AVCHD and/or HDV workflow question

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by computerjunkie, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. computerjunkie macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #1
    Well I am getting ready to step up my (serious hobbyist/prosumer) video work and get an HD camera. Trying to decide between which format of HD...ie HDV, or AVCHD. Been using tape based SD.

    Obviously flash type cameras (AVCHD) are computer intensive because it must be converted to AIC for editing. And, tape based cameras seem to be most preferred for editing. But, while HDV is tape based, during capture, isn't it converted to AIC as well?

    DV (albeit SD) goes straight in natively right? And AVCHD and HDV both have to be converted to AIC? Is that right? Its just that I seem to read ALOT about how AVCHD is not good for editing because it is hard to work with in terms of computing power and such. And I am trying to understand how/if that is any different for HDV...even if it is tape based.

    Regards,

    G.
    Dummy
     
  2. computerjunkie thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #2
    No help huh? Dang I really don't want to go fork out the cash for the "wrong" format HD video camera.

    Regards,

    G.
    Format Moron
     
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #3
    If you do a search you'll see that this topic has been discussed to death which is probably why no one has responded. Some people prefer tapeless/AVCHD and some people prefer tape/HDV. There's not really a 'wrong' answer. If you are using iMovie or FCE then there's less of a difference since both have to get converted to AIC, but if you are working w/FCP you can edit HDV natively.


    Lethal
     
  4. computerjunkie thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #4
    Thanks.

    That was really my question. I just went the long way about it. Even after all the arguments back and forth about tape (HDV) being easier to edit than AVCHD, it seems if using iMovie or FCE the argument is moot and AVCHD is not any harder to edit than HDV tape since both have to be converted.

    Regards,

    G.
    Importer
     
  5. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #5
    This is a grossly incomplete assessment. You think that the file format is everything. It is not. You must consider the specific model camcorder. If you have a FireWire-enabled HDV camcorder, then you are fairly well set. If you don't, then you must ensure that your specific model is supported by your software. Apple's iMovie website lists the nontape-based camcorders known to work with the video editor.
     
  6. computerjunkie thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #6
    Well I have spent 24 of the last 48 hours "searching", researching and reading and unfortunately some on here are mis-informed. I just say that because I have read so many threads on this topic, that I have found lots of conflicting information. So its not surprising for me to make a "grossly incomplete assessment".

    I guess maybe a better way of commenting on AVCHD editing versus HDV editing would be say to that assuming your have a camera that is compatible (as in the right flavor of AVCHD), then in that case there is no difference between AVCHD and HDV since both have to be encoded to AIC? Would that be more accurate?

    Incidentally, I have been scolded here before for not "searching" before posting. But I have to say, part of the reason for that may be because I have searched so much and find lots of conflicting info. For me at least, sometimes a post/question is warranted for "clarification". Anyway, I digress...

    All I really was researching was if HDV or AVCHD was better, worse, or no different for editing in FCE...FCE being the key here since programs like FCP (ie FCS2) are different because they can edit HDV natively. And in that regard, again assuming you have a compatible AVCHD camera, it seems no different because both (AVCHD and HDV) have to be encoded into AIC. Is that a "grossly incomplete assessment"?

    Regards,

    G.
    Analyst
     
  7. rotlex macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    PA
    #7
    I own\have owned both types of cams. (HDV and AVCHD). As far as editing in FCE\iMovie? There is NO difference, because, as you state, they must both be transcoded to AIC before being able to edit. The advantage, IMO, to HDV for this, is it's faster to capture. (At least on my 2.8Ghz iMac). What I mean is, I connect my cam, Canon HV20, via firewire. Start up FCE and capture in real time. One hour of tape, takes 1 hour to capture, and it's done. I can edit until my hearts content.

    AVCHD on the other hand, on the same machine, takes 2-3 times as long to remove from the cam and transcode to AIC. No idea why, other than I think it's due to the higher compression, or methods, AVCHD uses. So to me, everyone that wants an AVCHD cam, thinking they can just drag, drop, edit files from the camera far more quickly than tape, is dead wrong.

    Now, with that said. I HATE tape. I hate having to carry them, store them, and change them every 60 minutes. What I like is the instant archive however. Cheap, easily stored off site backup and all that. With AVCHD cam, I have to backup the RAW files to some media, then back that up again, then backup my finished product. That is the only part I hate about it.

    Anyway, don't know if that helps, probably not, but I know how it can be trying to make this decision. It's a real pain, and even after having, and playing with both types of camera, I'm STILL not sure which I prefer. :D
     
  8. computerjunkie thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #8
    That helps tremendously since I am also using a 2.8 Ghz iMac. Thanks so much for the real world comparisons.

    Surprising really...I would have thought that the encoding time from AVCHD to AIC would have been about the same as HDV to AIC. Also, I think I asked this in another post, but in terms of file size once converted to AIC...is 5 min of AVCHD going to be the same size as 5 mins of HDV?
     
  9. rotlex macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Location:
    PA
    #9
    Yeah, as far as size, I wind up with roughly, after conversion, 40GB per hour for either format. The advantage, for storing\backing up the RAW stuff with AVCHD is the size, as you can just copy, or make a disk image of the files from the cam without decompressing for long term storage. With HDV, the only way I know of is to capture it, which, if using iMovie or FCE, yields 40GB per hour. Now, if you own FCP, you CAN capture HDV natively, which yields roughly 13GB per hour for storage. Then again, since you already shot on tape, might as well keep it there for the long term.

    Ah, like I said, I hate this, LOL. Ultimately, I think I'm selling the HV20\tape cam, as, even with the issue of AVCHD, I still prefer it to tape, for convenience.
     
  10. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2006
    #10
    Ditto what Rotlex said.

    I went through this months ago. I too had SD tape for years (since '93). I knew tape and was comfortable with it. That said, I LOVE tapeless. I was so unsure that I bought both a HV30 and HF100 and shot with both over a few weeks. I have a very picky eye, calibrate all my monitors/displays, etc. There was almost no difference in picture between the two -- no artifact differences, sharpness, color, AWB, stabilization, etc (at least not enough to confuse anyone by mentioning).

    Importing into iMovie, the HDV is (of course) real time, where as, as Rotlex said, takes 2-3 times with AVCHD (big deal, I'm not going to watch a 30 min HDV download, so set it to import and come back in an hour). Once imported the files seem to be the same .MOV format. Exporting takes the same 5-20x (that's right, 1hr can take 5-20 hrs to export MP4 .H64 from my testing) on my 2.16Ghz MBP.

    What I like about AVCHD is (this is not tape bashing either!):
    1. no dropouts. I never had one with the HV30, but shooting with a Sony HC9 I had several. I wasn't until I used Sony's $13 HDV tapes that the problem went away... still the dropout phobia lingers in my head
    2. less chance of moisture issues. The same HC9 on a trip to the South had moisture issues and would record for an hour. Solid state should be less prone to this
    3. delete your mistakes. Ever shoot 5 minutes of the ground? With flash memory you can delete the accidental clip -- or just the clip that really didn't turn out.
    4. ease of playback. Ever want to show someone a specific clip (eg. that cool vista you climbed to)? With "data" files you can find the preview and just watch that clip rather than repeating "hang on, I know its around here".
    Biggest dislike is you MUST archive right away before you accidently write over the file. With tape you have a pretty safe archive, but not so with flash. What I do is insert the SDHC card in a USB reader then transfer the contents like it was a floppy (wikimedia, that if you don't know what a floppy is ;)). I just create a new folder and name it whatever, then copy the ENTIRE folder structure over. That's my master. Then I copy to a second hard drive. That's my backup (or you could burn to DVD). Now I can reuse the SDHC card. However, in many ways I like this BETTER than tape as well. I've had old miniDV tapes which would not playback after several years (I have a couple trips from '99 that I can't play and don't have them elsewhere). Its hard to have redundancy backups with tape, but not so with AVCHD.

    So personally I think it comes down to do you feel comfortable switching to tapeless. I didn't at first, but glad I did.

    One more thing to note is playback? How do you intend to watch these big files? AppleTV drops the resolution to 540p (still much better than 480i, but not 1080i exactly). From what I've read, a PS3 can playback .MP4 files, but you'll need to limit them to 4GB (15-30 minutes depending on your compression). Xbox will also play .MOV files, but again, >4GB. You can try to stream, but will need to compress the files to keep the bitrate down (low bitrate = more digital artifacts). Right now I'm leaning towards:
    1. playing back the raw AVCHD files through a PS3's USB slot or a Panasonic BD player's SD slot (advantage to flash memory) or
    2. burning to BD next year if/when Apple gives in to Bluray.

    btw. try not to quote everyone's message. it tends to make the threads long (like this post is!) and people tend to not read them (or respond).

    Good luck!
     
  11. computerjunkie thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    #11
    Thanks for the tip on quoting...it will go in my mental file and will be applied. Oh and I actually laughed out loud about the floppy comment.

    Thanks also for all the info...make me feel better about making the switch to tapeless...which its clear I "want" to do.

    Regards,

    G.
    Quoter
     
  12. Apple Corps macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #12
    I've opted for AVCHD - very pleased with the image and workflow results so far. Also - no head wear / alignment / cleaning to worry about either.

    I've never used tape - could not imagine starting now at the end of its technological life cycle.
     

Share This Page