Skip navigation
Ed.Macke 683 posts
Mar 17, 2006
Currently Being Moderated

AVCHD Conversion

Jul 6, 2009 9:34 AM

I am currently shooting SD, but am researching moving to HD.


So far, my research has concentrated on HDV, since that seems to be PRE7's preferred HD format. But truth be told, I'd rather use flash or HDD storage than the miniDV tapes that HDV requires.

 

So let's say I went with  AVCHD. Not being a masochist, I don't want to edit AVCHD directly, so I started investigating AVCHD conversion programs. Based on 2 options presented by Steve in a January post:


AVCHD Upshift. If I understand correctly, this will

  1. Transfer my AVCHD footage from my camera to my computer
  2. Optionally de-interlace 1080i footage
  3. Create a MPEG .m2t file for editing


Voltaic HD. Again, it seems like it:

  1. Doesn't actually do a transfer from camcorder to harddrive
  2. (Optionally?) de-interlaces 1080i footage
  3. Creates an AVI file for editing


Dang. As usual,  I ended up with more questions that when I started. And here's where I need help...

  1. Is MPEG .m2t the same thing as HDV?
  2. If a converter (e.g. Voltaic) doesn't actually transfer the files from camcorder to hard drive, how would I do that? PRE?
  3. What's the best way to split the AVCHD files by timecode? Would I use HDVSplit on the .m2t files created by AVCHD Upshift? What about the AVI files created by Voltaic HD... would I just run Scenealyzer against the huge AVI file?
  4. Is de-interlacing required/desired? Is the conversion tool the best place to do this, or should I leave it interlaced and let PRE handle it upon output? I'm assuming my final output would be BluRay, but so far nobody in my family has BluRay so I might be forced to (temporarily) create SD DVDs somehow...
  5. Given a choice between converting AVCHD to HDV(?) or AVI, which would PRE7 be happier with?
  6. What about quality? It seems like HDV is king. Some people say AVCHD is equivalent (or close or better), but it seems like AVCHD quality can vary more widely than HDV based on what camcorder you're using. Also, would converting AVCHD to HDV (or AVI) result in quality issues?


I've also seen several interwebs posts saying AVCHD is more the consumer-targeted format, while HDV is more pro/prosumer-oriented. I don't care about that so much, but I would like to create the best videos I can with the least problems.

 

Whew! Sorry for so many questions, but they all seem related. Let me know if you think they should be separate posts???

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 6, 2009 9:51 AM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    I found Voltaic AVIs rather "clunky" (very large file size) and they were not handled much better than AVCHD files. On the other hand AVCHD Upshift generates HDV files that PE7 handles fine. Download the trial versions and give them a go.. you can download some AVCHD clips from the internet.

     

    I use the software that came with my camcorder to download the files to my hardrive and catalog them... as each AVCHD video file is individual there is no need to spilt by timecode.

     

    1. The .m2t is an MPEG2 transport stream (has some overhead data) so is a little different compared to a HDV MPEG2 program stream however it is handled fine by PE7.

     

    2. PRE or via the software that came with your camcorder.

     

    3. No need.. each file is generated individually when you stop/start the camcorder.

     

    4. No need to deinterlace unless you have a specific need for it... ie viewing video files on a computer.

     

    5. High bit rate HDV, the high bitrate maintains quality (as converted by AVCHD Upshift).

     

    6. Difficult to compare AVCHD to HDV... they have different compressions so you can not compare a given bit rate... for example a 16Mb/s AVCHD may be the same quality as a 25Mb/s HDV file. That said newer AVCHD camcorder have higher bit rates and so quality should be equivalent to or better than HDV.

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 6, 2009 10:11 AM   in reply to Paul_LS

    You could also try the free AVCHD Converter to convert the AVCHD clips to high definition 1920x1080 MPEG2. It can batch convert a bunch of AVCHD clips and is free...

    http://www.koyotesoft.com/

     

    Import the clips, up the bit rate to 25000kbps and convert.

     

    One thing, if I recall it adds a search engine to your browser tool bar... however this can be removed using Add/Remove programs.

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 6, 2009 2:46 PM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    Well one thing with AVCHD Upshift, well not a real issue, is that it will keep the same frame resolution on conversion. PE7's 1080i HDV preset is for a 1440x1080i frame... this MPEG2 resolution is handled natively, so if you put a 1440x1080 clip on the PE7 timeline it will have no red line above it. However if your AVCHD resolution is 1920x1080, as most of the new AVCHD camcorders are, the MPEG2 frame size will be 1920x1080 so you will get a red line above the clip on the timeline. However, it will still play back easier than the raw AVCHD clip.

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 6, 2009 4:52 PM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    Ed,

     

    Don't forget AVCHD Lite, and also the next 20 variations that will be introduced in time for the Holiday buying season!

     

    Plus, though it does not affect you, think about the various CODEC's for the new DSLR cameras, that also shoot video. With the popularity of the Canon 5D MK II and the Nikon D-90, new ones cannot be far behind and each will likely have an "improved" CODEC, that just flat does not play nice with any NLE's on the market now.

     

    I thought that last season was going to yield a bumper crop of new formats, but I don't think I've seen anything yet. I just hope that Paul_LS can keep up with it all, 'cause this old SD-only guy is totally lost. Still, I'm doing as you - reading and learning, because the time will come and I want to have some clue as to what is going on.

     

    As I told the folk on Muvipix last year, about this time, "gird your loins," as there will be tons of HD questions on all sorts of formats and CODEC's. This year will probably be even more intense.

     

    Good luck,

     

    Hunt

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2009 1:36 AM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    You can use 1920x1080 MPEG2 in either a 1440x1080 or 1920x1080 project. As you say it may be best to use the AVCHD project preset that matches the 1920x1080 frame size... then if you export at 1920x1080 you will maintain the higher quality.

    The HDV standard is 1440x1080 with a PAR of 1.3333 that is why there is no 1920x1080 project preset for hi def MPEG2.

    You hopefully should not need to render the clip as it will still not "eat up" resources like AVCHD. Best idea is to download the trial and have a play, however with the trial you are limited to just 10 seconds of video. It will give you an idea though.

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2009 5:37 AM   in reply to Paul_LS

    Here's a piece of software that seems to produce Premiere Elements compatible hi-def:

     

    A free converter that will convert AVCHD to Premiere Elements compatible hi-def MPEG2 is the Free AVCHD Converter, available from:

     

    http://www.koyotesoft.com

    According tp Paul Scrivener, you should up the bit rate to 25000kb/s and convert, and it will export 1920x1080 MPEG2.

     

    One downside is that, when you install it, it automatically downloads a search tool to your browser toolbar -- but it can easily be removed using Add/Remove Programs.

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2009 8:10 AM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    Ed,

     

    Thanks for starting this post. I am going through the same thing, deciding between HDV and AVCHD Camcorder. Got my eye on the Panasonic HVC-150. I think the best advice is to download the converters, then find some AVCHD footage on the internet and play with them in Pre7. If I find any I'll let you know, and please do likewise. Maybe we can work through this AVCHD mystery togther.

     

    Best, Stan

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2009 9:05 AM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    Hi Ed,

     

    You and I are def in the same boat, and I agree with everything you're saying, and have the same questions. The best bet would be to get AVCHD footage from the camera I am considering buying, and if it works, I'm taking out my charge card! Let's definitely stay in touch on this!

     

    Thanks, Stan

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2009 10:40 AM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    If you use MPEG2 in an AVCHD project there are no limitations... AVCHD is not edited natively by PE7 anyway... so a AVCHD clip put onto the timeline and rendered will be converted to MPEG2 and this is the rendered file that you edit on the AVCHD timeline. So it is better to match your frame size to the project size. If the video is different from the project size it will be scaled on input/export and this can impact quality.

     

    You can use 1920x1080 MPEG2 in a 1440i project... the actual frame resolution for a 1440x1080 (1.333 PAR) project is 1920x1080 square pixels. So the you should be able to use a 1920x1080 video in a 1440x1080i project and export as 1920x1080 without quality impact... but I am not 100% sure. Obviously if you export at the project default of 1440x1080 then there will be some quality impact.

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2009 10:46 AM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    Regarding the AVCHD format... I have edited AVCHD from a number of sources/camcorders in PE7 and have had no real issues. the performance varies dependant on teh frame size (1920 or 1440) or if the audio is 5.1 surround sound or stereo... but I have been able to edit all formats. That said... PE7 will not edit the new AVCHD Lite that is being used in still cameras to replace the MJPEG video codec. Also if the video is described as MP4 (as used by some cheaper camcorders)  then all bets are off. However AVCHD by Panasonic, Sony, and Canon all work fine in PE7.

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2009 10:54 AM   in reply to Paul_LS

    So Paul,

     

    Am I correct to assume that you are using some conversion software and taking the AVCHD files into MPEG2 then editing?

     

    Stan

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2009 11:53 AM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    SUCCESS!

     

    Hi All,

     

    I downloaded a sample AVCHD file and converted using the

    http://www.koyotesoft.com

    converter and it took a long time to convert but it edits easily in PL7, which is encouraging.

    A few questions when converting the footage that was 1480 x 1080?

    - what size should I convert to?

    - what video bitrate?

     

    Any ideas on how to speed up the conversion?

     

    Thanks all! This is very encouraging!

     

    Stan

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2009 12:23 PM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    Ed,

     

    Got the samples at http://www.avchdclips.com/

     

    I do have a quad core Alienware M17 Laptop.

     

    Let me know if you find any more footage.

     

    Best, Stan

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 7, 2009 2:09 PM   in reply to rtprtp

    I am editing AVCHD directly on my Q6600 quad core in PE7.

     

    If you are converting to 1920x1080 MPEG2 in AVCHD Converter V1.0  be sure to up the bit rate to 25000kb/s.

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 8, 2009 8:28 AM   in reply to Paul_LS

    Paul, a couple of questions:

     

    I downloaded a sample AVCHD file that is 1440 x 1080 (couldn't find a 1920 x 1080 yet)

     

    When I use the Koyote converter i have a choice of 1920x1080 or the next one down is 1280x720.

     

    Which one should I choose?

     

    Also, I took the bit rate up to 25000 and the converter crashes. The default is 9000. Is that ok, or should I play around with something else?

     

    Thanks, Stan

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 8, 2009 12:33 PM   in reply to rtprtp

    1920x1080 at 25000 Kbps should be fine. It should work at this... 9000 is too low.

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 9, 2009 6:02 AM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    HI Ed,

     

    I am still not sold on AVCHD. I downloaded some clips. They take forever to convert to mpeg. Even though I have a pretty powerful quad core and they edit pretty somethly after converting, things can get a little sticky at times. I am starting to lean towards the purchase of an HDV cam, then work my way up to AVCHD.

     

    Stan

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 10, 2009 8:02 AM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    Hi Ed,

     

    Sorry to take so long to get back to you. My computer has been crashing while making Quicktime HD for YouTube. That will be a new discussion.

     

    To answer your questions:

     

    - It takes about 5 minutes for 1 minute of an AVCHD file to convert to mpeg. a good source for footage is http://www.vimeo.com/#welcome.

     

    I am going to start a new thread to continue our AVCHD vs. HDV discussion right now.

     

    Peace, Stan

     
    |
    Mark as:
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 10, 2009 8:58 AM   in reply to Ed.Macke

    Ed, I forget...have you edited HDV? Have you doen it in PE7?

     

    Stan

     
    |
    Mark as:

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...

Bookmarked By (0)

Answers + Points = Status

  • 10 points awarded for Correct Answers
  • 5 points awarded for Helpful Answers
  • 10,000+ points
  • 1,001-10,000 points
  • 501-1,000 points
  • 5-500 points