1 2 Previous Next 52 Replies Latest reply on Jan 9, 2008 8:24 AM by (Glenn_Rhodes)

    Advice on PC Config for HD Editing

    Level 1
      I just bought the Sanyo VPC-HD 1000 HD camcorder. It creates MPEG 4 AVC/H.264 video files. Originally, I was headed down the path of buying a Black Magic HDMI capture card and a pretty robust external disk array in order to get the throughput needed (155 MB/s) to do real-time capture without frame loss. The cost was getting silly though for me anyway, $1800 for the PC and another $1k for the disk array.

      This camera also has the option of just using USB 2 to move the files to my PC hard drive which is fine with me. I belive I can still import the files into a Premiere project. The question I have is what type of PC and storage config will I still need to do the editing effectively? Here is what I am thinking. Can anyone comment from practical experience?

      - Top of line ASUS Motherboard that supports RAID 0, SATA2 (Any suggestions?)
      - Intel Core 2 3 GHz
      - 2 GB RAM
      - 1 SATA 2 HD for root
      - Two other drives in RAID 0 for video files (is this enough?, is RAID adapter critical?)
      - NVIDIA 8600 video card
      - Vista

      Thanks in advance!
        • 1. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
          Jeron Coolman Level 1
          >I just bought the Sanyo VPC-HD 1000 HD camcorder. It creates MPEG 4 AVC/H.264 video files.

          >I belive I can still import the files into a Premiere project.

          I'd verify that you can do this before spending any more money. I think there are a lot of posts on these forums complaining about not being able to edit AVCHD in Premiere Pro.
          • 2. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
            mickkeay Level 1
            (HDMI Capture aside)- once you get the HD H264 files on your PC - then your troubles start. What is your desired output / media? And what kind of editing do you want to do Glenn?
            • 3. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
              Harm Millaard Level 7
              Why do you want to start with Vista? Upgrade to XP and get another camera with material suitable for editing. If you don't want to edit, but just watch, maybe Vista will do.
              • 4. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                Level 1
                Just to clarify, I am fine with XP vs Vista. My end media goal is a something comparable to what the camera records, which is 1080i 1920 x 1080 pixels, 60 fields/s. I do basic editing and authoring ... non-commercial.

                The challenge here is this camera actually outputs in final compressed or HD/Blue ray format. I am going to have to edit something that is already compressed. I have no direct experience here, especially with Premiere Pro, but I suspect compressing actually makes specific frame editing a big challenge as the computer has to have the power to undo the compression and redo it in real time.

                I went with this camera b/ I like the idea of no moving parts, you store to an 8 GB SD flash and it is very compact in size, but it also needs to support my editing goals as does my next PC yet to be purchased or I need to keep looking.

                Thanks again for the suggestions.
                • 5. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                  mickkeay Level 1
                  Ok (as they say)... you are where you are Glenn and that is not the best choice for editing as you rightly suspect and are going to prove.
                  If you have PPCS3 already then fine (but dont buy it for this - instead go for Vegas or consumer Pinnacle etc. But since you are here I guess you have (and love) CS3 so your option is to spend another $400 and get Main Concept ProHD plugin (v3) but download the demo first. That will get your AVCHD on the timeline and theoretically editable. It is NOT smooth (go on try it..fast PC is essential) I saw Sony demo AVCDH editing on a dream spec PC and it was still crap.

                  Alternatively, I would suggest you convert your AVCHD to HDV first which will make it more editable for CS3. Vegas, Elecard, Procoder 3 Vegas 7c or above will all do this.

                  You still didn't say how you hope to view your edited HD?
                  • 6. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                    Level 1
                    Actually the only thing I have purchased is the camcorder and that can go back in a blink. I have been using Premiere for many years so I assumned PPCS3 would be the easiest for me to learn but I have not upgraded yet. Again, I am looking to build a complete HD editing solution. (Camcorder, PC, editing software, authoring software, etc.) like I have had for years in the non-HD world.

                    For viewing, I am currently in an in between stage. I am using a very inexpensive upconverter LG DVD player connected to a 1080P TV. Works great! I'll use that until I can afford a high dev DVD player. BlueRay I guess will be the standard right? I also have an Xbox with the optional HD-DVD player.

                    Based on what I am hearing, I should probably not plan on editing in AVCHD. Anyone want a deal on the Sanyo VPC-HD 1000? Going back to my original question though, will my proposed PC spec's do the job? If I go with a camcorder that records in native HDV and has HDMI output, I assume I am back to needing the BlackMagic capture card ($300) and expensive external disk array.

                    This should not be so hard .. or expensive!!

                    Thanks, please keep the suggestions comming. THere are much appreciated. Not many people understand this stuff.
                    • 7. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                      Harm Millaard Level 7
                      Glenn,

                      First about AVCHD versus HDV/MPEG2.

                      AVCHD is more efficient in compression but requires about double the processing power to edit in comparison to MPEG2.

                      The implementation of AVCHD in consumer cameras does not make it better than MPEG2.

                      AVCHD is not supported by Adobe and given their track record for supporting new formats, you may have to wait for CS4 to include that, after paying dearly for the upgrade.

                      Much more people here have experience with HDV/MPEG2 editing than with AVCHD, so help is easier obtained.

                      HDV/MPEG2 cameras are available with hard disk recording, avoiding the mechanical problems of tape based cameras if you so wish.

                      About the computer you want. What is your budget? If you want to spend $ 2K you get a completely different system than for $ 6K.
                      • 8. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                        mickkeay Level 1
                        Whats the HDV HDD cam Harm? Is that the JVC one that produces MOD files which are infact HDV? (I read somehere)
                        • 9. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                          Harm Millaard Level 7
                          JVC Full-HD 1920
                          JVC HD 1440
                          Sony XDCAM-EX1

                          or any HDV camera with a Firestor or similar hard disk. For instance the Sony V1 with the Sony DR60.
                          • 10. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                            Level 1
                            I am in the $2k range not $6k. So min. recommended specs is the question in that range?

                            Regarding the camcorders, it seems then even the HDV camcorders with HD storage are using compression. So if editing is difficult with compressed video in generanl, does CS3 work efficiently with MPEG2? Is it just as difficult?
                            • 11. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                              Jeron Coolman Level 1
                              Glenn,

                              The machine you described in your OP should allow you to edit HDV with any NLE that supports HDV.

                              If you want the "MPEG-4 AVC/H.264" format, then find an NLE that will edit it, because it isn't PPro. With all due respect, that Sanyo camera looks more like a toy where someone would just copy the footage to a computer and burn it to a disc without much (or any editing).

                              PPro 2.0 allowed you to edit HDV, the initial release of CS3 was too buggy to edit HDV, 3.1 fixed most of the bugs and made it usable.

                              Currently the biggest HDV problem with CS3 is the capture tool is too unreliable to use, but you can use a free tool to capture the footage.

                              You also have the option of buying AspectHD from Cineform and using that. One of the solutions, either native HDV or Cineform should satisfy your HDV editing needs with Premiere Pro.

                              In all reality, if you can afford it, you should get a Panasonic P2 solution, but it sounds like that is out of your price range.
                              • 12. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                Harm Millaard Level 7
                                MPEG2 is much more lenient on the CPU than AVCHD. CS3 can handle MPEG2 reasonably well, even better with the Cineform plug-in.

                                Your configuration for the PC looks good at this price range. Maybe add 2 GB RAM to your setup, but I would suggest sticking to XP for the time being. You also consider a 4-th disk for backups or use an external eSATA of FW disk for that purpose.
                                • 13. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                  Level 1
                                  After doing some more research, I learned that this Sanyo camcorder will actually output HDMI at 1080i so I can avoid the whole issue with CS3 and MPEG4/H.264 by just importing via a HDMI capture card to my PC. I think anyway. I realize I will need a good disk array. I am looking at a quoate from www.addonics.com; their tech department their mini tower will more than handle 160MB/s I/O throughput. They suggested a mini tower with and multilane PCI-X RAID controller and 4 500GB drives so I can work with at least 2 hrs of video at a time. (see below)
                                  http://www.addonics.com/products/raid_system/mst4.asp
                                  http://www.addonics.com/products/multilane/ad4saml.asp

                                  My only other question is which video card. I have heard the nvideo 8k series is good for video editing, but I have also heard that adobe is optimized for OpenGL GPU performance and that nvidia quadro
                                  is best for that.

                                  Any other suggustions or cautions on the direction I am heading for the config would be appreciated.
                                  • 14. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                    Harm Millaard Level 7
                                    Once recorded, HDMI is nothing more than a fire wire connection without the time code and exposure details and camera control. A poor man's fire wire so to speak. HDMI may give you a benefit when recording live. After the fact there is only a disadvantage to using it.

                                    AE is optimized for OpenGL, Premiere is not.
                                    • 15. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                      mickkeay Level 1
                                      >They suggested a mini tower with and multilane PCI-X RAID controller and 4 500GB drives so I can work with at least 2 hrs of video at a time. (see below)

                                      IMHO Glenn -the camera is not worth it! Don't spec the pc based on a workflow that starts with capturing massive HDMI sourced files from that Sanyo. If you want to see if the camera fits the bill after editing (so to speak) I would convert the AVCHD to HDV and edit in CS3.. OR edit the AVCHD in Vegas or CS3 with MC plugin. What do you hope to end up with? Blu-ray disks at end of the workflow? (I did ask earlier)
                                      • 16. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                        Level 1
                                        yes, blue ray disk at the end. I may be confusing your points, but the reason I am proposing to use HDMI input to my PC / CS3 is I can import raw 1080i. I don't care if I lose camera control; I just want the file to get to my HD with minimal frame loss in a format I can reasonably edit with CS3. These are home videos; my level of editing is pretty basic, but I don't want to deal with trying to edit the compressed mpeg4/h.264 files; it is clear from all the comments that is not going to work. I already know the camera takes good movies that look very good on my tv with the hdmi output. As long as I don't lose that in the edit process or in moving the movies from the camcorder to my PC I am going to be happy. Did I miss your point? Thanks again.
                                        • 17. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                          Jim_Simon Level 8
                                          >After the fact there is only a disadvantage to using [HDMI].

                                          Not necessarily. The HDMI signal is essentially uncompressed, so when used in conjunction with a good disk array, you'll get editable HD video. It may not look as good coming from the storage card as it does live, then again with the camera he's considering, Glen might not even notice any difference at all. But he will be able to edit it.
                                          • 18. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                            Level 1
                                            I am not married to the Sanyo, but it seems whichever camera I use, the HDMI uncompressed capture is the best way to get the content into CS3 and still be able to do some editing. Also, it is fair to say I am willing to trade-off SOME quality for the convenience of a palm-sized camcorder. The video ouput should be much better than my Canon ZR30 MC. For home use, it is a real advantage to have a solution even your spouse is willing to hold. My price range for the camcorder is between $800-1.2k. What solution do you think is better, again considering this is for home movies. Thank you.
                                            • 19. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                              Harm Millaard Level 7
                                              Glenn,

                                              Are you willing to drag your PC and the external array around connected to your camera by means of a 10' cable with flimsy connectors all the time? How do you intend to shoot outdoors, carry a generator as well for power to your PC?

                                              b HDMI only supplies uncompressed material when going live, before MPEG compression.

                                              b HDMI after your shots have been recorded, is a poor man's fire wire.

                                              Once recorded, MPEG compression has taken place and NOTHING can get the original back.
                                              • 20. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                Level 1
                                                I don't work for Sanyo, but I don't think what you are saying is true. According to a Sanyo engineer I spoke with today, the camcorder outputs HDMI 1080i in an uncompressed format. Can HDMI ever output in a compressed format?? I don't know what you mean by poor-man's firewire.

                                                Sorry, don't get your other point either about carrying a hard drive around while shooting. What are you talking about? The external hard drive is not required for my workflow.

                                                Here is is at a high level:

                                                - record with camcorder on SD flash in MPEG 4 AVC/H.264 video format
                                                - connect camcorder to video edit PC via HDMI capture card, capture 1080i output from camcorder into CS3
                                                - edit, author etc...
                                                - output to HD-DVD or BlueRay - still deciding
                                                • 21. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                  Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                  >Once recorded, MPEG compression has taken place and NOTHING can get the original back.

                                                  Harm, the original recorded signal is decompressed for HDMI output on AVCHD cameras. It is not simply a data transfer like Firewire, it is a video signal. Glen's proposed solution should work fine for him.
                                                  • 22. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                    Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                    Sure it is DEcompressed, but in the previous recording, data has already been lost and NOTHING is going to get that back. Once 4:2:2 color space has been reduced to 4:2:0 by recording and the compression, you will never get it back to 4:2:2 without just guessing, which the camera may do, but accurately, no way. I agree it is a video signal, that is why you lose time code, exposure data, time stamp and device control.
                                                    • 23. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                      Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                      >data has already been lost and NOTHING is going to get that back.

                                                      Dude, what do you think decompression does? It puts back the missing information. Granted, it may not be exactly the same as what was thrown out. (Better codecs will get closer to the original, lesser codecs will have more errors and alterations.) But again, given Glen's situation, it seems unlikely he'll notice any difference.
                                                      • 24. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                        Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                        So what is your hangup with long form GOP's if decompression puts back the missing information?
                                                        • 25. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                          Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                          Decompression happens with HDMI. That's not how most GOP source is edited because, as you said, it has it's drawbacks for the professional, like missing time code and scene detect.

                                                          And, unlike Glen, I am likely to notice the difference.
                                                          • 26. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                            Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                            You may misunderstand me or I may misunderstand you.

                                                            Long GOP ingest using Cineform uses decompression without losing time code, date stamp and device control. It makes up the lost data.

                                                            HDMI also makes up the lost data.

                                                            Where is the difference?

                                                            Making up the data that were lost before is what matters. It is similar to earning $ 100 and losing $ 60 to the IRS. How are you going to make up that difference? Who is going to give you $ 60 back? Not the IRS.
                                                            • 27. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                              Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                              >Where is the difference?

                                                              Added price and transcoding time, I guess. I just don't want to do it, preferring native editing. Having never seen a Cineform output, I can't comment on it's quality. That's why I stay out of Cineform discussions.

                                                              And I don't really agree with your analogy. A better one would be creating a ZIP file. Zipping several Word docs throws out all kinds of data to make them smaller. That data gets exactly recreated upon unZip. That makes Zip an excellent compression scheme. Not all video and audio codecs are as good.
                                                              • 28. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                mickkeay Level 1
                                                                Whilst the experts debate Glenn (Jim and Harm are both way above my level of expertise) have you tried comparing the 'live' HDMI output of the cam on your TV with the Recorded playback - again via the HDMI. I tried with my HDD AVCHD camera and there is only a slight difference (for me) - albeit still noticable. Still both excellent pictures. So I think your solution will work. I think I would still want to make sure the HDMI 'capture' is smooth and OK on an intended PC (no audio sync probs, blips etc) before I shelled out the cash
                                                                • 29. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                  Level 1
                                                                  Okay, bottom line, you're using a flash card format. Adobe is completely behind on that. If you want to edit with these formats and Premiere be afraid... be very afraid... I have been struggling to get Adobe to react... nothing. The only thing I have seen comming from Adobe has been a vague announcement about flash card format integration in CS4... no further details. Over and out.
                                                                  • 30. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                    Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                                    >I tried with my HDD AVCHD camera and there is only a slight difference (for me)

                                                                    This is what I was suggesting for Glenn as well.
                                                                    • 31. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                      Level 1
                                                                      MickKeay, yes I did compare today the 'live' HDMI output of the cam on my TV with the Recorded playback of the same scene also via the HDMI. It looked pretty much the same to me. And I agree very good picture compared to my old non-HD Canon.

                                                                      I hear you on the cost. For the CAM, new PC with HD burner, storage subsystem, capture card, CS3 I came to over $4k. Yikes!

                                                                      After I moved the MPEG 4/ H.264 files to my current Pentium 4 PC, they would not play back. In fact, I went to my local computer storage and moved them to their fastest gaming PC, and even their the playback with WinDVD and QuickTime was choppy for both the video and audio. This does make me nervous. It should not take so much processing power to just playback the compressed file in its native format without conversion. I am not sure how else to test this on the intended PC short of buying it.
                                                                      • 32. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                        Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                                        I'd say something is amiss if a current gaming PC of respectable specifications can't play those files smoothly. I can play .mp4 files on my relatively older system no problems. (Just remember that playing them and editing them are two very different propositions.)
                                                                        • 33. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                          Level 1
                                                                          I decided to sell my Sanyo on ebay. There was a firmware upgrade that did not work, so that was enough for me.

                                                                          Anyway, from all the discussion on this thread, I still find myself uncertain what camcorder would be best for my needs. Does anyone have any insights whether I'd be better off with a camcorder that records to a hard drive such as the Sony Handycam HDR-SR7 or one that records to miniDV such as the Sony Handycam HDR-HC7. I figure I will replace camcorder in ~3 years so I am not worried about the moving parts breaking down before I am done with it.

                                                                          HD vs. MiniDV, which approach is more friendly to CS3?
                                                                          HDMI, Mini HDMI, vs. Firewire - which better for CS3?
                                                                          Sony, JCV, Canon - is one better for CS3?

                                                                          Thanks!
                                                                          • 34. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                            Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                                            I would go for the HC7 with mini DV tapes. Sony has no compatibility problems with CS3 if you use HDV format. HDMI is only of interest for connecting to a HD TV, for capture use fire wire. An alternative is the Canon HV20. The SR7 will cause you serious headaches with it's 5.1 sound.
                                                                            • 35. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                              Level 1
                                                                              Harm, thanks. I agree, these are the two models that are probably the best option for me in the sub $1k price range.

                                                                              Am I missing something though about firewire vs. HDMI? I use a firewire capture card today with my DV camcorder. Surely, that will not work with HDV right? (without tons of frame loss...)

                                                                              Per my earlier post, I headed down this path of a BlackMagic Intensity Pro for HDMI capture, which also meant I needed to have a beefy disk sub-system that could handle I/O read/write speed in the 150 MB/s range. All this I thought was necessary for HDV capture. Perhaps I should just ask the question again.

                                                                              With the HC7, what hardware do I actually need for effective HDV capture?

                                                                              Tx!
                                                                              • 36. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                                Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                                                Glenn,

                                                                                HDMI is a means to transfer video, fire wire is a means to transfer digital data. The source for the transfer is what is recorded on tape, which is MPEG2 compressed, unless you use the HDMI live, before recording to tape.

                                                                                The advantage of fire wire transfer is that the data stream contains not only all the video, but also all meta data, like time code, time and date stamp, exposure data, etc. which can not be transferred through HDMI. In terms of quality of the video there is no difference between the two methods.
                                                                                • 37. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                                  Level 1
                                                                                  Ok, so I don't need the HDMI for capture. I still need the raid for CS3 editing speed I assume, or was I wrong about that as well?
                                                                                  • 38. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                                    Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                                                    No Glenn, you will benefit from a raid, especially with multiple video tracks.
                                                                                    • 39. Re: Advice on PC Config for HD Editing
                                                                                      Glenn,

                                                                                      I'm a ULTRA-low budget documentary filmmaker. I use a Sony HDR-SR1 (HDD AVCHD) camcorder. It's taken me a full year to figure out how to edit files from this damned thing in PPro CS3. A lot of that is because AVCHD was so damned new when it came out. I've got a middle of the road, six month old Dell box, with not a lot of bells and whistles. Dual-core. 1.86GHz clock speed. 2MB RAM. 250 GB hard drive. 2 external USB 2.0 300 GB Hard Drives. Running Vista...yes, Vista. I'm just too damned lazy and cheap to swap it out. And here's the secret...

                                                                                      Buy a $75 license of Vegas. Drop in your clip. Cick "Make Movie." Select "Uncompressed" avi format. Let it chug away. Import into CS3. After importing into CS3 REMEMBER to select Clip>Video Options>Field Options>Always Deinterlace for the imported clip BEFORE dropping it on the timeline.

                                                                                      One of the benefits I've found in the extra steps of this process is the logging of footage; it reminds me to sift through my footage before running converting it in Vegas, instead of what I used to do -- just taking long clips and trimming in PPro. This new process is helping CS3 to render faster.

                                                                                      Are the results broadcast quality? Are we going to see them on the Discovery Channel any day soon? No. Of course not. That stuff is shot in FULL HD, and even though the Panasonic P2 options are FULL HD, they still don't capture in the same way as a $25k Full HD broadcast set-up.

                                                                                      The resolution, and quality, however, is kicking the tail off the MiniDV stuff I used to shoot, and the gear is so blinkin' small!
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