Editability of different formats?

richard plumb

Distinguished Member
can someone quickly run down how edit-friendly recent formats are? I have an iMac and will try and stick with imovie08 or buy an app if not too expensive.

I have a dv camcorder at the mo, but am considering a DVD or hdd/flash memory system for easier importing. DVD is tempting due to ease of watching, but if I finalize for a DVD player does that make it harder to import?I've also read some negative comments about DVD cam quality

I'm also somewhat tempted by HD. Can you burn these to a DVD that can be played in a ps3?
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
The main formats are:

DV
Standard Def MPEG2 (can be from a HDD, DVD, or flash memory cam)
HDV (MPEG2 based High Def on tape)
AVCHD (MPEG4 based High def, on HDD, DVD, or flash memory)

Edit friendly has 2 main aspects

1) Availability of editing software
2) Demands on PC performance

For both aspects I'd rank them in the order above, where DV is most friendy, AVCHD least so. Both DV and Standard Def MPEG2 editing is widely available and fairly easy on the PC. HDV needs more processor grunt, software is highly available but often need more than the basic version to get the support. AVCHD is the newest so editing support only recently available.

These comments are general; I don't have a MAC so can't comment on specific MAC availability of software.
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
if I finalize for a DVD player does that make it harder to import?

No, in fact if you want to edit a DVD on a PC you generally need to finalize the DVD.

The main problem with DVD cams is that recordable DVDs can sometimes fail, and they are not always compatible with other players etc. Generally they work fine, but if you get a bad disc and say the finalisation fails, you are stuffed.
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
A third aspect of "editing friendly" is the ability to render/compost multiple generations with no quality loss.... only DV has this. However most people don't do this kind of complex editing, and if you do you can use an intermediate format for that. E.g with HDV you can convert to a virtually losses "DV like " High Def format like Cineform.
 

senu

Distinguished Member
I'm rather less enamoured with DVD camcorders
Quality is OK,
The Format ( mpeg2) is editable and when it works it is a recording format as well as ready playback one too (Mpeg2) both on the PC or Mac
And the question of finalising and editing has been answered.. It is necessary to finalise the disc if you want to use the disc to transfer footage on the PC as it cannot be read otherwise

see
http://www.avforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5418005&postcount=37

And the rest of the thread if you have time:)

To answer the last question .. If you burn hi def material to a DVD disc.. it can be played on a PS3 ( with more recent than the original shipping firmware) . as Hi def ( It can also be played off the PS3s own HDD)
 

richard plumb

Distinguished Member
Thanks. Couple of threads to read. Just one more quickie.. Just found out that my iMac doesn't accept 8cm discs. Can you transfer finalized discs via USB?
 

senu

Distinguished Member
You can transfer the footage on discs, finalised or not via USB if the camcorder has a USB jack. You wouldn't be transferring the Disc structure including menus though

Some DVD camcorders do not have the said USB jack as they expect you to use the ( finalised ) disc itself as a the means of transfer
Some DVD camcorders ( you have to check) which do have USB may need drivers to be "seen" by a computer.if this is the case.. make sure they are Mac friendly
One other way of getting footage off the disc finalised or not is to record via an analogue composite to a settop DVD recorder as you would any camcorder and make a standard DVD video.
However, there is potential for PQ loss and this defeats the point of getting a DVD camcorder

I would still give DVD camcorders a wide berth myself but the choice is yours
 

richard plumb

Distinguished Member
ok, think I've discounted DVD... No problem transferring to computer so hdd or sd card

How much more for a HD model compared to a good SD one? Can you get HD memory card cams?
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Hi Def HDD and Memory Card Camcorders are upon us:)

They are quite well liked by thier owners on here

Sony and Panasonic are having a monopoly of sorts for now

They use AVCHD which until the advent of imovie08
was Mac unfriendly
Sonys sole card model ( Sony HDR-CX6EK ) uses Memory stick and Panasonic uses SD cards
Sonys more recent HDD model HERE is equally well liked
Im less Familiar with Panasonics models
AVCHD is very PS3 friendly BTW

As for price, depending on source and model they are on average £150-350 costlier than SD models; Note that HiDef models can also record in SD or that their footage can be turned to SD in software
but
Speaking as a PC user.. AVCHD will not play fluidly on lesser spec machines, has "emerging" Editing support and footage cannot be kept as such after editing
 

richard plumb

Distinguished Member
curious what you mean by 'footage cannot be kept' after editing? I can't export as an avcHD movie to play on ps3 after editing?

I'm fine at the moment being limited to ps3 and mac for playback, and exporting to DVD video for normal people like my parents - I can do all that with avcHD right?
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Correct - I don't believe any of the editing software will output back to AVCHD format. You can output in other high def formats like HDV (not sure if the PS3 plays this or not).
 

senu

Distinguished Member
The PS3 does play m2t files ( thankfully) in addition to AVCHD
The Xbox360 prefers WMV-HD
 

richard plumb

Distinguished Member
so just render as mpeg2?

It all seems a bit immature still. I suppose editing options will improve over time though. Is avcHD the likely format for HD in the future?
 

senu

Distinguished Member
so just render as mpeg2?
Yep
Mpeg2 1080i/50


It all seems a bit immature still. I suppose editing options will improve over time though. Is avcHD the likely format for HD in the future?
The whole high definition path has been a bit lopsided.. The Playback formats (Blu Ray and HD DVD) have been generating enough "heat" to keep the country warm for a few winters, Recordable playback formats remain immature even a few years on and Video recording is in a slow state of flux.
AVCHD has the advantages of a high quality high definition playback format which is small enough to not need big data stores like tape. Which is being "demoted" by marketing as the Audio cassette of the video world

However the hardware seems to have come before software for editing ( an afterthought it seems) and the means to playback recordings domestically

The thought and concept of glorious HD on a Simple flash card from a small lightweight camcorder with almost no moving parts is exciting. Even Small large-capacity HDD camcorders seem set to sell in nos

Is it the future? Hard to say .. It is the present and seems here to stay...
I guess it will have a boost of life if its acceptance creeps up to Semi Pro ?Pro Use.. That is one of the reasons tape is still very much around .. and a wide user base.
However there is a possibility that like MP3s it will remain a popular consumer format but Just as MP3s have not Killed off the CD will coexist with tape based formats for a little longer
It is hard to say but it certainly is well supported by Sony, Panasonic and I suspect Canon will soon join in not to lose their own Market share
 

redsox_mark

Distinguished Member
Canon has already announced they are jumping on the AVCHD bandwagon with the new HG10.

Will AVCHD stay? Hard to say. I think with camcorders we may see more changes and formats. But that doesn't matter so much.... it's different than with purchasing content. E.g. if Blu-Ray wins and in future you can't buy HD-DVDs, then a HD-DVD player will have less value (just an example, not saying this will happen). If AVCHD is replaced with XYZHD in future it would not impact your use of AVCHD (unless editing support was later dropped).
 

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