Thoughts on AVCHD workflow?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Heb1228, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. Heb1228 macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    #1
    Here's what I've come up with in a couple of weeks playing with my HF100. I'd like to hear from some of you guys with more experience if there are improvements that can be made.

    1. Use card reader to copy original AVCHD files (have .MTS extension)

    2. Use Toast 10 to convert the files. By default it wants to convert them to Apple Intermediate Codec. I've been choosing custom and converting them to HDV 720p30fps (I've got the HF100 set to 30 progressive.). I did some comparisons with AIC and this has been giving me quality that is almost impossible to distinguish, but at about 1/4 the file size.

    3. Import to FCP or other video editor. (I'm not sure if iMovie will import them, I've got a PPC Mac, so can't load the newer versions of iMovie.)


    I keep the original .MTS files so I can go back and watch/edit them at full quality in the future, but this seems to be working fairly well for me right now.
     
  2. NeoMayhem macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2003
    #2
    Sounds like a good idea for PPC. If you get a new computer I would use the full resolution files though.
     
  3. tcgjeukens macrumors regular

    tcgjeukens

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Location:
    IJsselstein, the Netherlands
    #3
    Heb1228

    AVCHD and PPC do not work together when trying to use default workflow, i.e. using Log & Transfer options.

    The workflow you describe is a small detour, but it works.
    I will NOT advise you to transcode your AVCHD files to HDV. You will loose quality. Especially since HDV is also not a "distribution" format. Meaning HDV again needs to be converted to something else. E.g. MPEG2 for DVD SD. Or H264 for DVD HD or FLV for web. In each conversion you will loose quality.

    The :apple: workflow for AVCHD usage is: transcode AVCHD to AIC or ProRes. Edit in AIC or ProRes. Convert edited AIC / ProRes to required distribution format.

    Do not feel tempted by files sizes. Filming in Full HD is HDD intensive. Ballpark figure: Reserve 80Gb for one hour of full HD (10Gb for MTS files and 70Gb for transcoded AIC/ ProRes files).

    Cheers
    Coen
     
  4. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    #4
    What's the criteria for iMovie working or not working on PPC? I have run iMovie 08 just fine on my old G5 Dual 1.8GHZ tower. Is this a new restriction for iMovie 09?
     
  5. Heb1228 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Heb1228

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    Feb 3, 2004
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    #5
    I'm not quite sure you're making sense. Both workflows have two required conversions.

    AVCHD->(AIC/ProRes/HDV)->Output Format

    I understand HDV may be more lossy on a technical level, but as I said in the OP, I've tried both and can't visually tell a difference. It may just be that a consumer camcorder like the HF100 doesn't take good enough quality video in the first place to make any difference. In other words, the ceiling on video quality is by the camera itself, not by HDV or the higher headroom AIC or ProRes.

    My point is, if its 25% the file size with little to no loss in quality, I'm going to save the hard drive space.
     
  6. TheStrudel macrumors 65816

    TheStrudel

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    Jan 5, 2008
  7. tcgjeukens macrumors regular

    tcgjeukens

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    Location:
    IJsselstein, the Netherlands
    #7
    Heb1228,

    The workflow steps you depict are correct.
    Capture codec -> editing coded -> distribution codec.

    In case your capture codec is HDV then to avoid loss of quality also select HDV as editing codec.

    In case of AVCHD (on a Mac) you editing codec can NOT be AVCHD, thus the need to transcoded to an intermediate codec. On :apple: two intermediate codecs are defined: AIC and ProRes.
    Note: HDV (as show in your workflow example) is NOT an intermediate codec.
    HDV uses a 1:15 compresssion (compare to 1:30 for AVCHD). To convert your Mac first has to decompress 30:1 and then compress 1:15. A loss will occur ... but you are right ... maybe you won't see it.

    And for the argument of file sizes: Editing in HD is HD space consuming anyhow, but I guess they would have told you in the shop when you bought your camera.
    Btw: 1Tb costs about 80 USD/Eur (or less).

    Regards,
    Coen
     
  8. akoj macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    #8
    My computer is an 2008 3.06Ghz iMac, Intel with the latest os X and for video editing I use Final Cut Express 4. I just got a Sony CX520VE that records .mts files in 1080/50i.

    Now both Final cut and iMovie boast that they support AVCHD files natively, not for me they don't. I have an intel mac, i have software that's supposed to be able to handle the files, what's the problem?
     
  9. mbell75 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    #9
    I agree with the ones who already commented, you ARE dropping the quality by doing it the way you are. You dont just magically get file that much smaller without sacrificing quality somewhere in the compression. Depends on what you want though. Hard drive space is dirt cheap these days. I just picked up a 1.5TB drive for $109. I would rather have the best quality video and have it take up more space than converting thru Toast and losing quality.
     
  10. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #10
    Apple's definition of 'native' is the problem. All of Apple's editing apps have to transcode AVCHD into another codec. AIC for iMovie and FCE and the choice between AIC and ProRes for FCP.


    Lethal
     
  11. mbell75 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    #11
    This is a big reason I am thinking about picking up a Windows based laptop as well. My roommate can take AVCHD right off an SD card into Sony Vegas Pro and start editing. Doesnt have to be transcoded. Saves lots of time and as mentioned before, hard drive space
     
  12. fa.ce macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2006
    #12
    Other Mac OS X native AVCHD editing software ?

    Any other editing software for Mac OS X that NOT needs to trasncode AVCHD into another codec ?
     
  13. thedirtyduo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    #13
    It doesn't take that long to transcode. It is an extra pain, but I do weddings that I've shot with over 250 clips all about 1-10min long and it's no big deal!

    Would be nice thou.

    That's why it's called an Apple, not an Orange.
     
  14. Sir Gawain macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    #14
    FCE4 and MTS files

    Kit is Mac Pro 12 Core and FCE4. Contrary to what is apparently advertised, Apple confirmed to me today that FCE4 (v.4.0.1) will not transcode MTS files to AIC unless they are in a particular file structure. Unlike other NLEs, such as Edius Neo, you cannot just Log and Transfer a bare MTS file. We have also not been able to import the Panasonic file structure out of HD Writer. I have tried a Demo version of Voltaic HD, but conversion of an 8-sec clip fails after 75% converted. Other Posters have suggested that Roxio Toast will convert to AIC by default but there is nothing on their web-site that indicates that. That leaves Pavtube, but there is no Demo download available for Mac, and one is hesitant to splash out if that too doesn't work. Any other ideas out there, please?
     
  15. martinX macrumors 6502a

    martinX

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    Aug 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #15
    There isn't?

    Alternatively, there is ClipWrap and Voltaic, to name just two more.
     
  16. Raytrace macrumors member

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    Apr 2, 2010
  17. Sir Gawain macrumors newbie

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    Oct 8, 2010
    #17
    OK, there is a bug in Voltaic, which is referred to in their FAQ - Preferences for Custom conversion 'leak' into the default conversion, resulting in a conversion into Quicktime rather than AIC. You need to go into your Home Directory and delete the Voltaic file from the library, and then it works, if slowly.

    As for Pavtube, (which seems to have an enhanced hyper-thread design) there is no Mac trial download advertized, but if you do download it, this is allowed as a trial. However, there is no mention of AIC in the Output options, just a mention of a codec suitable for FCE4 - but which is it? They all seem to be compressed.

    I shall have a look out for Clipwrap. Thanks.
     
  18. Sir Gawain macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2010
    #18
    I've tried Clipwrap. Simple, seems to work for the clips from both my Panasonic cameras, is lightning fast and does what it says on the tin. Although the most expensive at $50, I have bought it. Why can't Apple supply this with FCE4????

    Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  19. Sir Gawain macrumors newbie

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    Oct 8, 2010
    #19
    Pavtube have confirmed that their app cannot convert to AIC.
     

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