What format is the next step up from AVCHD and HDV?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Chirs, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Chirs macrumors newbie

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    #1
    What format is the next step up from AVCHD and HDV? AVCHD (such as the Canon HF10) would be fine except it may be too taxing to edit on my humble Macbook Pro. HDV (such as the Canon HV30) would be better except I would like to record to hard drive or memory card to avoid the microphone noise. I don’t need a prosumer camera, but I can pay a few hundred more. Is there a handheld that uses a better format than these, and records to hard drive/memory card?
    Thanks
     
  2. Gymnut macrumors 68000

    Gymnut

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    #2
    Unfortunately, there's nothing out there in the consumer world for HD, other than AVCHD and HDV. What do you mean by "avoiding the microphone noise"? If by that you mean the microphone picking up the camera's motor noise, the simple solution would be to buy a flash bracket to put the microphone away from the camera or throw it up on a boom pole.
     
  3. Chirs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thanks. Yeah, that's what I was fearing. I looked at the Sony and Canon sites, and saw only AVCHD and HDV for consumer, but hoped I was missing something. That's what I meant about motor noise. How much am I looking at for the next step up in cameras? I saw something about converting AVCHD to more edit friendly high-res files elsewhere, but was not sure how to do it on a Mac, or which software to use, or what the footage would end up looking like. No answers so far on my post below on the subject, but it may be a specialized question.
     
  4. tri3limited macrumors 6502

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    #4
    RED cam would be a step up... a £9000 step up but one none the less.

    I suggest Final Cut Pro and capturing in Pro-Res.

    Check out CreativeCow for tutorials.
     
  5. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

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    #5
    Other HD formats include DVCPRO HD, XDCAM HD, HDCAM, etc., to answer your question.

    But if AVCHD is pushing it on your system, you wouldn't like those at all.

    HDV is what I would recommend. For the micing situation you should really use an external microphone anyway—they produce much nicer results because you can get them much closer to the subject.
     
  6. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #6
    Yes AVCHD is probably the most CPU intensive common acquisition codec out there right now, but that's kinda a moot point as all of Apple's apps transcode AVCHD into another codec (AIC or ProRes) for editing.


    Lethal
     
  7. Chirs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Jack,
    Thanks. I’ll check out CreativeCow. I don’t understand exactly why people are having so much trouble with AVCHD, and why HDV is reportedly so much easier on to edit on. AVCHD is only slightly more resolution, and if compression format is cumbersome for the computer, it would seem it could easily be converted.

    Michael,
    I see you’re also using a MacBook pro. Are you able to edit AVCHD on it with no problems? The Apple site said I would need a Mac Pro to do AVCHD (interesting that the format with the worst quality would need a pro editing computer). I have not bought any HD camera yet, by the way, and have only edited on Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas in the past. Plan to by FCP soon, though.

    -Chris
     
  8. Chirs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
     
  9. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #9
     
  10. Chirs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Once an AVCHD is converted into AIC or ProRes does it become less CPU intensive? Is one AIC or ProRes file as hard to handle for the CPU as another, regardless of what it was originally (seems I'm missing something here)? As you can see I’m new to HD, and I’d like to read more about this. Any links appreciated. Will check out CreativeCow.
     
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #11
    Yes.
    AFAIK AIC is less CPU intensive than ProRes.

    I don't have any links off the top of my head, but if you google "AVCHD" and "AIC" or "ProRes" or "Final Cut Pro" or "Apple" you'll find a good amount of info.


    Lethal
     
  12. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

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    #12
    I do mostly HDV on my MacBook Pro. The only time I have come across AVCHD footage is when some guy gave me stuff he shot in that format to edit, and I immediately transcoded to ProRes before editing, so no I haven't actually edited AVCHD. Transcoding works fine though. ;)

    BTW I know you're looking for a hard drive camera. I should warn you that people here (me too) generally discourage hard drive cameras for a number of reasons, including compatibility with FCP. I would really urge you to go for a digital tape format over hard drive.
     
  13. bobbleheadbob macrumors 6502a

    bobbleheadbob

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    #13
    Is there any chance Apple will begin to support AVCHD natively sometime soon? :confused: Maybe in FCS3, or via a software update to the current version? Or is there some technical reason why they can't do it? Just wondering.

    And wasn't Steve Jobs 'pimping' a Panasonic AVCHD camera when they first announced the iMovie '08 update a year or so ago? Why would they be showing off software using this format if they didn't intend to support it? :confused:
     
  14. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #14
    Going native?

    It is supported, but - yes - only when "transcoded" into something like AIC or ProRes. This might well be a good thing, because "native" AVCHD handling requires mega computing power (you only have to scratch the surface with a google search to find umpteen threads where PC users describe their anguish in lavish detail via-a-vis native editing of AVC). This way, even those of us using the humble Mac Book or Mini or iMac can happily import and chop away. Even HDV isn't handled "natively" in, say, iMovie.
     
  15. Chirs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Probably a stupid question, but I can’t find a straight answer: Are AIC and ProRes uncompressed formats or are they just different kinds of compressed formats? I can’t figure out why a ProRes file that was originally AVCHD would be harder for the computer than HDV (or for that matter, the high end formats with which I am totally unfamiliar, like DVCPRO HD, XDCAM HD, HDCAM). Once its a ProRes file, does it make any difference what the file was before it was transcoded? Same for question for AIC.

    It seems if both AVCHD and HDV are both transcoded into AIC or ProRes, it they should be equally easy to edit on with a laptop. This is not what I am reading elsewhere – people say HDV is easier to edit with. I know FCP will edit HDV natively, but I hear this requires more CPU than just transcending it.

    Don’t mean to turn this into another AVCHD vs. HDV post, but why (besides the compression artifacts on AVCHD) do people in this site prefer HDV? I would rather use tape, because the idea of losing data long-term hardware storage freaks me out, but I want to avoid the motor noise of tape (I know I can use an external mic, but for most situations I know I’m not going to bother).



    Thanks in advance.
     
  16. ppc_michael Guest

    ppc_michael

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    #16
    I was talking about tape vs. hard drive, not necessarily HDV vs. AVCHD. Hard drive cameras store the videos as files (obviously). Many of those cameras expect you to use their propriety software to connect to the camera and browse its contents to extract the video files. Additionally, it's common for the hard drive camera to store the video files in a rare or even propriety wrapper, again expecting you to use their software to convert it to something useable. This causes all sorts of annoyance, problems, and possible incompatibility with Mac OS X.

    Additionally, if you're out on a long shoot, it's essential to be able to fill up a tape, pop it out, put in a new one and continue. That's just not possible with a hard drive camera, you'd have to go through and delete footage to make room for more. And if you need to keep everything that's on your hard drive, you're out of luck.

    In conclusion :)p) some people have fared well with hard drive cameras, but many people have had many problems with them (it pops up on this forum all the time). Tape-based cameras are just a lot safer I think.
     
  17. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #17


    I beleive AIC does not use key frames or inter-frame compression. This means each frame stands alone and is not computed using diffrences from previous frames. miniDV works this way too. These formats are easy for the software to edit because you can cut them anywhere.

    The other kind of compression uses "key frames" the occure periodically and then each key frame is followed by "difference frames". This works well because in many scene backgrounds do not change. most formats use this method but it is hard for the software to edit because when a cut is made a new key frame most be computed and all the difference frames following it must be re-computed.

    So you ask if AIC is just a different kind of compression. Yes but fundmentally different in that it is only compression a frame at a time and so like miniDV does not suffer a generational loss when cut.

    But there is always a trade off. It's the CPU vs. the disk drive. highly compressed formats are harder on the CPU but easier on the disk drive. On a notebook computer the hard drive is your weak link. The dual-core processor is quite powerful. You can fix this if you plug in a a FW800 stripped raid and use that for your media files
     
  18. Chirs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Thanks for the answer. I wasn’t getting that it’s a balancing act between CPU and hard drive speed – that solves a lot. Your explanation of how the compression on AIC differs from AVCHD/HDV was helpful, too. My first sentence on the last post was indeed a stupid question – wikipedia says they’re both lossy compression formats. I had asked two media guys at the local Mac store and one at Wolf Camera and all said that editing systems had to uncompress data fist when editing high def.
     
  19. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #19
    Sure, until the mech gives in. There are advantages and disadvantages to both kinds of recording medium, tape and harddrive. Neither is demonstrably better than the other. People are, perhaps, more used to tape and many appear to view harddrive cameras suspiciously. I don't believe this is warranted. In any case, it's not simply a matter of HDD vs tape: there is SD card, too (or Memory Stick in Sony's case). Personally, with AVCHD now matching HDV for quality (i.e. Sony SR11/SR12 and by the looks of things the forthcoming Canon HF11) the argument that tape's just better doesn't hold water: the archival / security argument is debatable either way, as is the picture quality argument. But tape will stick around while some people continue to prefer it for personal reasons, which I dare say is a while yet.

    Bottom line? It's a decision to make on a personal basis, having weighed up all the pros and cons in relation to your own needs and wants. There is no easy answer.
     
  20. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #20
    A tape transport failure, at worst, requires someone to disassemble a portion of the camera to retrieve the tape and the possible loss of a few seconds of footage (assuming the transport 'ate' a portion of the tape). A mechanical failure on a HDD camera pretty much means all the footage on the camera is gone. Solid state media cards are in a position to became a best-of-both-worlds type deal, but right now their big drawback is price. Once an a hour or so of good looking footage that can be edited natively can fit on a $5-10 SD card then we'll be in business.


    Lethal
     
  21. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #21
    Not gone. It's recoverable, like the data on any harddrive. The drives in the Sonys are fairly easy to get at. Or so I've heard (I don't own one, as I don't really like the idea of harddrive cameras myself).

    It'll happen. But some would argue (I would, for instance) that even at the current price, the AVCHD workflow is a pleasant change to the tape workflow.

    Others, naturally, disagree. It's definitely moot at this point in time. The cows will be long home by the time everyone agrees.

    We've managed to turn this thread into another HDV vs. AVCHD impasse. Oh well.
     
  22. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #22
    If, like I said though, it's a hardware failure of the drive it won't be easy or cheap to recover whatever data is still readable.


    Lethal
     
  23. Chirs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #23
    All the info posted on this thread has been helpful -- many thanks. Tangental question: What kind of tape import speed would I expect on a laptop (Macbook Pro 2.2 GHz duel core, 2 GB Ram – to upgrade to 4, 128 MB VRAM)? Would I be able to edit quickly and see real time previews using native HDV or RroRes with this setup and a fast external drive, or am I stuck with AIC (plan to buy FCP soon, not going to try Motion on this computer). Lethal had suggested editing in native HDV on another thread and his reasons seemed logical enough to me.
     

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