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Thread: AVCHD or Blu-Ray?

  1. Default AVCHD or Blu-Ray?

    I have seen software to produce Blu-ray dvds and AVCHD dvds from digital camera photos and videos. I assumed that Blu-ray was a higher quality format, but now I am not so sure. Both formats are listed as being able to produce 1920x1080, so is AVCHD the same quality as blu-ray, but with a smaller disc size? Or does blu-ray actually produce a better quality?

    Basically I am asking: If I want to make a slide show from the output of digital cameras photos and videos (not from a camcorders) and I have the choice of both AVCHD and blu-ray, which output would have a higher quality? Does anyone know (all other things being the same)?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Asheville, NC USA


    Blu-ray is the way to go.

    Blu-ray uses a MPEG4 compression. It's using the H.264 codec. Most blu-ray players can read up to 40Mbps. This is a lot of data per sec.

    The AVCHD codec is heavily compressed. It's like trying to cram a beach ball into a garden hose. There's a lot of artifacts as well, which will only degrade the overall image quality. The max bit rate for this codec is usually 22-24Mbps. Most DSLR cameras use the H.264 codec and compress their video to a max of 48Mbps. This is double the amount of data then that of the AVCHD codec!

    Can both H.264 and AVCHD do full 1080p (1920x1080)? Of course, but the way the files are compressed is where the rubber meets the road.

    I would certainly use the native format for blu-rays, H.264 (MPEG4). Be mindful that some of the newer blu-ray players, can play "video files," which are compressed using the AVCHD codec (*.MTS files). But not all blu-ray players can do this.

    Now, will taking AVCHD videos and burning them into MPEG4 improve their quality? No. You'll only be converting these files to a native blu-ray format.

    Hope that answers things for you.


  3. Default

    First, thank you for the reply. I was beginning to despair about getting an answer.

    I agree that using Blu-ray is preferable and, in fact, I ordered a Blu-ray burner on my new laptop just so I could produce Blu-ray slide shows from the photos and videos from our digital cameras. But if I create a Blu-ray slide show using video editing software like Sony Movie Studio HD Platinum 11, burn it as Blu-ray to a Blu-ray disc and watch it as played by my Blu-ray player on our HD TV will the images look any better than they would using AVCHD?

    Presumably they are both 1920x1080 and they are both recorded at 60i, so would the Blu-ray look better? Will the artifacts from AVCHD visibly degrade the presentation or not? I just don't know.

    I do know that when my laptop arrives I can make both AVCHD and a Blu-ray discs, play both and compare them, but until it arrives I was left wondering if using the Blu-ray burner would actually produce a better looking slide show.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Asheville, NC USA


    I'm not familiar with Sony Movie Studio HD, but from the sounds of it, it sounds like it has a slideshow generator? Correct me if I'm wrong.

    If that is the case, burning a blu-ray is still the better option. It's higher quality.

    However, if you're having to pull your photos into an editor, such as Premiere, Vegas, Final Cut, etc... then be sure to export to a video file with your high specs: 1920X1080 30p (30 frames progressive scan **this is cleaner than 60i and looks better on digital displays (LCDs, Plasmas, other HD monitors)**, and compress the video at a high bit rate, like 40Mbps.

    Then let Sony Movie Studio burn that video file to a blu-ray.

    Again, as I said before, I would stick to blu-ray only, since not all blu-ray plays are compatible to play AVCHD video files.

    Let me know if you've got more questions.


  5. Default

    Thanks again. I will be sure to do as you suggest. Time to get some Blu-ray re-writable discs.

    By the way, the software I mentioned, Sony Movie Studio Platinum 11 is really Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum 11. I just forgot the "Vegas" in the name. The suite, when creating a Blu-ray slide show written to a file instead of to a Blu-ray disc, creates a ".avc" file, but I cannot find anything to play that output so I assume it must be written to a blu-ray disc to actually be viewed.
    Last edited by MikeFromMesa; 07-12-2011 at 11:24 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Asheville, NC USA


    An *.avc file (advance video coding) still uses the H.264 codec. However, this file extension is rarely used. Try exporting from Vegas using the *.mp4 file extension. You will have a large list of video presents. Look for something like 1920x1080, 30fps, Progressive Scan.

    Then you can import that file into your DVD authoring software and it will compile it for your blu-ray.


  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeGJr
    An *.avc file (advance video coding) still uses the H.264 codec. However, this file extension is rarely used. Try exporting from Vegas using the *.mp4 file extension. You will have a large list of video presents. Look for something like 1920x1080, 30fps, Progressive Scan.
    What I found is that if I create a new Blu-ray 1920x1080 project and then select Make A Movie -> Save It To My Hard Drive I am only offered a small number of options that actually correspond to the initial settings. Of these only 2 are marked as Sony "Blu-ray" and both of those produce avc files. One is Main Concept (whatever that is) Blu-ray MPEG-2, one is EDCAM (whatever that is) HQ MP4 and the remaining one is Windows HD. Those are the only choices that correspond to the initial 1920 x 1080, 24p settings. I will try those and see what I get.

    It seems to me that the Sony Vegas Movie Studio software is real software in the sense of having a great deal of functionality and many, many options. The problem, for me, is that the Quick Start guide that is provided seems to be the only user guide available and it is not complete enough for me to understand what many options are for and how to competently use the software. Examples:

    1) The Vegas Movie Studio Quick Start guide (QS) mentions that markers can be created, but there was not very much information as to why one would want to do so. I understand now (after having it explained to me) that these are markers for quickly moving forward in the slide show, but that was not clear to me when I read the QS,

    2) Selecting an AVCHD project in Vegas MS and then selecting to send that to DVD-A produces, by default, a lower resolution DVD. I found this out the hard way by burning a disc in DVD-A and then watching it. Fortunately I am using re-writable discs while I am trying to learn, but DVD-A offers no higher res option for a DVD project than 720 x 480. Why does Vegas MS allow me to create an AVCHD project (1920 x 1080) and then not allow me to burn it at the normal AVCHD resolution? Or, alternatively, if DVD-A will not allow creation of an AVCHD disc why does Vegas MS allow me to create one and then pass it to DVD-A?,

    3) It took me hours to find out how to add transitions to all of the slides in the timeline. Well, reading the QS helped me find out, but I am used to software being more intuitive than Vegas. Part of that is the fact that it seems to have a huge amount of functionality that is buried in the options,

    4) I have still not found out how to create a DVD slide show that allows me to add buttons to the screen and links those buttons to sections in the slide show. I don't want the photos and videos linked to the buttons to show up on the main title, just buttons that would say, for example, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, ... and where each would link to specific slides in the show. I believe that I can do that, but I have not yet found a way to do that. All attempts to add sub-menus and compilations in DVD-A add the images to the main screen,

    5) The DVD-A QS says that you can add existing picture compilations to a sub-menu, but I cannot find any way to create these picture compilations beforehand. When I read the QS guide section on Creating Picture Compilations it explains how to add photos to an existing project, but not how to create a picture compilation by itself. When I select the option to create a picture compilation it only offers me the option to create one on disc.

    And so on. I am sure that all of the things I want to do are, in fact, do-able, but I just don't know how to do them and there does not seem to be a book available on Movie Studio 11. There is one for 10, but I don't know how many changes have been made.

    On the other hand, once I figure out how to do something it seems to me that the quality of the output is really high. For example, using your suggestion, I created a disk-resident Main Concept MPEG-2 file while I was responding to your post and, when it was done, it was outstanding.

    Don't mind me - I am just whining ...
    Last edited by MikeFromMesa; 07-13-2011 at 03:55 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Asheville, NC USA


    Yes, there's a lot to learn. But it's like anything, once you learn it, you'll say, "It's not that bad."

    I use Premiere Pro for editing and Encore for DVD authoring. I've never used Sony Vegas, so sorry I can't be a better help to explain more to you.

    I do know that you can create DVD menus, menu buttons (while linking them to other menus and videos), etc. with Sony Vegas, I just don't know the software. Sorry.

    Just keep familiarizing yourself with Vegas and you'll get it soon enough.

    Let me know if you've got any other questions.


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