20 Replies Latest reply on Feb 19, 2009 9:49 AM by Paul_LS

    HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started

    Ed.Macke Level 3
      Now that I've got a shiny new flat-panel TV, I'm interested in taking advantage of its higher resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio when doing video editing.

      But I'm a bit confused as to the available options and how Premiere handles them.

      *Option 1. Using 16:9 aspect ratio. My current DV-AVI Sony camcorder (DCR-HC48) can do "widescreen"... but what does that mean? Does it just stretch the normal pixels, or do I truly get more pixels? The manual makes no reference to pixel dimensions for video. For still images, it's a bit confusing, but if I interpret correctly, 4:3 is 1152x864 and 16:9 is 1152x648 - which, if true (and if it applies to video as well), means I'm actually getting less pixels since it's basically chopping pixels off the top/bottom to get the different aspect ration rather than adding pixels to the left/right. Wouldn't I be better off recording 4:3 and playing with it in PRE to get the 16:9 ratio????

      *Let's say I recorded in "widescreen"... what are the steps to create a DVD that would play in 16:9 on my flat-screen?

      *If I wanted to include both normal and widescreen video source, but output 16:9, what is the best way to do that?

      *What the heck is with all the pixel aspect ratios (e.g. 0.9)

      *Option 2: HD. What are my options? AVCHD seems to be problematic in PRE(?). Is there a HD format that PRE likes? Is all HD tapeless?

      Regardless of input format, what are my output options for DVD? Is blue ray the only HD DVD format, or can I create a standard DVD that's HD (standard DVD is 480p, correct? So can DVD handle 720p? 1080i?). I know only blue ray does 1080p.

      Sorry if this is a lot of questions, but it seems like it all needs to be answered to understand how to properly produce a 16:9 SD or HD video start to finish.

      Thanks!!
        • 1. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
          Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
          Have you picked up a copy of my book yet? I think it will answer most of your questions.

          You get exactly the same number of pixels in a standard DV project as you do in a widescreen DV project, Ed. The pixels are just interpreted differently. In standard DV, the pixels are 90% as wide as they are tall, meaning 720x480 pixels gives you a 4:3 image. In widescreen DV, the pixels are 120% as wide as they are tall, meaning 720x480 pixels gives you 16:9 image. No difference in the resolution at all.

          This is why, if you mix widescreen and standard DV in the same video, one format may look stretched disportionately, in which case you'll need to interpret the clip manually.

          As for AVCHD or HDV, if you're using miniDV footage, neither is within your capacity as yet. But HDV is a compressed MPEG2 file which includes 4 times as much video data as standard DV. AVCHD is an even more compressed (which is why it can be challenge to work with) video format that includes as much video data as HDV but in an MP4 file.

          I hope that gets you started, Ed. You really are asking me to write whole book chapter of explanation in a single post in order to explain it all!
          • 2. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
            Ed.Macke Level 3
            OK, with a little research on HD, I found that there is a format called HDV, which is MPEG-2 video. All the cameras I found recorded to mini-DV tape (e.g. Canon HV30).

            AVCHD is MPEG-4/h.264 format.

            So for my Option #2 question, disregard the "tapeless" part, but does PRE handle either one of these formats better than the other? Or is there a utility to covert either of these formats to DV-AVI, and would the resultant DV-AVI still be HD?

            ETA: Oops, sorry Steve, missed your post before I posted this...
            • 3. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
              Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
              HDV is a tape-based format, and pretty much any computer that can edit from a miniDV can edit from an HDV camcorder, if the project is properly set up. And, although HDV records to the same kind of tape cassette as miniDV, it is a very different video file format.

              AVCHD is hi-def video format that records to a hard drive or flash drive. It is bulky and highly compressed and requires a pretty powerful computer to edit natively.
              • 4. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                Ed.Macke Level 3
                >I hope that gets you started, Ed. You really are asking me to write whole book chapter of explanation in a single post in order to explain it all!

                Hee! Well, it's actually somewhat comforting to know that my confusion requires an entire chapter, i.e. if it requires that much explanation, I don't feel like such a dummy for not understanding it.

                OK, fair enough. Let me pick up your book. RTFM, right? :)

                >neither is within your capacity as yet

                Do you mean because I don't have a HD camcorder, PRE7 won't handle it, my computer won't handle it, or something else?
                • 5. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                  Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
                  You have a miniDV camcorder. Not an HDV or AVCHD camcorder. So you can't shoot hi-def TV.
                  • 6. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                    Ed.Macke Level 3
                    OK. Yeah, I knew that.

                    I'm trying to figure out 2 things.

                    One is what I can do with my current camcorder to make the most of its widescreen capability and my HDTV.

                    The other is *IF* I move into HD recording, what type of camera should I be looking for - specifically what format PRE handles best.
                    • 7. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                      Paul_LS Level 4
                      For high definition PE handles HDV MPEG2 a lot easier then AVCHD. I have both format camcorders... HDV recording to mini-DV tape and AVCHD recording to memory card. As Steve states AVCHD needs a lot more processor power for a satisfactory editing experience if you edit the AVCHD natively (rather than converting to an intermediate codec). I would recommend a quad core processor, whereas with HDV you can edit on a dual core (or fast single core).

                      That said, I use my AVCHD camcorder a lot more than my HDV camcorder purely because of the ease and convience of recording to a flash memory card.
                      • 8. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                        Ed.Macke Level 3
                        Thanks, Paul.

                        I might be OK with HDV, then. I have a dual-core 2.8GHz w/ 2GB memory, (2) 500GB HDs.

                        So do you convert the MPEG-2 to DV-AVI before editing, or do you just edit the MPEG-2 natively? I constantly see that PRE prefers DV-AVI.

                        I don't mind the miniDV tape. For me, the size and portability of the camera is key (e.g. can it fit in a fanny pack while at DisneyWorld?)

                        Is HDV always recorded to tape, and AVCHD always on DVD, HDD, or memory card?
                        • 9. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                          New Improved Chuck Engels Level 1
                          >So do you convert the MPEG-2 to DV-AVI before editing, or do you just edit the MPEG-2 natively? I constantly see that PRE prefers DV-AVI.

                          Premiere Elements handles the HDV files natively, at least the m2t files from a MiniDV camcorder. No need to convert them.

                          >Is HDV always recorded to tape, and AVCHD always on DVD, HDD, or memory card?

                          The short answer is No. There are probably a half dozen formats at least for HDD and Flash camcorders, DVD is almost always VOB (not sure about HDV DVD Cams, are there any?). HDV footage on MiniDV Tape can be captured in m2t format and editing in Premiere Elements without problems. Best to capture with HDVSplit in most cases, that will save you some potential problems.

                          I'm sure Paul will clear up anything that isn't quite right :)
                          • 10. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                            Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
                            Well, let me clarify what Chuck said.

                            HDV is always on tape. AVCHD is always on a hard drive or flash drive.

                            But not all hi-def video from a hard drive camcorder is AVCHD. Make sense? Flip camcorders, for instance, don't record to tape but don't use AVCHD either.
                            • 11. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                              Ed.Macke Level 3
                              Thanks, guys. Yes, that all makes sense.

                              I think HDV might be the way to go for me. That is, when I've saved up enough $$$ for a new camcorder.

                              In the meantime, I'm going to try out the widescreen, thanks for the clarification on that as well.
                              • 12. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                                Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
                                Wise man, Ed.

                                The Canon HV20, HV30 and HV40 are very popular on this and on the Muvipix forum as an excellent value in HDV.
                                • 13. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                                  paulgoelz Level 1
                                  It is a snake pit ;) I got a wide screen monitor last year for Christmas. That necessitated a new video card so I could set the native resolution. Then I got a HiDef camcorder. That necessitated a new motherboard/processor/memory so I could watch the video. And of course a 1TB hard drive to store the video and a BluRay R/W drive to burn video and backups to. It never ends ;)

                                  Paul
                                  • 14. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                                    Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
                                    It gets worse! Next year it will be Windows 7 and 64-bit programs!
                                    • 15. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                                      paulgoelz Level 1
                                      Oh, I hope not. So far, PE7 works great on Win7 (x64) in compatibility mode. I can only hope it will be even better when it is a 64 bit application.

                                      I am really liking Win7, actually. I have one application that does not run on it though. And it is an application I need. So I may have to dual boot when Win7 arrives for real because I like it enough to want to use it full time. But everything else I have tried on it runs perfectly. And my PC is powerful enough to run on it although my older hard drive limits my "Windows Experience" rating to something like 1.4.

                                      Paul
                                      • 16. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                                        Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
                                        That's definitely something to look forward to! Thanks for the report, Paul!
                                        • 17. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                                          Ed.Macke Level 3
                                          And just to verify, if I record to HDV and edit in PRE, the only way to watch that on TV is to burn to a Blu-Ray DVD and watch on a Blu-Ray player (or Sony PS3), correct?

                                          There's no way to burn hi-def content to a standard DVD.
                                          • 18. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                                            Paul_LS Level 4
                                            You can burn HDV content to a standard DVD (AVCHD disc) and play it back to a HDTV via a Blu-ray player or a home theatre PC (my route). AVCHD discs hold about 25 minutes of high definition content along with Menus.

                                            I export from PE7 as H.264 high definition format, bring this into Corel DVD Moviefactory 6+ and burn to standard DVD with menu. Note the H.264 export is smart-rendered in Corel and so there is no further quality loss after export from PE7.
                                            • 19. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                                              Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional
                                              But then you can only play it on a BluRay player, right?

                                              You can't play AVCHD content, even on a standard DVD, on a standard DVD player?
                                              • 20. Re: HD Primer  - Help Me Get Started
                                                Paul_LS Level 4
                                                Correct, Blu-ray player or from a computer connected to your HDTV. For example I have a home theater PC connected to my HDTV via a HDMI connector on my graphics card that handles both the audio and video. I then play the AVCHD DVD using a software Blu-ray player, Cyberlink PowerDVD.