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Answer: Go for the HV30. A superb camera for the price.
1. HDV, which stands for 'Highly Dependable Video'
2. No discernible quality difference in comparison to AVCHD, which stands for 'All Video Consumers Have Died for' and - according to messages on all kinds of fora - are experiencing near death experiences when trying to edit that material.
3. HDV is relatively easy to edit and requires far lesser PC capabilities than AVCHD, thus saving you from a large investment.
4. HDV uses very cheap tape recording and archiving possibilities.
5. AVCHD leaves you without archiving capabilities or much more costly ones in comparison to tape.
Hope this helps.
I know what you mean re desire to get into HD... If you decide AVCHD ( and the results can be stunning even with a relatively cheap consumer cam) then if you go Sony, you get PMB (picture motion Browser) bundled. It allows you to view thumbnails, search for faces, run clips etc etc usualy consumery stuff BUT (most importantly) you can run and then drag the clips you like into the CS4 project window. (CS4 Media browser cannot do this - you find yourself looking at a zillion .m2ts files and having to individually double click on them to view in the source window and work out what they are - one by one and very painful. So that is a big plus.( maybe the other manufacturers have similar but I can only vouch for Sony - who I still hate btw)
But then your problem starts... top quad core PC needed to edit AVCHD on the timeline and preferably i7.
Before I go any further... how old is the 'Old PC' you have? Spec?
You can convert AVCHD to HDV with Elecard, Upshift or Vegas (best) but you are still gonna need a reasonable PC to even play with converted HDV - have you downloaded some HDV and tried it?
As to whether you go HDV or AVCHD - for me the decision was made a no brainer by tape or tapeless? With cheap HDD storage I just didnt want to play with tapes no more!! Archiving on HDD is cheaper than tape now - and so much easier to find what you are looking for further down the line. (50 thumbnails and instant import v realtime (x1) re capture and viewing. Lots of the pros on here will disagree with me but Hope that helps
Have you tried old disks (let's say 5 year old) that were stored on a shelf as an archive of your footage and try to get that back? First problem is the IDE connection, second problem is the bearings of the disk. If the disks are not used with some regularity, the bearings will not bear the stillness and the disk will no longer spin up. The magnetic life of disks is limited to around 5 years if not used regularly. Tape does not have that problem.
Costs: Let's assume for a client you have 7 source tapes and 1 final delivery tape. Do you buy a separate hard disk for that and can you charge your clients for that cost?
You can save 20 minutes of HDV or AVCHD on a single DVD which takes 4 minutes to burn. To it takes 16 minutes to burn a backup for a single HDV or an hour of ACVHD.
If you have HDV this is a faster and cheaper way to archive footage. Way quicker for HDV or even DV if you plan on making a back up.
Not saying this is the only right way at all, just an option, something to think about. There is no single right answer to any of this because there are choices.
I do not miss capturing tapes one bit. I broke my firewire over a year ago and have plans to even replace it. (all my externals are eSata). Too bad you don't have enough money for an HVX, you get HD that can edited WAY faster than HDV or AVCHD. If you need tape DV you got it. Digital DV you got it. Slow motion that you can then transcode to DV tape. Every variation of HD you want. (sorry I just love that camera I am biased)
My PC... well I've got three... the newest is a Dell XPS laptop with 2Ghz Core2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 256MB Nvidia Geforce 8600m with a 1980x1200 pixel monitor... My oldest has a AMD 2600+ processor, 2gb of ram, and some old low end video card... I also have another laptop with a 1.8Ghz core duo, 2GB RAM no fancy video card, etc... all currently running WinXP (I could run Vista on the newest laptop if I really needed or wanted too).
I have some idea of building a new PC with somehting like a 3Ghz Core2 Duo, 8GB RAM, some modern $200ish video card, etc... (Maybe a 2.66ghz quad core rather then the duo core) Probably won't be able to afford anything much more powerful then this for sometime to come.
I shoot a lot of still photos with a Canon 40D and know a bit about storing significant amounts of data, I can't imagine 'archiving' large amounts of 20+mbps video onto hard drive... Hard drives are cheap, but not that cheap... So tape does still have some attraction for me... but also am not totally against burning DVDs for saving source footage... but hmmm... Maybe I just convinced myself that using tape is my best choice for now...
I guess maybe I should try to get my hands on some HDV and AVCHD video to play with... might also help me make up my mind...
but then with the price of a Canon HV30 at like $600 USD these days... maybe I should just buy one and be done with it... let the rest sort it self out. It seems from all I read that it'd really be kinda hard to go too wrong with the HV30. Maybe it'd get me by for a year or two till something even better comes along (and while storage space and faster computers get cheaper...)
If you consider any AVCHD camera, calculate at least $ 3K for a new computer. If you go for a HDV30, $ 1K may suffice. If you invest less than $ 3 K you will be severely hampered by very slow editing with AVCHD. AFAIK from Adobe engineers, even editing on a Mac with 8 cores is far from fluid.
My view is this....
I own an HVR-Z1U (which is, of course, HDV). It is a stunning camera, even though it is now - what? - 4 years old? It is the camera I use when I want a super quality picture.
However..... HDV is only 1440x1080. I also recently had an oppotunity to play with Sony's new HDR-X520V "flagship" consumer AVCHD camera last week. It was SO impressed by it that I check sony's web site every few hours to see if I can pre-order it.
Sorry, this is not meant to be a commercial for Sony..... I'm just trying to say that AVCHD at 17Mb/s looks REALLY good. I mean REALLY good.
When I ran my comparisons between the 520V and the Z1U, I had a real hard time telling them apart. Now obviously, we're talking about a semi-professional camera vs a plainly consumer camera. But they really were that close.
If all things were equal, like someone took a Z1U and replaced the HDV portion, I'd never look back. As far as file formats go, I'd rather not use tape any more. There are obvious advantages to the Z1U like better glass, more handles to adjust video parameters, etc.
As far a storage, I've been copying the stuff to Blu-ray disks. a 50GB disk is only about $40 -- about 2x as expensive as a high-end master quality HDV tape. And that 50GB blu-ray disk will hold over 5 hours at the current rate for AVCHD (sony call it FH).
As someone else mentioned, if you use the Picture Motion Browser software you'll get complete indexing of all the metadata when you shot. Now, I don't think any NLE will actually use this metadata yet, but they probably will someday. For instance, this new camera I was talking about has a feature that not only recognizes faces (as most AVDHD cameras do), but also has a GPS with mapping software built into the camera. So your GPS coordinates get saved as metadata. Since NLEs don't use that metadata yet, there's no reason you couldn't use both Picture Motion Browser and Premiere at the same time. Use PMB to find the clip and then import into Premiere.
And the last cool thing..... when you connect the new cameras to PMB software and you have a blu-ray drive, it can start buring everything directly to blu-ray disk. And -- it keeps all the clips as separate files (just like the AVCHD folder structure). That means that not only do you have a blu-ray disk that you can pop in a player and see what you've shot, but if you need footage off of it, all you have to do is drag the file off the drive on to the hard drive.
I think it's a great solution.
Is there room for improvement to AVCHD? Of course..... first off we're only at the first or maybe the second generation of encoders that can fit into a palm-sized camcorder. Also, a lot of the tricks that make AVC so great arean't being used at all yet, because the silicon just isn't there -- or if it is, its too big or expensive or power hungry to sit in a sub $2K device.
Currently most camera manufacturers are using the 17Mb/s. Now AVCHD v1 can go up to 24Mb/s. A couple of guys have started shipping camcorders that can do 24Mb/s at 1080i but remember that the NLE doesn't support that yet.
As the technology gets better I'm sure we'll starting seeing 1080/60p in a new version of AVCHD.
I don't see that. I have 9550 air clocked to 3.7 4(out of 8) gigs of ram used in my 32bit OS and I can get real time playback of AVCHD someone here posted. That's 200$ motherboard, 280$ processor, 80$ fan, 80$ power supply, 200$ ram, 40$ burner, 180$ videocard, 100$ case and fans. Not that expensive at all. Add 70 dollars more and you can upgrade to an i7, 100$ more have 12 gigs ram.
Just not that expensive.
I did not realise HDDs sufferred like that. I was aware of problems with DVD (R/RW) deterioration (although I have disks burnt with the first parallel printer port burners) that still play their audio just fine - so I am a tad wary of scaremongering. How long ago was that?? I wonder if the SATA drives are better (bearings aside) At the back of my roof somewhere there is an old pc that must have been there for 10 years - I am gonna drag it out and see if the disc will spin up. I also wonder if storage in vacuum sealed bags is a worthwile option?
I have also had experience of old DV tapes not faring too well over time. Yet, my old standard 8mm family film from nearly 50 years ago is just fine - I just cant get the spare bulbs! Ha. Anyone else had probs with dormant drives not firing up? And is the solid state stuff everlasting? (SD cards etc)
I think the biggest reason I keep thinking I should bite the bullet and go with AVCHD is because of it's support for 1920x1080 frame size, vs 1440x1080 max on the HDV. I'm not really so much concerned about the actual difference in resolution in terms of the potential image quality difference, but am concern about future proofing my next camcorder purchase. Ideally I would like to think that my next camcorder purchase would become my backup and/or partner to my future (a year or two from now) purchase. I'm concerned about having to deal with two different resolutions and trying to combine video in a editor from these two different resolutions when the day comes that I have two HD camcorders. Maybe I'm thinking too much or maybe this isn't really that big a deal???
I now have a technical question about AVCHD... Lets say while out shooting and wind up with say 5GB of data on the camcorders HDD, I determine that at least 400MB of that video is not that great and could easily be thrown away... If I wanted to burn a single layer DVD of the data, can I just delete the 'clips' that I determined to be of no significant value to me? or do I have to re-author the file structure to make it work like AVCHD should?
What about trying to save those other 'clips' in a different folder of not so good footage, can I just save a bunch of these clips in a folder and then later burn a disc that would have the correct AVCHD file structure? or would this too have to be re-authored (like a DVD needs to be authored)?
OH... thank you all for the comments and suggestions you've given so far... it is helpful to me.
Depending on the camera you should be able to do just what you want. I have only used Sony AVCHD cameras and the ones I've used have the ability to not only delete a clip but chop a clip into several parts. There doesn't seem to be a way to combine in the camera, though.
One really cool feature I like about the Sony cameras is the Picture Motion Browser software. The latest version that's coming out soon has (at least with the top-of-the-line cameras that are due out in March) the ability to burn a blu-ray disk with the video from the camera. So, you're out shooting a bunch of stuff, connect the camera up to your PC and launch PMB (Picture Motion Browser). Then on the camera, you say BURN DISK. Supposedly, it will take all the stuff on the camera and then make a playable blu-ray for you. and the cool thing is that all the clips are their own clips in the STREAMS folder on the BD.
So, in my opinion, is this not only a great way to view what you have, but it's a great way to archive it as well. One of the things that ticked me off about DVD "archiving" was if you actually made a playable DVD, it was a royal pain to actually extract it back if you wanted to edit. No so with BD and this software, just drag the file back to your PC and you've got it, although I doubt any metadata would follow -- especially if it was added by Premiere.
The other cool thing about using BD is the storage size. On an HDV mini tape you get 1 hour. On a 50GB BD you can store about 5.5 hours at 17Mb/s. So if you do the math, in terms of storage cost, BD is quite a bit more economical than HDV tapes. A Sony digital master HDV tape is about $15 on the street, a 50GB WORM is about $45. The BD solution is about $8.5 per hour to store where the HDV is $15 per hour.
Maybe this won't work as well for others, but it works pretty well for me.
Stacy - Wow that is cool.Just checked it out - I just hooked out a bluray disc I had burnt, went to the stream folder and dragged the .m2ts files back into CS4 for re-editing - perfect, including audio! None of the VOB nonsense pain with DVDs. Great post- Thanks
I wonder what the shelf life is of BDs (for archiving? same as DVDs I guess) Harm has got me worried - although I really cant be arsed with tape any more. And my old 10 year old HDD I dug out of the roof spun up no problem (but thats no blanket guarantee I realise)
I've pretty much made up my mind... after downloading a few smaple clips of AVCHD and HDV, it's very clear that AVCHD is way too demanding for any of the PC's I currently own, including a Intel Core 2 Duo 2.1Ghz laptop with 4GB of RAM and a Nvidia video card. Not that, this laptop is any kind of heavy duty computer, but it's not exactly a wimp either...
As much as I'd like the idea of being able to drag and drop video clips from one place to another, etc... I just can't see how I would be able to buy a new computer that's powerful enough to do AVCHD editing without issues right now.
So, it seems to me my only option is to go with a HDV based camcorder. Given that the Canon HV30 can be had for $599, it seems like I've got a fighting chance of being able to edit it's video on the laptop I already own.
Where it's pretty obvious to deal with AVCHD, I'd have to budget $1500 to $2000 on top of the cost of a camcorder, to even have a chance of dealing with that video format on a computer.
Maybe if the economy doesn't continue to decline and I still have a job in a year or two... maybe I'll look into AVCHD again, but for now I don't think I have the resources to get into that kind of video.
Thanks for all the comments people have given, it was all very helpful.
Does this article mean anything? http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/?p=998
This guy makes it sound like AVCHD takes an inferior video. I don't have any kind of background to judge, but it would be great to hear what some of you guys think.
Hmm... I'm by no means a expert in this area, not even close really. Truth be known, my choice to go with the Canon HV30 and it's HDV, vs. some other camcorder with AVCHD had little or nothing to do with image quality(IQ). Even though much of what I have read does seem to indicate that that the Canon HV10, HV20, and HV30 all seem to have IQ that is as good or better then most other consumer affordable camcorders.
As I understand it, AVCHD theoretically has the ability to exceed the IQ of HDV, particularly when it comes to video where there is lots of movement. That is, AVCHD with it's variable compression rate could theoretically produce better results when it's maximum bit rate was used vs. the maximum (fixed) bit rate of HDV. Now, we all know from other areas of our lives that theory and reality don't always agree with one another.
Apparently one of the issues with early AVCHD implementations is that they intentionally used a lower max bit rate then what the AVCHD specs allow for. This apparently was done to make older lower speed flash memory cards still be capable of keeping up with the max bit rate. Which technically speaking seems crazy since there are many SD cards that are available at very affordable prices that can easily keep up with AVCHD's maximum bit rate. However clearly manufacturers have more on their minds then what is technically possible.
It sounds like maybe the hardware compression devices that are being used in some of these AVCHD camcorders is not really doing such a good job of making use of the full potential of H.264 either. However the articles I've read about this issue haven't gone down this path to any extent. Surely there are ways that someone with access to some top notch H.264 compression software and/or hardware could do some testing to see if the compression itself is causing the loss of detail, or if the manufacturers of these consumer camcorders just aren't really making full use of H.264's abilities. To actually test this or get further into it is way beyond my abilities at this time.
Given what I have read and such... AVCHD is more convenient in the way the user can access the video content that their camcorders store... however it also requires better computers and such to REALLY make this convenience useful to you once you move it to your computer. For in camera review of the video, clearly AVCHD is more convenient, no need to rewind the tape, etc... AVCHD has many nice features for the average consumer.
Given how fast technology moves today, I find it very hard to know for sure if AVCHD is here to stay and will mature to be the clear choice for discerning video camcorder consumer, or if will soon be replaced by something 'better'. For now, I've simply decided that I can't afford the computing power to make AVCHD work for me at this time
My $600 Canon HV30 should arrive at my home tomorrow... from everything I've read about it, it's hard to go wrong with it at this price. I decided that if AVCHD is the future, I'm not quite ready for that future and when I am, I'll just buy another camcorder at that time and not worry about the $600 I spent now.
My personal opinion about the article is it was written a year ago. First off, at this time, AVCHD is targeted for the home video market not the professional market (with the exception of AVC-I).
Just like every other format that uses compression, AVCHD probably started out a little shakey. Look at the early DVDs. Their encoding sucked. There were artifacts everywhere. Sony Pictures even came out with a SuperBit line of DVDs that stripped everything but the move in the hopes of getting the bit rate high enough to stop artifacts. However, as time went on the encoders became much, much better and much, cheaper. The MPEG2 encoder in a consumer HDV camcorder is far more powerful than the most expensive hardware encoder that was used in the late 1990's for DVD authoring. And they cost about $10 in the camera.
AVCHD will get there. Most people do not understand that there are a whole bucket full of "tools" that AVC has that are not even being used in consumer camcorders now. Why? Becuase the technology to get all those additional functions on a small chip to fit into a palm-sized camcorder just isn't there yet -- either for size or cost.
I imagine if you took a look at a first generation AVCHD camera (which I believe the author of the article is using) and compared it to a comperable camcorder today (meaning any of the brand new units that are just beginning to ship now that were introduced at CES last month) you'd be surprized.
I am about as picky as anyone in terms of picture quality, but I find the latest batch of AVCHD cameras (at least the high-end ones) quite good and visually indistinguishable from HDV. I own a HVR-Z1U and I just placed my order for Sony's new HDR-XR500V camera. If I make the camera components equal (meaning I turn skin tone and all the other tweaking in the Z1U's camera portion off), I can easily intercut between the two of them and I can't tell the difference. I had a pre-production version of the 500V a couple of weeks ago and absolutely fell in love with the camera.
I guess it all boils down to what you like, what you're doing with it and who your audience is.
Thanks for your analysis. I also took the liberty of posting that article here for a "second opinion" (they seem to have a couple of engineers as moderators), and their thoughts were similar to yours.
That is if the full capabilities of the H.264 (MP4) are utilized, then the bit rate may not be as important.
I have an HV20, which I edit on a quad core machine with Cineform and it has worked well producing nice images which I can output to Bluray or widescreen SD. I'm pretty sure you'll be happy with your new camera.
>AVCHD is targeted for the home video market not the professional market (with the exception of AVC-I).
Just for clarity's sake, AVCHD and AVC-I are two specific and different codecs. Both are subsets of the MPEG4 Part 10 specification, but other than that, are not related to each other.
Stacey makes some very good points including the point that what the best choice is for any given person is highly dependent on that person's needs. Also the point that the articles/blog posting in question were using older gear... I have little doubt that the newest crop of AVCHD consumer camcorders are significantly better then the older ones.
I did also enjoy the other postings at that dvdoctor site...
For me, I am on a budget, a pretty tight one really. If I had a had a better computer sitting ready to go that was capable of doing AVCHD editing, I probably would have purchased a AVCHD camcorder. Most likely it would have been one of the older models, to save money. I wouldn't really even care that the IQ was not as good as it may have been with a HDV camera of similar costs. I don't think I'd be ready or willing to buy the latest crop of AVCHD, simply cause it'd be pushing the limits of my personal budget.
You talked me into getting a version of the XR500V. I was wondering what you thought about the need to get the 240 GB HD of the XR520V or in your experience is the 120 GB version adequate storage for prosumer use?
I just wonder why they put the GPS system in. You would think in such a small camera they would use every available mm for H.264 coding,
I tormented myself over whether to order the 500V (120GB) or 520V (240GB). In the end I ordered the 500V, mainly becuase I couldn't see myself shooting more than 15 hours before neededing to dump (so to speak). Also, since the camera handles memory stick (currently up to 16GB) there's another hour or so in a pinch.
I don't use this stuff professionally at all.... just shooting nature and the kids.... For me, it wasn't worth the extra money just for a bigger HDD. I'm too cautious anyway about having all that irreplacable data on drive in the camera without dumping off.
By the way, another VERY cool feature on the 500V series is the Active Steadyshot. It's works very well! It's no Steadycam, but you can walk down the street with the camera and it looks like you're gliding. It's also great for trying to shoot someone's face very tight while zoomed all the way in. Even regualr optical Steadyshot still has issues when zoomed all the way in. This looks great.
And, the low-light is pretty darn good as well.
Could you post a shot of the steady shot feature? On Vimeo HD or maybe host a raw data file. I'm very curious about the stabilizing feature for B camera for action shots.
I have a question for you AVCHD owners. On a HDV camera any video recorded to tape appears simultaneously at the Firewire output, does the AVCHD camera similarly output in realtime on the USB interface?
How would they know? Premiere won't see it on USB even it if did.
Well on HDV (Firewire) you can record to an external device like the Focus FireStore devices and use OnLocation, I was just wondering if we might see the same type functionality for AVCHD cameras, and connectivity to OnLocation at some point in time. I have not seen any AVCHD cameras that also support Firewire--maybe there are some??? If there is no simultaneous output then my whole idea is kaput!
Yes Eddie you are correct! Maybe not the right place for this question, but hopefully an audience for some other inquiring mind with an AVCHD camera
What you might see are avchd cams that have hdmi out. The usb is for transfering the files.
With tapless cams become more and more popular Onlocation is a solution looking for a problem.
How about this:
Not sure how the AVCHD devices look to a computer or other USB host... If they appear as a 'mass storage device' in the generic sense... There are devices such as the NextoDI ND-2700 and ND-2725 that are capable of backing up USB mass storage devices. I did beta testing on the ND-2700 but don't know a whole lot about the newer ND-2725 that apparently is being marketed directly toward the video market. All of my experiance with these devices is for use in backing up Flash memory cards, but I do know that they can host USB mass storage devices and can also do 'incremental' backups of mass storage devices.
If anyone's interested I could contact Nexto and get more details about the ND-2725...
Aleks, I congratulate you, of course it is almost an order of magnitude beyond my budget--if I had a budget. :)
>The AG-HPX300 will retail for $10,700 (including a 17x Fujinon lens), the lowest price to date for an AVC-Intra camcorder. It is expected to become available in March 2009.
Now we're talking!
agree with Jim. Except you have to transcode to edit it on Adobe. Works with Final Cut though. Totally awesome Camera though, I mean wow.
If I remember right years ago there have been many stories on the competition between Panasonic's professional and consumer divisions. I would not be surprised to see a prosumer AVC-I camera from Pany in 12-18 months. Once they have the electronics for the the encoding it should only be a matter of time until they put that to work in a prosumer model. That will be the day for me.
Maybe we should rename this thread HDV, AVCHD or AVC-I?
Do you think it edit faster than long GOP? I thought I read that the higher end camera came with an avc-intra board for the computer. Don't have time to research it but I'm curious about editability. I've been spoiled with Native DVCPROHD editing.
You're thinking is far too pre Depression hopeful. Unless the world economy picks up quickly--and i haven't read a single analysis that suggests it will, it is likely to be many years before market conditions will be ripe for a Panny Prosumer AVC-1. Great thought, though. :)
Uh, March guys. That's next month for a prosumer AVC-I camera. Still a little more on the pro side than sumer, I'll admit. But even this is a good step forward to an affordable HD camera done right.
(An HD camera "done right" is defined as full resolution imaging devices and full raster, independent frame recording.)
I agree Jim.
BTW (can't wait for your thoughts on the CS4 demo when you get it in the mail)