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Mar 22, 2005

mojo1701a posted:

Also, about Avid: I haven't really edited much on it, but I am going to start a project on it soon. How different is it compared to FCP? I know that it's not all that drag-and-drop like, and I use FCP as if it were Avid (ie. not doing things like shoving all the footage on the timeline and seeing what sticks). I'm referring to more of the technical side.

I ask because I co-edited a short for a director who wasn't happy with the final cut (it got meddled with), so he's given me cart blanche to edit it from scratch, and I was thinking of using Avid to do it. My concerns so far are for the capturing process. The footage is on a few miniDV tapes.

I've just upgraded to version 5 of Avid and by default it actually had this retarded tool set activated that forces you to drag and drop the footage. It's easily turned off, but I was a little surprised. One of the reasons I like Avid is because I work fast, and up until now it's always been tailored towards three point editing.

I haven't captured from tape in quite a while, so this may have changed in later versions, but Avid has always been very particular about capture settings. Any tapes you capture absolutely have to match your project settings. For example, if the footage has been shot in HDV PAL 1080i, you must set your resolution to 1080i50 and then additionally set the raster dimension to 1440x1080. If you forget the latter the capture tool simply won't pick up the video stream. Again, though, maybe later versions have eased up on this restriction. It's something to bear in mind anyway.


Mar 22, 2005

I don't think MPEG Streamclip will work with AVCHD unless you either buy Quicktime's MPEG2 decoder (seriously?) or use Quicktime Alternative.

I've been working with a lot of AVCHD source material lately and I've yet to find a very user-friendly way of transcoding it - encoders either crash or simply refuse to recognise the video stream. At the moment I use AviSynth to pre-process the video, and use the QTSource plugin to write out to Avid DNxHD for ingest into Avid. This process requires constant attention though, since it's not automated.

One program I could suggest is "ffmbc" ( - it's a command-line app that uses the ffmpeg library. It does mean using a command prompt initially to figure out what you're supposed to be doing, but a lot of it is automated and you could simply write a batch file to process all your video clips in one go. There's a how-to page here:

So, for example, to take an AVCHD .mts clip with a frame-rate of 23.976 and transcode it to DNxHD, I would do:

ffmbc -i AVCHDclip.mts -vcodec dnxhd -b 175M -acodec pcm_s16le -ar 48000 -ac 2 OutputFile.MOV
Looking at the how-to, for editing in Premiere you could encode to MPEG2 Intraframe (always use intraframe for editing), or MJPEG. The Lightworks beta program will also be able to import a selection of editing codecs. If you're transcoding to DNxHD, make sure you match the bitrate setting (above it's 175M) with your frame-rate (185M for 25p/50i for example). There's a chart on the how-to page I linked above with all the values.

Plus, it's ffmpeg. Its H264 decoding does a good job, much better than the Quicktime API.

Quick solution: Download ffmbc, extract it somewhere. Create a new batch file (renamed text file) and punch this into it (change vcodec and other settings where necessary):

for %%a in ("*.mts") do ffmbc -i "%%a" -vcodec dnxhd -b 175M -acodec pcm_s16le -ar 48000 -ac 2 -threads 4 "%%a"-Transcoded.MOV
Save the batch file in the same folder as ffmbc.exe. Now drag your AVCHD clips into that folder, run the batch file and go and make a drink. When you come back you should have a series of transcoded clips. As mentioned above, if you're not using DNxHD then you'll have to experiment with the settings, but that is honestly the fastest (and least painful) solution I've managed to come up with so far!

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