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Thread: Help required from Newbie with AVCHD conversion problem

  1. #1
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    Red face Help required from Newbie with AVCHD conversion problem

    Hello to everyone on the forum from a Newbie

    Quick background - the last time I edited videos I used a Sony 8mm camera and Panasonic HS-1000 edit machine, so that's how long ago I did anything serious! I did buy Premier Elements 2 and a Panasonic NV-GS17B DV Camera some years ago but never did anything much with it.

    On a whim (and also very cheaply) I've purchased a Panasonic HDC-SD10 camera which creates AVCHD files. I am reasonably impressed with the camera, being a lot better than the old DV camera I had, but working in HD is causing me all sorts of new problems. So I'm sorry if all this has been covered before - I'm just becoming so totally confused by it all!

    Of course, Elements 2 doesn't recognise AVCHD files being so old, and neither would anything else I have installed. I then installed the HD Writer AE program that came with the camera but this only converts to AVCHD or DVD format files. I did download a couple of free converters but these were next to useless, creating jerky unwatchable files.

    After a little research I bought Corel VideoStudio ProX2 as this supports AVCHD files. After installing this I found I didn't like the layout - I find PE 2 so much friendlier, so I want to use ProX2 to convert the files to something I can import into PE 2. Yeah, I know that's a bit backwards but I don't feel ProX2 has the level of depth of editing I need, unless I have completely got it wrong. Things like frame rotation and zooming to tenths of a fraction. Anyway...

    This is my problem - I can't get a good moving image. Yes, it's that old chestnut called Motion Blur I believe? I've spent two days exporting files from ProX2 in more formats and variations than I can remember, as WMV, AVI, MPEGs and DVD files and just about everything else it'll do! Things got so bad I even plugged in the camera's analogue AV output directly to my TV to check the footage was OK - and it was. It seems to me the higher the resolution of the export and the greater the file size the worse the problem is - combing effects on contrasty moving objects and blurring. File sizes were anything up to 3Gb for 1 minute of video...

    The best quality output I seemed to obtain was using the standard PAL DVD (16:9) export - everything else seems jagged. Interestingly the file size is approximately double that of the AVCHD file.

    I plan to make music videos, so I'm looking at complex editing for short periods of 5 to 10 minutes so lengthy rendering times shouldn't create a problem. I'm also not wanting HD quality videos - DVD is fine enough for me. If I have to convert all my HD files to DVD standard in order to insert them into PE 2 then so be it, though I know PE 2 will accept bigger (and hopefully better quality) files so I am a little disappointed not to be able to work 'above' my chosen resolution of a DVD, instead of at it. It also, I believe, means I am rendering the files twice so creating more losses?

    Can anyone help me with ProX2? I have a very limited budget so I can't afford any top flight editing packages, also computer limitations - 3.2GHz and 3Gb RAM on either Vista or XP are about all I can manage but this should be enough... I hope...

    Sorry for the long question. In anticipation... John

  2. #2
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    Hi John you must use upper field first for your DVD conversion, Corel ProX2 always defaults to lower field first and is probably why you having the problems.

    I did a little video on how I output HD for Youtube and Vimeo that might be some help to keep your file size lower but no good for DVD still it might give you some help,

    Bryan

  3. #3
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    Hi Bryan, and thanks for your help so far with this

    Sorry I've been a while replying - I've been trying various things to sort the problem out, not least finding out that my newer laptop is the cause of most of the trouble even though the specifications are more than adequate. As a last resort I installed ProX2 on my ageing desktop and managed to render some decent files from the same test footage.

    The problem I am experiencing now is that ProX2 fails sometimes and the entire computer goes into a sort of meltdown whereby I have to do an enforced shutdown. I did manage to render an AVI file of very good quality using the settings you had in the video you sent me, although for some reason the first second of the footage is 'still' and when I edit this in Premier Elements 2 it seems to put the last second of the clip at the beginning when it renders its own output. I believe it's the AVI produced by ProX2 that is at fault - it's 'still' for the first second when I play it back in anything, and it also did the same when I rendered it using proX2 on the laptop though the image also broke up on that version.

    I have uninstalled ProX2 from the desktop because I want to try SuperC (which I have installed on the desktop as well as ffdshow) basically to produce something along the lines of the 1280x720 AVI file, so that I can inport it into Elements 2 for editing.

    I wonder whether you might have any suggestions as to file types I might use in Elements 2 (I tried an MPEG-4 but it didn't play back the visual) or is it a case of 'suck it and see?' The main problem I seem to have with SuperC is the image breaking up - is this because I am setting too high a bitrate? There's an awful lot of terminology I'm not used to - remember I come from the days when the only two terms you needed to know were VHS and S-VHS!

    Many thanks in advance, and sorry once more for a long question for a probable short answer! Regards - John

  4. #4
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    Hi John,

    Don't worry I to come from the days of VHS and SVHS, first computer was a 166KHz Pentium running a Q-Motion card and Premiere 4.2, it cost an arm and a leg.

    Something you should be aware of with Corel ProX2 is not to use "smart render" if you are doing any high definition video it has some problems that they have not resolved, lots of talk about it on the Corel website, we had a discussion on this problem on this forum a few weeks ago, it might help to check out what was said, http://www.videoforums.co.uk/avchd-h...d-files-3.html

    Super C does some good encoding in the Quick-time format that might be good on Elements 2.
    I don't know how E2 would handle the h264 codec though and some of the older programs didn't edit mpg so it might limit you to something like DV AVI, I just wondered what codec pack you are using on your computer I found I got the best results with playback on my computer using the Combined Community Codec Pack and the Zoom Player that came with it gave good playback with deinterlace selected in the ffdshow section.

    I don't think it is that unusual for computers to crash when playing some types of video, I've had to disconnect the power and remove the battery from my Toshiba Laptop to get it up and running again on a couple of occasions, they call it bleeding edge technology.

    Bryan

  5. #5
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    Hi Bryan, thanks again for getting back to me

    I've reinstalled ProX2 and apart from it throwing a couple of wobblies it seems stable enough. I have to remember to import the m2ts file into it and do nothing but wait as I assume it's doing something like decoding it to view it or otherwise deal with it somehow.

    I switched off smart rendering under the options but when I encoded my test footage using the AVI file ffdshow codec as before, approximately the first 1 second and 10 frames are still 'faulty.' I imported a different file from the camera into ProX2 and this did exactly the same so I assume there is a problem with the ProX2/ffdshow setup as opposed to the camera files being corrupt in some way.

    I have tried various other options for file types but either the file sizes are too large or Elements 2 doesn't recognise them, or the quality isn't as good as the AVI file I created. The only one that comes close is a WMV file in HD at 1080 resolution, but it's not quite as good and it's three times the file size.

    My workaround at the moment, although it's a huge pain, is to either slice the first 1s10f or so of each clip, or move the handles of the clip to avoid that first section, in Elements 2, and then the output from Elements is OK. It reminds me a little of 'pre-roll' in the days of old and I suppose it's unlikely that first section of the clip will have something important on it anyway. I'll have to remember that when shooting.

    I haven't tried SuperC again, because I am just so confused with all the options available. If the AVI file created by ProX2 didn't have this faulty first second I would be a very happy man, at the moment I am still frustrated but plodding on...

    Kind regards - John

    PS: Here is a screenshot of supported files in Elements 2. I did try to export a QuickTime Movie from ProX2 but everytime I tried to alter the sound settings from the appalling 8Khz 8 bit mono default, ProX2 crashed...


  6. #6
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    Hi John,

    I see it accepts mpeg2 files so instead of going to Microsoft AVI and picking ffdshow how about trying from the same drop-down list were you find the Microsoft AVI try selecting MPEG files (*.mpg.*m2t.) then go into the Compression tab and select MPEG-2 and wind the bit-rate up to something around 25000 to 30000 and slide the slider to 100% go back to the General tab and change the field order to "upper field first" and then in the "Standard" selection you will have all the frame sizes to pick from up-to 1920x1080.

    Have you put the patch on from Corel that might help with the first frame freeze you are getting.

    Good luck.

    Bryan

  7. #7
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    Hi Bryan, thanks again

    I did as you suggested, using your settings, and rendered a suitable MPEG-2 file. I have an unusual problem with these which is why I never went any further with them previously, in that they possess a light green band along the bottom of the movie when I view the file in Windows Media Player. Having said that, I imported the file I made into Elements 2 and it plays back fine from the beginning of the clip! Although it was slightly less sharp than the 'faulty' AVI file I created one thing I did notice was the lack of jerky movements when the camera panned, the AVI file I thought was good at handling this but the mpeg-2 irons them out almost completely! I am very impressed.

    I assume I have a problem with Windows Media Player. WMP showed the green band yet Elements 2 doesn't. It also doesn't appear in the edited export of Elements 2 when I play that in WMP either. Weird.

    Oh, one thing I have found which I didn't spot before - Elements 2 exports to DVD resolution only as a maximum, or so I always thought. There is an extra option under file > export > movie whereby you can output as an AVI file using various plugin compressors such as ffdshow and cinepak, and I can set a larger resolution such as 1280 x 720 or even 1920 x 1080 using the h264 codec. Which makes me wonder that even though Elements 2 can't import HD files directly, if you import a 1920 x 1080 sized file and edit it at that size, then export it at that size using the h264 codec, can it do something wonderful? One thing doesn't surprise me though - I still see these four year old programs selling for over 100...

    Kind regards - John

    PS: Yes - I've downloaded and installed the patch, thank you for mentioning it.

  8. #8
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    Hi John,

    It sounds like a codec problem in Windows Media Player, I can't see why it would have a green strip unless Elements 2 masks it out, I use the CCCP codec pack because it has Zoom player and with de-interlace selected it cuts out the banding you get on pans or movement. the codec's also help Windows Media Player handle the m2ts better.

    Bryan

  9. #9
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    Hi Bryan

    It's a weird thing, the green strip! I've studied the footage carefully and whatever it is it's encoded below the footage, if that makes sense? In other words, it's not incorrectly encoding and losing some of the image and replacing it with a green strip, it's underneath the normal footage. It only happens when I encode mpeg-2 using ProX2 and only if I play this in WMP.

    I did install the codec pack you recommended and played the same file in the player that came with it and the green strip isn't there! So for now I think I have the problem sorted, and I can sharpen up the slightly unsharp mpeg-2 clips in Elements 2 as this allows me to sharpen to a percent whereas the minimum sharpen in ProX2 is way too much, only allowing me to select a value of 1 to 5, unless I'm doing something wrong!

    Many thanks for your help with this - no doubt I'll be back at some time in the future with more problems

    Kind regards - John

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