape x 30 tapes = lots of space...

I re-coded to a HDV 720p and there was heaps of space.
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Old Aug 22, 2009, 02:06 PM   #12
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Well, of course it was. HDV is long GOP MPEG-2 compression. Since MiniDV tapes hold 13.6 GB, DV and HDV compress things to the point where they can fit an hour's worth of video in that space. Which is less compressed than most forms of AVCHD use.

Here's a problem with this discussion. Many of you want performance, but you also want a low storage footprint.

You cannot have both. Not without owning a Mac Pro, and that doesn't seem like your collective market either.

Here's a different way of looking at it: Performance (in the guise of CPU, RAM, GPU, etc.) is expensive. Hard drive space is dirt cheap and falling fast.

Buy more hard drives. It's much cheaper than any other alternative and answers your issues better.

You can get 1 TB of space for under $100.
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Old Aug 22, 2009, 02:15 PM   #13
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strudel:
totally agreed.
at the time I had JUST enough space.

buy AVCHD = buy hard drives.
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Old Aug 23, 2009, 06:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheStrudel View Post
Well, of course it was. HDV is long GOP MPEG-2 compression. Since MiniDV tapes hold 13.6 GB, DV and HDV compress things to the point where they can fit an hour's worth of video in that space. Which is less compressed than most forms of AVCHD use.
They're all about the same bitrate (somewhere around 25 Mbps) but for that you get 1920 x 1080 in AVCHD versus 720 x 576 in DV. I've just finished editing some AVCHD video today and I am still amazed at (a) how good it looks and (b) how easy FCE handles it. It even looks good on the shifty Dell monitor I have hooked up to my iMac as a fullscreen playback monitor. Well, not that good

In a few years time, this issue will be gone since we'll all have 8 TB hard drives, 16 GB of RAM and heaps-gigga-hurty CPUs
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 01:47 PM   #15
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What Is The Big Deal With Avchd?

can someone tell me what the appeal of AVCHD is?
I don't want a LINK.
Just a short run down of it.

I still like HD on mini dv tapes.
I'm semi-pro working my way up and it seems to work better and be more cost effective.
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 02:18 PM   #16
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The sole appeal of AVCHD is space consumed. It uses H.264 compression, which as many Mac users know, confers excellent quality at relatively low bitrates. However, when one is attempting to edit, you want less compression, not more.

So the pros of AVCHD are:

-Uses little space
-Cheap format (Cameras and media to store on are very inexpensive)
-Stored on HDDs or flash media such as SD cards
-Will get you 1080p at a fraction the cost of most other machines.
-Can be transferred for editing - no capture process required.
-Compatible with Blu-ray format

Cons include, but are not limited to:

-Lower bitrates (usually) than HDV, which you use, and higher degree of compression.
-Does not tend to turn up on 3 chip cameras, so resolution advantage is negated by crappy sensors (read: cheap!)
-Cannot be edited natively in iMovie or Final Cut, thereby requiring a lengthy, space-consuming transcode to a more friendly format, thus negating the advantage of not having to capture. Alternatively, requires a lot of CPU to work with smoothly
-Many manufacturers use their own unique flavors of AVCHD, so it's not all exactly the same. This happens with HDV too, though.
-Like HDV, throws out most of the color information.

AVC is excellent for point-and-shoot handicam style video work, but poorly suited to someone who needs a lot of manual control and is trying to get excellent video quality
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 04:21 PM   #17
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BE CAREFUL WHEN STORING AVCHD!

Its stored in complicated trees with associated files

If you pick only the mts files - it won't work.

If you delete a single file you don't need - the entire card will be rendered useless - its a nightmare.

As for space - i take the MASSIVE files and re-export in quicktime (1280?) and magically they lose a decimal place.

Don't get a panasonic camcorder either, poorly designed and awkward to use.
EG, you can't take pics off without plugging the camera in to the mains, and you have to take the battery off to plug it in. Think you can charge the battery while downloading? Nope, its one or another.
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 07:30 PM   #18
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wow.
sounds like a nightmare and a POS.

it SOUNDED cool.

I guess I will stick with tape.
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Old Aug 24, 2009, 09:33 PM   #19
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Trust me: you won't move up from tape (HDV, anyway) to AVCHD. You'll move up to a format that's actually better, like HDCAM, AVCCAM, RED, DVCPROHD, XDCAM EX, etc. You get the idea.
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Old Aug 25, 2009, 02:14 AM   #20
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you mind giving a break down of what each one of those are and perhaps even in the good to better to best listing?

I have no idea what my next step should be...
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