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AVCHD Workflow help

May 14, 2012 8:45 AM

Hello all,

 

I will be migrating to Premiere Pro CS6 from FInal Cut Pro 7 starting this fall for all of my video production classes.  I need some guidance on workflow. 

 

We currently shoot on Sony NX70u which uses the AVCHD codec producing .MTS files.  I've been working with the native AVCHD files on PP CS6 for a few days now to get acquainted with the workflow and performance on our Macs (some iMacs and some Mac Pro towers) and so far so good.  My question:

 

I know PP CS6 will work with the native AVCHD files, but I'm worried about performace issues with my Macs.  Is there any reason to transcode the AVCHD files to another codec before editing in PP?  I guess I'm still in the Final Cut Pro-Log and Transfer mode of thinking about files

 

Cheers,

 

Micheal

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 14, 2012 9:02 AM   in reply to Prof-McAlexander

    If it works, why mess with it?

     
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    May 14, 2012 11:36 AM   in reply to Prof-McAlexander

    Simple answer. No.

     

    If you run into performance issues during playback of your AVCHD footage, you have the option to change the playback resolution to accomodate your configuration.

     

    Reg Santo Tomas

    Premiere Pro

     
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    May 14, 2012 11:41 AM   in reply to Reg Santo Tomas

    Be aware that I've found a problem with some AVCHD footage in CS6 that didn't exist in CS5.5, namely that of long / spanned clips.  Shorter (non spanned) clips don't appear to have a problem, and if that's what you are feeding in to CS6 then stay with AVCHD, there is no reason to transcode.   Hopefully Adobe will fix the problem in the first update.

     
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    May 14, 2012 3:30 PM   in reply to ExactImage

    >long / spanned clips

     

    You don't say... are you copying just the clips from media to hard drive, or the entire folder from media to hard drive?

     
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    May 14, 2012 3:39 PM   in reply to John T Smith

    Via the media browser, just like you're supposed to

     

    Also, there is a related bug in Media Encoder.  Drop this (30 min spanned) file on to a sequence in 5.5 and export via media encoder and it takes around 80 mins to export to H264.   Media Encoder CS6 starts off saying about 80 mins, then it goes up, and up, and up, and up and TBH I gave up at 9+ hours and only 30% encoded.

     

    The problem appears to be that it's reparsing the entire file all the time and this can be seen in the Windows resources monitor (where you can see the files than an App has open and how much it's reading).   Hopefully they figure this one out soon because it's causing me major problems.  

     

    Yes, I've submitted a bug report complete with a sample project demonstrating the problem.

     
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    May 14, 2012 3:57 PM   in reply to ExactImage

    Curious though that you're the only one I've seen report the issue so far.  It's unlikely you're the only one using spanned AVCHD media in CS6.

     

    So...anyone else seeing this same problem?  Anyone else NOT seeing this problem with that media?

     
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    May 14, 2012 4:01 PM   in reply to Jim Simon

    I'm not the only one.  See other topics that mention problems playing back multiple video tracks and multicam.

     

    It makes sense that multicam is the one place it showed up first because that's where you tend to have the longest clips.

     

    And....it's not just one computer.  We have the same problem on 3 PCs here, and a Mac Pro and another editor off site - same problem - repeatable every time.   That's why I sent Adobe a sample project complete with source media.   They grabbed it late Friday so hopefully some one will have recreated the problem in house by now.

     
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    May 14, 2012 4:03 PM   in reply to ExactImage

    See other topics that mention problems playing back multiple video tracks and multicam.

     

    The only one I recall was about 8 tracks I think.  Fewer tracks worked fine, so I don't know if your issue is the same as that issue.

     
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    May 14, 2012 4:10 PM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Well Jim,  I'm happy for you to download the sample project and see if you have the same problem..... it's only 5GB, but I don't want to post a public link here.....

     
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    May 14, 2012 4:14 PM   in reply to ExactImage

    Click my name.

     
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    May 14, 2012 4:27 PM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Sent.

     
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    May 15, 2012 1:13 AM   in reply to ExactImage

    Man, you're right!  Something is definitely wonky with AVCHD in CS6.

     

    I also now understand how Harm was getting 50 MB/s reads when trying to play this stuff.  It's not the media, it's CS6.  Opening the same exact file in CS5 works no problem, and reads at the expected 5 MB/s.

     
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    May 15, 2012 1:50 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Thank you Sir!   My sanity is restored!

     
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    May 15, 2012 9:57 AM   in reply to ExactImage

    Yeah, this one is definitely a show stopper.  CS6 is just completely unusable in this current state.

     

    I'm kind of glad I don't (yet?) work with AVCHD.

     
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    May 15, 2012 10:00 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Jim Simon wrote:

     

    Yeah, this one is definitely a show stopper.  CS6 is just completely unusable in this current state.

     

    I'm kind of glad I don't (yet?) work with AVCHD.

    Yes indeed.  That's why I felt compelled to put that sample project together and send to Adobe.  I can't beleive they missed this in beta testing....

     
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    May 15, 2012 10:09 AM   in reply to ExactImage

    Right?

     
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    May 15, 2012 2:02 PM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Wow.  Just got an email from Adobe acknowledging the problem and it's been passed to engineering.   Let's hope for some quick progress and a fix sooooooon

     
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    May 15, 2012 2:05 PM   in reply to ExactImage

    Well, that's very good news.

     
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    May 15, 2012 2:34 PM   in reply to ExactImage

    ExactImage (or Jim since you have the files as well ),

     

    Can you try and delete any XMP and pek files in the actual MTS directory and reimport the clips in CS6 to see if that improves the performance on your end? It seems that it may be some incompatibility with these files when moving from CS5.5 to CS6.

     

    It's still an issue but this may be a quick remedy for you


    Reg Santo Tomas

    Premiere Pro QE

     
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    May 15, 2012 2:49 PM   in reply to Reg Santo Tomas

    Reg Santo Tomas wrote:

     

    ExactImage (or Jim since you have the files as well ),

     

    Can you try and delete any XMP and pek files in the actual MTS directory and reimport the clips in CS6 to see if that improves the performance on your end? It seems that it may be some incompatibility with these files when moving from CS5.5 to CS6.

     

    It's still an issue but this may be a quick remedy for you


    Reg Santo Tomas

    Premiere Pro QE

     

    That would have been awesome if it had worked !    But alas it's made no difference, and if anything, it's made it worse.  Now I can't even play the first few seconds either   I do get audio but the video is stuck on the first frame.

     
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    May 15, 2012 3:00 PM   in reply to ExactImage

    Hmm...

     

    OK, when I delete the XMP files and create a new project and import the mts file you provided, I am getting smooth playback on both Mac and PC.

     

    Prior to that, I was experiencing the same behavior that you had reported.

     

    EDIT: Scratch that. The playback seems to regress in performance after I start jumping around the clip.

     

    Back to more investigation. Stay tuned.

     

    Reg Santo Tomas

    Premiere Pro QE

     
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    May 15, 2012 3:07 PM   in reply to Reg Santo Tomas

    No, that didn't really do anything.

     
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    May 15, 2012 3:09 PM   in reply to Jim Simon

    I just checked on the Mac too and no difference there either.

     
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    May 17, 2012 10:17 PM   in reply to ExactImage

    Add me to the list having trouble w/ AVCHD files. I just finished a project with two tracks of DV and one of AVCHD (all in a DV timeline), originally started in CS5 and finished in CS6 and had no problems at all. Takes that are 1hr+, clips that are broken up into at most 24 minute segments (once it hit 4gb). I was actually thrilled that CS6 had such snappier performance.

     

    But today I start another project, 1 track of DV and 1 of AVCHD, similar file lengths, and I'm having all sorts of trouble with media pending, no video and only audio, frozen images. Sometimes if I sit long enough it'll catch back up. It's just my AVCHD files, and not all of them do it, or some don't do it as bad. Or parts of the file will be ok but the beginning or end causes trouble.

     

    Until this is fixed I either can't use CS6 or I have to waste hours transcoding all this footage into a different file format before using it (which I'm doing w/ CS5, cause Media Encoder in CS6 seems to be cranky with it too). Adobe, when can we expect a fix for this? PLEASE don't tell me CS6.5...

     
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    May 19, 2012 11:20 PM   in reply to Prof-McAlexander

    I just tried to use PP6 with AVCHD for the first time and had no luck.   Clips play for a few seconds and then get completely stuck.   This is video from a Canon HF G10.    Prelude had the same issues, too.

     

    Niels.

     
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    May 20, 2012 6:35 PM   in reply to Prof-McAlexander

    I'm having the same issue.  I'm shooting with a Panasonic AF-100, and at this point I'm still using Final Cut to transcode my footage so I can have audio.  I've also noticed the video jumps around even when it does have audio.  Prelude has been extremely problematic for me, and it doesn't have a way to bring in clips that returned errors upon importing, I have to write down the clip numbers and bring them in individually.  I've also tried just dropping the file structure from the card straight to the hard drive.  It's a huge problem, and is keeping me from making the switch fully from FCP 7.

     

    -Joe

     
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    May 20, 2012 6:52 PM   in reply to jrobba3

    Prelude has been extremely problematic for me

     

    There is a separate forum for Prelude.

     

    http://forums.adobe.com/community/premiere/prelude?view=discussions&st art=0&numResults=30

     
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    May 21, 2012 12:21 PM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Editing MOV "wrapped" AVCHD in PP CS6 is definitely a very slow and challenging experience on my end as well. Size and number of clips has no bearing on the speed at which PP operates.

     

    Glad to know that Adobe is on this -back to CS5.5 for now.

     
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    May 23, 2012 7:49 PM   in reply to Prof-McAlexander

    I can see that this is an existing problem that is being looked at by Adobe, but thought I'd chime in that it's effecting me too, so they can see it's wide spread. FS100 footage wrapped to .mov, media pending for ages every time you go to a new clip, and then when it does play it will often only play the video.

     

    First edit after moving our company to Adobe to avoid all the transcoding we've been having to do to work in FCP, and I find myself having to transcode most of my footage! Foolishly did all my testing in 5.5, which is now uninstalled. Bit of a shame, hopefully Adobe will get it sorted soon.

     
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    May 24, 2012 12:11 AM   in reply to SimonHy

    FS100 footage wrapped to .mov

     

    Why on earth would you do that?

     
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    May 24, 2012 2:26 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Because we're coming from a Final Cut based workflow where it was essential. Also it means anyone can view the files, so helpful for directors and other people other than our editors with Premiere installed. Why wouldn't you do it? It's just re-wrapped, not transcoded. Anyway, the media plays back just as badly when imported directly as .mts files.

     
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    May 24, 2012 8:49 AM   in reply to SimonHy

    Why wouldn't you do it? It's just re-wrapped

     

    Because QuickTime is still a 32 bit application, and Premiere Pro needs a 'band-aid' to work with MOV files.

     

    Keep them native.  There are plenty of media players than can play the .mts streams directly, including VLC, which is one of the best media players on the planet and available for Windows, Mac and Linux, so pretty much anyone can install and use it.

     
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    May 24, 2012 9:54 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    I do the same thing, and have run into the exact same issues with MOV wrapped FS100 footage as SimonHy. This was no problem in CS5.5.

     

    Jim Simon wrote:

     

    FS100 footage wrapped to .mov

     

    Why on earth would you do that?

     

    FYI- One reason that we wrap the footage is beacuse as it stands, there is no good way to catalog and add/manage metadata with AVCHD files- sidecars, ugh. Using Clipwrap to "wrap" the AVCHD files in MOV wrappers provides an extremely fast solution for adding inclusive metadata capabilities to each clip. It takes about the same ammount of time to transfer from card to disk, as it does to "wrap" AVCHD while transferring from card to disk.

     

    I don't see any advantage to keeping MTS files native for working in any NLE.

     
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    May 24, 2012 10:42 AM   in reply to Blind Monk

    I don't see any advantage to keeping MTS files native for working in any NLE.

     

    If you insist on turning the 64 bit nature of PR back into the past and to 32 bit only, you are correct. But why then did you upgrade to a version over CS4? That was 32 bit.

     
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    May 24, 2012 11:18 AM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    Harm Millaard wrote:

     

    I don't see any advantage to keeping MTS files native for working in any NLE.

     

    If you insist on turning the 64 bit nature of PR back into the past and to 32 bit only, you are correct. But why then did you upgrade to a version over CS4? That was 32 bit.

    Wait, I'm confused... Are you saying that MTS files are the only type supported in 64bit realm? Because if that were the case, then I'd eat my words.

     

    Perhaps you read me wrong; I merely said that I see no advantages in keeping MTS files native. I did not say that I only see advantages in keeping MOV files.

     

    Anyhow, back to what this thread is really about: AVCHD does not play well in Premiere Pro CS6, regardless of opinions or how it's brought in.

     
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    May 24, 2012 11:30 AM   in reply to Blind Monk

    I have no problems with any AVCHD footage natively at all, but that may be a PC thing. I do have problems with MOV material.

     

    Wait, I'm confused... Are you saying that MTS files are the only type supported in 64bit realm?

     

    Not at all. There are many formats supported in 64 bit native format, just not with that crappy Quircktime wrapper.

     

    If AVCHD does not play well in native mode, it is because of lacking hardware or OE.

     
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    May 24, 2012 11:35 AM   in reply to Prof-McAlexander

    They better fix it fast, cause right now I can't use the software I paid several hundred dollars for. The same thing happened (different bug) with CS5.5, to the point that I had to return the program because it was unusable.

     
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