Why so enthusiastic about AVCHD?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by tcgjeukens, Nov 3, 2008.

  1. tcgjeukens macrumors regular

    tcgjeukens

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    #1
    Every week there is a post from somebody asking advice for a HD camera.
    What surprises me is that "people" are so enthusiastic in promoting AVCHD camera's.

    Question: why is that so?

    Reading many post I can't shake the feeling that:
    1. AVCHD always requires transcoding before being able to edit in iMovie/ FCE/ FCP (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=592939)
    2. There is no native AVCHD playback on a Mac (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=510939)
    3. Archiving AVCHD requires a duplcate transfer to Mac (if you don't want the bulky transcoded files)
    4. Current Macs would be too slow for native editing

    Why do you opt for AVCHD?

    regards
    Coen Jeukens
     
  2. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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  3. chilipie macrumors 6502a

    chilipie

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    #3
    FWIW, I don't think iMovie and FCE can edit HDV natively either - it's converted to AIC.
     
  4. -DH macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Becuase they believe the hype that the manufacturers spew out.

    -DH
     
  5. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #5
    I thought most people recommended the Canon HV30? The only reason people go for AVCHD is a) ignorance b) ease and c) cost.

    I have no idea why people recommend AVCHD.
     
  6. Dejavu macrumors regular

    Dejavu

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    #6
    AVCHD = MPEG4
    HDV = MPEG2

    AVCHD is twice as efficient, or twice the quality at same bitrate.
     
  7. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #7
    HDV ends up being better quality than AVCHD in the end. AVCHD will suffer more in terms of editing loss due to transcoding issues. It is a pretty poor editing format.
     
  8. jzuena macrumors 6502a

    jzuena

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    #8
    Because if you are going to be a fanboy and buy into Steve's "Firewire is dead" statement, then you have to justify in your mind that HDV is no good, and AVCHD is next in line.
     
  9. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #9
    Eh? Isn't that three reasons?
    Oh, I thought you just suggested one / three reasons.

    I need another coffee.
     
  10. tcgjeukens thread starter macrumors regular

    tcgjeukens

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    #10
    Dejavu,

    "Twice as efficient" - from whos perspective?
    It is a true technology statement. The manufacturer has managed to squeeze twice as much data into the same bitrate, but in doing so the data is so compacted that currect hardware has no possibility to use the native output of the camera.
    The efficiency of the camera is offset by tedious archiving and editing workflows.

    "Twice the quality" - how to display this quality?
    This forum has quite some threads on compression artifacts. The theory will be true, but who amongst us can really talk out of experience? I believe most of us will be parrotting since only a happy few will be able to do the full HD sequence meaning: capturing in full HD, editing in full HD, authoring in full HD and displaying in full HD.
    Most of us will be forced to downgrade their end-result when it comes to distrubution via DVD or Web.
    So how do we "buy" the marketing message "twice the quality"?

    Regards

    Coen
     
  11. Dejavu macrumors regular

    Dejavu

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    #11
    How so? You end up transcoding both in final output. AVCHD supports full HD 1920x1080 while HDV only supports 1440x1080.


    Both formats are interframe compression formats so they both need transcoding. If you're transcoding to ProRes 422 HQ, then both should be the same. It's not recommended to edit native HDV, although many do and even FCP supports it. AVCHD requires a lot of decoding power, and most editing systems haven't been written to take advantage of it. You'll be seeing more camcorders, consumer and professional moving to AVCHD because it's the future. ;)
     
  12. Cromulent macrumors 603

    Cromulent

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    #12
    Or perhaps rather than being a smart arse you could try contributing. But I guess that is too much to ask for.
     
  13. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #13
    Well I thought about contributing to what promised to be yet another AVCHD vs HDV thread, but I thought it was better to leave it to the experts.

    Andrew.
     
  14. Courtaj macrumors 6502a

    Courtaj

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    #14
    True, but a difference in horizontal resolution is less noticeable than a difference in vertical resolution. Not only that but there are plenty of "full HD" AVCHD camcorders that pixel-shift to make up the numbers anyway. Besides, there are many other issues via-a-vis quality in addition to straight-out resolution.

    Andrew.
     
  15. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    #15
    I was quite happy to let the dust settle on Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD, and I'll continue waiting (and shooting with my VX2000) until a consensus is reached on how to best shoot in HD.

    Both sound promising but I really don't relish the thought of additional transcoding to AIC and all the extra disk space requirements. And until there's a popular way to distribute them...

    I'd be curious to know what the visible difference would be in a DVD burned from footage from one of these new HD cams versus a high-quality 3-CCD SD camera like the VX2000.
     
  16. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #16
    Likewise.

    Other than less storage requirements, I don't understand the lure of AVCHD.

    IMHO, MJPEG is better -- especially for action shots, when looking at flash storage.

    Of course MiniDV is the standard.

    Nice camcorder. :)
     
  17. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #17
    "people" will ask all kinds of questions about "what should I buy" and then in the end simply look at the price and buy whatever is cheap. And then later when someone else askes for advice all we get is a many versions of "I have X, Buy X".


    The bottom line is that most consummers don't know image quality and find almost anything acceptable.
     
  18. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

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    #18
    HDV doesn't allow for full raster 1080p. Case closed.

    ALSO look at AVC-Intra, AVCHD's big brother. One of the best recording formats out there.

    HDV does NOT always come out looking better than AVCHD. It's more important getting a camera with a good lens. That's what matters the most.

    Both are 4:2:0 GOP based formats. JVC's proHD records full raster 720, but the other 1080 flavors are 1440*1080. Not quite the same. AVCHD wins there.

    Oh and those of you who complain that AVCHD needs to be transcoded, HDV is the same way. You NEVER export to HDV. I always transcode my files to ProRes so that I can throw it into color and grade it. this method allows for better quality since the export will be a color graded 4:2:2 project. Moot.
     
  19. NeoMayhem macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Working with files on a hard drive/flash card is much nicer then working with tape. Importing AVCHD is also faster then realtime if you have a decent system.
     
  20. Dejavu macrumors regular

    Dejavu

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    #20
    You seem knowledgeable enough. :)


    I found this previous post funny, and ironic. ;)
     
  21. chilipie macrumors 6502a

    chilipie

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    #21
    I don't think Courtaj is being a smart arse - the only real reason you gave was ignorance. Ease of use and lower cost are hardly negatives.
     
  22. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #22
    Editing HDV natively is easy in FCP especially if you are using FCP6 and you set your sequence to render in ProRes and not HDV. The choice to stay native HDV or transcode upon ingest depends on the situation. There is no wrong or right answer. It all depends on what's the best workflow for a given project.

    Pro's won't move to AVCHD.

    Case closed? Not really. HDCAM and DVCPro HD aren't full raster either but I don't see AVCHD replacing them any time soon. You can't cherry pick certain stats and then conclude that X is better than Y. You have to look at the entire 'image pipeline' because the whole process effects how well the video looks in the end.

    HDV's 'big brothers', like XDCAM HD 422, aren't slouches either and can be edited natively in FCP.

    Agreed. Of course this comment kinda undercuts some of your other points.

    It really depends on your workflow. If you are mastering back to HDV then you should stay native all the way. Also, if you are dealing w/large amounts of footage staying in native HDV can save you time (no transcoding on ingest) and money (don't needs as beefy a storage system). Once your edit is done you use the Media Manager to create an 'on-line' project in ProRes for finishing. Yes, you still need to do a transcode, but you only transcode the media used in your final project, not all the raw media you shot. Also, IIRC, capturing HDV-as-ProRes via FW is limited to 'capture now' functionality and it doesn't bring over the TC from the tape. That is a deal breaker for me.


    Lethal
     
  23. Dejavu macrumors regular

    Dejavu

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    #23
    HDV is the only lower cost HD format that's comparable to AVCHD. Are you suggesting the OP look at HDCAM and DVCPRO solutions? :rolleyes:
     
  24. Dejavu macrumors regular

    Dejavu

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    #24
    AVCHD is requires more powerful computers to edit it, plus disk storage and backup, so the lower-cost (c) is incorrect. "Ease of use" is rather general. Both AVCHD and HDV cameras are easy to operate if that is what he means, but since AVCHD is newer, there isn't very much support for it, so the ease of use argument doesn't apply. In fact, I'd say AVCHD is more cumbersome than HDV. You need an Intel Mac, for instance to ingest AVCHD in FCP.
     
  25. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #25
    No, I'm saying that AVCHD 1080 being full raster and 1080 HDV not being full raster is only looking at one piece of the puzzle that makes up the quality of the video. I thought that was pretty clear in the rest of my post which you didn't bother to quote.

    Lethal
     

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