AVCHD on Mac, WAY better on Windows7 !

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by lapino, May 23, 2009.

  1. lapino macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2009
    #1
    I'm not bashing Mac here (bought my first MBP a few weeks ago) but I find it very hard to get decent AVCHD editing and exporting on the Mac. I tried both iMovie, Final Cut Express and Adobe Premiere (trial) but my MBP just doesn't cut it. It's either way too slow and viewing AVCHD movies is just a plain horror.

    Today, I tried Windows7 with Vegas (trial) and this is night and day difference. Windows7 plays AVCHD fluid without any additional codecs (!) and Vegas makes editing them a breeze without having to convert them to a (less good) format like FCE does.

    I really hope there will be decent AVCHD solutions for my Mac one day, but for now, my video editing will be in Windows7 only. Too bad.
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
    #2
    Anything on GPU acceleration on the Windows side?
     
  3. johny5 macrumors 6502a

    johny5

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    #3
    This is strange, I was curious with your findings and had windows 7 installed as a VM on my mac pro so I downloaded vegas trial to have a look.
    I recorded a 1 minute video in full 1920x1080 and (tried) to import in vegas. took me a few attempts to find the correct way to import the file from my usb memory stick reader (16gb MMC) as I tried from a hard disk file, then a memory file and finally using the media file way. I then had to randomly flick around the memory card to find the movie file (which was hidden in a few directories).
    I havent seen vegas before at all so I wasn't sure how it was going to import the file and it looked like it didn't import it but merely created a link to the file on the memory card? Obviously when I was skimming across the 1 minute video it was choppy as hell and this was even in a small preview window.
    My idea was to time the imports to see if vegas imported it quicker but to be honest I gave up.
    I did expect vegas to see my memory card and import everything automatically even though it may be a professional piece of software I thought if could have helped in searching for the actual movie file to import?

    After giving up I flicked back to Imovie 9 to give that a go, inserted the usb memory card and up came the import wizard automatically.
    I clicked to import at full 1920x1080 resolution and this took 6 seconds (for the 1 minute recording). It then took another 2 seconds to create thumbnails for the clip.
    Once imported I could skim too and fro the recording with no stutter or skipping at all.

    My Mac Pro is a dual quad 2.8 with 10gb ram and the drives with the video on are 2 x 1TB software raid drives.
     
  4. arjen92 macrumors 65816

    arjen92

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    #4
    Is less compressed equal to less good. AVCHD is a less good format, because it's so highly compressed it takes way more time to decode it during editing, which make real time playing back impossible.

    (I wouldn't go for AVCHD at all, I would go for HDV, but that's a different thing)

    Still nice that you figured a nice way to edit the material the fast way. AVCHD is so annoying.

    And to johny5, you used VM ware, (virtual machine). You think it's weird it slower :confused:. It's a virtual machine, not even good enough for instant 3D (although the latest virtual machines show improvements).
     
  5. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040

    CmdrLaForge

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    #5
    I am really wondering what your problems are on the Mac. I use FCP and I transcode on import to ProRes422. Works fine, edits fine, exports fine.
     
  6. lapino thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #6
    Final Cut Pro isn't exactly in the same price range as Vegas. And so far, I have found no way to output iMovie in 1920x1080. Anyone?
     
  7. djkirsten macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    #7
    I'm pretty sure there is a custom export option somewhere (maybe under "share") that will let you output whatever you want. I've used imovie to make placeholder maps and I've exported them to DVCProHD qt files....but I remember the custom options looking like any pro-apps export options (full of high-end possibilities like animation).
     
  8. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816

    DoNoHarm

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    #8
    an ideal potential feature of snow leopard?
     
  9. wilsonlaidlaw macrumors 6502

    wilsonlaidlaw

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    Oct 29, 2008
    #9
    AVCHD not great on Macs

    I bought my wife a tiny Sony HDR-TG3 camcorder to take both videos and stills. Whereas it is a very neat bit of kit, sadly it is not particularly good at either function with the shutter/focus delay on still photos wholly unacceptable. The quality of the stills is pretty dismal as well.

    I then discovered that her G5 iMac would not handle AVCHD files natively on iMovie 09 but I had to get an additional program called Voltaic. Well it may run but it takes about 8 to 12 hours to convert each hour of 1080p video - not a realistic option, so she has stolen my Macbook Air that was my travel companion. Sony provides no Mac software with the Camcorder either on the supplied CD or even downloadable from their website. Obviously you are expected to buy a Vaio to go with your Sony camcorder.

    I agree that it is surprising that iMovie does not offer a 1080P export function. From supposedly an imaging driven company, this is a let down. I have adjusted my wife's TG3 to take 720P and as the TV we have at our UK house is only 720p, that is no downside and the upside is that you can record twice as long per card.

    Wilson
     
  10. Fast Shadow macrumors 6502a

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    Hollywood, CA
    #10
    Why not just transcode to AIC rather than work with AVCHD directly? Less good? Really? I've put direct HDMI output from my camera up next to the same clip converted to ProRes or AIC and I see no difference at 1920x1080.
     
  11. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #11
    I am curious as to what your windows system was compared to the mbp? What are the specs of each?
     
  12. Macpropro80 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    #12
    Dear Mr. Windows Fanboy,

    My last 2 cameras were Both AVCHD cameras. Not Only Does Imovie work perfectly with AVCHD so does final cut. Your lying, plain and simple.

    Macpropro80
    Professional Editor/ Cameraman
     
  13. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2008
    #13
    Have you tried messing around with the custom settings in iMovie to specify your output size? I never use it, but I recall that recent versions let you export more or less however you want if you know what you're doing. Second, AVCHD is going to perform poorly compared to less-compressed formats, because it requires a lot of CPU to decode on the fly. This will be a bigger problem if, say, you're editing off of a USB hard drive and it can't shunt that much data at a time for decoding. But yes, I would say HDV is better. Still not great, though. The others have a good point when they say to use ProRes or AIC. AVCHD is designed to put a ton of mediocre quality video on a small card, not for easier or faster editing.
     
  14. bobbleheadbob macrumors 6502a

    bobbleheadbob

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    Massachusetts
    #14
    I do the same thing and it works fine for me, too. I've always thought that one of the greatest advantages the Mac had over Windows was in the video editing area. I've yet to hear or see anything to change my mind.
     
  15. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #15
    The OP seems to have left the topic......... Hmmm.
     
  16. lapino thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #16
    No he has not, and I find the reply from Macpropro really retarded. If he would take the time to search some posts I made, he would find that quite recently bought my first Macbook, after only two days upgraded to the Macbook Pro and I've done nothing but praise the MBP for being such an amazing device and OSX is just great to work with.

    But I also have a very fast Windows pc and after reading that win7 supports AVCHD natively, I had to try it out with the demo of Vegas and I was amazed how fluidly this combination plays/edits AVCHD without even converting it to another format.

    I know the Mac just has a "problem" not having GPU accelerated AVCHD supports, which is the reason why Win7 plays them so nice (because it has gpu acceleration for AVCHD). I can only hope this will one day be available on the Mac, because I rather do my editing on my laptop. Sure, after converting the AVCHD files to AIC it plays quite fluid, but this is a step that shouldn't be necessary. And just playing AVCHD on my MCP is very very slow and choppy. That's just the way it is.

    Guess Mac-fanboys are just a touch sensitive when it comes to objectively comparing performance for certain tasks. And I really do not like being offended like this.
     
  17. Fast Shadow macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    All I hear is the sound of a carpenter blaming his tools.
     
  18. xStep macrumors 68000

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    #18
    Although Win7 may support AVCHD natively, the reason the editor isn't having a problem is because it natively supports AVCHD. Or so I've read. FCE and iMovie do not, so it converts it to AIC first. Also in the case of iMovie, it creates thumbnails to make the quick scanning possible. This has to do with the type of codecs Apple prefers for editing. Sorry I can't explain it but it has been mentioned around the net. Of course to you, it shouldn't matter as you just want to get to work.
     
  19. xStep macrumors 68000

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    #19
    All I hear is a Mac Fanboy crying about the bad news. ;)

    If lapino wants to use his Windows box what is wrong with that. It sounds like he doesn't want to wait for the conversion process. That is his prerogative.
     
  20. lapino thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #20
    It's just that I'm a bit disappointed that a great, fast machine like the MBP and very professional software (or at least sw that has it roots there, in the case of FCE) doesn't support AVCHD natively without converting it, and that Apple has no GPU acceleration for the format. Guess it's not done for a Mac owner to criticise but it IS a fact than Win7 has better support for a well know and very often sold format, and I hate that, because I want to leave windoze behind completely at a certain time.

    Besides, even when converting to AIC has no downsides when it comes to picture quality, it IS a whole different filesize after converting, and while my PS3 will play AVCHD very well on my plasma tv, it does not play .mov, and as far as I can tell (I hope I'm wrong) I cannot export to AVCHD with FCE.
     
  21. xStep macrumors 68000

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    Jan 28, 2003
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    #21
    Windows 7 isn't for sale yet and OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) is just around the corner. Perhaps we'll be seeing full AVCHD support in that too. One can only hope.

    The PS3 supports several formats. Perhaps you could make a compatible MP4 file for it, which could also be played on other systems too.
     
  22. iSlave macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    #22
    Never forget the first commandment of Mac Forums - 'Thou shalt not criticize OSX or Apple. Ever. For anything'.

    Hopefully Snow Leopard will fix this, if not, then yeah, Win7 will be better for editing AVCHD whether OSX fans like it or not.

    PS - I own a Mac.
     
  23. DaReal_Dionysus macrumors regular

    DaReal_Dionysus

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2009
    #23
    this is what is known as the learning curve. It happens to all who make the switch at first. I had the same issues till i learned the Mac system. Give specific details to what you are trying to accomplish and we will help.
     
  24. lapino thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 6, 2009
    #24
    I think I've got Mac down pretty good by now, but to answer your question: I'm trying to a) make AVCHD play fluently on my MBP so b) I can edit it natively without converting it to another format and c) be able to export it back to AVCHD (mostly for less disk storage) and e) put these files with menus etc on a DVD/BluRay disc for playback on my PS3.

    Pretty simple eh? Well, supposedly not on Mac. Turns out I need to convert AVCHD to a different format before being able to edit (ok, I can live with that), but then I also cannot output it to AVCHD again, and FCE doesn't even have a DVD/BluRay menu designer either.

    So if I'm wrong, please tell me how I can do these (pretty simple) tasks on my MBP.
     
  25. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

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    #25
    FCE or FCP wouldn't have this.. .this is usually done is a DVD authoring program like DVD Studio Pro or Adobe's Encore. Someone correct me if I am wrong but FCE or FCP only do the video editing part of the movie correct not authoring DVD menu's etc.

    Glad to see you made it back to the conversation!
     

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