Can *any* PC play these videos smoothly?

Discussion in 'Professional Video Production' started by Peter, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. Peter

    Peter Guest

    There are four there. All the same one, with the M2T one being a
    direct transfer (via Premiere Elements) from a HC1E HD camcorder, and
    the MP4 ones having been generated by Handbrake.

    An Ipad plays even the smallest one quite poorly. My high-spec PC
    plays the bottom two "OK".

    I wonder what on earth one needs in the way of a video card etc to
    play the top one properly.
    Peter, Jul 30, 2011
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  2. The largest file, hcle.m2t, "with the M2T one being a direct
    transfer (via Premiere Elements) from a HC1E HD camcorder",
    does play smoothly on my computer. It appears to be an AVCHD
    file (but with a frame resolution of 1440x1080, same as HDV)
    with about a 30Mbps data rate and 25p fps. It is very unlikely
    that this file is in exactly its original form since the
    resolution and data rate have been changed, and it has been
    recompressed. Still, with a quad-core computer and nothing
    very astonishing in the way of gear or software, it does
    play well. (You should see what 60p 1920x1080 at 28Mbps VBR
    looks like on this computer [NOT smooth, but not TOO bad...].)
    David Ruether, Jul 30, 2011
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  3. Peter

    Peter Guest

    Yes; you are right in that it isn't original i.e. it was not
    transferred using HDV-Split for example. It was read into Elements and
    then re-output using the highest quality option available in that

    However I find that I have exactly the same problem playing "native"
    M2T files, which came straight off the HC1E. I have just transferred
    several hundred GB of such stuff... and my HC1E was sold on Ebay
    tonight so I am done with 1394 for ever :)

    Quad core... what video card have you got? I have a dual core PC with
    an Nvidia Geforce 8800 GT card. The thing is that in the same room I
    have a PC built specially to run FSX (for my son :)) with a $700 video
    card (~ 3 years ago; don't recall the type) and that is exactly as bad
    on these files.

    Unfortunately I have no way of objectively determining where the
    peoblem lies, because connecting the source camcorder (now I have a
    Canon Legria G10, whose ~ 24 mbit/sec M2T output files have exactly
    the same problem) direct to a Sony 1080P TV produces a perfect movie,
    with no motion blur.
    Peter, Jul 30, 2011
  4. Peter

    Frank Guest

    Peter, can I sell you a new computer? :)
    No, it's neither an HDV file nor an AVCHD file.

    1080 HDV is always stored as 1440 by 1080, but AVCHD supports both
    anamorphically squeezed 1440 by 1080 as well as full raster 1920 by

    The video may well have come directly off of an HDV camcorder, but the
    audio most certainly did not.

    The audio is Dolby Digital AC-3 which is NOT used in the HDV format.

    The original audio may have come off of an HDV camcorder, but if so,
    it was transcoded from MPEG-1 Layer II (.mp2) to Dolby Digital AC-3
    (.ac3) as part of the creation of this file.
    Yes, it's 1080i50 (meaning 50 fields per second.)
    Well, the video is MPEG-2 and it's a transport stream, so at least the
    video track may have come directly off of an HDV camcorder. If it did,
    and whether or not it was re-encoded, I don't know.
    David, can I sell *you* a new computer? :)

    While a dual processor Intel Xeon system would be nice, a single
    processor system based around a 3.46 GHz Intel Core i7-990X Extreme
    Edition chip, which has six cores and 12 MB of on-board cache memory,
    should do the trick.
    Frank, Jul 30, 2011
  5. BTW, I never liked Elements for HDV. With other programs
    that merely copied (RAPIDLY! ;-) unchanged material, the
    results had less visible alteration/degradation than
    with Elements. Also, it is FAR easier to play HDV on a
    computer smoothly than AVCHD of any sort, which is why
    I used to recommend it over AVCHD (in addition to the
    more secure archiving of the source material). I still hold
    these views, but the superior 60p 1920x1080 image of the
    Panasonic TM700 led me down the path toward spending much
    more money to do what used to be simple and cheap with HDV
    (and now I wish I had stuck with that!).
    Too bad...;-)
    That should be fine. Even a fast Pentium IV works with HDV...
    I have found (to my disappointment) that with AVCHD, I cannot
    play it more smoothly than before with a fast quad-core CPU,
    Windows 64-bit, 64-bit editing software, 6 gigs of RAM instead
    of three, a very fast solid-state HD, a video card with one
    gig of RAM instead of 128 megs, or the use of the CineForm
    software (the files just get FAR larger...). My editing software
    currently cannot use dual CPUs or more than four threads, so....
    So, for more pleasant editing of HD, nothing beats HDV, alas.
    See the above. Without spending a fortune on hardware (and even
    then), I have a feeling that this problem will not be solved for
    either of us unless someone has some REALLY SOLID suggestions
    for things I've missed. BTW, I now archive my edits as 50Mbps MP4
    60p 1920x1080 files that *almost* run smoothly on my computer....
    But good luck, and holler if you find a solution (meanwhile, I'm
    tempted to keep my Canon HV20 camcorder if I get tired of the
    struggle with AVCHD).
    David Ruether, Jul 30, 2011
  6. [...Referring to Peter's sample...]
    I've already put too much into all this with three 2-TB
    drives and the energy/time of trying various things.
    Cost *DOES* raise its ugly head (I'm well below the
    poverty line, and right at the edge of Medicaid...),
    so it's hard to justify what I have now with no income
    from it and little ability to hold a camera anymore
    ("whine-'n'-complain, moan-'n'-groan"...), so I build
    my own computers, and can afford only what is far enough
    back in the stream to be easy to get cheaply enough.
    Also, as I recall, Vegas Pro (I got it CHEAP! ;-) cannot
    use multiple CPUs (or threads more than four efficiently),
    but I may be wrong (I was happy to find that the render
    speed doubled when going from dual to quad core, a speed
    increase unlike any experienced in the past with upgrades).
    But, thanks. (If you have a good "bare bones" computer
    that would do the job for $29.98, let me know! Meanwhile,
    I will need to use RAM previews for smooth playback of
    little pieces while previewing...)
    David Ruether, Jul 31, 2011
  7. Peter

    Frank Guest

    I don't have a $29.98 solution, but a 3.4 GHz Core i7-2600K chip has
    performance very close to that of the 3.46 GHz Core i7-990X Extreme
    Edition chip that I mentioned above, but for a lot less money - about
    $325 versus about $1000.

    And either of these Core i7 choices is much less money than a decent
    dual-proc Xeon setup. In fact, the real appeal of the Xeon, st least
    for me, is not so much the speed but the support for ECC memory.

    BTW, I wasn't actually trying to sell you a computer. I don't sell
    computers, only my services. I was just trying to suggest what would
    be required to properly play files like this.
    Frank, Jul 31, 2011
  8. Peter

    Smarty Guest

    Paul, Frank, Dave, et al,

    One potential very low cost speedup which can be effective in some cases
    in to install CoreAVC Core Codec for h.264. Although this software is
    presently at version 2.5.5, registered owners have received yesterday an
    offer which expires at the end of this month, July, to purchase the
    software for $7.95, thus entitling them to also receive the forthcoming
    version 3.0 release at no additional charge.

    Take note of the discount code "SUMMER2011" in the email clip I have
    included below. Once entered, a $5 discount is applied to the purchase,
    resulting in a $7.95 cost.

    Here is the email "clip":


    We are down to our last 48 hours to be able to get an upgrade to
    CoreAVC 3.0

    for $7.95 with a purchase of CoreAVC 2.x now, before our price goes
    back to $12.95.

    This is the cheapest way to get CoreAVC 3.0, as we will not be
    offering upgrades for

    this milestone to our current users.

    CoreAVC 3.0 is the culmination of over 2 years of work and brings many
    new features:

    - Full DXVA 1 / DXVA 2 support

    - DXVA Fallback

    - AVC 10-bit decoding support

    - 4:4:4 profile support (in a later 3.x release)

    - Additional hardware support (more info the 3.0 press release)

    Get it here:

    Discount code: SUMMER2011

    This discount ends in 48 hours! Feel free to forward this email,

    post it on Twitter, Google+, Blogs, Websites, txt, etc.

    The CoreCodec Team

    for what they claim is the "world's fastest h.264 software video
    decoder". I have used the earlier versions going back to the original v
    1 release and the speed improvement can be very dramatic depending upon
    your specific software and hardware configuration.

    Hope this helps!

    Smarty, Jul 31, 2011
  9. Peter

    Smarty Guest

    Just to pay credit where it is due, Ken Maltby, a really well informed
    and knowledgeable video / h.264 pioneer, turned me on to this Coreavc
    software roughly 5 years ago on this forum when both of us started doing
    h.264 work. It was a very big improvement on my 3.0 GHz P4 machines in
    the teaching lab and on my personal machines as well.
    Smarty, Jul 31, 2011
  10. Peter

    Frank Guest

    Thanks for the info, Mr. Smarty. Hope that all is going well for you
    and Mrs. Smarty!

    Frank, Jul 31, 2011
  11. Peter

    Peter Guest

    One big reason why I am keen to move away from 1394 is because if my
    son borrows my camcorder to shoot something, he has to wind the tape
    until what looks like the end of my recording, and he doesn't always
    get it right! When I was transferring all the old tapes, I was doing
    some work in the same room so I was half watching the material as it
    was being transferred, and noticed some important material has been
    taped over right in the middle because, apparently, he wound to a gap
    which he thought was the end... With the G10 this cannot happen
    because the thing simply creates discrete M2T files in the flash
    memory which you simply drag/drop via USB. You just go to the
    directory called AVCHD and in there is one called STREAM and the files
    are in there. I ignore all the other files.

    It really is a much easier way of working.

    I got US$530 for the 5 years old HC1E which is respectable :)

    The USB transfer obviously works with any normal computer, which is
    handy if you are travelling with just a laptop.

    Regarding the playing issue, it is no good solving this with one
    high-spec PC if nobody else can watch it. I noticed that my Ipad (a
    one trick horse which is useful for some tasks :)) plays Youtube
    videos well; these are flash movies of a low bandwidth, but doesn't
    play any MP4 smoothly; not even the "Ipad" or "Ipod" ones I posted a
    link to. For a supposedly "media centred" device I was suprised at how
    crap the Ipad is, but I do wonder what one needs to do to make it
    work. Handbrake has presets for Ipod and Ipad and I used these, but
    the result is still blurred in any motion.

    My immediate requirement is to produce small videos (e.g. 720x560 or
    so) to go on a website (, which most people can play.
    Over the past few years I produced these (linked to from the above
    site, which itself runs on a very slow server)
    and most of them are Mpeg. All of them are of poor quality, either due
    to a crap camera or due to the fact that I have a file size limit on
    that server of 50MB. The "skimming" video is probably the least bad.
    Now I have a new server provided by a colleague
    and can go to much bigger files, but if I try to make anything in HD,
    nothing plays them.
    Peter, Jul 31, 2011
  12. Peter

    Smarty Guest

    I will NOT wander into this HDV versus h.264 / flash memory versus tape
    quagmire / morass yet again..........


    Both the iPad and the less powerful iPhone play h.264 extremely well,
    and those who have watched Netflix films, iTunes content, movie
    trailers, or other such content can readily see very good HD content.
    The trick to making your videos look comparable is to use software
    encoding / transcoding which exploits the custom hardware Apple has
    chosen for these playback devices.

    Handbrake should work well, although I have not personally used it. I
    say that it "should" work well since it was initially a Macintosh
    release, optimized for Apple users, and built by knowledgeable people.
    Whether the PC version properly preserves this quality is another
    matter, and one I have no particular expertise in.

    I have personally transcoded HDV / mpeg2 into h.264 for my iPhone with
    an excellent product called TMPGEncode 4.0 and it provides excellent
    quality. Two other products from this same company also provide
    transcoding at a lower cost, and should also work quite well, TMPGE
    Movie Style and TMPGE Video Mastering. The trial versions should give
    you a very good idea of their capabilities.

    Another comment I want to offer is that the performance of your
    authoring PC is far less important than the server streaming performance
    if your goal is to deliver h.264 web content. Latency can kill h.264 and
    other video performance by adding a "stutter" and mosaic / blocking
    which is extremely unattractive.

    If you are dealing with web streaming as the goal of your efforts, as
    opposed to making iPad (or iPhone) transcodes for viewing personally on
    our own devices, then some other considerations for delivery would be
    important to investigate.

    As a general rule, if you are finding that the content you are preparing
    is causing stutters or pauses in playback, the "brute force" solution
    would be to drop the bit rate, drop the resolution of the video, drop
    the audio bitrate, lower the frame rate, and generally dilute the
    quality of the delivered content. I think you can confirm that the iPad
    is capable of very acceptable video and audio quality when provided with
    good streams or good files to play, so the "trick" will be for you to
    find adequate authoring tools and adequate serving resources,

    I might suggest you download and use a trial version of TMPG Movie Style
    to get an idea as to how well it works. I am pretty sure they have a
    free try-out.

    How this helps,

    Smarty, Jul 31, 2011
  13. Peter

    Smarty Guest

    Hi Frank. All going well here, thank you! And hope the same is true for
    you as well ! Have wandered away from video in recent months, and am
    currently resurrecting some older audio gear I had stored in a closet
    years ago. I had forgotten how good the older gear could sound, having
    been drawn into the mp3 era with comparatively "lo-fi" playback
    equipment in the last decade.
    Mrs. Smarty tolerates my activities and eccentricities quite well, all

    I found the one of the early exchanges with Ken Maltby on a German high
    def website / forum which both of us frequented in the 2006-2007 time
    frame. The Coreavc comments come from about this time period:
    Smarty, Jul 31, 2011
  14. Peter

    Frank Guest

    Peter, try this, on your computer, not on your iPad, as an example of
    what will play and what will not play (hope you like dubstep).

    Alex Clare - Too Close (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

    The clip is AVC/AAC (MPEG-4 Part 10 AVC / H.264 video with MPEG-4
    AAC-LC audio in an MPEG-4 (.mp4) wrapper).

    The clip is offered in four different sizes - 240p, 360p, 480p, and
    720p. Start with the 240p clip and work your way up to see if you can
    play them all - or if not all, which one (or ones) you can't smoothly
    play without dropping frames, stuttering, etc.

    This little test will tell you a lot about your system and perhaps
    also guide you in determining exactly which frame size to offer for
    playback through your Web site.

    BTW, you used the term "flash video" in your post. All of the recent
    YouTube videos that I've seen - and keeping in mind that your mileage
    may vary - are MPEG-4 AVC/AAC in an MPEG-4 (.mp4) wrapper.

    Despite the fact that they are played back within your browser using
    the Adobe Flash Player (Microsoft ActiveX Control for Internet
    Explorer and the Netscape compatible plug-in for all other browsers),
    they are in fact MPEG-4 video files and not Flash video files.

    If you wish to refer to them as "flash files" because they play back
    in the Adobe Flash Player, fine, but I think that's bad terminology
    because they are not traditional Flash files - which have a .flv file
    extension and contain a video track that's usually encoded with either
    the Sorenson Spark or On2 VP6 video codec along with an MPEG Layer III
    audio track.

    I would expect that there are older files on YouTube, however, that
    are true Flash files, mainly because they're old and were never
    re-encoded into AVC/AAC .mp4 format, but none of the recently-uploaded
    stuff that I've seen is Flash; it's all AVC/AAC MPEG-4.
    Frank, Jul 31, 2011
  15. Peter

    Peter Guest

    Thank you (all) for your input.

    Currently I am using Vegas (HD Platinum). This imports the MTS files
    from the G10 cam directly, is easy to use, but it has very limited
    output options.

    None of the output options is the original data stream. The best I can
    see is what they call an 8mpbs 1920x1080 25fps with a 48kHz AC3 dolby

    It would be *that* which I would be feeding into Handbrake.
    The reality I am finding is that Handbrake, using the Ipod/Ipad
    presets, does not generate decent video for the Ipad2 I have here. And
    this is playing files from a very fast server, over a downlink which
    is running at about 7mbps. Obviously 7mbps is not enough for a say
    25mbps video, but the indicator in the player is showing the download
    *in advance of* the playing position so it seems to be keeping up.
    There is no stopping or blocking. All I get is the picture breakup
    during moving scenes.

    I suspect that the kind of media which the Ipad is designed for uses a
    *way lower* bitrate to what I am playing with. Youtube plays just
    Peter, Jul 31, 2011
  16. Peter

    Frank Guest

    I don't think that I've seen Ken around here lately. Probably struck
    it rich and moved to his own private island or something. :)

    I've been using various Core codecs for quite a number of years now,
    but switched to the Sony MPEG-4 AVC/AAC DirectShow codecs a while back
    because I was doing a lot of encoding for the Sony PSP (PlayStation
    Portable) using special Sony-supplied software that didn't work with
    other codecs.

    I kept all of the other codecs installed and simply changed the merit
    of the Sony filters to make them the first ones to be chosen.
    Frank, Jul 31, 2011
  17. Peter

    Peter Guest

    The video plays fine including the 720.
    OK; I thought that Youtube uses flash videos only. Premiere Elements
    offers an option to upload direct to Youtube, in a flash (FLV) format.
    The actual upload feature never seems to work (I have always had
    problems uploading to Youtube anyway, as have many others I know; the
    upload seems to just stop) and I never used the FLV format anyway.

    I have bought Vegas in the hope that it crashes less often than
    Premiere Elements, and so far it seems good - except for the very
    limited choice of output formats.

    I clearly need to sort out the workflow for G10 -> Vegas -> Handbrake
    -> MP4. This will involve outputting out of Vegas in the highest
    quality possible in that.
    Peter, Jul 31, 2011
  18. Peter

    Peter Guest

    I have just discovered that Vegas does have higher res options. Under
    the XDCAM ES (*.MP4) line there are various 35mbps VBR options e.g.
    1920x1080 50i.

    I am just making a video in the above 50i mode... it will be on the
    "gotdns" server eventually under the Jetprop directory.
    Peter, Jul 31, 2011
  19. Peter

    Frank Guest

    Actually, things could be a whole lot better, but I won't get into
    that here; it would just depress everyone.
    I know what you're saying, but in all seriousness, do keep in mind
    that your ears have aged (along with other body parts!) and you're
    unlikely to be hearing things in exactly the same way that you were
    hearing them 20 or more years ago.
    Still taking those pills, I see. :)
    That's a Web-based archive of the Usenet newsgroup.
    It's also archived at Google Groups at the following URL.

    Frank, Jul 31, 2011
  20. Peter

    Frank Guest

    As Smarty mentioned in another post, if you want good streaming
    capability, it's primarily about data rate, frame size, and frame rate
    - and all else being equal, you can (indirectly) control data rate by
    lowering the frame size so that if you're starting with 1080i50
    material, you can try encoding at 1080p25 with progressively smaller
    frame sizes, starting with quarter-frame at 960 by 540, 480 by 270,
    etc. until you get a data rate that works well for streaming purposes.
    That's the actual XDCAM EX format, intended for camcorder use. You DO
    NOT want to post files such as that for general consumption. Very few
    people would be able to play them.

    When you outgrow your little Canon, we'll get you a Sony PMW-F3.
    That's XDCAM EX. Then you can start shooting music videos for the
    entertainment of the group. :)
    Okay, looking forward to it.
    Frank, Jul 31, 2011
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