question for the gurus

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Jay Patrick, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. Jay Patrick

    Jay Patrick Guest

    I have a plan that I'm wondering whether or not it will work. I decided to
    get into HD video this year and purchased a Sanyo Xacti FH-1 which records
    full HD 60p in Mpeg-4 AVC/ h.264 format. I've been using a homemade PC with
    MSI G31M3 V2 motherboard and Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, along with 4 GB RAM. For
    software, I mainly use After Effects CS4 and Virtual Dub. As long as I
    record at 30p, my PC will handle the full HD resolution (60p starts to give
    trouble). The Sanyo has a couple of problems I don't like: 1) Artifacts in
    the video. These especially show up if any additional processing is done.
    I presume this is due to the compressed format of the videos. 2) Much of
    the video I had hoped to do was in low light situations and this camera just
    doesn't do well with it.

    As a solution, I am thinking of upgrading cameras to the Panasonic HDC-TM300
    because of it's good low light capability and AVCHD codec, but I don't know
    if my system will handle this. Also, I don't know if After Effects can
    handle AVCHD. For the former concern, I was thinking of simply purchasing a
    quad core CPU to replace the dual core my system currently has, but not sure
    if this is enough.

    I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have. If it's going to cost a lot
    more than the new camera to get a system capable of handling the files, then
    I'll retain the Sanyo for now and live with its shortcomings. If, however,
    a simple CPU upgrade will be sufficient then I'm seriously going to consider
    the Panasonic.

    Thanks in advance,
    Jay Patrick, Sep 10, 2009
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  2. "Jay Patrick" wrote ...
    What does "starts to give trouble" mean? Trouble *playing* the
    video on the computer, or trouble *processing* it?

    The Sanyo has a couple of problems I don't like: 1) Artifacts in
    Is improvement of the lighting not up for consideration?

    I am quite pleased that my Sony PMW-EX1 does about as well in
    low light as my Sony DSR-300, but those cameras may be beyond
    your (undisclosed) budget?
    Richard Crowley, Sep 10, 2009
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  3. Jay Patrick

    Jay Patrick Guest

    At 60 fps, I had some trouble processing in After Effects, but especially
    rendering as my PC would crash. At 30 fps, I don't have these problems.
    Yes, I've already done that but it gets to be a major inconvenience with the
    type of shooting I've been trying to do (closeups of wildlife, birds, etc).
    The first one you mentioned definitely is. I was looking to spend no more
    than $1200 on a camcorder. I'm not counting the close to $200 for a quad
    core CPU for my motherboard.

    Jay Patrick, Sep 10, 2009
  4. Jay Patrick

    Smarty Guest


    As I review the specs for your Sanyo camcorder, I see that the 1920 by 1080
    resolution modes from 9 to 24 Mbit/sec video depending up which mode you use
    and whether you use the 30p or 60p mode. It appears that you are offered 4
    choices, based on the brief Google search I did:

    Full-HR: 1920 x 1080 (60 fps/ 24Mbps) Full HD: 1920 x 1080 (60fields/sec
    Full-SHQ: 1920 x 1080 (30 fps/ 12Mbps) HD-SHQ: 1280 x 720 (30 fps/9Mbps)

    Full speed 24 Mbit/sec AVC/h.264 is the most demanding, and it does not
    surprise me that your Core 2 Duo is struggling with the fastest rate (I am
    assuming you are using Full-HR).

    I would expect that the quadcore should handle full rate AVCHD with no
    problems but I can't promise you this for a couple reasons. The motherboard
    you use and its associated performance is unknown to me, and it does truly
    matter how fast your bus speed is (FSB of 1333 Mhz with correspondingly fast
    RAM is really important). This is a common front side bus speed since 2004
    or 2005 so it should have it, but you might confirm this. Also, Adobe has
    been very weak in supporting AVCHD, and has yet to do fast rendering and
    other optimizations to make their software really handle the fastest 24
    Mbit/sec speed you want optimally. I have literally stopped buying and using
    Adobe video software since migrating to AVCHD a couple years ago, and the
    occasionally piece I purchase such as Premier Elements is just awful with
    AVCHD. I would visit the Adobe website and see their very specific
    recommendations for running After Effects with AVCHD, specifically minimum
    CPU requirements. After Effects and compositing in general is about the most
    stressful and CPU-intensive activity needed in video processing, and AVCHD
    compositing is about as tough as it gets at 24 Mbits/sec so I would not be
    surprised to see QX9650 / 9750 class / Nehalem and beyond, maybe better
    handled with an Core i7, DDR3, etc. which are, as I am sure you realize, not
    a simple swapping of your CPU chip. New MOBO, RAM, CPU, etc. may spend your

    If you are specifically interested in a particular camcorder like the
    Panasonic you mention, I would urge you to download some sample raw clips
    from this model and play with them on your current system with the specific
    editing / compositing work you want to accomplish. This will give you useful
    feedback as to whether your current hardware is remotely capable of handling
    the workload.

    Alternately, for a given computer, we can offer some suggestions about
    specific formats and camcorders if your budget does not permit a major
    investment. In particular, choosing the right-sized software can allow you
    to d a lot of very useful editing on AVCHD, even some 24 Mbit/sec AVCHD, on
    your current computer, but you will have to set your sights a lot lower that
    doing full-blown Adobe Effects type of work.

    Since the whole topic of AVCHD performance has gotten a lot of discussion
    here recently, I will summarize by saying that you are posing a very
    traditional "pro" requirement with Adobe After Effects and full rate AVCHD,
    so I can't portray this as the typical user expectation. Recent substantial
    upgrades both on the PC and the Mac have, thankfully, off-loaded a lot of
    the processing to specific video cards which support h.264 multiprocessing,
    and programs like Motion from Apple and After Effects are the most eligible
    users of this performance boost. Therefore it may be entirely possible to
    add the right new video card to your current machine and solve the Sanyo
    60fps 124 Mbit/sec issue without other changes. I kinda doubt it, but it is
    worth exploring as well.

    Hope this gets some further discussion and ideas flowing for you.

    Smarty, Sep 11, 2009
  5. Jay Patrick

    Jay Patrick Guest

    I just ordered a quad core CPU for less than $200. Even if it doesn't work,
    I will see better performance for other applications. I downloaded a sample
    AVCHD file to see if After Effects would open it. Of course, it wouldn't,
    but to my surprise Avidemux 2.5 would. Perhaps I can convert the file into
    a lossless format that After Effects could handle. I also have Sony Vegas
    9, but I have seldom used the program. It does seem to handle the AVCHD
    file, so perhaps it could convert it also. Can you suggest some lossless
    formats that After Effects could handle? My next step would be to try the
    Great suggestion and I'm going to do that. The file I tried above was
    AVCHD, but not at the higher speeds or data rate.
    I've grown used to what After Effects can do to files, which is why I say
    that if the original can be converted into a lossless format I'm all for it.
    I can actually live without the full 60 fps even with the new Panasonic
    (should I buy one) as long as I have at least full resolution, editing and
    effects capabilities.

    I think so. The next step will be to try out some of the Panasonic files
    once the new CPU arrives and I install it.

    Jay Patrick, Sep 11, 2009
  6. Jay Patrick

    Smarty Guest

    Vegas 8 does a very good job with AVCHD and CAN do conversions into many
    other formats if that is what you want to do, using the "Render As" menu
    choice with the proper selection of output format. You will need to go to
    the Adobe website or look on the box from After Effects to find the specific
    formats your version of the software will support.
    60 frames per second is adding an unnecessary burden to your process, and
    artifacting is not surprising on a such a low cost camera as your Sanyo at
    that speed. It also makes the editing process way more demanding on the CPU,
    and pushes your playback equipment to its limits as well. I would stick with
    30fps which should be more than adequate.
    Smarty, Sep 11, 2009
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