28 Replies Latest reply on Dec 17, 2010 11:03 PM by Eric Addison

    AVCHD - professional or what?

    shooternz Level 6

      Here goes nothing....

       

      I am / was  considering buying a new Panasonic AG- AF100 for some of my projects.

       

      What scares me is ... AVCHD as a format  when it comes to be edited.

       

      I will be undertaking extensive tests (shoot and workflow) before I purchase but...my limited experience with AVCHD is not good.

       

      NB: I have never edited any AVCHD that I shot myself yet.

       

      As recent as today I have been editing some AVCHD footage supplied by a client from his Am Cam Canon.  It was horrendous  to work with and confirms my suspicions that PPRO does not seem to "enjoy" monitoring it. (Source / Program) 

       

      Note: the ******* bought and uses a NTSC camera in PAL Land and I had 29.xx frame rates.  Us Pal landers aint used to that crap!  I did edit in a matched sequence ...BTW ...in case you wondered.

       

      Unlike DVCPRO HD ..the small amount of AVCHD  I have edited has proven  to be a less than desireable editing experience especially once FX or CC are applied.  (MB Looks did not want to know about it for some reason)

       

      MB Misfires were o.k but took an eternity to render.

       

      I do not want a workflow that includes transcoding.  I want the silky smooth "butter" like clips  I edit and export  currently . (DVCHD Pro / avi / mov/  Pro res)

       

      Any pro editors here  working with AVCHD  and what are your experiences in a pro workflow. (eg Broadcast, FX, CC, Compositing, After Effects etc..)

       

      Note:. I am not talking YouTube or home movie production here.  I am seriously looking for the possible gotchas with this format and they tend to display when you get to a certain level where the quality is monitored and specced..

        • 1. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
          Jim_Simon Level 8

          My own impression from reading the blogs of other professionals is that with the new Panny, broadcast and other high level professionals may want to take advantage of the HD-SDI for recording, rather than get stuck with the AVCHD in camera.

           

          Having said that, I'd be happy to play around with the files on my system to see how things go - if you care to upload some clips.

          • 2. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
            tfi productions 44 Level 1

            hello,

             

            i've been using avchd with an amateur canon hfs10

            at 24mbps at 60i

            in ppro cs5 and ae

            with 12gb of ram and i7 920 at 2.8ghz

            5hdd's geforce 9800 cuda 'enabled'

             

            and recently added gridiron nucleopro

             

            and avchd footage is like butter in ae

            the nucleopro 64bit software should be made for ppro

             

            but it is neat to finally have ae as responsive as ppro

             

            the only problem i'm having is the borris effects crash ae

            when applied to a piece of glass shatter footage

             

            i cleared out the caches and preferences and will start fresh tomorrow

             

            so far i am happy with my 'trying to be professional' results with avchd 1920x1080 60i footage

            and would gladly like to hear what your goals are with this avchd camera...

             

            i work on a budget: school teacher's salary

             

            j

            • 3. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
              UlfLaursen Level 2

              I am only semi pro, but I work a lot with AVCHD.

              If I have a project where I mainly do cuts and maybe a few cutaways and fades, I edit the AVCHD natively. If I need to do more effects PIP's, multicam etc. I convert to something else like f.ex. Cineform. Even on my i7 980X the preview can be slow on native AVCHD with effects etc.

               

              /Ulf

              • 4. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                tclark513 Level 3

                This is a great question.  I am looking forward to more responses.

                • 5. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                  Geoff Vane Level 1

                  It is severely compressed. If you need to do a lot of tweaking with colors and contrast or a lot of keying, I would not reccommend it.

                  If you mostly cut it direct and simple, you can get great results.

                  I would not call it professional as a standard, but certainly very usefull in some cases.

                  • 6. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                    Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Give Cineform a try.

                    • 7. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                      davidbeisner2010 Level 3

                      I would consider myself a professional, and I do use AVCHD to some extent (I've got a b-camera that records in AVCHD).

                       

                      As several other posters have said, if you're just doing a simple cut up of the footage and editing something together, AVCHD works fine. It's when you try to start doing other things that you run into problems, and here's why:

                       

                      There are basically two types of encoding algorithms: one is called inter-frame, and the other is called intra-frame. In intra-frame encoding (the type used in DVCPRO-HD, JVCPRO-HD, and XDCAM-HD, among others), each frame of material is encoded separately, meaning that as you work with the footage, each frame can be dealt with on its own. The file sizes are typically bigger, but the quality is much higher. Inter-frame encoding (the type used in AVCHD and others) uses what is called a Group of Pictures (or GOP) where, typically ever six frames, you have one frame that is encoded at its full resolution. The intermediate frames aren interpreted based on the full frame (or I-frame) which falls every six frames (basically the same thing as tweening). What this means, is that if your cut happens to fall in the middle of a six-frame GOP, all six frames have to be decoded and analyzed by your NLE before anything can be done, adding to the slowness of your system. It also means that in order for any FX to be applied, each GOP has to be broken down into individual frames, and finally re-encoded back into the GOPs. Interframe encoding is a horrible spec, slows down every NLE (even the mightiest of computers), and was really meant for the home-movie enthusiast who simply records, copies to the computer, does some basic edits (maybe) and then burns to a DVD. It wasn't really designed for use in professional cameras. However, the small file size has become so popular, that professionals are attempting to use it to save on space. Read the Wiki article on inter frame encoding for some more information and diagrams of how this all works.

                       

                      There's a little bit of the tech speak on it, here are some of the real-world results I see on a day-to-day basis:

                      • Color correction sucks. It's really really hard to make my AVCHD b-cam footage match anything else--HDV, DVCPRO-HD, RED, Canon 7D... anything. I've found that it typically has a distinctive yellow tint to it (may just be my camera, but there is no way to manually adjust the K white balance) which usually cannot be removed in post.
                      • Fast pans or recording of any sort of action (especially if recording in any of the interlaced modes) really sucks. You can see some pretty bad interlacing artifacts in your footage, and you get what has been termed the "jello-effect" of the GOP as it "tweens" between every six frames and so you get a leaning effect of vertical objects in a pan (buildings, trees, people, etc.)
                      • Encode times are typically three to four times longer than footage that's compressed using and Intraframe codec.
                      • I'm guessing this is also due to the GOP thing and the frequency of the light spectrum), but under most lighting conditions (basically anything except the sun or incandescent around 3200K), I get a really bad "pulsing" effect to my image which sometimes disappears after encoding to a final format, and sometimes it doesn't.
                      • Using the motion effect to increase the size of the image at all ("zoom-in in post") ends up giving me really crappy, blocky-looking footage.

                       

                      For that form-factor, you could pick up JVC's GY-HM100U for half the price of the Panny. I'm about to pull the trigger on it's big brother, the GY-HM700U, which can be had for $2k more than the Panny. Both of those cameras use the much better Intra-frame encoding algorithms. And keep in mind, the Panny doesn't come with lenses, either, so unless you've already got lenses to fit that camera, you've got more cost that's gonna eat up your budget. If you want interchangeable lenses, the GY-HM700U can do any 1/3" bayonet lens, and can be adapted for any 1/2" or 2/3" bayonet lens.

                       

                      Good luck!

                      • 8. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                        John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        >(AVCHD) meant for the home-movie enthusiast who simply records, copies to the computer, does some basic edits (maybe) and then burns to a DVD

                         

                        That would be me!

                         

                        For my home movie hobby, AVCHD is an amazing improvement over my old analog 8mm camcorder (digitized via Pinnacle Dv500)

                         

                        The AVCHD format starts with such a greater bit depth (I think it is called) that even exporting to AVI to have Encore create a DVD, the home movies I create now are much "richer" than anything I produced before

                         

                        Of course, that is with NO special effects, so editing and encoding are very fast on my CS5 computer

                         

                        I am completely satisfied with AVCHD... but I can certainly see where the format is not suitable for trying to create the next Star Wars

                        • 9. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                          Jim_Simon Level 8
                          In intra-frame encoding (the type used in DVCPRO-HD, JVCPRO-HD, and XDCAM-HD, among others), each frame of material is encoded separately

                           

                          I believe only DVCPRO HD and AVC-I from Panasonic actually use Intra-frame recording.  All other HD codecs use the GOP structure, including JVCPRO HD and XDCAM HD.

                          • 10. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                            Jim_Simon Level 8
                            you get what has been termed the "jello-effect" of the GOP as it "tweens" between every six frames

                             

                            I believe the "jello effect" is actually the result of using CMOS sensors, not GOP recording.  CCD sensors do not suffer form this artifact.

                            • 11. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                              Jim_Simon Level 8
                              Inter-frame encoding (the type used in AVCHD and others) uses what is called a Group of Pictures (or GOP) where, typically ever six frames

                               

                              I believe it's actually every 15 frames.  Only JVC's implementation of HDV uses a 6 frame GOP.  All others, including AVCHD, use a 15 frame GOP (also called Long GOP).

                              • 12. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                Jim_Simon Level 8
                                The intermediate frames aren interpreted based on the full frame (or I-frame) which falls every six frames (basically the same thing as tweening)

                                 

                                The process of using a GOP is actually quite different from what is commonly called "tweening".  The former is compression technique whereby certain actual frames are dependant after encoding on an I-frame, whereas 'tweening' is the action of creating new frames that never before existed because the frame rate was adjusted, and have no relevence to the codec used.

                                • 13. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                  Jim_Simon Level 8
                                  the GY-HM700U use the much better Intra-frame encoding algorithms.

                                   

                                  Actually, both employ a 35 MB/s MPEG2 Long GOP format (15 frames).

                                  • 14. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                    davidbeisner2010 Level 3

                                    :-) You've really picked apart my post there, Jim!

                                     

                                    It appears that I may have misunderstood some of what I've read about how interframe works. That said, all of my "real-world" observations of AVCHD hold true...

                                     

                                    Are you sure, though, that the JVCs use the interframe? I was certain that they used Intra, but now can't find the documentation on it...

                                    • 16. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                      Jim_Simon Level 8
                                      all of my "real-world" observations of AVCHD hold true...

                                       

                                      Perhaps, but they are also likely the result of the specific camera you're using.  I'd guess the new AF100 would not suffer from many of the same flaws.

                                      • 17. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                        davidbeisner2010 Level 3
                                        function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

                                        JSS1138 wrote:


                                        I'd guess the new AF100 would not suffer from many of the same flaws.

                                         

                                        Perhaps, but the OP was asking for insight from pros who use it on a day-to-day basis. That's what I've got. I may have a different opinion of it if I were able to use a form of it from a different camera, but for now, my opinion stands: AVCHD doesn't work if you're going to need pro-level CC and FX.

                                        • 18. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                          Andrey V Level 2

                                          I have to say that, I am using Sony NXCAM with CMOS sensors, which records AVCHD format. But it does not have the effect you are taking about.So my guess is some setting in the camera that is not correct for the shutting conditions and that could effect the video during editing

                                          Editing is not that difficult at all previews are playing natively no lag at all, using different effects or color correction I had no problems. So I guess to know it, you really have to try it, not just read stuff on the web and make a conclusions - try it.

                                          The yellow color tone mentioned in one of the post is really not a format issue but more camera settings and whether the lens is clean or not.

                                          I have been working with AVCHD format for 6 mounts now and very happy with results. However I have encounter the problem with transcoding, and have post here on the forum, but that is with latest update to 5.03, 5.02 was working perfect, and not sure what is the cause.

                                          • 19. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                            Jim_Simon Level 8

                                            AVCHD doesn't work if you're going to need pro-level CC and FX.

                                             

                                            Ah.  That part I won't argue with.

                                            • 20. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                              Bob Dix Photographer Level 2

                                              Hi Shooternz,

                                               

                                              Well there are some professional 25MBps videocamcordershttp://www.provis.com.au/shop/index.php?cPath=39_41

                                               

                                              I have had a look at some of these JVC Units at Pro Visual in Brisbane Australia and with bit rates up form 25 mainly HDV, mpeg-2 I believe the amateur camcorders are about 16, the output looks pretty good, there may be some issues editing the AVCHD, however, CS5 fixes all that ?

                                               

                                              Regards

                                               

                                              http://www.jvcpro.com.au/   You might have to paste this in address bar ?

                                               

                                              Message was edited by: Bob Dix

                                               

                                              OR http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ModelDetail?displayTab=O&storeId=1 1201&catalogId=13051&itemId=274232&catGroupId=112502&surfModel=AG-HMC150

                                               

                                              Message was edited by: Bob Dix

                                               

                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA8YmCTC4oQ   Looks fine ?

                                              • 21. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                                Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                                function(){return A.apply(null,[this].concat($A(arguments)))}

                                                JSS1138 wrote:

                                                 

                                                AVCHD doesn't work if you're going to need pro-level CC and FX.

                                                 

                                                Ah.  That part I won't argue with.

                                                 

                                                That is why i suggested Cineform. Great for CC and keying.

                                                • 22. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                                  SteveHoeg Adobe Employee

                                                  Transcoding doesn't give more information to color correct or key with, transcoding does not add quality. The only reason the native footage may not be suitable would be if you run into performance issues. On a decent system with GPU acceleration you should be able to handle a few layers of AVCHD with color correction before it becomes a problem.

                                                  • 23. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                                    Andrey V Level 2

                                                    3 layers of AVCHD 1920x1080 60i with color correction and saturation to 135% and 4th layer a green screen with 4.2.2 pull down. GTX470 was able to play with no problem with gpu acceleration enabled.

                                                    • 24. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                                      Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                      It does not add quality but it should add for more accurate color processing during editing and effects work.

                                                      • 25. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                                        SteveHoeg Adobe Employee

                                                        Transcoding will not add for more accurate color precision. The amount of precision cannot exceed that of the original file and the working depth for effects is not determined by the input format. Color effects are always processed on 444 data. Software effects will process in 8-bit unless you set max bit depth then they will process in 32-bit. GPU accelerated effects will always process in 32-bit, even if the software effect is not available in 32-bit such as crop or levels. All of this is not determined by the input format so transcoding will not improve color processing.

                                                        • 26. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                                          Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                          Thanks for the explanation.

                                                          • 27. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                                            Andrey V Level 2

                                                            Well I would suggest to tryAVCHD and its color correction. Here are 4 clips recorded by Sony NXCAM.

                                                            http://www.4shared.com/file/1COm3Fa3/30085142.html
                                                            http://www.4shared.com/file/itr0NxkZ/00711.html

                                                             

                                                            When you downloaded, unzip and just import files to Premiere Pro and use color correction exercise.

                                                            Enjoy

                                                            1 person found this helpful
                                                            • 28. Re: AVCHD - professional or what?
                                                              Eric Addison User Group Manager

                                                              I've done a number of AVCHD edits - all with footage from a Panasonic HMC-150 shot in the PH mode. On both my newer HP i7 Win7 laptop, and my older HP xw8400 dual-quad workstation, it's been pretty smooth. I do notice on the older workstation that I do see a little bit of lag when scrubbing, but on my new laptop it scrubs just fine.

                                                               

                                                              My wife shoots with the 150 all the time, and she cuts everything with CS5 on her HP desktop - about the same power as my laptop (I think), and she never complains about any issues in working with the footage. We both use Looks quite a bit, and it works just fine with the footage.I did one green screen shoot with it, and it keyed easily with Ultra - and I'll admit that the greenscreen wasn't lit perfectly.

                                                               

                                                              If you want to see something that was shot with the 150 in 1080/24p, cut in CS5, has Looks applied to just about all the footage, and has some text and graphic animations done in AE over the footage, feel free to check out a video I did - it's on my YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGQ1MUtoUBg&hd=1

                                                               

                                                              I'll admit that I never liked HDV, and when I first heard about AVCHD my initial reaction was it was going to be another HDV. Well, I still don't like HDV, but AVCHD is growing on me. Will I give up my EX-3 and XDCAM HD for it...probably not, but the AF100 looks like a great camera and after using the HMC-150, I'm very happy with the way the footage looks and how easy it is to work with.

                                                               

                                                              Hope that helps!

                                                              1 person found this helpful