AVCHD editing - basic advice please

ChrisEssex

Novice Member
Hi

I have a Canon HF100 camcorder which produces some great AVCHD footage at 1920x1080 resolution. Until recently I have been editing this and down-converting to DVD.

I have now invested in a high end Dell laptop (fast Core i7 quad, 8 meg RAM, 1 tb drive) and a Sony BluRay writer and have Adobe Premiere Elements, Windows Movie Maker and Cyberlink suite (including Power Director 9) installed. I have also tried an evaluation copy of Vegas Pro.

I have been trying to edit my original AVCHD files and burn them to BluRay, but am getting a noticeable deterioration in the quality of the final image. I appreciate that AVCHD is highly compressed and that editing and re-rendering will always reduce quality but any advice on how I can minimise this deterioration would be welcome. I am willing to buy another software package if necessary, up to £300 or £400 max (so long as an evaluation copy is available to make sure it works!!).

I am not attempting anything particularly complex. All I am trying to do is copy my SD card directly to my hard drive, import the AVCHD files into the editing program, clip a few files, including just a handful of basic transitions, change the exposure of one or two scenes and then produce/burn to BluRay.

My specific questions are:

1) Is there any product out there which has noticeably better AVCHD rendering than Cyberlink, Adobe or Vegas, because none of them seem great at the moment.

2) I know Cyberlink can keep the original quality of AVCHD files if they have not been manipulated, but it seems to re-render every file that has been changed, no matter how minor the change. Is there an editing package that would re-render only the parts that are changed, eg the first second or two of a transition, and keep the rest of the file in tact?

3) When I produce and burn the disk, am I best to burn to MPEG2 or AVCHD? Cyberlink offers a 1920x1080 24fps option in MPEG2 format but only 1920x1080 in AVCHD. Is there going to be any difference or am I asking for trouble anyway by converting from AVCHD to MPEG2?

4) Will there be any compatibility issues with standard BluRay players if I save in AVCHD format?

5) How does the 24fps option differ from the standard files recorded by my Canon?

I'm sure these are really dumb questions, but I'm struggling in a major way at the moment and wasting a lot of time! Any assistance or advice on the above, or any suggestions as to what else I should be trying, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks guys
 
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grahamlthompson

In memoriam
Provided you match the bitrate of the original content there should be little or no degedation. Check to see if you can alter the output bitrate by editing the preset you use.

Magix Edit Pro MX Premium can be set to use smart render which leaves gops with no changes as is. This speeds up the process considerably but provided the output bitrate matches the original using say Vegas the difference will be very minimal.

Mpeg2 will require a much higher bitrate than AVCHD to just match the quality resulting in much larger files.

For example 1080i 1920 x 1080 recorded in camera at an average of 17Mbps would need around 26Mbps just to get close. AVCHD(H264/AVC) can record 1080p50 using this sort of bitrate.

Some confusion AVCHD uses H264/AVC compression which can be recorded to DVD blanks (17Mbps 1920 x 1080 interlaced or less) and/or blu-ray in the AVCHD file and folder format, any newish blu-ray will play this format. The latest will play AVCHDprogressive as well. The same H64/AVC content can be burnt to blu-ray in BD-AV format the same as used on a standard blu-ray which is the format most editors will use when blu-ray export is selected. BD-AV also supports mpeg2 but the recording time limit will be a lot shorter and render times probably longer.
 
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12harry

Distinguished Member
I've been experimenting making HD DVDs using my AVCHD vids. - After editing/saving as m2ts. These I join together using TSMuxR and then Imgburn to create iso, which I use ImgBurn to create the AVCHD on a blank DVD.
So far these have stunning vid quality played on a HDTV, using a BlueRay player.
The issue I have is Audio - oddly the first vid is OK (with a music soundtrack) then there is a short speech "introduction" (in place of the Menu, previously enjoyed making standard DVDs)......but that software has died.
The first vid is the title sequence which comtains some music then there is the audio intro the following vids audio music+ speech play OK (much like the original m2ts files after tsMuxR has joined them.)

However, the speech vid "intro" is distorted and so is the brief bursts of accompanying music on that particular section.

What I don't understand is why just this short section has developed a scratchy(or broken?) sound whereas the Earlier and Later joined clips are perfectly OK. Any ideas?



((In IMGBurn the vid and Audio files all appear to be the same type, so it's not as though the scratchy section has a different audio format.
I suppose I could try changing the order (prior to TSmuxeR) - but that seems like it would prove little.)).

......Total disc usage about half the AVCHD capacity (runtime about 10mins)....
 

chrishull3

Well-known Member
I've been experimenting making HD DVDs using my AVCHD vids. - After editing/saving as m2ts. These I join together using TSMuxR and then Imgburn to create iso, which I use ImgBurn to create the AVCHD on a blank DVD.
So far these have stunning vid quality played on a HDTV, using a BlueRay player.
The issue I have is Audio - oddly the first vid is OK (with a music soundtrack) then there is a short speech "introduction" (in place of the Menu, previously enjoyed making standard DVDs)......but that software has died.
The first vid is the title sequence which comtains some music then there is the audio intro the following vids audio music+ speech play OK (much like the original m2ts files after tsMuxR has joined them.)

However, the speech vid "intro" is distorted and so is the brief bursts of accompanying music on that particular section.

What I don't understand is why just this short section has developed a scratchy(or broken?) sound whereas the Earlier and Later joined clips are perfectly OK. Any ideas?



((In IMGBurn the vid and Audio files all appear to be the same type, so it's not as though the scratchy section has a different audio format.
I suppose I could try changing the order (prior to TSmuxeR) - but that seems like it would prove little.)).

......Total disc usage about half the AVCHD capacity (runtime about 10mins)....


Harry i have to admit i have never got into tsMuxeR 1.10.6 - VideoHelp.com Downloads when making BDs or AVCHD discs i just select the disc i want when on make movie/share etc depending on the software, most of the softwares i have allow around 35m of AVCHD on a blank DVD disc and with a 25GB BLU RAY blank i get around 2hrs.Presumably the software is doing the setting automaticaly.
 

grahamlthompson

In memoriam
However, the speech vid "intro" is distorted and so is the brief bursts of accompanying music on that particular section.

What I don't understand is why just this short section has developed a scratchy(or broken?) sound whereas the Earlier and Later joined clips are perfectly OK. Any ideas?



.

The file type doesn't indicate the audio format it contains. Is the clip with the problem straight from your camcorder or is it from an editor. If you play back the clip using a media player like Splash Lite does it play OK.

Tsmuxer has a known problem with joining clips with ac3 audio. It produces lip synch errors. The solution is to use a different programme to join the audio.

http://www.avforums.com/forums/camcorders-video-editing/1609943-joining-avchd-files-tsmuxer.html
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
Thanks a lot glt, I have played about with this rogue disc (and made another!, which was from the .iso image (which I can't play to check it)) - but the joined-file [pre-ISO], does play OK....the 2nd burnt AVCHD had the identical fault.

During this re-visit I discovered the total time is 34min! (Beyond the 20min I was led to believe ).
- so it's some relief to read you suggest 35min limit.....( and I can see about 1/4" of unburnt surface, so maybe I can push it further!

Now what you say may be right (about ac3 files) but mine is lip-synced in the same clip which has the audio stutter (sounds a bit like a loose audio-jack.), then there is a scene-change and by magic it's gone.....same vid perfect audio. Very odd. I looked at the project in Vegas and can't see anything "rogue" that might suggest a definate change at this point in time...

So the audio-situation of the several vids joined by TSmuxeR ...and.. burnt to AVCHD(#1&#2)...is:-
1) Title - music OK
2) Intro - voice and music crackles
3) First feature - crackeles for 3-4 min, then clears.
4) Second feature Audio OK
5) third feature, Audio OK
6) Fourth feature Audio OK
7) Fifth feature Audio OK....this vid also includes a long blank gap ( editors' fingers!).
. . . .then Vision comes back + Audio OK.
(concludes. 34min)

- this is just to put the record straight

. . . . checking out the files types.
First Tab
Template: HD1080, 1920x1080 25.00fps,
Width 1920 upper field first
Height 1080 pixel ratio 1.000(sq)
25.000 (PAL)
render quality: Best
deinterlace method: blend fields
X =Adjust source nedia to better match project or render settings

(x= checked/ticked)

Audio Tab:-
Master bus mode: Stereo
Sample rate 44,100
Bit depth: 16
Resample and stretch quality: Good

O =Start all projects with these settings

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Finally I should mention that the DVD discs I use are +R - I've used them for many years with few problems and they are the only discs my PVR will write.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thanks for the TSmuxR link, will read, but not best-pleased I may need a parallel program process....
I've also found another program... MultiAVCHD but it reads a bit complicated, however it claims to have a Menu Option....that might do.
 
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grahamlthompson

In memoriam
Use 48kHz Audio for DVD, blu-ray and AVCHD .
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
Thanks - I may try that,

Ah but, I noted that when I "Make Movie" (in Vegas Studio), it says the audio is AC3 - omitted from the "Properties" - but oddly it states the audio is 48kHz - both of these under Sony AVC (template?)....
I'm trialing using option "Main Concept" which is 48kHz and m2t (sorry ts....) we'll see if that muxes any better . . . but the real doubt in my mind is "why it corrects itself" - at one point I thought it was fingermarks on the disc surface ....


EDIT:
That Main Concept was a write-off...it took 4x as long to render and had no audio!!! Don't think I'll use that again.
 
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grahamlthompson

In memoriam
Thanks - I may try that,

Ah but, I noted that when I "Make moie (in Vegas Studio), it says the audio is AC3 - omitted from the "Properties" - but oddly it states the audio is 48kHz - both of these under Sony AVC (template?)....
I'm trialing Main Concept which is 48kHz and m2t (sorry ts....) we'll see if that muxes any better . . . but the real doubt in my mind is "why it corrects itself" - at one point I thought it was fingermarks on the disc surface ....

48kHz is the sample frequency it applies to ac3 and lpcm stereo. 44.1kHz is used on CD's.
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
Thanks glt - see "EDIT" Post#8 above...
I'm guessing the 44/48 is just lack of tech detail in the Options box.... OR should I use a VS Render setting that's 48kHz - that may be difficult, I'll check and add to this Post....

Yep the one I often use is the "Sony AVC" which shows audio as 48kHz and appears to be good for AVCHD -

I tried the "crackling audio" AVCHD disc on another BlueRay player (friend's laptop and decent powered speakers) and this played without the audio crackles - but there was a high level of background noise ( like a worn 78 disc), so I'm wondering if there was something I'd done to the audio in Vegas Studio which resulted in this "noise" - as I recall I had used both Rubber-Banding ( called Volume by SOny!) as well as the "Gain" feature that acts only as an attenuator.
Once past this section the vid and audio was normal high quality.

I may try to redo this part of the Vid with only one effect applied, both as before and none - just to see if the crackling is due to these settings. I discount the playback (using a dedicated TV?BD player) as these faults are in the mid-band audio which is perfectly OK on normal programme broadcast material.
 
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