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HD Edit: Desktop Editing & Software Advice

Discussion in 'Camcorders & Video Editing' started by glutenhab, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. glutenhab

    glutenhab Member

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    Just shot about 4 hours of HD Video & am looking for advice on the best Editing Software & Desktop to get this to around 30 minutes & burn onto a DVD that I can watch on any HD TV.

    4 Hours of HD Video shot in full HD on a Canon Vixia HFS21 using:
    - 24 Mbps Recording Mode
    - 60i (Standard) Frame Rate
    - 3264x1840 (Simultaneous Recording)...not sure what his means.

    My current computer is:
    HP m8200n with
    - AMD Athlon(tm) 64 x 2 Dual Core Processor 6000+ 3.00GHz
    - Memory (RAM) 3.00 GB
    - System Type 32 bit Operating System on Windows Vista Home Premium

    I downloaded a 30 day trial of Pinnacle HD Studio 15 to give it a try on this desktop but as expected, it is slow & frustrating to use.

    My questions are:
    - Can I make this work with what I have?
    - If not, what desktop would you recommend as
    a) Minimum b) Very Good c) The Best?
    - Can I get this onto a HD DVD with what I have anyway?
    - To keep the quality as high as possible, will I need a desktop with a HD or Blue-Ray DVD Burner, if there is any such thing?
    - Am I using the right software (Pinnacle-Used Pinnacle before moving to HD so am used to it)?

    Any other advice/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  2. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson Well-Known Member

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  3. rogs

    rogs Active Member

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    You will struggle with that PC trying to deal with AVCHD footage.

    Your two options would be to go for a PC with at least a quad core -or better -CPU, or, choose an Editor which can convert the AVCHD into an intermediate format which your current machine can handle.
    The first one that comes to mind is Edius Neo ,which allows you to convert the footage to the high quality Canopus HQ format, for easy editing on your current machine.
    Not cheap, but there is a 30 day trial to see if it suits. Cheaper than a new PC!

    By 'HD DVD' I assume you mean Blu-ray?

    You can use a standard DVD burner to burn HD video onto a standard DVD -you can get about 20 minutes onto a standard DVD blank - but you can only play it on a Blu-ray player.

    If you don't already have one, you might look into the option of using a hardware media player - like the WD Live - instead, which can play back edited HD video, in various formats, without using discs.
  4. anorax25

    anorax25 Member

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    I used to use Sony Vegas when working on a high end Dell XPS. Seems most video editing is slow on a PC. Now exclusively Mac and use Final Cut Pro. Much better.
  5. replay

    replay Member

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    I've read a few threads on whether Sony Vegas can cut it as a "professional" editing program, and most Sony Vegas owners think that the only reason as to why it lags behind FC is because FC is regarded as the "industry standard". If this were not to be the case, than Sony Vegas would be more than adequate for most editing jobs.

    It's almost as if the industry thinks that just because a job is done on any other piece of software (including Premier Pro) then it isn't good enough, and this isn't the case at all.
  6. Bob++

    Bob++ Member

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    That's pretty much what I have. I use MAGIX Movie Edit Pro MX Plus and it works very well in my opinion.

    Editing takes a long time anyway and you will likely make several versions before you are happy with the result. Magix has all the bells and whistles (fades, zooms, crops, titles etc) I will need for the forseeable future and on my computer would take a couple of hours to process a 30 minute edit with a title and some fades.

    You can render parts of the video to see how it looks on the big screen too - v useful since the edit window is not the same quality.

    What I have on my wish list is a better monitor - then a faster PC.
  7. glutenhab

    glutenhab Member

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    Thanks for taking the time to offer this advice.

    Canopus HQ format- Is this just standard format? I remember having an old JVC HQ Camcorder. Is that the quality I will end up with if I go this route? I would hate to give up any quality. It defeats the purpose for me of going to HD.
    By 'HD DVD' I assume you mean Blu-ray? I thought Blu-ray was higher quality again than HD? I just want to know if I can burn to a DVD and keep all the quality I have on the original.

    I have a Blu-ray player now & would be willing to shell out for a very good CPU if that is the best route to go. Can you offer a couple of choices of CPUs to make this job as frustartion free as possible?
    Would like to stay under $1000.00 for the CPU only but may go higher if the benefits outweigh the cost.

    Thanks again
  8. rogs

    rogs Active Member

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    Canopus HQ is a very high quality intermediate HD format. It is not restricted to 'standard definition' at all.

    Most consumer high definition video is recorded as AVCHD. Although this format can give excellent results, it is a highly compressed long GOP (long 'group of pictures') format, which makes it inherently difficult to edit, in it's native form.
    Modern versions of most of the cheaper consumer video editing programs can deal with this format effectively only when used with high powered modern PCs, with quad core CPUS (or better!).

    Converting AVCHD to an intermediate high definition format -like Canopus HQ, or Cineform Neo - retains the full quality, but makes the files which require far less computer 'grunt,' so to speak.
    The downside is large working files (typically up to 40 GB per hour of video). These are, however, generally only temporary 'working' files.
    Canopus HQ is a proprietary format, designed to work with the Edius, or the cheaper Edius Neo editors. It is however, possible to convert and use those files outside of that format, if you really need to.
    The alternative format is Cineform Neo (the ''Neo"' here has nothing to do with Edius Neo -all rather confusing!)
    Cineform is completely independent of any specific editor, but is rather expensive. Canopus HQ software can be found as freeware, easily enough.

    Blu-ray is HD. Not 'better than'. In fact, the latest manifestations of consumer HD camcorders use the 1080/50p format that has a higher bit rate than the current Blu-ray spec can deal with! (Although they are catching recently, with additions to the Blu-ray spec.!)

    You can use standard DVD blanks to make 'AVCHD' type DVDs which will use full HD quality footage, but can only be played on Blu-ray players -even though they can be 'burned' on DVD burners!

    Regarding recommendations for upgrading CPUS. You will get as many answers to that as there are CPUS, I suspect! :)

    Personally, my latest PC uses an i5 2500K, in conjunction with a Z68 chipset motherboard. This enables the onboard HD graphics on that CPU, to be used without an additional video card. Very cost effective, IMHO - and very good graphics. Processing AVCHD, even in its native form, is very good. Editing converted Canopus HQ files is like dealing with standard def DV files. Everything (including edits and transitions) in real time without rendering. Piece of cake!!:)

    But I know some folk like different workflows, and Edius Neo is not cheap......but as I mentioned previously, it is cheaper than a new PC! :)
  9. glutenhab

    glutenhab Member

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    First of all, thank you very much for taking the time to answer again .

    For now, HQ files look like the way I should go as I have a project I would like to get done fairly quickly....a new CPU can wait a few months while I watch for sales.

    So...I am a little confused. You say Canopus HQ software can be found as freeware & also that Canopus HQ is a proprietary format, designed to work with the Edius.
    What do I download exactly & from where? If I download it from somewhere other than Grass Valley, does that mean that I have the product only, & not the editing software, & if so, can I make it work with say, Pinnacle HD?

    If this retains HD quality, wouldn't this be the ideal way to go, even with a very powerful CPU? Sounds like it to me. That would be my ultimate plan if it works so smoothly & retains HD quality. Am I on the wrong track there?

    One more question. How does Edius Software compare to Pinnacle or Avid products or the other consumer software out there? If it is a better editor than most & also so easy to work with (because of the HQ) then this definitely looks like the way to go.
    Again, thanks for the help & forgive my lack of knowledge.
  10. rogs

    rogs Active Member

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    Edius is a complete non linear editing program, much like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro, and is designed for the pro or semi pro market. These programs are comprehensive, and not cheap!

    Edius Neo is the 'lite' version of Edius, and includes most of the features that amateurs -or even some pros! -are likely to need.

    Edius has always been famous for being stable, and working well with lower powered PCs. It has it's followers - me for example :) - but it's not really 'mainstream'.
    That is probably because it is still more expensive than most of the other consumer/semi pro NLEs, like Sony Vegas or Pinnacle, for example.

    There is a 30 day trial for Edius Neo 3, which might be worth a look?

    'Canopus HQ' is a video format which has always been part of Edius.

    Although Edius is now owned by 'Grass Valley' it was originally a product of the Japanese company 'Canopus'.

    As I mentioned above, one of it's strengths is the ability to allow easy video editing, on modest PCs, while still retaining the highest quality.

    Grass Valley offer a free converter - the AVCHD2HQ converter utility - to enable AVCHD footage to be converted in to the HQ format, for use, naturally enough, within Edius.

    It just so happens that these HQ files can be used outside Edius as well. This is of course quite accidental, and not Grass Valley's intention.
    But it does work with, for example, my (very) old version of Premiere (6.5)!! - and also with the freeware video editor Virtualdub.

    I'm afraid I have no idea if it works with Pinnacle. My only experience with an early version of that program was so awful, that I've not been tempted to try any version since :)!!

    Although the AVCHD2HQ converter utility is a free download from Grass Valley (normally available from
    here - although for some reason I've not been able to open that page today :confused: ) it does require the Canopus HQ codec to function.

    That codec is of course automatically included with Edius, but, as with many codecs, it can be found online elsewhere.

    This version seems to work OK, for example.

    It's probably a good idea to try the Edius Neo 30 day trial, to see how you like
    1) Edius Neo and
    2) The HQ format.

    If you do want to try using HQ files outside of Edius, you may need to try some experimentation. Although it's simple enough to edit in HQ, the final video will still need converting, to enable you to make for example a Blu- ray disc, or the AVCHD DVD you mentioned above.
    And without the guidance of the Edius output options, that may be a bit challenging, using another editor.

    My own workflow is to convert AVCHD to HQ, edit in Edius Neo (an older version) and then export as HQ.

    I then import these files into the freeware editor, Virtualdub, where the superb filters and codec options allow me to select the format I require, ready to replay the video with my WD media player.

    So I'm afraid I don't have any experience of writing 'HD' discs -Blu-ray or otherwise!
  11. mikethelaserman

    mikethelaserman Member

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    I second what Rogs has said.

    Edius Neo is excellent and works well on older or less powerful computers.
    It is a little less intuitive to use than most of the cheapy editors, but reading the manual and persevering is well worth while as the output quality is top-notch. There is little - if anything - in the way of functions that you could imagine wanting that is not in there as standard.
  12. Kevo

    Kevo Active Member

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    I third what Rogs said!

    Been using Edius Neo 2.5 for a while now and it handles HD footage at the editing process very smoothly (no need to create proxy files). The exported/re-encoded hd video is one the best i've seen and i've tried pretty much all of them. Well worth the asking price. :thumbsup:
  13. glutenhab

    glutenhab Member

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    Once again, thanks for the info.

    I have decided that I will purchase a computer that is capable of better handling HD & give Edius a try as well. I plan to purchase both over the next month or so.
    Will I get a desktop that will meet my needs for $1000.00 and what is the most important thing to look for when I buy;
    - Lots of RAM?
    - Chip type?
    - High quality video card?
    anything someting else?

    For now I am trying to burn what I have onto a regular DVD to play on a Blu-Ray player. I have 20 minutes ready to go but when I try to burn to disc & pick DVD it says I have over 60 minutes of video space there. Obviously that can't be right. Am I doing something wrong?
    Should I pick DVD or something else?
    Have I put the original video onto the computer inproperly? (used capture instead of copy)
    Does Pinnacle write AVCHD to a regulard DVD as HD Quality to be played on a Blu-Ray Player as I was told?
    Does the system show over 60 mintes available because it automaticaly quotes time for standard Definition Video?

    I have done a lot of work on editing & it seems now I am going to end up with SD.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  14. rogs

    rogs Active Member

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    You might like to read through some of the comments on this thread http://www.avforums.com/forums/camc...153-recommendation-mobo-cpu.html#post16214310
    when considering your PC options.

    If you are going for Windows7 32 bit, there's no point in fitting any more than 4GB of RAM.

    If you're going for 64 bit, then the more the better!

    (Edius Neo3 can use either 32 or 64 bit)

    As you will see from the thread I linked to, you don't necessarily need a separate video card, if you go for the i5 2500 and the Z68 chipset mobo. The onboard HD graphics are excellent.
    But you can always fit one later, if you feel you need to.

    Sorry, can't help with the writing of AVCHD discs from Pinnacle.
    As I mentioned in my earlier post, I don't use discs for HD video myself!
    Hopefully someone who has tried it will be able to offer some advice on that........
  15. Kevo

    Kevo Active Member

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    Good choice, you won't be disappointed. :smashin:
  16. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson Well-Known Member

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    Support for direct burning of aVCHD to DVD is a bit patchy (Vegas Movie Studio doesn't support for instance), no idea whether Pinnacle does.

    If not a workaround

    Output from pinnacle to a .mts AVCHD file.

    Create a AVCHD folder from this file using tsmuxergui.

    Burn the folder to a DVD blank using IMGburn

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/16135120-post3.html
  17. glutenhab

    glutenhab Member

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    WOW. So much more complicated than I had expected.
    I have shot & editied for years in SD fairly easily & was excited about moving to HD but all of this certainly puts a damper on it.
    The message I was getting was that I could just burn from Pinnacle HD Studio 15 Ultimate right onto on regualar DVD & keep HD but only play on a blu-ray player. I guess that's not the case.

    As well, I just tried to burn an 8 minute edited segment and, on top of all of this, I get the message; Project Cannot Be Created Because The MPEG-2 encoding feature is not activated. Is this because I am trying the 30 Day trial version do you think?
  18. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson Well-Known Member

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    Some confusion here.

    A DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) can be used for lots of uses (hence the versatile :D)

    DVD-Video is the normal SD video format used on a DVD and is compressed using mpeg2 (And yes the most likely reason that your trial copy won't let you use the mpeg2 encoder is that you only get licence for it with a fully paid for copy.

    for more info

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Video

    In addition to DVD video High Definition material can be burnt to a DVD blank in AVCHD format. This uses the H264/AVC compression codec (a variant of mpeg4), the same as your camcorder uses in the first place. It's these discs that will play in full-HD using a blu-ray player. AVCHD uses a different file system to DVD-Video (UDF2.50). Does your editor not have a file export option that will output 1080i .mts files from the timeline ?

    You can see this in action without using an editor at all, provided your camera footage is 1080i (It won't work for 1080p unless it's 1080p24 which is not that common on AVCHD camcorders)

    Using TSMuxergui (from the linked post above), use the add button to add one clip and then use the join button to open more clips.

    Using the linked instructions

    Select the AVCHD folder option in Tsmuxergui to create AVCHD folders. Because there's no recoding required it'a a very quick process.

    Burn the folders to a a DVD blank using the IMGburn instructions. The disc should play in your blu-ray player in the full original quality.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  19. glutenhab

    glutenhab Member

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    Just found an option on Pinnacle that lets me burn this onto a DVD by selecting AVCHD instead of DVD.
    This lets me burn onto a regular DVD & play on a blu-ray (or so it says!!!).
    It is burning as I type & I will let you know how things turn out.
    It also lessens the amount of time availble on the DVD from over 60 minutes to 29, so it seems like it is burning in HD quality.

    This is a short term measure to get a project done quickly while I watch for a good desktop at a good price and certailnly not ideal. However I will be more than happy for now if this works.

    Once again, thanks for your quick reply & excellent advice.
    Seems I need it!
  20. rogs

    rogs Active Member

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    My thoughts exactly! --- which is why I decided to go down the WD TV Live player route

    Full HD quality --- you can even play your original footage ---and much less fussy about whichever HD format you decide for your edited outputs.....
  21. glutenhab

    glutenhab Member

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    Thought it was complicated but Pinnacle makes this very simple.
    An interim measure for sure but it worked like a charm for me.
    Just pick output disc, pick AVCHD and voila.

    Did this with a short 8 minute package I editied with Pinnacle as a test & the results on my 60" Sharp LCD through my Sharp blu-ray player were spetacular. My plan is still to upgrade my desktop & editing package as suggested here, but this easily got me through a project I wanted to get done fairly quickly. Bought me some time to get the desktop I want at the right price!

    I would still very much apprecaite any suggestions on what to look for in a desktop & my earlier questions still stand......;
    Will I get a desktop that will meet my needs for $1000.00 and what is the most important thing to look for when I buy;
    - Lots of RAM?
    - Chip type?
    - High quality video card?
    anything someting else?


    I am actively searching for a good desktop & would like to grab one if it goes on sale so any suggestions are welcome.

    This is my first thread here & I am very impressed with the help offered & the suggestions & comments by all.
    Thanks once again!
  22. rogs

    rogs Active Member

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    You should be able to find a suitable desktop, for a $1000 or less.

    As I mentioned in my comments in post #14, and the thread it linked to, something like an i5 would do.
    not sure if you are thinking of putting together your own machine, or buying ready made?
    The former option obviously offers better value for money.....but you do need to be handy with a screwdriver! :)
  23. grahamlthompson

    grahamlthompson Well-Known Member

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    Provided the Editing package supports AVCHD to DVD then it's no more complicated than burning a DVD. What does make it complicated is video editing packages that don't natively support this requiring workarounds. My pet beef with Sony Vegas Production Suite paired with DV Architect is lack of support for AVCHD. (Amazing as together with Panasonic, Sony invented the format).

    If your camcorder only supports 1080i (I assume you are in the US) and not 1080p60 then you don't need anything spectacular for editing HD. I only have an i3 laptop which copes no problem.

    Off to knock up a AVCHD from footage of my grandkids recorded yesterday on a day out on the Severn Valley Steam Railway. My son will have a HD AVCHD disc complete with menus and a nice label by this afternnon he can play back on his blu-ray player. You can't easily do that without being able to burn to an optical disc.
  24. glutenhab

    glutenhab Member

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    Excellent info....just what I was looking for.
    This is indeed a very convenient option.

    I have a few questions though;
    - by going from the original 1080 i (50p) to DVD by using AVCHD, what picture quality I am losing (if any)? Looks to me like I am going to 720 X 480? The picture on my 60" HD TV looks great so I am happy even at this but I would like to know.
    - How much more difficult would it be to not use AVCHD but rather, burn to a higher quality disc than a regular DVD & what disc would I use (blu-ray?)? Are these readily available & inexpensive? (As you can see I am new to HD Editing)
    - Does Edius Neo 3 have the option to burn AVCHD to DVD?
    (would like to at least have this option)
    - By using Edius & working in HQ, then copying to disc, what will be the final picture resolution if I use 1081 i (50p, 24fps) for recording?

    I can buy Edius Neo 3 at $125.00 Canadian right now.
    Sounds like a good price....do you think?
    Does the 30 day Trial Version have the all the options of the purchased product?
    How exactly does the conversion in Edius to HQ work? Does this happen during capture or is it another step, and does it then need to be converted back (or can it even be) after all editing is done?
    I assume Edius Neo 3 contains both the ability to convert to HQ and a ful editing suite?

    I am from Canada....same standard as US.
    Once again, thanks for the info.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  25. Kevo

    Kevo Active Member

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    You're probably better asking Edius specific questions here...

    Starting out with EDIUS Neo - Grass Valley Forums

    I'm pretty sure 3.0 burns to DVD and BD only (I use Neo 2.5 which does the same).

    You should be able to burn about 30 mins of your original 1080i footage to a 'AVCHD DVD' with no loss in quality. If your recordings are longer then you may want to look at using DVD Dual Layer or Blu Ray, which is a bit more expensive.

    '1080i (50p)' makes no sense. I think you mean 1080i (50fps, 60fps in Canada). I would forget about '24fps', you don't need to get involved with it. It's an ancient 'method' that is finally starting to lose favor with Hollywood directors and cinemas (but that's another debate!).

    Be warned Edius, a great package as it is is more suited for 'pro-sumers', semi-pros and pros, so don't expect to be led by the hand!, it can be a little daunting at first, but it's a great programme and i wouldn't use anything else. Download the trial (which I think has no restrictions other than the time period) an dtry it out.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  26. 12harry

    12harry Active Member

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    This is getting a tad long, but

    OP asked about PC spec - I think there is a fundamental choice which depends on the software...32-bit - or 64-bit. Then the amount of RAM can be set (4G limit for 32-bit) - and as fast a processor as affordable . . . ideally quad-core or one that allows hyperthreading (which multiplies cores). As to video card it needs to have two outputs (for dual monitor, a later option), and 500Mb or 1G memory - there is a new standard out "C---*" . . . sorry forget the term- this allows the Graphics card to do some rendering functions.

    *EDIT 19Feb2012 - Graphics spec. to look for is CUDA - many video-based programs will be able to use the extra processing power in the Graphics card.

    Also the way this thread is going he need a BlueRay burner.
    Next is the Hard Drive, which should be 1Tb and preferably fit a second 1Tb - to save all those Vid files. . . . modern drives are SATA and this is fast.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  27. chrishull3

    chrishull3 Active Member

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    AVCHD - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia May be of help or interest,for what its worth all the upto35m avchd discs i have made are a maximum of 17mbps[maximum setting] the blu ray up to 25mbps so the avchd cant get the full res from my cameras.
  28. glutenhab

    glutenhab Member

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    After quite a struggle I edited down to 47 minutes of video.
    (I had done a short 4 minute test & burned to a regular DVD as AVCHD & it palyed on my blu-ray player in full HD.)
    Used the same process to make & burn the 47 minutes onto a dual layer DVD & all went well until I tried to play it on the same player & got the message "Cannot Read Disc".
    Except for the length, the only differences between this & the 4 minute test that worked were;
    - I used a dual layer DVD
    - This dual layer was Memorex DVD+R instead of Verbatim DVD-R.

    Any idea of the reason why the dual layer disc could not be read while the test could?
  29. rogs

    rogs Active Member

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    It may depend on which Memorex you have. The reliability varies a bit - see here: DVD Media and Blu-ray Disc Media list - VideoHelp.com for example.

    Personally, I have never managed to get any dual layer DVD to work properly --even with standard DVD content, let alone HD - but I know other folk have had more luck.
    Not sure whether that's with HD content though?.......
  30. Kevo

    Kevo Active Member

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    I've never had a problem with DVD+DLs and Avchd. I can't remember what brand I use as it's been a while and I tend to use BD-Rs now, which you'll find is the natural progression from starting out with AVCHD.

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