11 Replies Latest reply on Jan 8, 2009 3:02 PM by Paul_LS

    Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats

      I have been using a DV camcorder (SD quality) for some time, originally recording in 4:3 format, and more recently in 16:9 format (as we bought a wide screen telly).

      I have just treated myself to a new AVCHD Panasonic video recorder recording High Definition footage in 1080 16:9 PAL format onto an SD memory card.

      I wanted to take all this footage and put it on my computer to edit it together and start making some films to keep for the future - on DVD for now, and at some point on Blue Ray. To this end I have just purchased Adobe Premier Element 7.0, with Photoshop Elements 7.0 bundled together.

      My confusion is that it appears I can only use one format in a "project" as I need to define the parameters for the "project" in terms of SD vs HD and 4:3 vs 16:9. I was hoping to be able to store all of my footage of various quality definitions and screen ratils into a "library" (which I see is called "Organiser" in Adobe terms) on the hard disk, and then pick and choose from the "library" what to put into each "film project" as I make them, mixing formats as I wish. I realise that in this way, the output would itself switch from 3:4 to 16:9 etc on accasions as I switch scene to use a different format, and so may not appear to be the smoothest edit.... but I thought that would be my decision to do if I wanted it. Instead it appears I cannot mix a few minutes if 4:3 SD footage of my son as a baby, with more recent 16:9 1080 HD footage of him as a boy - which is a real shame as it is what I wanted to do....

      Have I misunderstood, or am I right in thinking I am limited in this way?

      Why can I mix still photos of any format with video , but not mix different formats of PAL video?

      Many thanks
        • 1. Re: Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats
          Paul_LS Level 4
          You can mix different video formats within a project. However you really need to decide what your final export format will be. If you want to burn to a standard DVD then start with a SD project and your high definition AVCHD files will be scaled down to fit the SD frame. Although this scaling may give a slight hit to quality. However if you choose to export as high definition your standard definition videos will either need to be scaled up to fill the frame or could be used as picture-in-picture and stay at their current resolution. The problem of scaling them up is that quality will definiately be impacted.

          You can edit 4:3 footage along with 16:9 footage, if used in a widescreen project the 4:3 video will have black bars either side.... or if required you could scale it and crop it to fill the 16:9 frame. However, again, upscaling the 4:3 clips will reduce its quality in the final export.

          Other issue is if your AVCHD is 5.1 audio, in the final export it will be stereo, but during editing PE7 handles 5.1 audio and stereo audio differently in the timeline. Not a major issue but it wll mean you need to edit in the Timeline mode and not Sceneline mode.
          • 2. Re: Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats
            JustinHol Level 1
            Thanks so much Paul.
            If I may ask the following - just to be sure I am clear...?

            1) to get video off my Panasonic HDC-SD9, I open a new "temporary" project to import the video footage off the SDHC card. I think you are saying that it does not matter what settings I set for this project to get the data onto my PC. I do the same thing to get the footage from my Sony SD DV tapes, but by getting the vidoe in the old "capture method" from the tapes. All this mixed footage will then be available in the "Organiser" with PE7 to use in any future project I create.

            2) When I start my project to edit the footage and create my films, it is then important that I set the correct settings for the OUTPUT I want to use this project for - as you so clearly descirbe.

            Given that 95% of my current footage is SD DV from my Sony Handycam, and you say that this will look poor if I try to out put to High Def, I am deducing that I should creat my projects I wish to save to DVD with SD settings for the best results.

            Woudl you mind awfully if I ask you two final questions?

            3) My new Panasonic HDC-SD9 HD AVCHD recorder, does record in 5.1 sound, and does not appear to have an option to switch to stereo (which I would not have minded as I only playback on my TV in stereo). When you say I have to use Timeline not Sceneline, can I use Sceneline mode to do the basic editing and then finish off the detail in Timeline mode, or do I have to stay comepletely away from Sceneline mode?

            4) The Panny SD9 has a setting to record in 25P frames per second, which is off by default - I think that means it is recording in 50 fps by default, is that correct? If so, what settings should I select when setting up a new PE7 project, as they all seem to be 25fps, with no options for 50fps.

            Many thanks again
            • 3. Re: Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats
              Paul_LS Level 4
              1) You can use temporary projects to import your AVCHD clips or use the software that came with the camcorder to get them on your hard drive and then use "Get Media", "From Folders and Files" to import into the project you are working. Alternatively you can use "Get Media" to import them directly from your camcorder into your working SD project.

              2) If your final export is to be to SD then I would work in a SD project. In this case your SD material will fit the frame size and will not be processed, whereas your high definition AVCHD files will be down sized to fit the frame.

              3) If you import 5.1 audio into a non 5.1 project the video will be placed on video track 4 (video tracks 1 thru 3 will be stereo, not you can still add and remove tracks). With multiple 5.1 clips on track 4 you will not be able to see them in Sceneline view so you will need to work with the Timeline view.

              4) Your camcorder will record either 25 fps progressive or 25 fps interlaced. The 25 fps interlaced is made up of even and odd interlaced fields so 50 fields per second, but still 25 fps. So infact you need to select a 25 fps project.

              I would recommend trying a short trial project to see how you get on. You could see some issues using the AVCHD in the SD project... field order issues. Remember I said your 25 fps AVCHD was made up of interlaced fields, well AVCHD is displayed with the upper field first and DV-AVI is displayed as lower field first. What this means is that if you are going to burn to DVD you will probably need to reverse the field dominance of the AVCHD footage (right click on the clips on the timeline, select Field Options, Reverse Field Dominance) otherwise your AVCHD clips will appear jerky. It may be easier in the long run to convert the AVCHD clips to DV-AVI. But see how you get on.
              • 4. Re: Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats
                JustinHol Level 1
                Thanks Paul

                I have been having go, as you suggest, and as you said, I cannot edit my AVCHD footage in Scene mode as it has 5.1 audio (which I cannot change on the videocam) This is very disappointing as I really wanted the simplicity of the scene editing rather than timeline.... This is compounded by the fact that timeline editing seems even more complicated than normal as each new AVCHD clip I add is placed onto a different video track (not all on track 4 as you thought)- so it is real mess to work out on my screen.... Is this a bug, the way PRE treats 5.1 tracks - or is it just oversight and poor design? Do you think it might be addressed by Adobe?

                Anyhow, thanks for explaining what is going on, as without your warning, I would have assumed that the PRE 7 sceneline feature was broken - you would have thought there would be some warning / documentation from Adobe about this, as effectively, a big feature is now unavailable to me as an AVCHD user - and the product claims to be compatible with AVCHD!

                Would you be able to advise on a couple more of my "newbie" file format questions?

                How do the settings work between setting the initial PROJECT format, and then choosing the various OUTPUT (sharing) settings. For example, if I want to edit a project using AVCHD clips only, and output it to DVD quality to watch on a PC or burn to DVD disk, do I get the same thing if I set the project setting to PAL AVCHD High Def 1080 5.1 and then the share setting to DVD quality output, as I would if I set the project settings to DV 48hz and the share setting to DVD quality output?

                My ideal would be to retain the High Definition of the footage through the editing process and then be able to output to DVD quality now, but to be able to come back to the finished edited project in the future and choose to output it to Blueray when I have upgraded my TV and bought a blueray player. i.e. I am trying to make my filming and edited projects a bit futureproof....

                Finally, I am just not up enough on all the different format lingos (Mpeg1, MPeg2, H.116 etc) to know what I should be choosing from the list for:

                1) outputting edited footage to burn onto a DVD to be used on a DVD player

                2) outputting edited footage to save onto a PC to view in the best possible quality on a PC

                Do you know?

                Many thanks
                • 5. Re: Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats
                  Paul_LS Level 4
                  Unfortunately that is the way 5.1 audio works in PE7. If you have placed a number of AVCHD clips and they go to different tracks you can drag them all to track 4. You can then delete the empty tracks (right click on timeline and select Delete Empty tracks), this will get rid of tracks 2 and 3 leaving track 1 and track 4 with your video clips. It should be easier to work like this. You can then place non 5.1 clips on track 1.

                  Probably (and I have not tried this as I use a high definition work flow from start to finish) you would get better quality by using the AVCHD clips in a AVCHD project preset and exporting to standard DVD. However if you are mixing AVCHD with standard definition material it is better to work with a SD project. The reduction in quality when PE7 downscales the AVCHD in the timeline will not be as noticeable when compared with the SD footage.

                  Your problem is that you want to mix SD and HD footage. When I do this I work in HD and use my SD as picture-in-picture in the HD project without scaling. That way I can maintain a HD workflow and maintain the maximum quality for both the SD and HD footage. But as I say my workflow is totally HD. You wish to export to SD DVD which means you have to compromise.

                  For exporting:
                  1) You do not need to select an export format. Just share to DVD and your timeline will be burnt to a DVD.

                  2) You can export as MPEG2 to view on a PC... this would give good quality with file sizes of around 4GB per hour. For smaller file sizes you may want to look at WMV, H.264 or Quictime
                  • 6. Re: Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats
                    JustinHol Level 1
                    That's really helpful.

                    So once I am ONLY editing AVCHD clips (in the future), I can set the project settings to "PAL - AVCHD - Full HD 1080i 25 5.1". I can then use scene mode to create my movie. And I can then share as output to DVD or MPEG2, and the quality should be OK as the downscaling happens only onnce at the share stage. I can also share the project output to Blue Ray once I have the equipment....

                    From what you are saying, for the projects where I want to mix standard and high def clips, and then output to DVD/MPEG2, I could convert the AVCHD clips to DVAVI (using the share to PC - DVAVI option), and then open a standard def project to import all clips as DV... and so be able to use the scene mode and have no further scaling loss of quality - just outputting to DVD/MPAG2 at the end.... Does that sound sensible?

                    One other thing I have noticed: in the Share options, all the Adobe Flash Video options are NTSC - shouldthere not be any flash (and how woudl you view this output) Also the MPEG1 and MPEG2 multimedia compatible options are set for NTSC. I see that in advanced, I can reset this to PAL, but have I set an overall option to default to NSTC by mistake, when I want PAL (My project settings are definitley PAL)

                    Finally, the output to MPEG2 PAL Multimedia compatible option does not look that great in Windows Media Player, with visible horizontal lines on faces as they move etc. I cannot get Windows Media Player to play the MPEG2 file if I change the output setting to be HD 720P 25 in teh advanced settings - what software do I need to view something like that on my PC?

                    In project settings there is "DV capture, HDV capture and WDM capture" - should I use WDM for AVCHD?

                    Thanks for all your help....
                    • 7. Re: Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats
                      Paul_LS Level 4
                      Yes if you use the 5.1 audio AVCHD project preset you will be able to use the Sceneline view, however by then you will only want to use the Timeline view... you will find it is much more flexible and more powerfull.

                      Yes by converting to DV-AVI you could use the Sceneline view.

                      Cant recall about the export options, dont have PE7 on this computer. When you first installed PE7 did you select the UK/PAL option.

                      The horizontal lines are interlacing, you need to set the media player to deinterlace or deinterlace the video before export. Do you have a software DVD player on your computer, this should de-interlace the video. If you want to deinterlace the video prior to export you can go into the advanced settings in the export settings and set it to non-interlaced or progressive.

                      Windows Media Player should play your HD 720 export, does it say it may not be able to.. if so just ignore this and tell it to play it anyway. Note if you are exporting this from a standard definition project it will not good quality as the SD will be upscaled to HD. You need to work from a HD project.

                      For AVCHD you should use capture from Hard Drive camcorder. Or download the clips to your hard drive using the software that came with the camcorder and use Add Media to import them.
                      • 8. Re: Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats
                        JustinHol Level 1
                        Paul - you have been a real star and so very helpful. I feel so much more empowered to get on and use this software successfully now... thank you.

                        Some final questions to tie off ...

                        You say I can get rid of the horizontal lines by deinterlacing - either on export or using software that will do so on play. Is there ever a reason why I would want to export interlaced? Why is the default not just to deinterlace on export?

                        I do not have any DVD playing software for my PC - would you recommend any - are any free?

                        You mentioned before about switching the field dominance. Just to check my understanding - are you saying that I always need to change the field dominance on AVCHD clips in edit mode before outputting to DVD format - or is this only something I need to do when I have mixed formats of AVCHD and DV-AVI in the same project. If the answer is everytime, then I am suprised it is not a default action that PRE takes when exporting AVCHD to DVD...?

                        For viewing output on a PC, is the best option to export to an h.264 format and then use Quicktime 7 to view it - for both standard and high def output?

                        Finally, what are your views on recording with the Panasonic HD9-SDC using the 24p option? Does this produce the best quality picture possible if then taken through PRE and output as blueray?

                        • 9. Re: Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats
                          Paul_LS Level 4
                          Your standard TV is interlaced and so expects interlaced footage, that is why the exports from PE7 are interlaced. However computer monitors are progressive and so show the horizontal interlacing lines when playing interlaced footage.

                          Not sure of any freeware software DVD players. I use NERO media player that came with my DVD drive.

                          If you use AVCHD in a standard DV-AVI project then you would need to reverse field dominace for the AVCHD clips. If you use AVCHD clips in an AVCHD project you would not need to, PE7 knows the clips are upper field first. Your issue is that you are mixing formats within a project.

                          H.264 is a very compressed format and so small file sizes but it takes more processor power to play it... particuarly for high definition files. It may be better to export to WMV for HD, HD WMV is very good quality and will play in Windows MediaPlayer.

                          You will note there is not a project preset for 24p in PE7. There are some work arounds but if you are working with PAL it is not worth it. Your deinterlaced 25fps footage would be virtually identical to 24p. If you were working in NTSC 30fps then it would be a noticeable difference.
                          • 10. Re: Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats
                            JustinHol Level 1
                            Sorry to come back again but:

                            I have tried but cannot find the option to output to WMV which you recommend I try - to see what that looks like with Windows Media Player - what I am I missing?

                            When you suggest deinterlacing the DVD format on export in the advanced settings, I assume you mean setting the field order to "none - progressive"

                            I understand what you are saying that when exporting in DVD format to play on a PC, it needs to be output as interlaced so that the DVD software (emulating a DVD player with your TV) the deinterlaces before playing. But why would you want to output DVD format already deinterlaced, as the only way you can play this DVD format output file is through DVD software isn't it? and that is expecting to receive an interlaced file.... I am missing something , sorry :-)

                            And if I export to "use on a PC" (not in DVD format, but in MPEG2) and PCs expect to see progressive input, then why does PRE not automatically choose a setting of progressive for the MPEG2 formats to be used on a PC? (the default is NTSC, lower field - and I need PAL progressive don't I)

                            I must be being thick, but I don't get why PRE have made it so complicated to choose these output settings. Had I not been asking you this, how likely would an average home user like me be to know that if I just pick the menu option to to output in "MPEG2 to view as multimedia on a PC", that I would have to make sure I go into advanced settings and first deselect the NTSC default and select PAL, and then set change the field order default from lower to none-progressive. This all seems very hard work...

                            Maybe I should have bought an Apple - my friend does not seem to have all these complications :-)

                            By the way, I did get Windows media player to play my HD720p output file, but it is really jerky and the sound starts and stops. I have a dual core E6750 2.66Ghz PC with 2GB of RAM - maybe that is not powerful enough?

                            Without this use forum and your help I would have been lost - so thank you again.
                            • 11. Re: Premier Elements 7 - confusion over mixing video formats
                              Paul_LS Level 4
                              WMV is there under Share... you just need to scroll down through the Share options, I missed it first time as well. Exporting HD as WMV will be easier for your computer to play.

                              Yes, exporting setting Field Order to none.. progressive.

                              You do not export a DVD format to your computer, you would normally burn the DVD format to disc. As DVDs are generally used for playing on a TV they are interlaced. If you choose to play a DVD on your computer then the software DVD player needs to deinterlace it.

                              You can export an MPEG file to your computer and then use another program to author this to a DVD. So the normal option is for the exported file to be interlaced. Only relatively recently has the option to share over the internet and view on a computer become popular. In this case you ideally want deinterlaced material.

                              Not sure why you are seeing NTSC as the default... are you sure you are choosing the PAL project presets???