HD video editing?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by stevol, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. stevol macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #1
    I'm thinking of buying a new iMac, but wondering if I should wait for Blu-ray iMac, yet perhaps I realize that this is irrelevant -- maybe today's iMacs are just not 'comfortable' editing HD video? Sure they 'can', I wonder if it is painful to manage HD video with today's horsepower so to speak? On the contrary, is editing SD video and burning DVDs the 'sweet spot' of today's iMac technology, and are we years away (how many?) from smooth HD editing with ease? Should I just accept that HD video editing is not ready for prime time, and therefore not wait for a blu-ray iMac and just dive in now?

    Anyone out there have experience editing HD video with iMovie or Final Cut Express? Is it painful or relatively easy and smooth? How much faster or smoother is dealing with SD video on the current iMacs vs HD video? And for those of you bold enough to edit HD video today, what are you exporting your final projects on? Are you down-converting to SD and burning SD DVDs?

    Should I just give up and stick with SD video and DVDs, realizing that relatively smooth and easy HD editing and blu-ray writing is years away? Or is the real HD experience(on iMac) just literally around the corner?
     
  2. zedsdead macrumors 68040

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    Jun 20, 2007
    #2
    I used to edit HD on a Powerbook G4. The iMacs, especially the 2.8, can handle HD video without problems. I edit 1080p without a blip in performance.

    The Blu-Ray thing is up to you, but know, that will not be happening for likely a year. They are not even in the Mac Pro's yet, nor are there any drives thin enough to meet Apple's standards. You can always get an external in the future.
     
  3. stevol thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 20, 2008
    #3
    How do you export?

    Thanks for the reply. Since you edit in HD, first of all which format camcorder do you have, HDV or AVCHD? Is it true that AVCHD is a pain (from what I hear)? Secondly, how do you export your final projects? To Apple TV? If you export to Apple TV, what if a friend or family member wants a copy? Since no blu-ray yet, do you downscale to standard def / DVD? Thanks again.
     
  4. zedsdead macrumors 68040

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    Jun 20, 2007
    #4
    I was doing some serious work with a JVC HD100 720/24p HDV in the native format without transcoding for a little while. Currently I am using a Canon HF100 for my own family and hobbies, capturing at full 1920x1080, although it gets transcoded to AIC.

    I do export to Apple Tv for the family stuff or put it up on .mac. If I have to distribute I use Dvd or iPod files since none of my relatives have an Apple TV or Blue-Ray.
     
  5. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

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    Jan 26, 2008
    #5
    I recently edited a HD wedding video. First on my Macbook 2.4 GHz then on my iMac 2.0 GHz using Final Cut and iMovie.

    Both machines worked flawlessly and easily handled the video imported from the Sony HC-3. Real time capture was not a problem for both machines and editing was quick and painless.

    Before I owned the Macbook and iMac, I was using a Vista PC with an AMD-64 processor and Pinnacle. The iMac and Macbook blew it away as far as speed and rendering time.
     
  6. MacMuppet macrumors member

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    Dec 3, 2006
    Location:
    London, UK
    #6
    How much RAM?

    I'm looking at an iMac and would be interested to know
    how much RAM you had to edit HD.
     
  7. zedsdead macrumors 68040

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    Jun 20, 2007
    #7
    You want at least 2 (which is what I have), but you really should just get 4.
     
  8. MacMuppet macrumors member

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    Dec 3, 2006
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    Thanks.

    4gb of RAM is about a fifth of the price where I am
    of what Apple is charging for it so maxxing it shouldn't
    be a problem.
     
  9. czachorski macrumors 6502a

    czachorski

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    #9
    I too edit in HD on an iMac and I will echo what others have said and say that I find it to be very easy and well within the capabilities of the iMac. I will add that transitions and effects are rendered in real-time in iMovie. You aren't going to get any faster than that! :p

    I have a HDV Sony camera, and import into iMovie (which transcodes to AIC), at the "large" setting, which is 920x540. The file size is substantially smaller than "full" at 1920x1080, and I have looked at original HDV video and the iMovie "large" and can barely see a difference in quality. I then export the edited video to QT h264 at the same frame size with the iMovie presets export settings. It goes on my web page and into my iTunes library for playback to my HDTV via the mini-DVI output and an adapter to a VGA cable.

    You can see some samples of the results here. Not all of these are in the large size, but an example of the large, and a video edit I am proud of is here.

    Good luck!
     
  10. carlosbutler macrumors 6502a

    carlosbutler

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    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    London City
    #10
    nice canon camera. i think this records on to memory stick (if im wrong please say). when you transfer the files from the card/camera to the iMac, what format are they in and do they come up as seperate files i.e. if you click record and stop 4 times, will 4 different files show up? also how bigger memory card do you have and how much time does it give you to record. one last thing, when you transfer to iMac, do you use usb or firewire?
    carlos
     
  11. zedsdead macrumors 68040

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    Jun 20, 2007
    #11
    The Canon HF100 records to SDHC/SD cards (only with SDHC cards is the 1980x1080, 17mps mode available). It's brother, the Canon HF10, does the same, but also comes with 16 gigs of internal flash memory, albeit at least $200 more. All other features the same.

    The Canon records with the AVCHD codec. Final Cut and iMovie cannot edit native AVCHD, so the files get transcoded on import to AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) or ProRes 422 (Final Cut Only).

    Every time the record button is pressed, a new clip is created and iMovie/Final Cut see it as a new clip upon import (the biggest reason for the format in my eyes now that the quality is on par with HDV - at least consumer wise, if you go with the Canon).

    The Canon also does 24p/30p, which is great. The 30p is my personal fav since there is no pulldown required. The 24p is like the other consumer Canon models however, as there are still no flags for the editing apps to remove the extra frames, so you have to use Cinema Tools or other workarounds if you want to edit 24p natively.
     
  12. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

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    Nov 17, 2007
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    das Fort
    #12
    I've done some very minor HD editing in iMovie 08 and didn't find it too bad, really. I didn't like iMovie, so I just bought Final Cut Express and really like it so far. Haven't really used any video editing software since FCP 2, so I'm trying to get back in the swing of it.
     
  13. harcosparky macrumors 68020

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    Jan 14, 2008
    #13
    I am editing HD on a 2.4 iMac with 3 Gig of Ram.

    My camcorder is a new Canon HV30 in HDV ( MiniDV Tape )format.

    I anguished over which to buy and in the end chose HDV because of the following reasons.......

    1. Not limited to HDD storage capacity - once the drive is full you have to download the video. I know they hold "up to" 7 hours of video and that may be enough for family events and such but with tape the only limit is the number of tapes on hand.

    2. Video quality - though ACVHD is close to HDV in quality it's still not there.

    3. Backwards compatibility with all my MiniDV tapes - I can play and record in MiniDV on the Canon

    In the end I just found there were more valid reasons to go with HDV, than with ACVHD.

    From what I have read ACVHD might catch up to HDV quality in a year or so ... but that was user speculation.

    By the way, I was AMAZED at the quality of video from the HV30. Of course I am comparing it to standard MiniDV video, which is not HD.
     
  14. stevol thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 20, 2008
    #14
    Am I right?

    Thanks for the replies. Am I right in summarizing that editing in HD on a current iMac is "painless", whether HDV or AVCHD format source? What I am still unclear on is that no one seemed to answer or report a consistent way or an ideal way of exporting their final video. The person who shot the wedding video -- how did you export the final product, DVD? Regarding the .mac website, what resolutions can you post on the site, 720p, 1080i? What broadband speeds are required to stream these resolutions well?

    My bottom line is wondering whether it is worth waiting for a blu-ray iMac if one is coming anytime soon, or whether I should bite the bullet, realizing that maybe I will add on an external blu-ray writer once those come down in price, knowing that at least the current iMacs are more than capable of doing the editing part of the work. What do you guys think of my summary and lingering questions? Thanks.
     
  15. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040

    IgnatiusTheKing

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    Nov 17, 2007
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    das Fort
    #15
    I can't tell you about the best way to get HD video back out, but I wouldn't hold your breath on a BluRay iMac. It don't think it's likely to come soon.
     
  16. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

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    Jan 26, 2008
    #16
    I am exporting my final video in full HD (1920X1080). Yes, the file size is huge but I have the space. Then I use Toast 9 to put the video on a standard DVD in Blu-Ray format. That way, it plays on my Blu-Ray player if full HD without having to use a Blu-Ray burner.

    When a reasonably prices external Blu-Ray player is available for the Mac, and the blank media prices come down, I will transfer everything to an actual Blu-Ray disc.

    Full HD files are the way to go if you want the best quality. My motto is "Think about the future". I try to do everything now in top quality so in the future I'm not stuck with sub-standard video on my 3D Holographic projector. :)

    In short, go ahead an get your iMac now. It should be future proof when Blu-Ray external burners become common.
     
  17. ceres macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    Location:
    Dark Forests of Germania
    #17
    I used to own a 2.8 ghz Al imac and was using it to get some hd editing with my hv20 done. I´d recommend waiting until summer when the first quad-core mobile cpus should see the light of day. In terms of general responsiveness of the system it´s a clearly noticable improvement.( at least with premiere and my pc).
    With applications geared towards multi-cpu/core use you will see nice scalable results.
    Intel has already stated that it intends to sell the new 4core chips as "extreme" versions, however, meaning $999 per unit. Although, Apple has ostensibly great conditions on Intel Warez, I´d expect a price premium of 300-400 USD over the currently fastest cpu. Also, this quad core-chip is (as of last week) speculated to top out at 2.33 ghz meaning you will probably not lose a whole lot of time using one of today´s machines.
     
  18. SpaceJello macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    #18
    Hey Chris,

    What was the frame rate on your final video? was it 24fps or something like 50 or 60? As well, I never knew you can use Toast to burn on Blu-Ray format on a DVD? I guess you are limited by the DVD file size limit for the video?

    Thanks
     
  19. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

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    Jan 26, 2008
    #19
    Actually I am doing more testing with Toast 9 as I type. You set the bit rate to whatever you want to fit as much as you want on a regular DVD. The "Auto' settings give you about 20 minutes of full Blu-Ray HD on a single layered DVD. 40 minutes on dual layered. With a lower bit rate, you can fit up to 2 hours but I don't know how it looks yet since I haven't tested it.

    Not sure of the frame rate but it looks to be nothing less than the standard for HD.
     
  20. stevol thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #20
    This is potentially the best news in a while!

    Is it really true that you can write "blu-ray" quality HD video on a DVD and have it play like a blu-ray video? I realize the time limitation of 20 or 40 minutes (if single or double layer), but hey, many home movies, projects, etc. are not full length feature films anyway. But this is potentially great news! It's like having a "mini blu-ray" burner on a current (affordable) dvd burner, which is in some ways future-proof.

    Please confirm this (I would love to hear more than one person confirm this), share your actual experiences with this -- if this is really the truth -- it is almost too good to be true! Blu-ray on DVD! Why wait for a blu-ray iMac when it already 'exists'?

    Just have to keep my videos under 40 minutes -- not too bad of a compromise.
     
  21. richprice macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    #21
    What what what!!!!! You can burn hd on regular dvd and play back on a bd player? This has me giddy I must know:D more.
     
  22. richprice macrumors member

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    Apr 27, 2008
  23. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

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    Jan 26, 2008
    #23
    I have been doing more experimenting with Toast 9 this evening. At lower bit rates, the Blu-Ray formatted DVD's look pretty good but are slightly pixelated. The resolution isn't degraded though so the video overall isn't bad.

    I think I will stick with the higher bit rates.

    I am really quite pleased. Toast 9 does a great job creating Blu-Ray formatted DVD's. Toast 9 will create HD-DVD's as well.
     
  24. tommychan macrumors newbie

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    May 1, 2008
    #24
    I'm so sure this is possible to put blu-ray movie into a DVD, at the end of the day, BD or HDDVD is just simply a storage medium only. 5-6 years ago when DVD burners were still so expensive I had already burn DVD quality clips into CD (called mini-DVD) for my school projects.

    I like to do the same thing with "mini-BD" or "mini-HDDVD" too, can someone list out the typical video and audio bitrate for 1080p @ mpeg2 and vc-1 that is now used widely in BD and HDDDVD? Thanks
     
  25. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

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    Jan 26, 2008
    #25
    Here is one way to prove it. Here is a scan of the back of the box for Toast 9. Check out the highlighted line.
     

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