A plethora of HD/OSX video questions

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by lipwak, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. lipwak macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007
    I have a few questions about HD video and my camcorders.

    I first had a Panasonic HC-V100 camcorder. It needed to be repaired so I sent it back to Panasonic (2x). They couldn’t fix it so they sent me a refurbished HC-V201. That’s what I have now. It can do 1080p, the VC-100 could only do 1080i. (Both can do iFrame and mp4 as well.)

    I have tried shooting 1080p. Supposedly that is better for showing on computers than 1080i but my experience has been that all of my 1080p video stutters/has jitter when playing back.

    I should explain my workflow.

    With both cameras, I will copy the files from the camcorder onto the computer first. With OSX 10.6.8 I would dig into (open up the package) where the .mts files were and only copy those. (That may explain one problem I am having, out of sync audio with files after the first file. More on that later.) I have upgraded to OSX 10.9 and now I am seeing a file labelled AVCHD. (Get Info calls it "AVHCD Content”. Is it a package?) With 10.6.8 I would control-click and open the package. I tried that with 10.9 but I think I will approach it differently. With 10.6.8 I would re-wrap them with Media Converter (http://media-converter.sourceforge.net/) as Quitcktime so I could deal with them with iMovie HD (6.0.4) (I hate and won’t use versions above it but I do like the iMovie 10.0 though and may use that. And what’s with the version number going backwards? I could use an IMovie 11 with 10.6.8.)

    With 10.9 I now will open them with QT Player 10.3 which, if there is more than one recording/file on the camera, will offer me a choice of which movie to open. (Why does the file creation date of the AVCHD file not have the date of the recording? It looks like it has the date I formatted the memory card on the camcorder… That can be confusing… Thank goodness QT Player does show the correct recording date on the title bar of the movie being played and iMovie will show the correct date as the title as well.)

    So, in the past, I would rewrap HD video so I could edit it. Now it will depend on how I am going to use it.

    Here’s what I’m thinking. I may, when I just want to trim and export a clip, use QT Player 10.3 to Save As (now called “Export" in QT 10.3) 1080p. Using that in the past, I have found that I can reduce file size 10x this way and I haven’t seen a noticeable decrease in quality. The video remains as HD too.

    Is it true that the major difference between the original file and a file saved as 1080p this way is the lower bitrate (data rate)?

    If I need to do more than just trim the ends, I’ll use iMovie HD or 10. I do have some questions about the best way to save/export from there.

    1) Most times I want to export a CLIP, not the whole movie (or set of files that iMovie is calling a movie, event or whatever.) I want to export any clip shot as HD as HD but I want to have the smallest file-size I can while still retaining a large picture. With iMovie HD I found that the Share (export, save as, it gets called so many things…) as CD-ROM worked pretty well for most SD video. With HD, I am finding I can export (share, whatever) as full quality and then using QT Player (the versions that came with 10.6.8 or 10.9) to Save As (export, whatever) 1080p. That reduces the file size 10x and the picture quality seems good.

    Versions of iMovie after HD 6.0.4 won’t let you export (save as, whatever) a clip. They only think I want to export the whole gd movie. It looks like I might be able to work around that with iMovie 10 (that comes with OSX 10.9) but that may not work out.

    How would YOU recommend I do things so I can export CLIPS from a set of files? Many of my recordings are concerts and I want to upload individual songs to YouTube. The workaround for iMovie versions between the OSX 10.9 version and HD 6.0.4 has been unworkable for me so I just used HD 6.0.4. I do like that 10.9’s iMovie has presets for YouTube. (I might save as 1080p and then import that file into iMovie just so I can upload it to YouTube with the specs they like.)

    Back to the problems.

    Problem #1)
    Why does 1080p jitter/stutter when there are pans/action? I don’t pan too quickly but I get jitter anyway when I shoot in 1080p. Ir doesn’t happen when I shoot in 1080i. I would like to shoot in 1080p but will do 1080i if there is no way around this problem.

    Problem #2)
    Each camcorder splits the video, creating a new file after a certain amount of recording time. The VC-100 would do it after an hour, the HC-V201 does it after 35 minutes (for AVCHD.) I never had a problem with audio being out of sync for recordings longer than that first file with the VC-100. I do have that problem with the HC-201 BUT that was using my old workflow of using just the .mts files, not the whole "package."

    So the question is, is that why the audio got out of sync? I’ve done some test recordings using the whole package and can’t tell if audio is out of sync or not. Is there a problem with my camcorder?

    Additional questions:

    I’ve seen, over the years, various settings that are recommended for uploading to YouTube. What would your recommendations be? Most of my video will be uploaded to either YouTube or Facebook. I want them to remain HD but I don’t want large files sizes since I keep the files on my computer and don’t want large file-sizes.

    With 10.9 I see the “package” for video shot on the camcorder is titled AVCHD and has a creation date of when the memory card was formatted. Digging into the “package” (what is is really?) the next things I see are two folders and a file titled BDMV. That too is titled AVHCD content by Get Info. Digging into that I see the Stream folder and in that, the .mts file.

    Why does 10.9, and probably versions 10.7 and 10.8, show the package/files that way? What should I know about them? I have run across Floh’s excellent video "Codecs and Containers - the wonderful world of video files” which has helped immensely with understanding HD video. I’m also curious about how OSX deals with it. Not so much the deep technical details but more how to work with it.

    That will do for now. I hope some of my questions can be answered. Thanks very much.


    John L

    PS Why does a "package" (straight from the camcorder) labelled AVCHD in OSX become a folder when I rename it?
  2. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    In Mac OS X an App, a Package and a Folder are all just a directory in the file system. Same thing different name. You can see this if you try an "ls" in terminal.

    As for work flow. I think your best bet is to import the video directly from the SD card to iMovie and let iMovie transcode the data.

    Also unless you have a Solid State Drive (SSD) you really, really need to place you video media on a FAST external drive. Get a fast USB3, Firewire or Thunderbolt external drive. It does not need to be large as it only needs to hold the data you are actively using. An SSD with thunderbolt interface would be ideal be you don't need that, a 7,200rpm FW drive would work well too.

    Just get a "media drive". The high bit rate files will stutter if you place them on the system drive unless the system drive is SSD.

    Also how much RAM do you have? I'd say 8GB is the minimum for this.
  3. lipwak, Nov 7, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013

    lipwak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007
    Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

    I have 8 gb of ram. (2011 15" Powerbook, 2 ghz, 500 gb hd w/ about 160 gb free).

    Interesting to hear I need an external drive or a SSD to prevent stutter. With iMovie HD coming out so long ago, I'd think normal drives would work with HD video. It seems I always am behind the curve, even when I catch up with a HD camcorder.

    I do have some external drives: a Fantom 1TB and a Fantom 250 gb but I can't find their rpm speeds. I am hesitant to use them as I've had problems editing video with drives that are connected by Firewire. I can use them for storage but to try to edit with them hasn't worked well. I even bought a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter but that didn't help. Maybe it's a bad adapter?

    Maybe I can live with the stuttering. When they play on YouTube, I and others should see them without the stuttering I would think. I would just keep a 1080i version for myself.

    Is the difficulty that they're progressive? 1080i stuff doesn't have this problem. I could just stick with 1080i.

    Additional thought added after my original reply:
    I can't test this right now but if I played any 1080p video in smaller windows rather than fit-to-screen, would that help? That would work for me.

    6:35 pm. I tried making a window smaller and it still stuttered so so much for that idea...
  4. lipwak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007
    One of my main reasons to shoot video is to record concerts. I'd want to use iMovie 10 (or HD 6.0.4) to export HD clips of each song and upload them to YouTube. It looks like it might be possible to do that with iMovie 10 by not bringing clips into the timeline. Just editing them and exporting them. I might have to save each clip as a new project or event (the terminology confuses me...)

    How would anyone recommend I do that?

    I have been using HD (6.0.4) which means rewrapping the AVCHD files as QT, editing them, exporting as full quality then exporting as 1080p from recent versions of QT Player to make them smaller file-size-wise.

  5. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    AVCHD is annoying with playback on allot of systems regardless of CPU, GPU or RAM but for editing its good to have a beefy system. I hope you meant MacBook Pro and not Powerbook as a Powerbook would most certainly not support Thunderbolt, Are you sure you have a Thunderbolt port and not just a minidisplay port? Is their a little lightning next to the port or is it another icon? The physical port its self is the same but the two are different. FireWire should be better for video editing than USB 2.0 and even USB 3.0...I have a thunderbolt drive and numerous USB 3.0 drives and I still often use FireWire. 1080p is much better, 1080i is interlaced so its really half the horizontal resolution. Also not sure if iMovie HD is the latest version or if it has trouble with 1080p...I know that the codec it uses Apple Intermediate Codec does not support over 1080i but that shouldn't be a problem as I've edited 1080p using AIC...get back to me and I'll see what I can do.
  6. lipwak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007
    Thanks, Nateo200.

    Yes, I should have said MacBook Pro which does have a Thunderbolt port.

    A few years back I bought a Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter so I could get my miniDV footage into the MBP. I also tried using it for either of my external drives (Fantom 1 TB and Fantom 250 GB). I forget exactly what the problems were but I gave up trying to have video source files on the external drives cuz it just didn't work. I suspect the adapter isn't up to it.

    iMovie HD is old. It has a "project setting" for importing 1080i but I don't 1080p was around much then. Nonetheless, I'd use 1080i as the project type as I'd prefer that over 720p, which is the other HD import setting.

    My main interest in dealing with any HD is being able to separate clips out of a long recording and uploading them to YouTube or Facebook. I bascially just want to split recordings and export. Later versions of iMovie make that difficult. I don't want to make "movies". I just want to upload segments of this and that.

    I have another problem I'm curious if people can figure out what went wrong on. I uploaded a long movie (a Halloween parade) to YouTube. It stutters when played back and has dropouts! I think the stuttering is due to having to edit it on my MBP and not having much disk space to do so. Using iMove HD, things ballooned up in size, using up about 150 GB of the free space I had on my hard drive. I got several "you're running low on disc space" messages, some saying I had less than a GB... I juggled things by moving them off to the external drives and managed to finish editing and exporting. The dropouts I don't understand.

    You can see the movie here: http://youtu.be/8r7jvXAy5d8

    Stuttering and some dropouts can be seen fairly soon into it.

    I exported that from iMovie HD as full quality (35 gb!), then used QT Player 10 to export (save as then) as 1080p, which reduced the file size to 3 gb.

    Thanks for any help.


    John L
  7. lipwak, Nov 14, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013

    lipwak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007
    I have used iMovie 10 abit now and think that I can use it for some things.

    If I only have one or two subjects in the footage I am importing, I can use it. If there are going to be more, like a concert that I want to export individual songs from, I'll shoot in SD (iFrame or MP4) and use iMovie HD (6.0.4) as I always have.

    I can use iMovie 10 to import 1080i or 1080p video shot from this camera. I still am seeing stutter when I pan with footage shot in 1080p when played in iMovie (in both the main screen window as well as when played full-screen) but if I export as 1080p and play that in QT 10, there is no appreciable stutter in the pans that I've seen so far. (Maybe other recordings will show it. I'll have to see.)

    I thought the reason was that maybe iMovie was still working on the imported 1080p file. The import process goes quickly, the activity window gets finished and I wait for CPU use to go down to practically nothing (and listen for the fans to slow down and stop being audible) but still iMovie 10 stutters with pans for footage shot in 1080p. Footage shot in 1080i doesn't have this problem. Why?

    i have some more questions but I'll leave it at that for now. Thanks for any help.


  8. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
  9. lipwak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007
    No. All from this camera.

    I think the stutter there was due to running out of disc space. I got several 'running out of disc space' warnings, some down to a few MB. I was surprised I still could do anything with such low space. I solved the problem by deleting things, juggling.
  10. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
    That's a weird one. There almost seems to be MPEG compression artefacts or something like dirty heads. These shouldn't be introduced by the NLE in such a discrete way (i.e. only bits of the frame are effected).

    Does the original footage playback OK on a TV of you hook the camera up to it?

    (Sorry to make work for you, and there's a good chance I won't have an answer for you, but I'm just curious where these artefacts are creeping in)
  11. lipwak, Nov 14, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2013

    lipwak thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2007
    Yes, I was surprised by that too.

    Unfortunately I don't have much of the original footage left. All I have are some discarded clips that I threw out in iMovie and recovered from the trash. All of them were when it got dark so I don't see dropouts but I do see horizontal lines when panning galore!

    As far as I can recall, I shot that at 1980i. The horizontal lines appear in the exported 1080p versions as well...

    I had the camcorder set to automatic settings throughout. Horizontal lines appear in the well lit as well as the dark scenes.

    PS I should add. I didn't watch any of this on my tv. The original footage is on my MBP. None of it is left on the camera. Additionally, if I hooked up my MBP to the tv, it would be through the HDMI port on the HD tv so would anything show up that way?

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