10 Replies Latest reply on Jun 6, 2010 11:51 AM by Curt Wrigley

    Poor quality avchd

    Luis Ortega Level 1

      I have a Panasonic tm 300 that shoots 1920 x 1080 avchd and I have noticed a serious quality difference between the footage as seen in Premiere and in Final Cut Pro.

      In Premiere, there seems to be no transcoding of the footage when files are imported and in FCP the footage is transcoded into prores 422 when imported.

      When I play a clip in Premiere, the image has artefacts and parts of the image will periodically turn to gray pixels.

      The same footage in FCP plays cleanly.

      I am not sure if this is a defect in Premiere with using avchd or if I am setting something wrong at the time of importing the video footage.

        • 1. Re: Poor quality avchd
          Harm Millaard Level 7

          You can not judge quality on the program monitor. Use a properly calibrated external monitor for that purpose.

          • 2. Re: Poor quality avchd
            Luis Ortega Level 1

            Thanks, but I'm not talking about subtle differences. You don't need a specialist monitor to see that a clip is rough and garbled visually compared to one that runs cleanly. This isn't a monitor issue. There is something about the way the avchd footage is handled or imported that is causing these differences.

            I was hoping to find out if there is some way to import avchd footage into Premiere that would create better results.

            • 3. Re: Poor quality avchd
              Curt Wrigley Level 4

              Pr and FCP handle this differently.  FCP converts the hard to edit AVCHD original into an easy to edit video format (Prores)


              Pr edits the original file without converting it to an intermediate format.


              Pr's strategy is more elquent but requires a more powerful computer.  


              What ver are you running?  CS5 is significantly better at handling native AVCHD than CS4.


              What are the specs of your machine?

              • 4. Re: Poor quality avchd
                the_wine_snob Level 9

                Also, for using Program Monitor, I would suggest setting its Magnification to 100% and then the Quality to either Auto or Highest. The reason that I list both is that some users, based on their systems, have better results with one vs the other. One must test to see which yields the best results on their machine - sometimes one, but sometimes the other.


                Good luck,



                • 5. Re: Poor quality avchd
                  John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  You do not supply computer information... so some reading a list of questions


                  A link with many ideas about computer setup http://forums.adobe.com/thread/436215?tstart=0

                  Work through all of the steps (ideas) listed at http://ppro.wikia.com/wiki/Troubleshooting

                  If your problem isn't fixed after you follow all of the steps, report back with ALL OF THE DETAILS asked for in the FINALLY section, the questions at the end of the troubleshooting link... most especially the codec used... see Question 1

                  • 6. Re: Poor quality avchd
                    Luis Ortega Level 1

                    As you can imagine since I have Final CutPro also, it's a mac.

                    It's an 8 core 2.8 xeon mac pro with 16 gb ram and a gtx 285 video card and several large hard drives, so it should be ok for the work.


                    Since the Premiere footage is not transcoded like in FCP, will it produce a better quality final export to quicktime compared to the FCP footage that has been transcoded to prores 422 before editing?

                    • 7. Re: Poor quality avchd
                      Curt Wrigley Level 4

                      How are the harddrives attached?


                      Which method is better?  Well; FCP's method is easier all around once you get past the log and transfer process.  but more than doubles disk requirements since you have the make in intermediate copy of every file.   Is there degredation making an intermediate?  As long as the intermediate you choose is better than the original codec in res and compression I doubt it will be noticable.


                      I prefer Adobe's strategy though it requires more robust HW.   With the specs you mentioned you should have smooth playback.  So; you have a setup, config, or local environment problem.   Did you choose the correct sequence preset for your source footage?  You can let Pr autocreate the seq for you by dropping a source clip on the new item icon.

                      • 8. Re: Poor quality avchd
                        Luis Ortega Level 1

                        Thanks, they are all 7200 rpm sata 2 drives. I use one for the OS, one for audio/video media, and one for the caches, preview renders and scratch disks.

                        They are all less than half full.

                        I will try out what you said.

                        I do notice that the pro res transcoded files are about 10X the size of the original video files.

                        I don't know a lot about the best codecs.

                        My videos are shot on the Panasonic TM 300 at 1920 x 1080 avchd and I just want to edit them and export them to a dvd for viewing on an hd television.

                        My workflow up to now with FCP has been to log and transfer the video that I wanted, edit it, and export it as a QT movie for use in iDVD to make dvds.

                        I want to maintain the maximum image quality of the original footage, obviously, but where I'm confused is what settings to use for each stage of the process.

                        FCP seems to default import as prores 422 and h.264, although I know that I can set other choices. I set the QT export for the same properties as what the imported clips are, or I think I do.

                        I have always wondered about the logic of developing a higher quality image like hd but then having to compress it to work with it. I was hoping that if Premiere doesn't alter the original material to work with it, then the quality would be maintained better.

                        I had considered hdv but I wanted to get away from the tape capture process which is so tedious.

                        • 9. Re: Poor quality avchd
                          Harm Millaard Level 7



                          I'm guessing here, but using a MAC means using QT. Adobe has no real impact on the capabilities and functionality of QT. That is an Apple affair. However, QT is still a 32 bit application and the cause that Adobe needed to create a 32 bit plug-in that shows up as Adobe QT32 Server.exe. I assume that is one of the complicating factors here. The thing is that on PC this problem does not seem to happen, but the combo MAC and QT may be at fault here. Now that does not solve your problem, but if you push Apple hard enough to port QT to a full 64 bit version, life for Adobe would probably be a lot easier and your problem may disappear.

                          • 10. Re: Poor quality avchd
                            Curt Wrigley Level 4

                            Get Bluray.  For some reason Apple is denial still that HDDVD lost the HD war.  They still do not offer a native bluray solution.  But everyone else does; including Adobe.   If you want the best HD viewing experience; simply edit the AVCHD natively; do a Dynamic Link to Encore and burn directly to Bluray at 1080. (you will need a 3rd party bluray burner since apple doesnt offer any)    The quality is excelent.


                            If you can settle for a data file version of HD content; then h.264 will work ok.  But you are throwing away a ton of HD color and image content.