New HD Camera - AVCHD or Not?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by all-in-my-head, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. all-in-my-head macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    I looking to get a new video camera for personal use and trying to work out whether AVCHD is worth all the bother I keep reading about it.

    I use FCS 2 on a new MBP with 4GB at home and can use it on a 2.8GHz Quad Core 6GB ram MP at work (if I need more power).

    I only want to spend £600ish ($1000) which puts me in the Sony SR7/8 or Canon HG10 area. Or on tape the Canon HV20, Sony HDR-HC7 area.

    Can anyone offer advice/experience of any of these, particularly with a FCP workflow. I love the idea of solid state or HDD storage, but the AVCHD sounds like a pain.

    What's the quality like between the tape and disk storage? Will Apple sort out a better method of editing AVCHD?

    Lots of questions, sorry, but hopefully you get where I'm coming from.

    Thanks
     
  2. polar-blair macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #2
    I cant speak from experience but from what I gather (and I hope my decision is right because I to will be making a new HD camcorder purchase within the near future)

    That at the moment HDV surpasses AVCHD's quality. AVCHD is not "edit" friendly and if you are using Final Cut i presume you will be editing and HDV will be a far better choice. Im not 100% sure about all the technical terms and differences but what I gather is

    AVCHD = Bad
    HDV = Good

    to put it simply
     
  3. all-in-my-head thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 25, 2003
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    #3
    That's the impression I was getting, glad I'm not the only one. There just seems so much marketing hype around these products it's hard to get straight answers, a few weeks ago I might have gone for one (avchd camera), but I'm glad i looked into it a bit more, beyond the sales pitch!
     
  4. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    #4
    Final Cut converts both HDV and AVCHD to AIC or Pro Res so the difference in "editability" is surely moot. Final Cut also now supports AVCHD at full resolution (1920x1080). Considering the recording formats themselves, to say that HDV is good while AVCHD is bad is, as you admit, simple - over simple, in fact. While the first couple of generations of AVCHD camcorders were noticeably less impressive than their equivalent HDV kin, the findings of such reviewers as camcorderinfo.com is that at the top end of the AVCHD line there is not much in it, if anything. In other words, and to mention just one example, a camera like the HF11 gives picture quality as good, if not better, than the HV30. Whether the HF11 (or the HF10, or the HF100, or the HG21, or Sony's SR11 or SR12 etc. etc.) gives you everything you want is another matter.

    Andrew.
     
  5. NeoMayhem macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 22, 2003
    #5
    I love AVCHD. The quality is great, and it imports faster then DV/HDV if you have a decent computer (Which it sounds like you do). Tapes are old, outdated technology, and now is a great time to move to solid state media.

    I cant think of one benefit to HDV right now, even if it was the same price of a similar AVCHD camera.
     
  6. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #6
    If you can afford Final Cut Pro, yes, HDV is more edit friendly as FCP can edit HDV footage without converting to Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) or Pro Res. iMovie and Final Cut Express convert both HDV and AVCHD into AIC, negating any "edit" friendly argument. It is worth noting that some video editing software for Windows (and possibly recently released Adobe offerings for Mac) can edit both HDV and AVCHD natively, although doing so may require fairly recent beefy computer.

    As for the video quality, 2008 models from Canon, Sony, Samsung, etc. all boost quality comparable to HDV. Although it is worth noting that most of these AVCHD camcorders can capture full 1920x1080 footage vs. 1440x1080 anamorphic on HDV.
     
  7. polar-blair macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #7
    Having a built in HD on a camcorder can have its advantages, No tape... Quicker transfer time ect.... But I was still under the impression that HDV still offered a better quality recording and was highly editable and that AVCHD was not so edit friendly.

    I admit saying HDV = good and AVCHD = Bad was overly simple but after browsing the web and also starting a similar thread like many have done it still seems that HDV still offers better quality at the same price compared to a AVCHD camcorder.

    To be honest I have nothing to go on because I haven't bought a HDV camcorder yet, but I have used HD formats and have been rather disappointed with the final result. They look good when hooked up to the TV, but whenever I edit them the original quality seems to disappear.
     
  8. all-in-my-head thread starter macrumors member

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    UK
    #8
    so apart from one post here it seems HDV is still better than AVCHD and Final Cut will edit it 'as is'.

    Can anyone point to some decent info on this format, that isn't filled with marketing waffle. I would love to move to hdd or solid state storage but I don't want to have to wait for encoding/decoding times. From what I've read the avchd files take much longer to log in FCP than 1:1 time that a tape takes.

    I assumed hdv was just a native format. Like dv is to sd video, hdv is to hd video?
     
  9. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    Jul 3, 2008
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    #9
    Interesting interpretation given that there are two posts that contradict that claim.

    Andrew.
     
  10. NeoMayhem macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 22, 2003
    #10
    It depends on your computer. My iMac imports AVCHD faster then realtime. Not much faster, but a little bit. And not needing to rewind tapes and find exact start/stop times saves time too. This is not ideal now, but in a few years, importing AVCHD will probably be much, much faster.

    HDV needs to be converted too, unless you have Final Cut Pro. iMovie and Final Cut Express make you transcode it first.
     
  11. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 6, 2008
    #11
    Using the term "better quality" is wrong. When viewing video from both AVCHD and HDV camcorders, the video quality comparable, neither is better or worst. Now at this point, it's a matter of what type of workflow do you want.
     
  12. all-in-my-head thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 25, 2003
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    UK
    #12
    Thanks for all the great responses so far. Just to clarify though,

    Ok so 2 posts. But my point is that there doesn't seem to be any consensus. Out side of this forum all I've seen is the sales pitch from Canon and Sony and a couple of reviewers who like it, verses a whole bunch of people in video blogs complain about how annoying AVCHD is to work with and how they've sold their avchd cameras and gone back to tape.

    Usually, if you read past the fanboys, these forums give a sound and balanced response on anything (even vaguely) Mac related, which is why i ask here.

    So perhaps I should ask my question more directly. If I go for the Canon Vixia HG20 is this going to be easy to capture the footage and edit on a new MBP 2.4ghz 4GB ram running the latest FCP?
     
  13. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    #13
    Yes, unless plugging in your camera, opening FCP, selecting log and transfer, then naming your cliips (optional) and setting in and out points (optional, then clicking add to queue is to much work......

    HDV requires your to plug in your camera, open FCP, selecting capture, setting in and out points, then capturing the video.

    HDV's capture is realtime but you have to sit and pay attention when your capturing.

    AVCHD can be anywhere in between depending on what type of hardware your running, for my MBP it's roughly a bit over realtime to transfer (meaning is 30 sec. clips takes about 35 sec. to transfer) and a Mac Pro can be faster than realtime. Though you can just add all of your clips to the queue and go get a cup of coffee or browse the internet etc.

    Each format is easy to handle and edit
     
  14. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 29, 2006
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    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    #14
    I bought a Sony HC1 which got damaged in a fire recently and I need to replace it. I also have just found out my XH-A1 can't be repaired either so I need to replace that prosumer camcorder as well. So I'm in the market for both a consumer camera and something a bit better for my professional needs. I want to keep being able to record to tape because it's so great to archive, but I would love to be able to record to some sort of hard drive or card or something so I could have ease in importing without my camera. My big problem is that I recorded a lot of stuff I never got around to looking at because of the hassle of reconnecting the camera, importing footage, etc.

    Any suggestions for a consumer cam that can do this? Otherwise, I'll probably grab the HV20 or HV30.
     
  15. NeoMayhem macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    #15
    The HF100 is great. It stores video on flash cards. You can get a 16gb card for less then $30 now, and access the files with a card reader. Most bluray players will let you play the footage right of the card to, which is really nice.
     
  16. Rizvi1 macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 29, 2006
    Location:
    Laurel, MD (Baltimore, MD / Washington, DC area)
    #16
    Thanks for the suggestion. For both of my next cams (consumer and "semi-professional/professional), I'd like them both to have tape because I still have a lot of footage on old tapes that I still want to work with. If I get another XH-A1, I know the HV20/HV30 play nice with it so those could be the two I get. I'm not sure yet though. I'm asking around trying to get a feel for what to do.
     
  17. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    #17
    I have great success with my MBP and the HG20 with iMovie 08 but have not used FCP.
     

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