12 Replies Latest reply on Feb 27, 2009 9:00 AM by Stan Jones

    Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?

    David Yopp
      Longtime Premiere user (Started at V4, when it would work, which wasn't often)

      I have recently upgraded From CS2 to CS4 and upgraded to an AVCHD format HD Handycam..
      AVCHD would play at about 1 frame/3 seconds on my old PC, so I upgraded to new PC.

      New Specs.
      AMD 9750 Quad-Core 2.4Ghz
      8 GB Ram
      Vista 64Bit.
      G-RAid2 Raid0 1TB HDD running through 1394a (Firewire400).

      Now the AVCHD will start out playing smoothly but slowly start stuttering down to about 1 frame/sec.

      I have a two questions.
      First, are there things I can do to significantly lower the overhead created by Vista? A trusted website that someone knows maybe?

      Second; barring getting CS4 to ever work well with AVCHD, is there a suggested format to convert AVCHD to that is more editor friendly without suffering a lot of quality loss?

      Thanks in advance!

      David Yopp
      Arlington, TN.
        • 1. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
          Jeff Bellune Adobe Community Professional
          Having had a play with some AVCHD footage recently, I can recommend a couple of things:

          1. Wait for all audio to finish conforming before you try to edit.

          2. Play the clip through once or twice in the Source Monitor, and when it begins to stutter (*if* it begins to stutter), then stop playback. Wait a few seconds for the ImporterProcessServer.exe process to finish up and calm down, then resume your playback/editing. Once that happens, things should go smoothly from then on.

          3. If your clips are 720p30, Pr still has trouble with those. Best to avoid them for now.

          I've heard that AVCHD UpShift does a good job converting AVCHD footage to high-quality MPEG2 video, which is easier for Pr to handle. I haven't tried it myself.

          -Jeff
          • 2. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
            Jim_Simon Level 8
            >G-RAid2 Raid0 1TB HDD running through 1394a

            That's actually kind of amusing. Firewire can't handle the data rate of even a single drive, let alone a RAID 0. That's like putting a Ferriari engine on a lawnmower (the kind you push from behind).

            GRaid really ought to be ashamed for even making such a device, let alone selling it.
            • 3. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
              Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant
              David, I would suggest that you take the disk drives out of the G-Raid box throw the box away and install them directly in your computer and get some real performance out of your drives. This is from the vendors site "80 MB/second data transfer rates via FireWire 800 port" What a waste of good disk drives! With your 400 mb/s port it is amazing that that you can play anything at all. The USB port would even be worse performance.

              I do not of course know what drives are inside the unit but if it is recent vintage of two 500 GB drives each individual drive will have a better average transfer rate than even if you could use a F/W 800 interface. My 500 GB drive has an average transfer rate of 85 MB per second and if I put two of those in RAID 0 even without a special controller board it would be about 160 MB/s. Get your self a copy of the free HDtach and test your disk performance your self.
              • 4. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
                David Yopp Level 1
                Jim
                They do have the disclaimer that you will need Firewire 800 to enjoy the benefits of the raided drives.

                Having said that, maybe it's just my imagination, but transferring files to that drive does seem pretty speedy even through F400. I just hate the thought of putting together a SCSI anything anymore, been too long since I've had to deal with all that.

                Jeff,

                You were absolutely correct. If I place an AVCHD clip on the timeline, it will not play worth a crap, even after the conforming has finished.

                For a 5 minute clip, I tried playing it every 15 minutes to see how well it played back. After about an hour, it would play smooth as silk. But it did take an HOUR, whichin my mind, is a bit much.

                So that begs 2 NEW questions.

                1. Is there a way to know when the process is complete.

                2. Does the process run after simply importing a file into PP? Or does the clip have to placed on the timeline to get to act right (after an hour)
                • 5. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
                  Bill Gehrke Most Valuable Participant
                  David no need for SCSI, here again is a quote from their site. "Utilizes (2) 7200 RPM, 3.5" SATA II drives each with up to 32 MB cache"

                  You do not need RAID 0 for AVCHD.

                  Two separate drives in your system utilizing the inherent disk performance above would be a much better solution any day of the week!
                  Put your captured data on one and your project files on the other. Get rid of the GRAID clunker.
                  • 6. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
                    David Yopp Level 1
                    So, by all accounts I should get enough performance from my system (C) drive to run AVCHD (Same drive specs as the two drives in my boat anchor of a G Raid)... I would not store a project there, mind you, we are just talking about what SHOULD be enough performance to edit avchd files.

                    The reason I ask, I have placed them there to test the performance as well and I still get playback framerate of about 1 frame/sec. So we must be getting back to processor performance issues, or PPCS4 issues.... right?
                    • 7. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
                      Level 1
                      > is there a suggested format to convert AVCHD to that is more editor
                      > friendly without suffering a lot of quality loss?

                      Assuming you have the budget, Cineform CFHD is my codec of choice. They
                      offer a free trial on thier website if you want to give it a try.

                      Best,
                      Christopher
                      • 8. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
                        Jim_Simon Level 8
                        I'd be very surprised if disk performance was at cause here. I only bring up the RAID issue because as Bill said, it's just not necessary for anything other than Uncompressed. Those drives' performance is being wasted. Correcting that likely won't solve this issue, but it's still probably a good move.
                        • 9. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
                          Stan Jones Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                          Jeff, I'll repeat David's question from post #4, even though you haven't had a chance to respond yet.

                          > Is there a way to know when the process is complete.

                          I don't edit AVCHD, but know there will come a time when I have a client with such a clip. I get frustrated with the frustration over AVCHD, since users don't seem clear about the variables that have been identified that make a difference. My favorite example has been the fact that the datarate of AVCHD is important to take into account.

                          I do tune out scanning messages about this, but the importance of the "ImporterProcessServer.exe process to finish up and calm down" does not seem familiar. And the apparent effect is huge. Did you just discover this?

                          Audio conforming you can see at the bottom of the screen. So David's question becomes important.

                          FYI, in trying to make sure I wasn't missing a pile of info, google turned up this tip:

                          > Just upgrade the priority for the process ImporterProcessServer.exe from normal to high in the Windows Task Manager. Simple, but it does make a nice difference (at least for me).

                          This was from here: http://www.bitsandpix.com/entry/video-adobe-cs4-premiere-avchd-playback-trick/
                          • 10. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
                            Jeff Bellune Adobe Community Professional
                            David and Stanley,

                            The only way I know that the process is complete is that each time I pause playback the first time through the video, I wait for the process to stop using CPU cycles. Then I proceed to the next point in the clip where playback stutters or stalls and pause again there.

                            This only happens on a few clips (out of 32) that I've tried, and so this technique "usually" isn't required. There may be some sort of data corruption involved. I haven't pinned it down yet as to why 3 out of 4 clips with the same frame rate and frame size (and roughly the same duration) will play perfectly right after import, and yet the fourth clip will have problems.

                            I haven't tried changing the process priority yet - I'll give that a shot soon.

                            -Jeff
                            • 11. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
                              Jeff Bellune Adobe Community Professional
                              Changing the process priority had no effect on my system.
                              • 12. Re: Changing AVCHD into editing friendly format PP CS4?
                                Stan Jones Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                I was just looking at someone's post regarding CS3 (3.02) and HDV. I wasn't paying attention, but I think it said that conforming, indexing, and building pek files could take hours, and said not to do anything with the project until all that was done. (I know there are problems with re-indexing, but many of those seemed to be failing to let it finish.) This sounds similar (some process has to complete) and different (assets being played triggers something?). Just to confirm: ImportProcessServer.exe is new in CS4?