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Thread: How best to store HD footage

  1. #1

    Default How best to store HD footage

    I am using Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12, for manipulating my Panasonic SD100 HD footage.

    However, I'm not sure how best to record the resulting project file.

    I can see lots of options, and suspect the best are MPEG4-High Def, or DivX-High Def
    However, neither appears to produce files of the same high quality as the original .MTS files produced from the Panasonic.

    I've tested with a short piece of film from a .MTS file - no manipulation, just straightforward export to different file formats. The original file was about 32Mb, the MPEG4 file produced is 13Mb, and the DivX file is 15Mb. I'm sure the file size is not directly related to the quality, since the MPEG4 movie looks better than the DivX movie; though both is only half the size of the original .MTS file.

    Is there any way of creating a file that is of the very same quality as the original source films?

    I plan to manipulate source footage, and then save the resultant film to a file on my hard disk. But of course, I want to retain the original HD quality (else it defeats the object of having a brand new HD camcorder!)

    Any advice greatly appreciated...

    Cheers,
    Don

  2. #2
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    Default

    If you're new to video editing, I recommend you spend a few hours browsing the site. You'll get a good grasp of the basic principles of encoding, and how different codecs, bitrates and framesizes will affect both quality and size of the your video.

    Your source files are likely AVCHD, which uses H264 compression. This is most likely the codec used in your MPEG4 output you mention above. The reason you're seeing both a file size and quality reduction is because your software is most likely reducing the maximum bitrate of your video. I you want to maintain quality, I suggest that you increase the bitrate to say 8000kbps. I was playing with an AVCHD camera yesterday an output in WMV using the same framesize and a 8000kbps.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the advice.

    You're right about the source file - it is AVCHD using H264 compression (I only know because Pinnacle Studio says so.) 1920x1080/60i 29.97 frames/sec.

    But how do I find out the frame rate?

    With regards to the export options, Pinnacle Studio provides a number of preset options, the best of which appears to be MPEG-4 High Definition, which is set at 1280x720, 29.97 frames/sec and 60000kbps.

    I see now that the resolution is somewhat reduced from the original!

    There are also custom options, so I'm going to play around with them. The highest allowable setting for Divx is 1280x720, but for MPEG-4 it is 1920x1088 so I can set it to be the same as the original (not sure why it is 8 out on the vertical, it won't allow me to set it to 1080). Not sure what frame rate to use though, the default 6000kbps? I guess I need to find out the frame rate of the original file...

    Cheers,
    Don

  4. #4

    Default

    OK, I have now tested with the MPEG-4 export, at 1920x1288, 29.97 frames/sec and 8000kbps.

    The resulting file is 'still' not as good as the original. Less 'smudged' than my previous attempts, but still not as sharp as the original.

    In addition, the 8pixel difference DOES make a difference. It stretches the picture vertically, so I'm now left with black edges to the left and right.

    I'm getting really frustrated. I spent a lot of money on this highly-recommended Panasonic SD100 HD camcorder, but can't seem to be able to store my resulting files. OK, I can transfer the original files to my hard disk easily enough, and manipulate them using Pinnacle Studio 12 (a little slow despite my powerful quad core processor, but acceptable). Yet I can't save the resulting film with the same high specifications as the original.

    There 'must' surely be a way.....

    Perhaps I need to try using a different software app - though I have been using Pinnacle Studio since version 8, and am not keen to move away.

    Any more suggestions/advice...?

    Cheers,
    Don

  5. #5
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    Video editing aint word processing. As you are discovering it is a medusa's hat of confusion.

    As for the 'highly reccomended' camera - I expect that was from a magazine not a film maker.

    In the begiing there was analogue video recording, vhs c and the pro betacam format and god saw that it was good but that it was expensive and suffered loss when copied and he said let there be DV. And the DV was good - a digital format that recorded SD video at 25 mega bits /sec with a simple 7 to one ( i think) compression system that was just about editable on then current computers. And it was and is good.

    But the lord noticed that people were not buying so much stuff so the lord sais let there be high def tvs and camcorders and fridges so people buy more and HDV was born.

    HDV is a tape based format that uses a more complicated ( much more) compression system to squeeze all those sexy 'hd' pisxels into the same data rate. And people saw it was good but then they all had to get faster pcs to edit this much more compressed format.

    Then a sales rep from dixons realised that tape looked all old fashioned and so 'old testament' so he suggested sd card cams to the lord. Like yours.

    For reasons lost in the dead sea scrolls these ( at consumer level ) use a even more complex comression algorithm called AVCHD to squeeze the bits even smaller.

    This means that AVCHD takes the most power to edit and can cause the most confusion and why we generally suggest tape cameras for film making - that and film people are often very format suspicoius.

    Always record at the top bit rate - your camera is 17 mbit - to get the best from it.

    Always render to a less compressed format to preserve quality, but there is nothing to be gained by going higher than double.

    I wouldnt use divx - that is a delivery codec and the files are often bad to edit causing weird problems.

    I reccomend that you render to a std HDV file. There should be a preset template. I cant be super helpfull as I am zealot who still thinks HDV is a naff format - but I aslo still play big spinny black things called LPs.

  6. #6

    Default

    Thanks for all your comments, which were interesting, and I agree with.

    Thanks also for advising that the bit rate of my original film would be 17mbit - I have no idea how you know, or where you find that out, but I will accept what you say.

    Unfortunately, there are no File-Export options within Pinnacle Studio other than the ones I mentioned - MPEG4, DivX etc..

    However, I HAVE solved my problem......although it was not immediately obvious.

    Under the Disc creation options, were the expected DVD option, the new Blu-Ray option, but also an AVCHD option. Not really sure how this latter option fits in with burning a disk, but.....when I select it, it creates a couple of folders (called BDMV and Certificate) and under the first, it creates an additional 8 sub-folders, and under one of those (called 'Stream') there is an .m2ts file (apparently an MPEG TS file). This file sounds very similar to the original .mts file, so I tried re-importing it and it works. This .mt2s file looks (to my untrained eye) visually identical to the original - exactly what I was looking for. It seems a little bigger (now almost 40Mb versus the original 32Mb) but I can live with that.

    I can now take multiple input HD files, manipulate them within Pinnacle Studio, and then output them to a file of equal high quality. Excellent.

    Cheers,
    Don

  7. #7
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    Top work - the m2t file is same as a HDV file. That is the best way to save your work.

    As for the source of the info - simple - from the manufacturers website.
    Panasonic - ideas for life - Camcorders - HD AVCHD Camcorders - HDC-SD100 - Specification

    That interweb is more than pron you know.

  8. #8
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    Default Panasonic HDC-SD100

    I have problems with transfer of data to my computer.
    It seems that it is only possible to transfer data using the HDwriter and the connected cam SD-100.
    I have tried to plug the SD-card into the computer and transfer to a folder; however the HDwriter software canít read the files.
    This is a problem when travelling. Normally I transfer my photo files to a portable hard disk and would like to do the same with the video-cam. But itís not possible later to read those data with the HDwriter software.
    Any one have an idea what to do?

    I have downloaded the Pinnacle version 12 and found itís crashing and impossible to use.
    My computer is a Intel quad with a graphic NVidia 9400 graphic card.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by steenh View Post
    I have problems with transfer of data to my computer.
    It seems that it is only possible to transfer data using the HDwriter and the connected cam SD-100.
    I have tried to plug the SD-card into the computer and transfer to a folder; however the HDwriter software canít read the files.
    This is a problem when travelling. Normally I transfer my photo files to a portable hard disk and would like to do the same with the video-cam. But itís not possible later to read those data with the HDwriter software.
    Any one have an idea what to do?
    if you are using a SDHC you need a reader capable of reading it. alot of installed readers can't do it.

  10. #10
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    Default Panasonic HDC SD-100 & HDwriter software

    It is not the problem to transfer the data to the PC.
    I try to simulate how the HDwriter software will handle files not transferred by the SD-100 cam from the programs menu.
    I connect the SD-100 to the PC and copy the files from the cam to a folder called /hdwriter/17-01-09_1/Ö
    This folder would be created by the cam if I used the menu from the cam.
    When I click the menu ďGo to easy editingĒ I get an error that the software canít read the files.
    All files from the cam have been copied.
    It means that I canít transfer data from SD card in the field to another media.
    Either I have to bring a laptop with the HDwriter software on a trip or I have to buy many SD-cards.

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