AVCHD or HDV Tape - About to get Camcorder

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by oceanzen, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. oceanzen macrumors regular

    oceanzen

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    Dec 4, 2006
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    Madrid, España
    #1
    I'm filming a Music Video for my Final Uni Project (BA Hons Digital Music) and I will be doing a lot of green-screen shooting. I've heard the Canon HV20 (HDV mini-dv tape) is good for this. But part of me would prefer a hard drive with drag and drop.

    So, HDV is basically Mpeg2, 1920x1080 compressed down to 1440×1080 (so that's lossy compression right there?)

    AVCHD is Mpeg4 and therefore can record true 1920x1080 (but apparently has artefacts and is not handled well by editors.)

    So I would have thought AVCHD is better (and I would like it to be) But I often hear there are more digital artefacts, and often only 12MBps whereas it could go up to 24MBps but the manufacturers aren't bothering to utilize it's potential

    I'm getting an 8 core Mac Pro (when the new ones hit in the new year) 4GB Ram, 3 or 4 HDs that will be running Final Cut Studio2.
    I've heard that video editors don't handle AVCHD too well, but would that Mac Pro really have a problem?
    I would like to edit in the original 1080 25p (PAL) without having to convert to SD.

    I'd like to hear the pros and cons and your experiences with the 2 formats.

    I'm swaying between the Canon HV20 (HDV Tape) and the Canon HG10 (Hard Drive AVCHD)

    Thanks
     
  2. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    #2
    HDV because AVCHD is a bitch and a half to back up. HDV, you can just throw the tape on your shelf after capturing. AVCHD, you need to have a raid setup or something to have a solid backup.
     
  3. swwack91 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 28, 2007
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    New Jersey
    #3
    but the simple fact of having shelves of tape is just as much a hassle. HDV is less expensive in the long run b/c you won't need to buy enormous hard drives.

    however, AVCHD ... well you won't have to store or buy tapes.

    i haven't upgraded to an HD camera yet so i haven't decided which i prefer.
     
  4. oceanzen thread starter macrumors regular

    oceanzen

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    Dec 4, 2006
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    #4
    As I will be shooting green screen footage for my uni project - I'm currently looking at capturing much higher quality footage from the HV20s HDMI output into a blackmagic intensity card. Thus bypassing the HDV or AVCHD compression.
    You can then choose to capture uncompressed, or use a much higher quality virtually lossless format :)

    Means I'll have to bring my Mac Pro to the shoot though.
     
  5. swwack91 macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    well that's an option too! lol

    well i guess the question isn't what format camera you should get after all.

    the question is what camera has the best image quality before writing to media like the camera's hard drive or a DV tape.
     
  6. oceanzen thread starter macrumors regular

    oceanzen

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    #6

    True - I won't always be using the HDMI/Card input, but from what I've read and replies from forums I think I'll be going with HDV tape.

    Thanks guys :)
     
  7. Beekerse macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    #7
    Go for AVCHD

    I use an AVCHD camera. Tape is outdated and cumbersome. I use the SD1 from panasonic. Works perfect with imovie08 and FCE3.5 (after importing via imovie). Forget about the problems you will see. Artifacts are almost invisible.

    By the way the differences between 1440 pixels or 1920 pixels is only a marketing story. Lenses are not good enough to resolve 1920 resolution. Furthermore to resolve this resolution with your eyes you must sit very close to the screen.
     
  8. rotlex macrumors 6502a

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    May 1, 2003
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    PA
    #8
    HDV and tape for the win. I bought an AVCHD cam this past summer for a vacation. Played with it for a few months, ebayed it, and picked up a Canon HV20. I don't think HDD or SD based cams are ready for prime time yet, unless all someone cares about is shooting short clips for computer viewing and doesn't do much more than a few hours a year.

    IMO, the storage factor is the biggest issue. Not only do you have to have the footage you want to edit on the comp, as with any format, but now you have to "backup" your RAW footage somewhere as well. With tape, you have an instant archive. Easy to capture, easy to store off site etc. Also, if you think waiting on a 1 to 1 time basis to capture tape is a pain, you run into the same time frame, or more, to "capture" AVCHD footage for editing as it needs to be converted into an editable format.

    Rather than ramble, I'll just say I obviously prefer a tape based solution, and will, until the day 100GB flash cards are available and only a few bucks each. :D
     
  9. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    Dec 11, 2006
    #9
    You can fit like 100 tapes in a shoe box.
     
  10. WildPalms macrumors 6502a

    WildPalms

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    #10
    ...and DV tape still produces a higher quality image than hard drive or DVD options. Its also cheaper.
     
  11. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

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    Oregon
    #11
    I'm strictly a casual videographer but It's becoming more of an active hobby for me. I looked at several different options including the HV20. I was coming from a Sony Micro Mv format (there's obscure for you) but really wanted to not deal with tapes.

    To me the cost of several hard drives was a better option, and I even devised a back up scheme for the most important video to store it away from my house.

    Thus, I bought the HG10 and I am really impressed with the camera for not only its features and controls but the quality. I also purchased a 1TB external drive and added it to my small fleet of external hard drives. Those are big files without a doubt :)
     
  12. Jim61 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    #12
    I'm trying to decide between these two cameras as well. The biggest concern I have is how to store my video until Blue Ray or HD DVD burners are commonplace. Once edited how can you store either HDV or AVCHD? AIC is far too large a file. Is the only option to keep all your original video (on tape for HDV and hard drive for AVCHD) and edit once for a SD DVD (now) and then edit again at some time in the future for Blue Ray?

    Sorry if I've done the wrong thing by asking this question. Should I have started a new thread?

    Regards, Jim
     
  13. Vapor macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    #13
    there is a cool program that will allow you to store your raw avchd files
    http://mac1080hd.com/

    It lets you download the raw file and gives you back your SD card. I have seen no artifacts with my sony CX7. Awesome camera.
     
  14. bozigle macrumors regular

    #14
    AVCHD or Mpeg4 is the younger brother of Mpeg2... so it should perform better right?? well that is about as wrong as Jpeg.
    Mpeg whatever number can give files that are crap or good depending of the quality settings.
    For the moment, it seems that the mpeg compression is not really at the top but things should improve... unfortunatly you'll have your camcorder by then.
    So the quality is currently better on the tape compare to the hdd

    Tapes are pain... you need to digitalized, store safely... on the other hand once your hard drive crash... then you "just" have to digitilize them again... i don't think there is one better than the other... just a matter of taste. Also if you want to film up to 5hours(or whatever the time is on this hdd)... you don't need to carry more than the camcorder... but over 5hours (imagine you go on a trip) you cannot film anymore in the first case or you just have to buy more tapes in the other case.

    the 1440 figure is not coming from the compression... this is the real size of you captor (no it is not 1920... don't start insulting me... this is just the way it is) so the Mpeg 2 is just compressing the existing data and leaving the extrapolation for the editing software... where as AVCHD is already extrapolating the incoming datas on the resulting file.

    On the comment of the marketing argument 1440 vs 1920... humm humm... lense are the most important part of the camcorder (or a camera)

    As for the purpose of your camcorder... green screen filming. I would advice to get the best quality you can get (the guerilla film maker even advice to film in something better than HDV all together... but since you're doing it anyway) so in the existing market that would probably mean the tapes.

    Cheers
     
  15. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    Jan 1, 2007
    Location:
    Ireland
    #15
    My advice is go AVCHD. I use a Sony HDR SR5E, (reasonable price and great quality), then edit in Final Cut Express V4 ..... :).

    ps
    Tapes are a pain in the ass .. :(
     
  16. jolton macrumors member

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    Mar 9, 2006
    #16
    I'd go with HDV. The tapes act as a backup. They're cheap as well.

    I think I read somewhere that every frame of HDV is around 25mbit, as apposed to AVCHD which is somewhere around 7-12mbit depending on the compression algorithm.

    Also, any video you import has to be transcoded so the original AVCHD would have to be backed up if you intend to re-edit.

    I have seen people prefer and go with AVCHD for convenience, but those that do know they are doing so at the expense of not getting the best picture quality and format available to them.

    If image quality and movies longer than 5 minutes are what you're for, seriously consider HDV.
     
  17. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

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    Ireland
    #17
    Yes tapes are cheap, but can stretch and have been known to get damaged.

    If the camcorder has a hard drive, the original footage is left unaltered on the hard drive if you need to re-edit, but yes it is advisable to back up to DVD

    I do not consider AVCHD to be inferior in any way.
     
  18. jolton macrumors member

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    Mar 9, 2006
    #18
    How would the tape get stretched? If you talking about the mechanism going haywire, and just destroying tapes (which is very rare) chances are it will be a blank.

    Hell, lighting could strike and fry the hard drive on the camcorder.

    Also, don't most hdd recorders record in mpeg4 codec or a variant thereof? I'm pretty sure you would need to transcode when importing to edit.

    But I digress; Yes AVCHD is easier and more convenient. However, for those that don't mind swapping a tape, the image quality and positives far outweight (at least to me) the ease and what I see as negatives on an AVCHD camcorder.
     
  19. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #19
    Hard drives fail more than tapes get damaged. Be it audio, video, or data tape has been a proven method of storing information for decades. Once solid state media gets inexpensive enough to write to it once and put it on a shelf I think tape will finally get replaced, but the harddrive based cameras just aren't where it's at, IMO. What happens when the HDD fills up (or worse yet dies) in the middle of your vacation? Also, no Mac editing app edits AVCHD natively because the compression is so CPU intensive that performance wouldn't be acceptable. So even though AVCHD is low bandwidth to shoot, once it goes into your Mac it gets transcoded into AIC (same as HDV if you are using iMovie or FCE). The benefits of shooting tapeless just aren't realistically there yet, IMO, on the consumer side, but I tend to be very pragmatic and let others cut themselves on the bleeding edge of technology so maybe for people w/a different mindset the drawbacks aren't as big a deal as they are for me.:)


    Lethal
     
  20. sk8ordie macrumors regular

    sk8ordie

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    Nov 16, 2007
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    California
    #20
    Count me in to the tape camp. Ive had no issues with MiniDv tapes in the past 6 years, except for maybe a random dropped frame once or twice. No bending or breaking...although I have lost a few...but I cant blame the tape for that.
     
  21. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

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    Nov 22, 2007
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    Ask Apple
    #21
    If AVCHD is the answer to the question of a consumer grade solid state HD format - I would be looking for another answer. I'd give it a year or so, becase I think I saw they were going to be increasing the bitrate by 20% - 50% to make less compression errors.
     
  22. MacAficionado macrumors 6502

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    #22
    What about motor noise from the tape cams? I have a 5 year old camcorder that records the noise of the drive mechanism. It is really annoying. Has that become better with newer cameras?

    I'm also looking to get a camcorder soon and that is my major complain against tape. NOISY!!!
     
  23. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

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    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #23
    You think that a hard drive- or DVD-based camcorder won't pick-up noise? :rolleyes: If noise is an issue, there is an age-old, simple, and proven solution: Use external microphones!
     
  24. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    Dec 11, 2006
    #24
    cheap camera with cheap built-in mic is going to do that.

    get a camera with a mic input and get a decent shotgun mic for it and you won't have that problem.
     
  25. MacAficionado macrumors 6502

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    #25

    Ahhh, good point!!!

    But I guess I did not make it known that I don't want to make a feature or anything, just for general use. So an external mic would be more of a hassle. And yes I thought about the noise from HD and DVD drives. I'm leaning more towards the flash based camcorder where aside from the noise of the lens motors, they would be pretty much silent. But this actually opens up more options. Thanks.
     

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