Tuesday, February 19, 2008

AVCHD hoop jumping

We got a new Sony AVCHD video camera at the office - and the camera/video is fantastic! But the format is so new, it seems that only newer software/editing tools support it. Before you go out and get it, make sure you have the software to edit it! Could even be more than the camera itself!?! Here is some detailed info on AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec High Definition). The codec is now being used by Sony, Panasonic and Canon in their new HD cameras.

CoreAVC, a reasonably cheap($15?) and quick h.264 decoder for Windows, can decode AVCHD as well as a variety of other h.264 formats (info via doom9).

Some peeps are using this $30 converter for AVCHD (windows only).

Supposedly Mac supports AVCHD native with iLife 08 (via amazon). and FYI - the swiss army knife for Quicktime (Mac OS) is the Perian codec.

And in related news... 'DVD Jon' frees your media with DoubleTwist.
*Much thanks to Jeff Gray and Michael McReynolds for info posted here.

1 comment:

Thomas Worth said...

H.264 (AVC) is not a suitable post production video format. It is used
as an acquisition format because of its low bandwidth and storage
requirements. Even HDCAM SR uses a form of H.264 (albeit at 440 or 880
mbits/sec) which is nothing more than a band aid on the bandwidth

For post, bandwidth isn't as much of an issue. RAIDs with cheap SATA
disks are common these days. Sure, we still have ProRes422, which is
another "compromise" format, but most professionals will post in
either uncompressed 10 bit 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 (typically 4:2:2 for
broadcast, 4:4:4 for theatrical or VFX). This doesn't count offline
formats for editing, which are usually either DV or DVCPROHD.

If you don't have the disk throughput (your Mac only has the single
built-in hard drive, for example), ProRes422 is gonna be your only
choice for an online format, which maxes out at a modest 220 mbit/sec.
Compare this to full 10 bit 4:2:2 uncompressed 1920x1080, which is
about 1.06 gbit/sec (1060 mbit/sec). You'll need a RAID with at least
130-140 MByte/sec throughput to work with the latter in realtime.

My advice would be to get your footage out of H.264 ASAP and into a
less compressed format. Don't try to edit H.264, and certainly don't
use it for motion graphics, unless you plan to render to a less
compressed format (like ProRes422).

Hope that helps.
Thomas Worth

ps. http://gunshotfx.com/red/