I have a client project that has me wondering what workflow to use and I someone on this forum probably has the expertise to know the right solution. My requirements...
1. Client is recording a scene using 4 cameras at once, like a live TV show is shot, all AVCHD footage, 1920x1080px 17mbs, square pixels.
2. I must playback in Premiere the 4 video streams in real time and choose one camera to output, like a director would switch a live TV show. So, all 4 streams are playing in Premiere's multiple-camera editing windows. Each show I'm editing is about 1 hour long. The advantage of multi-camera editing of course is I can play all 4 cameras at once and live switch between them in Premiere to arrive at a 1 hour show in 1 hour of editing time.
3. Until I can upgrade my hardware that can possibly handle 4 streams of AVCHD, I'm stuck needing a workflow to convert the original AVCHD to some lowres format, edit those offline low res copies to get my edit decision list, and then reconnect the online HDV AVCHD clips to export through Media Encoder for a final production. My output format is Flash F4V 640x360 px square pixels for Internet playback.
4. Hardware: I'm running Windows 7 RC using CS4 Premiere 4.1, 4gb RAM, 2.4ghz dual-core processor with 64mb Intel turbo boost on a notebook PC. I do have 4 hard drives to hold each camera's footage on its own drive, and a fifth drive to ouput the edited version to, in addition to a drive to hold my OS and Premiere. The external drives are connected via eSATA to the notebook.
Question 1: what do you suggest as the lowres format I should convert my AVCHD footage to for multi-camera playback/editing in Premiere?
Question 2: do you think it's even possible to buy a desktop PC that can handle playback of 4 multicam AVCHD native format files in Premiere in real time? I'm concerned this may be too much for even the most powerful systems, and I would need to resort to editing lowres footage even with the most powerful desktop. As you know, decompressing one or two AVCHD streams is taxing to a PC so 4 at once is a challenge.
Question 3: an alternative workflow would be to feed live video out of the HDMI connectors on the cameras into four HDMI capture cards (Intensity Blackmagic) and capture uncompressed HDV bypassing AVCHD compression altogether, but the disk space required would be substantial. Does this make sense? I've even considered feeding those 4 HDMI feeds into a video switcher between the cameras and PCs but the cheapest solution I can find that can provide genlock (frame sync) between the 4 cameras for clean glitch-free switching is quite expensive, thousands of dollars invested.
I must playback in Premiere the 4 video streams in real time
Good luck with that. Many folks have trouble with even one stream.
edit those offline low res copies to get my edit decision list
I'm not sure offline editing with AVCHD will be possible because of the folder structure. You may not be able to 'replace' the lower res copies with AVCHD.
My output format is Flash F4V 640x360 px square pixels for Internet playback.
Oh, man. Shooting HD of any flavor is just overkill that adds unnecessary work to the process. Have your client shoot in DV.