34 Replies Latest reply on Jan 8, 2009 6:14 PM by Jim_Simon

    Bad AVCHD playback

    Stacy Rothwell Level 1
      Hi...

      I just upgraded to CS4 and am having trouble reliably playing back AVCHD.

      I have other applications that play it back just fine, also bluray. But when in Premiere CS4 it will play in the window for about 5 seconds then start stuttering and, ultimately, just freeze. Stopping playback then starting again will repeat the entire procedure.

      My machine is a Core2Quad Q6700 with 4GB RAM, nvidia 8800GT and Vista x64 Ultimate. In my opinion there is no reason this machine shouldn't work just fine.

      Also, The CPU never gets above about 30% when it's playing back AVCHD.

      If you set the video window's display to AUTOMATIC, it won't stutter, but PPro degrades the resolution so much you can't see anything. Very pixilated too. Setting to FULL is the only way to see it.

      The other strange thing is HDV **sometimes** has similar issues. If I use PPro CS3, then HDV plays back just fine. So I think its unlikely it's something on my system.

      Lastly, I installed CS4 on another machine (albeit just a CORE2DUO and it behaves identically.

      Thanks for any help!
        • 1. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
          Harm Millaard Level 7
          What is running while editing?
          • 2. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
            Stacy Rothwell Level 1
            To the best of my knowledge... nothing. No obvious application.

            I even turned off McAfee (which is, of course, the root of all problems :-)

            Normal Windows Vista stuff (also tested this on XP machine -- not nearly this powerful, though- and the same result.

            I take it you don't have any issues with playing back AVCHD in full resolution? Frustrating :-(
            • 3. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
              Harm Millaard Level 7
              AVCHD is strenuous to say the least due to the codec. You need a very beefy PC to handle it comfortably. Personally I stay far away from that format, even on an 8-core machine.

              Nothing else running is near to impossible. You must have - in the best of cases - at least 15 processes running, but possibly way over 35 in which case you are in for trouble. Use Process Explorer to check that.
              • 4. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                Stacy Rothwell Level 1
                Sorry,I'm sure I have the normal windows stuff running.

                Why is it only Premiere that can't seem to play this back?

                Sony's PictureMotionBrowser plays it just fine. VLC plays it just fine. Nero Showtime plays it just fine. It's only premiere.

                I guess I could go drop $1500 on a new MB with i7 Quad extremem CPU but it just doesn't make sense.

                Wondering if others are having this issue or not.

                Thanks
                • 5. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                  Harm Millaard Level 7
                  > Wondering if others are having this issue or not

                  Yes, because editing is entirely different than playing.
                  • 6. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                    Jim_Simon Level 8
                    >I guess I could go drop $1500 on a new MB with i7 Quad extremem CPU but it just doesn't make sense.

                    I'll say. You can get the 920, P6T and some memory for less than half that.
                    • 7. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                      Stacy Rothwell Level 1
                      Had my eye on the P6T Deluxe with the 965 and 6GB of DDR3 Corsair Memory. $1498 at Newegg.

                      But if it's still gonna stutter (which I find had to believe) I might as well save my money....
                      • 8. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                        Jim_Simon Level 8
                        Others seem to be reporting smooth editing with the 920, so I'd guess the 965 would be even better.
                        • 9. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                          Stacy Rothwell Level 1
                          So, sorry to ask what sounds like a silly question but have you seen anyone commenting (other than me) about editing with a Core2Quad Q6700?

                          I'm just having a hard time imagining that theres THAT much of a difference betwen the Q6700 and, say, the 920.
                          • 10. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                            Jim_Simon Level 8
                            I think I have read from several others than processors in the Q6600 neighborhood have issues with AVCHD.

                            It's not that surprising that the 920 would be better, as benchmarks put the i7 some 30% to 40% faster than a similarly spec'd Core 2.
                            • 11. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                              Wow, I hope it's not that much of a headache to edit AVCHD. I just bought a Sony HDR-SR12 HandyCam to shoot 1920x1080. I went the HandyCam route as I wanted something that I could put in my backpack for hiking treks. (lightweight but still HD). I was planning to upgrade my MOBO and VidCard in the near future. What is the P6T and the 920 or 965? Are those MOBO's or systems? I've only read a little about the i7 Intel CPU's. Need to dig more info.

                              -kenn
                              • 12. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                Stacy Rothwell Level 1
                                Let me preface this by saing that I've been with Adobe Premiere since v4. So please do not flame me on what I'm about to say.... it's only for comparison.... I WANT to use Premiere.

                                So I installed the very latest Vegas 8. It has absolutely NO problems at all with AVCHD. It is perfect. No stuttering. No video freezes. Nothing.

                                So I am doubting that it's my system that cannot play or edit it. Vegas works perfectly. So what's wrong with Premiere Pro CS4?
                                • 13. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                  Jim_Simon Level 8
                                  Whatever it is, others without a new i7 are having the same issue. (Conversely, users with a new i7 aren't.)
                                  • 14. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                    Level 1
                                    Here's a link that shows it all...

                                    http://tv.adobe.com/#vi+f1510v1000
                                    • 15. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                      creig bryan-mUOxt4 Level 1
                                      Kenn:

                                      Thanks for the link.

                                      Keep Smiling
                                      • 16. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                        Thrill Media Level 2
                                        Stacy,
                                        I wouldn't rush out and buy $1500 worth of machine upgrades if you are looking for an acceptable editing experience with AVCHD and PPCS4.

                                        I had pretty much the same setup that you had (Core2Quad 6600, 2.4GHz, 3Gig Ram, etc) and recently upgraded my machine to an i7 Quad at 2.93GHz, 8 Gig Ram, Vista64. I didn't upgrade specifically for AVCHD editing but I was considering the Panny HMC150 as my next move. I still haven't decided which HD cam is for me. :(

                                        I downloaded a 24P 1080 file from the HMC150 to my SATA raid and I still get stutters on playback. (Maybe I should have gone Extreme?!?) I COULD edit with this setup but I wouldn't be able to consider it a good experience.

                                        I just don't think Adobe has all of it ironed out yet but I am hoping that the next update will bring acceptable results. If you watch the previous link you will notice that he never plays more than a few seconds, I don't know about you but most of my videos are a little longer than that. :)

                                        I really would like to hear a few success stories editing these files with PP CS4 but I haven't yet.

                                        Good luck with it!
                                        • 17. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                          Level 1
                                          Here is some food for thought. An article on editing AVCHD.

                                          http://www.internetvideomag.com/Articles_2008/053108_AVCHD_video-editing.htm

                                          -kenn
                                          • 18. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                            Stacy Rothwell Level 1
                                            Curtis

                                            Thanks for the message. I agree. Not doubting what other people are telling me, it's just bothering me that Vegas 8 can edit AVCHD natively and doesn't stutter like PPro does.

                                            Just to be 100% sure it's not something on my system, I'm in the midst of creating an image backup of all 800GB of my system then I'll re-install Vista x64 and only put CS4 on it. Then I'll take another look. I'll publish my findings.

                                            Stacy
                                            • 19. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                              Jeff Bellune Adobe Community Professional
                                              AVCHD is Sony's format, and Vegas is their baby.

                                              The issues in Premiere (and some other apps) may result from Sony's parochial development, which is at least as bad as Apple's.

                                              Editing applications that don't exhibit slowdowns and dropped frames with AVCHD (and which are not owned by Sony) use lower res proxy files for editing, or they convert every single AVCHD file to another format or codec for editing. To the best of my knowledge, no other editing application that claims to edit native AVCHD will perform well on anything less than an 8-core machine, except for Sony's Vegas.

                                              Be patient. The Premiere team will get this worked out sooner rather than later.

                                              -Jeff
                                              • 20. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                Level 1
                                                "Be patient. The Premiere team will get this worked out sooner rather than later."

                                                Do you know something we don't, Jeff?
                                                • 21. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                  Same here. Was just about to open a new thread with the same question when I saw this one.

                                                  I'm trying it at a friend's place. Stuttering, audio jumping back and forward. No way to even play the thing, let alone edit.

                                                  Works fine in every other app except PPro CS4. Even CyberLink PD.

                                                  I'm on Q6600, 8 GB RAM, XP x64 Pro SP2.

                                                  It has nothing to do with hardware.
                                                  • 22. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                    Jeff Bellune Adobe Community Professional
                                                    >Do you know something we don't, Jeff?

                                                    No. I'm just using recent history with CS3 (and now CS4) updates.
                                                    >I'm on Q6600, 8 GB RAM, XP x64 Pro SP2.
                                                    It has nothing to do with hardware.

                                                    In your case, you are likely correct. First, XP64 is an unsupported operating system for CS4. Secondly, you need to ensure that you are waiting for the audio to finish conforming, and the video to finish indexing, before you try to play or edit the footage.
                                                    • 23. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                      Stacy Rothwell Level 1
                                                      What video indexing? All I ever see is the audio conforming gas-guage in the lower right corner. I don't see any indication of indexing.
                                                      • 24. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                        Level 1
                                                        All these problems are refering to the AVCHD Codec. My CS4 stutters even with a 720x480 clip. The same clip edits fine in CS3. The audio plays, but the video just sits there and looks at me. When I stop the play head, the video jumps to the correct time on the timeline. I've spoken with Adobe tech support (3 times) and they say it's because I captured it with my IEEE port on my Matrox card. They told me that CS4 doesn't support capture cards anymore. What should premiere care where the AVI was created. I think the guy was full of crap.

                                                        Is anyone having trouble editing plain old 720x480 clips in CS4??

                                                        The system I'm running it on is a Dual Xeon 2.66 with 4G Ram and a NVidia Quadro FX1000.

                                                        -Kenn
                                                        • 25. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                          I am having almost the exact same problem. CS4 it's choppy, CS3 it's fine.
                                                          • 26. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                            Stacy Rothwell Level 1
                                                            So I completely backed up my Vista 64 system and installed a brand new Vista 64 from scratch with absolutely nothing on it except CS4.

                                                            The same exact thing happened. It would play for 5 seconds then start stuttering then after about another 5 seconds the video woudl feeze while the audio continued.

                                                            Also, if you let PPro sit long enough, the clips that are in the timeline will eventually play back OK, until you add another clip then they all start stuttering again.

                                                            I have not checed standard definition stuff, but I am also having the same problems with HDV stuff, not just AVC.

                                                            I am now convinced, more than ever, that this is in fact a PPro problem and not an outdated computer system or something installed on my system that's messing something up.

                                                            I'm "glad" to hear that others are having the same problem as I.

                                                            I guess we go through this with PPro on every new iteration.... great feature set but buggy implementation..... guess we'll have to wait a while for them to fix the problem.
                                                            • 27. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                              Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                              Stacy,

                                                              Keep in mind that AVCHD is HIGHLY compressed. It requires a lot of CPU power to uncompress it for editing. But that is not the end of the story. It also requires a lot of fast disk space to store that uncompressed info. You haven't mentioned your disk setup, so that could be another bottleneck, not only the CPU/memory.
                                                              • 28. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                                Level 1
                                                                >>Keep in mind that AVCHD is HIGHLY compressed. It requires a lot of CPU power to uncompress it for editing. <<

                                                                My Standard def 720x480 stutters on the timeline in CS4 as well. I've even un-installed CS4 and reinstalled it, and upgraded my Video drivers.... So what do we do in the meantime. Sit back, hold hands and sing ***-Ba-Yah? Fortunately I don't need to depend on CS4 for work. I CAN get by with CS3. It's just frustrating that so many people are experiencing the same problems.

                                                                Does Adobe have a news page where they update users on what bugs they are working on and when they hope to fix the problems?

                                                                Does anyone have CS4 working and if so, what kind of system do you have.. MOBO, CPU, Vid Card, Harddrives, Ram, OS.....and what ever else is in your system that sets it apart. Do you have to stand on one leg between noon and 2pm only during a full moon.

                                                                I believe that AVCHD will be a format of the future. Otherwise, why are so many camera companies selling vid cameras with the AVCHD compression. They must be banking on something.

                                                                In the mean-time......***-Ba-Yah!!!!

                                                                -kenn
                                                                • 29. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                                  Level 1
                                                                  >Does anyone have CS4 working and if so

                                                                  Mine is working ok with little work arounds. I am only using Mini DV though.

                                                                  Asus p5n-sli deluxe
                                                                  p4 3.4 ghz
                                                                  Three 7200 hard drives. 1 - os & programs, 2 - project files and video, 3 - media assets (sound effects and other assets)

                                                                  Geforce 6800xt
                                                                  vista 64
                                                                  4 gigs of ram

                                                                  There are a few headaches but mostly I can get work done.
                                                                  • 30. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                                    Stacy Rothwell Level 1
                                                                    My hard drives is a normal 7200 RPM SATA drive. I have one that is a 750GB and one that is a 1TB.
                                                                    • 31. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                                      Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                                      Add another smallish one for OS and programs.
                                                                      • 32. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                                        Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                                        > It also requires a lot of fast disk space to store that uncompressed info.

                                                                        That one's curious. Editing native means the decompression happens on the fly when needed, such as during playback. So what Uncompressed files are being created?
                                                                        • 33. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                                          Harm Millaard Level 7
                                                                          What about temp files. Uncompressed can not all be stored in RAM. In a certain respect the same kind of problems may occur with load balancers that are IP or MAC address based instead of Session ID based. A large load from a single IP address may cause server overload and bad response times. Uncomcressing AVCHD files, even though supposed to be on the fly can cause temporary RAM overloads that need to be paged or stored in temp files. It is even possible that the multi threading algorithm is not optimized to handle longer time lines and thus cause more paging activity than would be optimal, but that is guessing on my part.
                                                                          • 34. Re: Bad AVCHD playback
                                                                            Jim_Simon Level 8
                                                                            >What about temp files.

                                                                            I would guess that only one frame at a time really needs to be decompressed, as that's typically all you're seeing at any given moment. That doesn't really seem like a RAM breaker.