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Panasonic AVCHD editing software

arachnoid

Active Member
I'm looking for some options to manage a Panasonic video archive and edit files.

I have a large archive (several hundred GB) of AVCHD video from an old Panasonic camcorder (HD TM350) and previously used Panasonic's bundled HD Writer AE software to organize the files and write out to DVD to share with family. The HD Writer software does not run on Windows 10. It's possible there is an upgrade but the other problem I recall is it was not really usable due to the size of the archive.

If I recall correctly, the raw video files are MTS and when I had tried before to edit them had to convert (to MP4, I think). Are there good options to manage the archive without losing quality and convert/stream the files for viewing? I have a PC (which doesn't have a great graphics card) and potentially access to a Mac sometime later this year (I don't know the spec but it's likely to be a middle range machine).
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
Invest in one of the current range of video editors. I gave up on HDWriter a few years ago when I found that it carried over a lot of useless housekeeping files.
Now I use Corel's VideoStudio. (I use this as an example of a video editor)
Not sure if the TM350 is tape or SD card, either way the VE will create individual shots for piecing together as a video.
In my case (SD card) I download directly from the SD card into a folder on my PC and then into Corel VS. VS for example will handle MTS and MP4 equally easily, combine them and render into a number of formats suitable for DVD, Blu-Ray, YouTube etc.
If you invest in a MAC you will need to buy a Mac based editor. IMO I would update the PC to take HD or 4K. Corel supply a specification for a PC to run VideoStudio and I took a copy to my dealer for him to supply a new PC with (better than) that spec.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
If you are serious about video-editing it's realistically the software that is the limitation. ( Oh and learning how to/when to use it.... they all have features you don't need ( but might).
Win10 should be OK, but a new-PC is likely to boost the important areas of spec.

Most software allows a 30-day "trial" so you can check yr PC is good enough spec-wise. With modern programs you'll need a PC with 64-bit OS and RAM of 8Gb is often the starting point, although programs will work with far less( see their "Min Spec" . . . Don't think this is enough.... the program will take some of the HDD to make-up for lack of RAM... slowing things considerably.
Your graphics card isn't really important except when playing the finished/Rendered film . . . and by then all the files have been cleaned-up so unless the card is very old it should work OK.

However, for £100 you can get a graphics card which can/may help with the Render process adding a separate source of graphics power . . . . Most programs will let you know if it's possible. Having a separate graphics card also means the CPU is free to work on the program. Similarly, a poor spec PC will work OK, - it's just likely to take longer to complete the final Render. There is no logic in the notion it will corrupt the film - digitals don't know what the content is... and they get on with it.
Bear in mind that Camcorders have moved-on and you may be looking at 4K, which put a greater strain on the PC Spec.
FWIW a Mac will do a very similar job, but with fewer software-options and cost a lot more - if you want "power" and are on a Budget, then a PC built for the purpose will be about half-price.

Cheers. H.
 

arachnoid

Active Member
Thanks. I'll probably look at DaVinci Resolve again since that is the VE I've used most recently. I'll add a graphics card later.

The Panasonic uses SD card. I do have some earlier scans from a PAL Sony HDV tape camcorder and a NTSC Canon SD camcorder - all scanned in via Firewire. The files are AVI and I've been using Handbrake and its presets to convert to MP4 (e.g. HQ720 30 for the Sony AVI files). One AVI file came down in size from 6.4GB to 774KB. Does this sound OK (the playback never looks as sharp as I seem to remember on my desktop monitor, but then again it does look sharp on the smaller camcorder display)?
 

12harry

Well-known Member
Modern monitors can be very sharp, so will show any faults in the Original.... You have to view it from the same distance that the audience will see things - and this may help improve the image.

However, if it has "historic" value, then almost anything is acceptable . . .. there being no other alternative.
++
BTW if you are familiar with Davinci Resolve; that puts you way ahead . . . you'll be very popular at Film-Making clubs.
 

arachnoid

Active Member
Modern monitors can be very sharp, so will show any faults in the Original.... You have to view it from the same distance that the audience will see things - and this may help improve the image.

However, if it has "historic" value, then almost anything is acceptable . . .. there being no other alternative.
++
BTW if you are familiar with Davinci Resolve; that puts you way ahead . . . you'll be very popular at Film-Making clubs.
That is a very good point about monitor sharpness.

I'm a beginner to Davinci Resolve. Started using because I got a free trial edition.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
I have that program too - when I get my new Win10/64 PC up and running... but I'm expecting it to take a while as I'm used to (ex-) Sony's Studio suite v12, which has the advantage IMHO the various menus/text are a decent size. ( I use my 42" TV ), whereas other programs appear o be a bit smaller - presumably the writers have excellent eyesight and assume so will everyone else.
BTW does Davinci Resolve accept AVCHD?... I thought this might be an issue also.
Cheers.
 

arachnoid

Active Member
I have that program too - when I get my new Win10/64 PC up and running... but I'm expecting it to take a while as I'm used to (ex-) Sony's Studio suite v12, which has the advantage IMHO the various menus/text are a decent size. ( I use my 42" TV ), whereas other programs appear o be a bit smaller - presumably the writers have excellent eyesight and assume so will everyone else.
BTW does Davinci Resolve accept AVCHD?... I thought this might be an issue also.
Cheers.
I read somewhere that the free version does not include the required codec but have not yet verified this.
 

12harry

Well-known Member
Look on Hitfilm's website and the list for their Pro- ( paid-for) version is quite reasonable, but the basic version far less so. Yet in reality those with consumer formats will never advance if they can't use the basic features and getting used to the Hitfilm screen-layout should be a primary aim for any Marketing Manager.
As I read it, AVCHD (which is a Sony/Pana format for their Consumer camcorders), is not supported with the free package, but MP4 is, so you must choose MP4 if you want to learn the basics for their product. That's a big problem for me, since my camcorders ( & Still cameras), produce only AVCHD.
Instead of combining the Formats Listing - they should have them tabulated, so folks can see the progression from "free" ( where you are giving them your "time" learning their quirks.) - and the Pro-version..... plus any extras.
Davinci Resolve is somewhat similar, if you check their website . . . no worse than Magix who are still selling the (ex-)Sony software which was brilliant in parts . . . but Sony wouldn't employ anyone to promote it, so it fell from grace....
However, if I concentrate on the "Content" and use the best Lighting + Sound, then having the "poor" format of AVCHD will be playing in Clubs and at home for many years to come - and I can make good use of the (otherwise) "Learning-Time" to make sure my Camera-kit is working properly and has the batteries charged, etc.
There is nothing wrong with Movie Studio and it will perform at least as good as the folks behind the cameras. For about £50 you have all the tools you should need including colour correction and scene-matching. If you spend a little more you get an integrated package with Sound Forge, a program I use almost every day to add a little audio, maybe sometimes cut a little.[ DYOR ].
It does beg the Q.... "Do I need 4K" and I suspect the ans. is No, - since HD format Camcorders are just as convenient to operate as the more-expensive newer 4K models.

Also, many folks are quite content to watch the TV News / fav. Programme in non-HD, even if the TV has the Option of selecting the HD channel, which still suffers from poor lip-sync. this means 4K is well past their experience.... and I doubt they'll be buying a new TV for the extra definition while so many "popular" programmes are still in 4:3 format. +Modern film-audiences are happy with "phone-footage, so I guess that says something , too.

Cheers.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I read somewhere that the free version does not include the required codec but have not yet verified this.
I use DaVinci with AVCHD files no problem. I use it to edit my wife's yoga videos shot on a Panasonic Lumix. The free version will only render upto 1080p. If you want a final 4k render then you need the paid version.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
It took me about 3 hours to learn to use DaVinci at a very basic level to be able to produce something good enough for Youtube. As I use it more I realise just how powerful this package is. A lot of people are starting to jump from using Final Cut Pro to Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve. the nice thing is that it will run on both IOS or Win10. As a free package it is mind-blowingly good. No file length restrictions, no water marking.
 

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