Future of AVCHD

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by taijuan, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. taijuan macrumors member

    May 17, 2006
    Does anyone have any idea how long it will be before apple computers can deal with AVCHD without converting it?

    I have owned three mini DV cameras over the past six years - 2 Sony and one JVC. My average length of use is about two years. Aside from the fact that they seem to break on me far too often, I think it is extremely troublesome to get the video footage into the computer. I hate having to play the tape in real time into the computer. You can call me lazy, but I have a 2 year old and a four year old and I just want the video clips in the computer, so I can send them out. Because of this, I am far more likely to shoot video using my point and shoot photo still camera. I just plug in the camera and drag the footage over. It's ready for email. Maybe I have to do an export from quicktime, but overall it's pretty easy. The quality leaves a lot to be desired, but it's easy enough that I'll do it. Also, the still camera fits in my pocket and I'm much more likely to take it with me.

    I'd like to buy one of the new Sony flash cameras, but I'm afraid of the AVCHD. I really don't want to deal with converting it and then exporting it for storage down to a somewhat manageable file size.

    I've been considering the Sanyo XD1000. I have read all the reviews about the poor quality of the camera, the problems with image stabilization and customer support, and the fact that you can only shoot in 720P and have it work on your mac. However, the fact that it shoots in MP4 files that you can drag right onto your desktop, view in quicktime and send out in about two secs make it extremely appealing to me, plus it has the added bonus of being small enough to fit in a jacket pocket with ease. Unless AVCHD is going to become easy to deal with sometime soon, I'm really considering getting this camera. Does anyone know how much longer before AVCHD is as easy to work with?
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    The short answer is "Never."

    AVCHD is not a frame-based format which would be a requirement for use without conversion. It is a highly compressed format that is designed to store HD content on low-capacity media. The future of HD content will be high-capacity solid state or rotating disc storage. It won't be AVCHD format.
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I agree. AVCHD is a technical work-around to the problem of high cost storage. As storage gets cheaper there wil be less need to compress it. But then on the other hand there is strong evidence that consummers care a lot more about price than image quality and compression will always give lower cost per minute. So at the low-end AVCHD may stick around.
  4. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    Not quite your point, but why manufacturers don't create high capacity harddrive based camera, intended for the consumer, that records DV or DVCPRO50, or dare I dream... DVCPRO100

    I can't believe that there isn't a consumer market that would pay a little more for less compressed/more easily edited video, and yet there aren't any that I know of. You can buy a 1.8inch harddrive with 300GB now days. An hour of DVCPRO 100 is only around 45GB if I'm not mistaken. ( and I probably am! )

    Grumble grumble.
  5. taijuan thread starter macrumors member

    May 17, 2006
    Thanks for the info, but that's not what I really wanted to hear. Looks like I'm going to get that Sanyo camera after all. It just seems to be so much easier to deal with.
  6. Cybix macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2006
    Western Australia
  7. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC

    No kidding--the price per GB, combined with the "free" archive and the ability to hot-swap makes it likely to stick around a while. Any hard drive based camera will fill up, and then what? fine if it's around the house, but not so much if you're on safari in Africa.
  8. xstorm101 macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2007
    I think if you're in a safari in Africa, tapes are useful if you don't have a macbook with you, but if you do, AVC-HD is more convenient because you don't have to have dozens of tapes, just 2-3 SDHC cards that you transfer to the macbook once a day (to an external drive). But then again, AVC-HD does not work with Final Cut Pro on a macbook yet.
  9. taijuan thread starter macrumors member

    May 17, 2006
    As I mentioned, I'm on my third miniDV camera. They just don't seem to be mechanically reliable to me. I take them on vacation, but I'm not that abusive to them and they seem to fall apart. Fixing them is also extremely expensive and not really worth it. I paid $350 to JVC for a fix that lasted three months and sony was ready to charge me almost $500 to fix the camera. I said forget it and went and bought a new one. After my JVC experience, I decided it wasn't worth the risk.
  10. AviationFan macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2006
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Tape-based consumer camcorders are among the very few items where I'd gladly purchase an extended warrenty. I had a cheap Panasonic camcorder before getting more professional gear, and it had a mechanical problem after a year or two. Was repaired free of charge.

    Having said that, I'd take another MiniDV camcorder (with the warrenty) over an AVCHD model any day!

    - Martin
  11. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Never is a strong word. Although neither iMovie nor Final Cut (Pro or Express) currently support native editing of AVCHD, there are native AVCHD editing software for Windows (beefy CPU and memory required).

    I think the next major version of Final Cut Pro and Express will add native support for AVCHD (without converting to AIC or ProRes).

    That said, AVCHD does offer many compelling benefits over HDV, such as lack of moving part (should be far more durable, all things being equal), random access, and ability to delete any scene. Even on a vacation, I can easily review and perform basic editing without a computer.

    At the risk of being presumptuous, I think HDV is more like camera RAW in that it offers greater post processing capabilities over AVCHD. Pros will and should prefer HDV for this very reason. That said, AVCHD is more like JPEG in that it offers improved usability for more casual users. As an added bonus, PlayStation 3 and most Blu-Ray players can playback AVCHD footage directly.
  12. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    By "frame-based" I assume you mean AVCHD uses interframe, as opposed to intraframe, compression. XDCAM/HD and HDV are also use interframe compression and can be edited natively. Decoding AVCHD (which is based on h.264) on the fly is very proc intensive which is why it's currently no good as an editing codec as it would be severely limiting to work with compared to other codecs.

    Those are differences between tape and tapeless cameras not between codecs like AVCHD and HDV. HDV cameras that record onto solid state media have similar functionality to AVCHD cameras that record onto solid state media.

  13. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    I was playing with an AVCHD camcorder tonight, and I heard this noise ... real slight. The rep told me that was the HDD spinning. So I guess there are moving parts in them after all.

    Maybe you forgot that AVCHD camcorders also came with Hard Disk Drives.
  14. Squelch macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2007
    TLH, FL
    Having been on a safari in Africa, I can tell you that I took my digital camera (a DSLR still camera, but same concept) and not my film camera. I also took my laptop and a few 512 MB CF cards. Every evening I copied the images from the DSLR to the laptop, and had empty CF cards for the next day's shooting. It was a heck of a lot easier than toting around a bunch of film canisters. I shot about 1200 pictures - let's see, that would have been, um, 35 or 40 rolls of film.

    Also, not all AVCHD camcorders have hard drives. Some use SD cards, which are getting to be pretty cheap. And they're solid state, which means no moving parts (besides the lens focusing, etc.)
  15. Jason Edwards macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2007
    Not all of them use hard drives. Lots of them use removable media like my new Sony TG-1. It records AVCHD to memory sticks.


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