16 Replies Latest reply on Feb 19, 2011 4:18 PM by Bases Loaded

    AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)

    Michael J Ward

      Just bought new camcorder to go from DV to HD (AVCHD).


      Now i'm reading that Premiere sees this codec as difficult to work with.  I thought it would be easier as it is a smaller file size / bit rate that other HD formats

      is this not the case?


      Have had to buy new processor, more rame and new graphics card just to get it to playback i track of AVCHD.


      Why does Premiere see it as hard to decode / playback.

        • 1. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
          Jim_Simon Level 8

          Because the format IS difficult to decode.  It requires above average hardware.  I recommend a minimum of an i7940 or i7 2500K.  But once you have that, you should be able to work with the media just fine.

          • 2. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
            davidbeisner2010 Level 3

            Jim's right... the way the AVCHD codec works it really tasks the CPU... I've got an i7-920 with 12GB of ram and I can handle AVCHD no problem, occasionally having to drop to 1/2 rez on my program monitor if I've got multiple layers of CC over it...

            • 3. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
              Harm Millaard Level 7



              You haven't kept up with CPU's I gather, since the 940 is no longer relevant. It is the 930 or 950. Second the 2500 is plain lousy and is outperformed even by the outdated 940 on all fronts. The only new CPU to consider is the 2600K and even that one is no more than a mid-level CPU.

              • 4. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
                Michael J Ward Level 1

                Here is my PC spec.


                M Board AZUS;P5B-E
                2 Quad CPU Q9505 CPU
                2.83GHz CPU speed
                8GB Ram
                NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 Graphics Board
                1 HD for windows / Applications
                3 HD on Raid 5 for everything else
                Win 7 64bit

                Premiere CS5 03


                Should this be sufficient to edit AVCHD?

                • 5. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
                  Jim_Simon Level 8

                  You haven't kept up with CPU's I gather


                  I generally recommend the lowest price i7 available at Newegg.  Usually that's the 950, every so often the 930 or 940 will show up.  Today, it was the 940.  But hell, even a 920 is a good minimum recommendation.  I know mine works fine for AVCHD without overclocking.  You just can't find them as readilly.


                  As for the 2500K, based on benchmarks it delivers roughly 80% or more of the performance of the 2600K, but at a 45% discount over the 2600K.  It should perform adequately for AVCHD editing, and I still feel is a good minimum recommendation.


                  Remember, I'm not talking about kick-*** export times here, only a minimum option for editing the stuff.

                  • 6. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
                    Jim_Simon Level 8

                    2 Quad CPU Q9505 CPU


                    That's confusing.  It looks like the P5B is a single CPU board.  How'd you get two CPUs on there?

                    • 7. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
                      Michael J Ward Level 1

                      Sorry, i'm confusing myself with my limited

                      knowledge of hardware.


                      I have one Processor


                      Intel Core 2 Quad Q9505 Socket 775 Processor 2.83GHz 2x3MB Cache Quad Core

                      • 8. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
                        Harm Millaard Level 7



                        That is not enough to edit AVCHD in a comfortable way. Your system is probably around 15 - 20 times slower than a fast system and that is very noticeable. One lucky thing, you can keep your video card and put it in a new computer.


                        Keep in mind that when a fast system can export a timeline of one hour in about real time, around 1 hour, then your system will take around 15 - 20 hours for the same task.

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
                          Michael J Ward Level 1

                          So do I need to buy another MOBO

                          and Processor?

                          • 10. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
                            John T Smith Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                            My CS5/AVCHD 1st Impressions http://forums.adobe.com/thread/652694?tstart=0 includes a link to the computer I built... since the GTX 285 is no longer sold, I would now go with a GTX 460 or whatever is the current "best bang for the buck" - AND I would buy 4Gig-by-3Sticks memory to be able to expand from 12Gig to 24Gig if needed

                            For my home hobbyist, family movies (which means that I am not trying to recreate Star Wars with video effects or many layers) AVCHD editing is "as smooth as spreading warm butter on hot toast" (also the MP4 video from wife's Flip camera)

                            My 3 hard drives are configured as...
                            1 - 320G WD Win7 and all programs
                            2 - 320G WD Win7 swap file and PPro projects
                            3 - 1T WD all video files... read and write

                            1 person found this helpful
                            • 11. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)

                              I Have a Sony NX5P Camera which Uses the AVCHD Codec. the Codec is Very CPU

                              Driven. i always convert the files into a native AVI or something of that to edit with on the timeline.

                              I have a Intel I7 X980, with 16GB Ram DDR3, and Nvidia Quardo Card and 7200RPM HDD Drives Raided.

                              i Find that Using Software to Convert the Files to AVI fixes all problems.

                              • 12. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
                                Jim_Simon Level 8

                                With that CPU, you should have no issues editing AVCHD directly.  I have only an i7 920 and the stuff works fine for me.

                                • 13. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
                                  Bases Loaded Level 1

                                  Are you saying with a 980x I7 system and Quadro card you still have issues with ACVHD & CS5..


                                  This is really important for me to know.


                                  I am just about to spend a lot of $$ to upgrade my core I7 920 to your exact same system 980x & Quadro 4000, but with 24gb of ram...>to Avoid the ACVHD issues,,


                                  My current I7 920 will playback ACVHD files just fine / no raid setup required:


                                  But add most any processing other than basic transitions & contrast adjustments >> the CPU just chokes right up.


                                  Don't think a raid setup would solve this issue in my case , seems to be the CPU not the disk access speed...


                                  I thought Adobe had stated a Raid setup was not needed with ACVHD editing ?


                                  I'm geting more confused by the minute  >

                                  • 14. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)

                                    AVCHD is not a very friendly format for non linear editing unless you have high end compute power. Developed by Sony and Cannon for the consumer market to utilize non tape based media for recording. This allowed recording onto mini DVDs, media cards and HD drives. AVCHD codec is based on the MPEG4/H.264 specification which is highly compressed format.


                                    Video compression ratio:


                                         DigiBeta               1.85:1

                                         DV/DVCAM          5:1

                                         MPEG2               30:1

                                         MPEG4/H.264     50:1


                                    Even though PPCS5 and other NLE systems support AVCHD format video, encoding and decoding are still done by the CPU. The higher the compression ratio of the video the faster the CPU has to be to encode and decode the video stream.


                                    Having worked for many years with the DV/DVCAM format I did a lot research on which format would best suit my workflow when I moved up to HD. I settled on the MPEG2 format as the best option for me. Even though I do get the occasional AVCHD footage I convert that to MPEG2 for both editing and final output to DVD and BluRay.

                                    • 15. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
                                      Dippy26 Level 1

                                      I Went from using Sony Z1P, to the Sony Z5P and Now i am using the Sony NX5P (or

                                      NX5UorE in Other Places). I Love the Camera and the Tapeless System. We Have 3 Units. The AVCHD Codec is Very CPU and Software based Codec. i Use Canopus Eduis 6 or 5.5x and Now Adobe Premiere CS5 Pro, i Find even with my System which is Intel Based I7 X980, Quandro FX4000 PCi-E

                                      Card, 16GB DDR3 Ram ECC, Quad 1TB Raid with 0+1, and a Storage Server the CPU and Software Tends to Slow Down  when doing Multicam timelines (3 or More) the i7 X980 CPU is Awesome and Powerfull on a 64Bit Windows Platform, But the Let down is the AVCHD Codec. Now Convert the Files for the NX5 into a Canopus HQ AVI File or a Windows Media Player File Format and Most Slow down Problems go away.


                                      However i am Looking at Upgrading to Quad Xeons Base System with 24GB Ram, But i have Been told it will only make a Little Difference in Speed and

                                      Edit Time, But make a Big Difference in my Pocket. So i think i'll stick to the i7 X980 for now. There maybe a Hardware Card in the Furture which will handle the AVCHD Codec and take the Load of the CPU in General leaving it to work on other things.

                                      • 16. Re: AVCHD or not AVCHD (That is the question)
                                        Bases Loaded Level 1

                                        Say dippy26:


                                        I might have a few things in common with you as I am about to go the 980x and Quadro 4000 setup..


                                        What I seem to be finding out is the Quadro cards do not add that much benefit when working with AVCHD Files / do I have this right ?


                                        I notice you have a raid setup / I was not going to go that way with AVCHD work because I was under the impression it was not needed as file access speed in not the issue with most AVCHD setups.


                                        As you may know I have a Core I7 /920 & CS4, which does not work so well / but not because for drive speed.

                                        The files play just fine, even a couple of layers, no problem.

                                        But when I try running any FX's the 920 just bytes the dust.

                                        Part of my problem is memory limitations of Win-XP./ my new setup will have 24gb memory access so those problems should be gone with CS5 64 bit once I get the configuration figured out..


                                        Which Raid card are running / or just off the motherboard controller ?

                                        Which Hard Drives are you running on the Raid array ??


                                        RE: your NX5U...

                                        right now I have only a little Sony cx550v, which for the bucks is rather amazing.

                                        but the issue of files being automatically split is a real bummer as I do music videos and concerts.


                                        **I have been looking into the NX5U and I see id does the Sony software which comes with it (for joining these split files into one long segment) "does not support a 64bit OS / has this been updated now / I can't seem to find this info on the Sony Site?

                                        **the cx550v also does not support a 64 bit OS.


                                        Does CS5 actually import split ACVHD files from your Sony and seamlessly join them ?


                                        I was going for the EX1r which cost as much as 2 NX5U's / I know I would not have editing issues with the X1r files and they would also be better quality (so they say).  my little cx550 has done a few things which to me are not a huge difference from what I see coming from these higher end EX1r's / at least on the internet display quality.


                                        I understand when on full screen HD TV that is another story..


                                        Do you have a clip or two of your NX5U work I could look at ?


                                        Just trying to get my act together here and have to make a wise decision the first time around, if possible.


                                        Thanks for the feedback !