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CS6.0.2 Update No Fix For AVCHD Spanned Clips - Workarounds?

Oct 5, 2012 6:23 AM

Tags: #avchd #spanned_clips

While I try to avoid Spanned Clips as much as possible due to a history with Premiere importing them, for event coverage we still get them and I just can't figure out how to make them work in Premeire CS6 on OS X. I see lots of posts about this and would like to know if there is a fix that does not require purchasing another product (like MTS Merge $35).

We are using AVCHD footage from Pansonic cameras and if it spanned, the sound will be missing for much or all or the clip.

I have tried using the Media Browser to import the entire AVCHD folder.

I have tried using Panasonics AVCHD Viewer application to import the footage (switches wrapper to .mt2s instead of .mts).

I have tried transcoding to new codec (Quicktime and VLC will play the MTS file correctly but output loses audio sync).

 

Ugh, this is terrible. Has anyone else found a workaround?

 
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 5, 2012 6:30 AM   in reply to jefbak

    What Panasonic camera do you use?

     

    I have no trouble with spanned clips from the Panasonic HMC-151 as long as i don't rename the PRIVATE folder or any of it's subfolders or it's content.

     

    /Roger

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 7:24 AM   in reply to jefbak

    I have two Panasonic TM300s and two SD900s and I use them regularly for concerts and plays etc. Clips are always between one and two hours each. I never even look into the AVCHD structure and I always use the Media Browser to import them. Then I always wait until all the Conforming etc progress bars in the bottom right disappear. Once I started editing before they'd finished and I lost half the sound on a clip. Nor more waveforms from that point to the end, total silence. Fortunately I had a backup as there was no other way to get the sound back for that clip.

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 7:39 AM   in reply to jefbak

    Unfortunately this is not a spanned clip problem with Adobe or Panasonic. This issue does come up from time to time.

     

    Be sure when you pull the card from your camcorder, you LOCK IT immediately. Then it becomes impossible to change anything on the card purposely or inadvertantly (and as you are aware, changing anything - structure, file names, ANYTHING - on the card will blow the whole operation, so locking it is perfect). Also, sometimes Mac users have problems when they fail to lock their cards, because Mac OS immediately starts writing files to the card if it's not locked.

     

    When you're using the Media Browser in PPro, be certain that you are viewing the clips in AVCHD mode (there's a dropdown option for this right there in the Media Browser). If you're importing individual clips from a single continuous recording, you're NOT in AVCHD mode, and this will always cause the problem you are describing.

     

    I don't mean to lay this out as "you're doing it wrong" but unfortunately this is all very well documented at this point, and whenever there is a problem with spanned clips, it is 100% of the time due to a user that renamed something, moved files, or otherwise didn't follow the complete rules of AVCHD management. I don't normally use a term like 100% (tend to prefer 99.9%) but I say 100% because it is absolute in this case.

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 8:01 AM   in reply to jefbak

    Regular players do not write XML files to associate the clips when you play them while editors do. When you import AVCHD files, Adobe will write associate files to the current location of the media files. That is why the suggestion to lock the cards is a valid one. Editors need to remember that standard players and Advanced players such as Editing applications are completely 2 different animals. You cannot compare them as a troubleshooting mechanism.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 8:08 AM   in reply to jefbak

    I never thought of locking a card as I've only ever edited from a copy of the complete AVCHD structure stored on an external hard disk. I usually keep backup copies of that structure on other hard drives elsewhere.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 5, 2012 8:09 AM   in reply to jefbak

    Take those Spanned clips into Media Encoder and re-encode them using Main Concept's AVCHD. Then import them into Premiere and see how they act. As long as you select the same codec settings as the original material then there wont be any generation loss as it will just re-write the file with a different file writer.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 8:16 AM   in reply to ECBowen

    Umm....what makes you think that Eric?  To the best of my knowledge, AME will transcode any compressed footage, not simply rewrap it.

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 8:26 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Jeff has already verified that Media Encoder will not re-encode the material and will just re-file write the media. You have to remember Main Concept's AVC codec is the most highly used in the industry today. You just have to make sure the Settings match the material.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 8:27 AM   in reply to ECBowen

    I'm curious how he's verified that, especially with information to the contrary coming from Adobe.

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 8:28 AM   in reply to jefbak

    I guess my counter arugment to the Lock idea/issue is that I have never ever had a problem importing clips that are not spanned. Ever. Wither either of the Panasonic cameras. It is always spanned clips that have trouble importing, but play fine in VLC or even quicktime player.

     

    That's just the thing...spanned clips reference a piece of metadata on the card to create the seamless continuation from one clip's A/V to the next. That metadata "can" be corrupted by any number of things if the card isn't locked. Non-spanned clips are not having that problem because even if the metadata is corrupted, it's not looking to the metadata to line two clips up together properly. Other issues, sure, but not the clip spanning issue.

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 8:33 AM   in reply to jefbak

    I did just re-import the card (locked this time) and still have the same issue. Nothing appears to have been written to it ouside of the camera files.

    Problem is if the OS has already written files ONCE to an unlocked card, locking the card does nothing to remove those files when you try the operation a 2nd time.

     

    Trust me, whenever I browse a 2nd camera's SDHC cards in my PC after it has been plugged into a Mac OS, I can tell immediately if they locked the card or not, because I'll see 100+ files written to the SDHC directory by the Mac OS. These files would be hidden/invisible on a Mac. And they're not inherently bad...it's just how Mac works with storage devices, whether internal/external hard drive, SDHC media or any other non-copy-protected media. It causes a problem, however, with AVCHD, if the card isn't locked first.

     

     

    Media Browser is in AVCHD mode when I import and sees the spanned clips as a single clip.

     

    When you import this single file into PPro, it's still causing problems?

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 8:39 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Where is the information you mention contrary? Also if this was not the case then using this same system to change the format of MXF files which has also been verified by other editing applications would not be accurate as well. Sony also uses this system when changing Mpeg4 wrapped files to Mpeg2. Compression algorithms and Format writing are completely 2 different processes.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 5, 2012 8:57 AM   in reply to ECBowen

    Adobe only recently added Smart Rendering (the ability to simply copy the content to a new format, rather than doing a full transcode) for limited MXF formats.  That's why I'm curious how Jeff has verified that it won't transcode in this case.

     

    Also, maybe I'm being a dunce on this one but how exactly do you "re-encode them using Main Concept's AVCHD" so that no parameters have changed?

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 9:00 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    I would have to go looking to find one of Jeff's posts on this. However this system has been commonly used for years by different encoders or applications. Smart rendering was designed around using Preview Files for export and making the export times much faster. It was not designed to alleviate generation loss when you transcode the material to the same codec to another file format to prevent generation loss since that is not required. Think of it this way. Say I have a puzzle with the same number of rows and columns. I simply want to move that same data from that puzzle to a new puzzle format with the exact same data type. How do you have any loss of data when doing that? I am simply shuffling what rows and columns the data resides in. The original data never changed.

     

    When you select the export settings simply select the option to match source material.

     

    eric

    ADK

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 9:06 AM   in reply to ECBowen

    Smart Rendering and using Previews are two entirely different things.  If your Previews are MPEG2 based, and you go out to another MPEG 2 format (even one matching the preview specs) the preview will be decompressed and restranscoded.  What saves time with using Previews in that case is that you don't have to render any effects from the sequence, as they're already baked into the Preview.  The exception to this is, as stated, the newly added Smart Rendering for limited MXF presets (and of course non-GOP formats like Uncompressed or DV).

     

    Match Source Material in what format?  MP4, F4V, something else?  (My duncness shows though. )

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 9:14 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    The Mpeg 2 point you mention is because you are using 2 different compression algorithms which changes the data in the puzzle. That of course introduces changes that can be construed as generation loss. The point I am making is when you use the same algorithm the data never changes. There is no decompression so the data never changes. Only the puzzle format changes. That is the concept to understand. That is how I can change Log based DPX to Linear Based format and still retail all of the data up to the color data ability of that format bit depth wise. Match format which for AVCHD in Adobe I believe is under the H264 preset options. I am not at my Adobe system right now to verify. All reading I have done on Smart Rendering points to using Preview files on export and speeding the process up. If you have links otherwise, please post them.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 9:18 AM   in reply to ECBowen

    The Mpeg 2 point you mention is because you are using 2 different compression algorithms which changes the data in the puzzle.

     

    How so?

     

     

    If you have links otherwise, please post them.

     

    https://blogs.adobe.com/premiereprotraining/2012/05/premiere-pro-cs6-6 -0-1-update-bug-fixes-and-improved-opencl-performance.html

     

    "Enabled “smart rendering” and added Enable Smart Rendering Codec setting to the Video tab of the MXF OP1a exporters for XDCAM HD and XDCAM EX to enable or disable smart rendering for these formats."

     

    This is the very first Smart Rendering capability that Adobe has had without installing a plug-in.

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 9:17 AM   in reply to jefbak

    If you have access to a PC you can just use this program for free.

     

    http://www.vontraining.net/download/

     

    It will merge all your stuff together for, it works very quickly too. Plus no quality loss since it's only simply merging the video together.

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 9:21 AM   in reply to ECBowen

    Match format which for AVCHD in Adobe I believe is under the H264 preset options.

     

    I was unable to find one there, but I did find that under F4V, which did transcode and not just copy.

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 9:27 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    F4V is flash and using a different algorithm.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 9:28 AM   in reply to ECBowen

    It said MainConcept H.264.  (Something even the H.264 presets don't say.)

     

    But I'm still willing to admit defeat on a proper matching.  Once you get back to your work station, please post the proper method.

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 9:33 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    The Mpeg 2 you referenced is using the Iframe algorithm which is as you said decompressing the data. Then when you are using another Mpeg2 codec the algorithm is once again different. Keep in mind there are as many flavors of Mpeg 2 algorithms as there are Mpeg4. AVCHD and H264 are completely different from AVCIntra but they are both Mpeg 4 algorithms.

     

    The link just states smart rendering was added for MXF to OP1A. Once again the codecs/algorithms for these 2 formats are the same ie file writers but the format is different MXF and OP1A are just 2 different format types.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 9:57 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Main Concept has multiple algorithms which will change the data. I will check when I am at my Adobe system and give you the match sequence options. For now go under the H264 Presets and select match Source. Then run the export. Import the new file and check the quality. AVCHD and H264 are essentially the same thing with different flavors.

     

    Also dont forget to go under the video tab in the reset options and check the codec/compression drop down for Main Concept.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 5, 2012 11:16 AM   in reply to ECBowen

    Well, let's run some tests.

    I have AVCHD 1080i25 (50i) clips from SONY camera.

    I added one of them into AME render Queue, selected H.264 Blu-ray preset with Match Source Attributes settings and rendered M4V file.

    Then I imported both original AVCHD footage and transcoded one into AE, set my project to 32 bits HDTV (Rec. 709) 16-235 linearised colour space, dropped footages into a comp and set upper layer blending mode to Difference. Here is the result:

    AME. Re-encoding AVCHD 00289.jpg

    I suppose there is some generation loss in quality...

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 11:56 AM   in reply to Fuzzy Barsik

    Blue Ray will be a different algorithm So it will re-encode.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 12:08 PM   in reply to ECBowen

    Will wait until you're on your machine with Adobe Suite to run next H.264 -> H.264 test...

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 12:18 PM   in reply to jefbak
    I have tried using Panasonics AVCHD Viewer application to import the footage (switches wrapper to .mt2s instead of .mts).

    Jef, I'm curious, which difficulties you have with Panasonic utility?

    As far as I understand, it should rewrap spanned MTS clips into a single M2TS file.

    Never used it by myself. Just for the sake of getting to know.

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 12:25 PM   in reply to Fuzzy Barsik

    That is the same thing the Sony Utility does and the Panasonic works as well. I have used both. It wraps the files in a Mpeg2 transport wrapper and will work fine if you don't want to use Media Encoder. I believe the 1080P HDTV presets under H264 should be the right presets if I remember correctly if you keep the files in Mpeg4 wrapper. I will look Monday.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 12:54 PM   in reply to ECBowen

    Eric, H.264 HDTV 1080p can hardly be the right preset because it exports progressive media file, whereas original footage is interlaced, and the preset doesn't have 'Match Source Attributes' option, offering 32/40 Mbps bitrate by default, whereas this particular source file has of about 17 Mbps bitrate.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 5, 2012 12:58 PM   in reply to jefbak
    But the spanned clips still did not import correctly

    So, it doesn't rewrap spanned MTS clips into a single M2TS file?

     
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    Oct 5, 2012 12:59 PM   in reply to Fuzzy Barsik

    OK thanks for the heads up. Ill wait till Monday then and look.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 8, 2012 5:16 PM   in reply to ECBowen
    The link just states smart rendering was added for MXF to OP1A.

     

    Correct.  Previous to that, Adobe had no Smart Rendering capabilities without the use of a plug-in, meaning everything got transcoded.

     

    I still can't find any method to avoid transcoding of AVCHD upon export.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 9, 2012 1:46 PM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Well evidently I was incorrect in my memory of options with media encoder. I had to select the H264 Preset and then manually match attributes to the source file includes changing to a set bit rate and audio bit rate. This outputs the media to MP4. In every comparison my editor can view, the quality is exactly the same as the original and the file size is basically identical. There is however no match source option. The settings have to be manually from the file attributes.

     

    Eric

    ADK

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 9, 2012 2:42 PM   in reply to ECBowen

    The test above with matching bitrate settings manually (MP4 file size is 39 850 kb while original AVCHD file size is 38 688 kb):

    00289. Difference. MTS-MP4.jpg

    NB: True rewrapping with SONY PMB produces complete matching MTS and M2TS file size and the 'Difference' test in linearised colour space results in completely black plate with no a single artifact.

     
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