AVCHD panning shots look 'rough' and 'jaggy'

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by GilesM, Oct 25, 2008.

  1. GilesM macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2008

    With the help of forum member exman in my earlier posts I can now output my AVCHD footage from iMovie at full resolution !
    However my problem remains, when the camera is still and the subject is moving, everything is fine, but when the camera 'pans' the scene does not move across the screen smoothly, the motion is jagged and jumpy looking.

    In one shot I pan a cross a scene with a a greenhouse in it, the vertical structures seem to 'jump' rather than drift. Does that make sence ?
    It seems that footage I shoot 15 years ago on a VHS camcorder has a smoother look to it than by brand new AVCHD footage.

    So, is there any way I can cure this ? I have tried setting my PS3 to 1080i instead of 1080p as the footage was shot as 1080i and this has helped, but the issue still remains.

    Any ideas anyone ? Could it be that the camcorder a Sony HDR-SR5E is not up to the job ?
  2. GilesM thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2008
    Thank you, I have read the article.

    I guess I have to decide to be happy with what I have, or change the camcorder.
    Does the issue persist if one has a DV camcorder instead of a hard disc camcorder, I guess it would as this seems a shortcoming of the sensor, not the recording media.

    Having said that the footage is OK when viewed as raw AVCHD. It's only after encoding to AIC for the iMac that it gets 'jaggy'.
    So the search for an answer continues !

    thanks for the link. I will be looking at it again, no doubt !
  3. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    De-interlacing your footage could be the cause OR the solution to your problem. Do you have a short clip you can upload somewhere for experimentation?

    I have a Sony HDV camera that shoots in 1080i. You have to be careful when downsampling the video to DVD resolution because the two interlaced video formats are different resolutions (albeit the same frame rate). The best solution I found was to deinterlace the source footage. This causes the pans to look more "jumpy" but without the "combing" appearance on a progressive-scan monitor (e.g., computer monitor, 1080p TV, 720p TV).
  4. trudd macrumors regular


    May 27, 2004
    Rolling shutters on CMOS is certainly a downside. Also, look at other footage in motion to be sure it isn't your monitor's refresh rate. I shoot with on a CCD sensor but my Dell 20" makes fast motion footage look jagged because of it's low refresh rate.
  5. Courtaj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2008
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    As with any tool, you have to work within its limits. With AVCHD (on a CCD or a CMOS camera), the limit is panning. Rule of thumb about panning with consumer-grade AVCHD: don't.

    Not always practical, but expect less than mind-blowing results unless you pan very, very slowly.

    Good luck!
  6. GilesM thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2008
    Thanks for your replies

    All, thank you for your replies.
    To aarond 12: I have plenty of footage, but no where to upload it to. Sorry.
    Happy to send you a clip if you like.

    To trudd: Well I have examined the footage on my 42' Panasonic Viera full HD TV. When viewed after being edit in iMovie thus being transcoded to AIC, then to MP4 the jaggyness appears. If I view the RAW AVCHD footage by connecting the camera to the TV, the very same footage looks perfect.
    So, it's not the TV.

    To Courtaj: yes, I do see your point, I guess I can not expect consumer grade camcorder to perform like the 'real deal' pro cameras.

    The most frustrating part of all of this is that the 'raw' AVCHD footage is fine, but who wants to watch unedited footage? For me the best part of making home movies is the ability to edit them and make a real cool looking home movie.

    I guess, the final analysis is to wait for Apple to produce an update to iMovie that will allow for editing in ACVHD and output the result still in AVCHD, so no transcoding.

    Does anyone know if there is any software like iMovie that will do this ? Is Apple ever going to produce native support for AVCHD?
  7. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2008
    I think I'm suffering from the same problem...

    Here's a video I made in FCE 4. The RAW AVCHD footage plays smooth and clear but once i edited, it introduced some weird loss of quality. I had the camera mounted on a tripod for the driving scenes without any panning and it still suffers from loss of quality.

    Look at the street signs, even though the camera is mounted on a tripod and the sign is stationary, the clips appears to get really weird lines or jagginess.

  8. GilesM thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2008
    yes, Nrose 8989, I see what you mean. Looks like a similar issue.

    I am starting to think that this is to do with the method of capturing HD using the AVCHD method, or more accurately, a problem with encoding AVCHD in to an editable format. I guess the issue is introduced as a result of the codec changes.

    I know Canon use a different method to caprure HD on the DV cameras, I would love to know if this codec has the same issues or not, from what I have seen it does not.

    As Courtaj said earlier, it's seems to be the limit of current AVCHD technology.
    Real bummer as I don't really want to buy another camera just to find out! that could be an expensive and unjustified gamble. On the oter hand I would love to know.
  9. Courtaj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2008
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    This complaint about panning with AVCHD is all too common, even among PC users who do have NLEs with native AVCHD timelines. I've heard similar things about HDV, but I don't think it's quite as pronounced. But you can pan yourself into judder (as opposed to butter) with HDV, too.

    This is why anyone with a decent camera is panning / dollying all the time: it looks like money when it's smooth!
  10. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    Are you outputting it as 'progressive' (e.g. 1080p rather than 1080i)?
  11. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    This isn't an AVCHD issue

    As Courtaj said, has to do with consumer grade HD. HDV is just as noticeable, if not more.

    I bought a Sony HDV and shot a weeks vacation. When I got home and watched the video it looked like I had shot the whole time with the Steadyshot off. Turns out it was on, so I concluded the camera was defective. Turns out it wasn't at all.

    I've shot with HDV (HC9/HV30) and AVCHD (SR12/HF100) side by side and have found no difference when panning. If anything, the raw AVCHD video (straight from the camera) was maybe a bid smoother than the HDV! I even tried a HD CCD next to a HD CMOS. The CCD didn't have the same issue, but had its own issues which were similar (jerky panning).

    All seems to go bad when you start to edit. Taking the 60 fps down to 30fps makes the video look "stepped". I haven't yet tried to shoot in 30p mode to see how that edits.

    For now my solution is to just watch the original videos and not edit :(

    And anyone thinking about going backwards, just shoot with a 480i miniDV in one hand and a 1080i in the other then play them back -- night and day!
  12. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2008
    Yep, it's not a interlacing problem. I shot the video using PF30 which is progressive but wrapped in a 60i stream. I've also tried everything including jes de-interlacer without any good results.
  13. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    Still not good, but is pf30 any better/worse than shooting in 60i? What about raw video straight from the camera? Haven't tried 30fps vs 60 yet.
  14. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2008
    shooting in PF30 seems to be better for me because it takes a step out of my workflow (de-interlacing 60i) for output to web. I like to use shutter priority while using 30p and turn the shutter speed up to 1/60 so i get less motion blur.

    The video straight from the camera is perfect, smooth and clear. But a problems seem to occur when I begin to edit it.
  15. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    In iMovie 08 where can you set your import preferences? I tried importing a short 1080-60i clip. When I exported it as 1080-60fps the PS3 didn't seem to like it. I tried the same at 720-60fps and it played fine, but still the panning blur was present. Is there a way to keep the workflow 60i through the final product or is AIC transcoding messing things up?
  16. GilesM thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2008
    FCE 4 did not help...

    Well, I bought Final Cut Express 4 thinking it would help. Big mistake !
    I imported my footage easy enough, I edited it, easy enough.
    Then when I output to MP4 using the H.264 codec what a disaster ! This is way worse than the job done by iMovie 08 ! The export was terrible full if 'block like' digital artefacts. Just terrible. So I tried the the setting for Apple TV, which in iMovie means 960x540 but in FCE 4, Apple TV setting has different dimensions, 960x720 which distorts the image.

    So why can iMovie make a good job of exporting to .MP4 and final Cut Express much such a mess of it ?

    Any ideas?

    I have found the answer to this issue. It seems the data transfer rate set as default is way down at 600 KPBS. The imported files and the edited files have a data transfer rate of 97,000 KBPS.
    Having the data rate so low reduced the quality and resulted in the issues noted above.
    I set the data transfer rate to 100,000 kbps. The resulting file matched the original .mov files both in quality, data rate and file size.
  17. NeoMayhem macrumors 6502a

    Aug 22, 2003
    What settings did you use? There are many, many export options in FCE/P, so it is easy to do something that will not work right for your video.
  18. SchneiderMan macrumors G3


    May 25, 2008
    i just got FCE 4 and it will not open my avchd file, like mts files, i have a canon hf100. iMovie plays the files, anyone please?? thanks
  19. GilesM thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2008
    I have finally found a good compromise, I output from FCE at
    H.264, 1280x720, 6MPBS with the de-interlacing and flicker filters applied.
    It helps but it does not eliminate the problems as this seems to be the limitation of consumer grade AVCHD cameras.

    I also found that if I do not apply the de-interlace filter, the setting my PS3 to interlace instead of progressive helps as well, but none of this eliminates the issue, it just lessons it.

    I guess If I want true smooth panning then I need a batter camera. I am not willing to pay that much to solve the issue though. Perhaps in a year or so consumer grade AVCHD will have improved.
  20. Chris7 macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought
    24P and 30P stutter on my HF100

    I have a HF100, but have not yet edited with it (still learning FCP). When I try the 24P or 30P, it stutters like crazy when panning, even panning fairly slowly. (I understand some blur is to be expected, but not a jumpy stutter). I've tried other shutter settings (like 1/60), but this does not help. 60i looks fine on pans (watching footage direct into TV), but I have not edited with it yet. I tried a HF10 and a HV30 and they have the same problem with 24P and 30P. Is there some setting I can try to stop the stutter?
  21. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    This is exactly what I'd expect form AVCHD. Or really from any highly compressed video format. The reason is the way the video is compressed. The camera takes advantage of the fact that in MOST shots the background never changes, only the subject moves. So the camera records a "key frame" periodically and then all the frames that follow only have to contain the changes from the "key frame". If the background does not change from frame to frame the differences are small. But panning totally messes up the whole idea on wich the camers compresion algorithm is based. The cure is simply not to pan or maybe pan very slowly

    The other problem is if image stabilization is enabled. The camera will try hard to stop you from panning and then finally "give up" can jerk the frame sideways only to once again attempt to stop your camera motion. The cure here is to turn off IS and use a fluid head tripod or one of those big counter balance hand held mechanical "steady cam" devices. (BTW you can home build a cheap steady cam)
  22. GilesM thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2008
    That is interesting. I am not sure if my camera even has I.S.
    If it has I'll be sure to turn it off.
    Most of my footage is hand held, but I did use a tripod on one occasion and I did notice that the panning issue was less noticeable after using a fluid smooth pan on the tripod.

    I feel some more test footage coming up next weekend !
    Thanks for the ideas.
  23. harddriveowner macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2007
    Stop crying and use Voltaic. Convert the files to .mov and this issue goes away.
    I did. I do hone Apple upgrades its software soon so that the conversion is unnecessary
  24. GilesM thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2008

    Thanks for the suggestion, I will go and get Voltaic and give it a try.
    Thanks again.

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