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yaron harel
Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 26, 2011 at 6:51:02 am

Hello all,
we just receive our new Panasonic AF-101 camera, we tested it under lab condition to figure it out the camera abilities and we want to discover if there is some "secrets" that we not found yet, our vision is that those cameras will replace the DSLR cameras and right now it doesn't seems it will can.
Thanks a lot, nice day to all, Yaron.

Yaron Harel


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Uli Plank
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 26, 2011 at 7:30:15 am

Can you be a bit more specific, please?

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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yaron harel
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 26, 2011 at 11:32:54 am

Hello Uli,
the tests we made in the lab include color test and exposition test on Gray scale from +3 stops over to -3 stops under, ISO 320 shatter 180 degrees AVCHD 4:2:0, on the test it's look good but it's look less nice in the editing room.
hope this information will help, Yaron.

Yaron Harel


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Rafael Amador
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 26, 2011 at 6:29:59 pm

Hi Yael,
Personally I would consider the AVCHD files only as a back up and I would avoid those files for any serious test of the camera.
For a proper test, I would use only the SDI/HDMI out to a IO card, Ki-Pro or a NANO-Flash.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Uli Plank
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 26, 2011 at 7:39:26 pm

I second this. We ordered a KiPro mini with ours.

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 26, 2011 at 9:10:08 pm

...All of the AF-100 reviews I've read to date have stated that the AVCHD footage looks virtually identical to the SDI footage captured with an external recorder. ( Crews.tv footage, Philip Bloom, The `Verse Before Dying`production crew )

AF-100 slow motion over-crank is ONLY possible by recording with the built-in AVCHD recorder.

Also, many Final Cut Pro users are not used to processing AVCHD video, and thus have to learn how to properly handle AVCHD to obtain the best results. Almost every person I come across that has problems with AVCHD is working with FCP on the Mac.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 27, 2011 at 2:46:15 am

I'd still make it ProRes at least once you get into post. This is a solid codec- but I'd prefer to not edit with it. Better performance with another more editorial friendly codec.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Uli Plank
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 27, 2011 at 7:44:15 am

I doubt you'll see a difference immediately. But when going into grading or keying, quite probably so.

Problems with AVCHD in FCP are only coming up if you don't copy the full data structure. Best method is ingest straight from the card. But since I always use ProRes in FCS, a recorder doing ProRes directly will save time when going into the edit. Think Alexa.

Director of the Institute of Media Research (IMF) at Braunschweig University of Arts


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 27, 2011 at 5:03:32 pm

I agree that we should treat the AVCHD only as an acquisition CODEC, as it makes no sense to use a Long GOP CODEC for anything else.

After shooting on AVCHD I transcode to the Cineform CODEC which is a 10 bit 4:2:2 wavelet CODEC, designed for both compositing and archiving of footage. One nice feature of the Cineform CODEC is that it is cross-platoform between PC and Mac NLEs. So you can open, edit, and save the SAME file on either a Mac or a PC. I've used this to share files with Final Cut Pro editors, so they work on specific parts, then send the modified files back to me to finish with Sony Vegas Pro.

BTW, the cheapest way to purchase the Cineform CODEC is to buy their NEO SCENE product, which can be bought from the http://www.videoguys.com website for $100.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:22:36 am

[Guy McLoughlin] "...All of the AF-100 reviews I've read to date have stated that the AVCHD footage looks virtually identical to the SDI footage captured with an external recorder. ( Crews.tv footage, Philip Bloom, The `Verse Before Dying`production crew )"
To "look virtually the same" basically means that when you have a closer look, you start to see the difference.

[Guy McLoughlin] "AF-100 slow motion over-crank is ONLY possible by recording with the built-in AVCHD recorder."
No. You can overcranck with any of the external recorders on the market. In fact, with any of them you don't really need overcranking.


[Guy McLoughlin] "Also, many Final Cut Pro users are not used to processing AVCHD video, and thus have to learn how to properly handle AVCHD to obtain the best results. Almost every person I come across that has problems with AVCHD is working with FCP on the Mac."
Is nothing about AVCHD or FC.
Is about comparing an skinny 420/GOP codec with a high data rate 422/Intraframe.
And about the workflow, if you prefer to transcode or re-wrap instead of editing right from the camera, well..that's up to you.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 28, 2011 at 1:44:48 pm

[Rafael Amador] "To "look virtually the same" basically means that when you have a closer look, you start to see the difference."

...But with the three examples I listed, when they looked closer they could NOT see much difference.

For example with the "A Verse Before Dying" spaghetti-western, they decided to NOT use the external recorder for some shots because the AVCHD footage was essentially identical to the SDI footage.

Writer/Director Stephen Mick Commenting on "A Verse Before Dying" Shoot

With the Crews.TV shoot, they had the raw AVCHD and raw SDI ( Panasonic 100 Mbit AVC-Intra ) footage up on their editing suite, and nobody in the production could tell which footage was AVCHD and which was 100 Mbit AVC-Intra. If you go to the Crews.TV website, you can download full resolution TIFF screen-shots of both the AVCHD and 100 Mbit AVC-Intra footage, and see for yourself that the shots are essentially IDENTICAL.

Here's a link to the Crews.TV article, where you can download the TIFF files yourself and see how good AVCHD produced by the AF-100 is: Crews.TV Blog : AF100 Images Pushed to the Limit

[Rafael Amador] "No. You can overcranck with any of the external recorders on the market."

Sorry, but your are 100 percent WRONG on this one. The Panasonic AF-100 will ONLY record slow-motion overcrank footage with the built-in AVCHD SDHC memory card recorder.


[Rafael Amador] "Is nothing about AVCHD or FC."

...Actually it's everything about AVCHD footage and how Final Cut Pro does a lousy job handling this type of footage. Many people are switching to Premiere CS5 for the Mac because it has no problem working with AVCHD footage.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 28, 2011 at 8:52:24 pm

[Guy McLoughlin] "[Rafael Amador] "To "look virtually the same" basically means that when you have a closer look, you start to see the difference."

...But with the three examples I listed, when they looked closer they could NOT see much difference.

For example with the "A Verse Before Dying" spaghetti-western, they decided to NOT use the external recorder for some shots because the AVCHD footage was essentially identical to the SDI footage.

Writer/Director Stephen Mick Commenting on "A Verse Before Dying" Shoot

With the Crews.TV shoot, they had the raw AVCHD and raw SDI ( Panasonic 100 Mbit AVC-Intra ) footage up on their editing suite, and nobody in the production could tell which footage was AVCHD and which was 100 Mbit AVC-Intra. If you go to the Crews.TV website, you can download full resolution TIFF screen-shots of both the AVCHD and 100 Mbit AVC-Intra footage, and see for yourself that the shots are essentially IDENTICAL.

Here's a link to the Crews.TV article, where you can download the TIFF files yourself and see how good AVCHD produced by the AF-100 is: Crews.TV Blog : AF100 Images Pushed to the Limit"

Sorry, but all this tells me nothing.
I heard too many technical inconsistencies from gurus and "reviewers".
As opinions are OK.

[Guy McLoughlin] "[Rafael Amador] "No. You can overcranck with any of the external recorders on the market."

Sorry, but your are 100 percent WRONG on this one. The Panasonic AF-100 will ONLY record slow-motion overcrank footage with the built-in AVCHD SDHC memory card recorder."

With a good external recorder you don't need to overcranck; Record high data rate and conform is te way. Meanwhile you keep a norma speed movie with full audio.


[Guy McLoughlin] "...Actually it's everything about AVCHD footage and how Final Cut Pro does a lousy job handling this type of footage. Many people are switching to Premiere CS5 for the Mac because it has no problem working with AVCHD footage."
For me what is lousy are all those domestic codecs.
Happily I don't need to use them.
About how Premier (which happily I don't use neither) manage AVCHD, here you can read Shane Ross opinion:
http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/200/890857
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 28, 2011 at 9:48:41 pm

[Rafael Amador]Sorry, but all this tells me nothing.

Sure it does. From the Crews.TV site you can download the full resolution uncompressed TIFF images that were output from the Crews.TV editor, and directly compare the 24 Mbit AVCHD CODEC against the AVC-Intra 100 Mbit CODEC. If you do this you will see with your own eyes that the image captured by each CODEC is essentially the SAME.

[Rafael Amador]With a good external recorder you don't need to overcranck; Record high data rate and conform is te way. Meanwhile you keep a norma speed movie with full audio.

The whole reason for overcrank is to be able to shoot at 60 FPS and display it as slow motion on a 24 FPS timeline. This cannot be done with an external recorder because the highest frame rate the external recorder will ever see with the AF-100 is 30 FPS. Using software ( like Twixtor ) you can create "fake" slow motion, but the software has to create in-between frames that do no exist, so the result is never as good as real overcranked slow-motion.

[Rafael Amador] For me what is lousy are all those domestic codecs.

I agree that there are many bad implementations of the AVCHD CODEC that can produce horrible results, but the Panasonic AVCCAM implementation is a very good CODEC.

[Rafael Amador] About how Premier (which happily I don't use neither) manage AVCHD, here you can read Shane Ross opinion: http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/200/890857

I have to assume that Shane Ross is not talking about Premiere CS5, which can decompress 5 or more full resolution 1080P video streams at the same time with no slow down, but you have to have the right nVidia video card hardware to do the decompression. ( the older versions of Premiere are quite slow when decompressing the AVCHD CODEC )


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John Cummings
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 30, 2011 at 1:00:50 am

This is getting to be like a tennis match.
I'll call it 40-30 McLoughlin. Amador's serve up next...

J.Cummings
Chicago
HDX-900/HDW-730S/DXC-D50
847-220-3172


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yaron harel
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 30, 2011 at 3:23:03 pm

Thank to all of you that participate in the discussion, I have read all the responds and start to understand what productions we target this cameras.
Thank you all, Yaron.

Yaron Harel


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Rafael Amador
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 30, 2011 at 6:09:58 pm

[Guy McLoughlin] "uncompressed TIFF images that were output from the Crews.TV editor, and directly compare the 24 Mbit AVCHD CODEC against the AVC-Intra 100 Mbit CODEC. If you do this you will see with your own eyes that the image captured by each CODEC is essentially the SAME."
HOW will you compare an 8b/420/YUV picture with a 10b/422/YUV, using 8b RGB pictures?
What kind of test is that?

[Guy McLoughlin] "The whole reason for overcrank is to be able to shoot at 60 FPS and display it as slow motion on a 24 FPS timeline. This cannot be done with an external recorder because the highest frame rate the external recorder will ever see with the AF-100 is 30 FPS."
Guy, you should read the brochure again
You can overcrank ONLY at 720p.
At 1080 there is no overcranking.
So the higher fps you will get on camera or on external recorder is 720p60.

Overcranking makes sense when you record on camera because, as your self pointed, the processor works at a higher data-rate. With an external recorder, is always better shoot at p60/50 and conform if needed. You will always have a movie that can be played at normal speed and with all the audio.
When overcranking (at least on other cameras) you lose the audio.

[Guy McLoughlin] "Panasonic AVCCAM implementation is a very good CODEC."
That's really good to know. My experience with those codecs, so far, has been no much pleasant.

[Guy McLoughlin] "I have to assume that Shane Ross is not talking about Premiere CS5"
Premier has started to sound like an option from CS5 and the famous mercury Engine.
I need to ask Shane, but I doubt very much he was talking about CS4.

[John Cummings] "This is getting to be like a tennis match.
I'll call it 40-30 McLoughlin. Amador's serve up next..."

Is not about tennis, but about learning and confronting informations and points of views.
Discussions has helped me to realize and mend many of my errors and miss conceptions on Digital Video. there are no books to learn all those things.
Anyway, I wish I would be Rafa Nadal instead of Rafa Amador :-)
Cheers,
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 30, 2011 at 10:45:49 pm

[Rafael Amador] "HOW will you compare an 8b/420/YUV picture with a 10b/422/YUV, using 8b RGB pictures? What kind of test is that?"

The AF-100 does NOT output 10-bit/422/YUV to an external recorder, it ONLY outputs 8-bit/422/YUV video.

Everything the AF-100 captures is ALWAYS 8-Bit, which is too bad, but I expect to see a P2 card version of the AF-100 within the next year or so, and if we are lucky it will include 10-bit AVC-Intra 100 Mbit recording.

[Rafael Amador] "At 1080 there is no overcranking."

The AF-100 DOES do 1080 60P overcrank conformed to a 1080 24P video stream but ONLY when recording to an internal AVCHD SDHC memory card. Also, you must use a CLASS 10 SDHC memory card to record 1080 60P overcrank, as the data-rate becomes 35 Mbit in overcrank mode.

I was kind of confused when I first heard about this. It's really great that 1080 60P overcrank is possible with the AF-100, and some people are hoping to turn this in to real 1080 60P conformed to a 60P video stream. You will have to record double-system sound, but that's not too big of a deal to get true 1080 60P recording.

[Rafael Amador] "When overcranking (at least on other cameras) you lose the audio."

The AF-100 does NOT record audio when recording in 1080 60P overcrank mode to the internal AVCHD SDHC memory card.

[Rafael Amador] "Is not about tennis, but about learning and confronting informations and points of views.
Discussions has helped me to realize and mend many of my errors and misconceptions on Digital Video. there are no books to learn all those things."

Yes, I agree 100 percent. Sometimes it's hard to keep an open mind when something comes on the market and changes many of the old ideas that used to be true...

AVCHD is a good example of this, as most AVCHD video is quite bad, but AVCCAM ( Panasonic's AVCHD ) is really good. Barry Green ( Panasonic Guru ) has compared 21-Mbit AVCCAM against 35-Mbit Sony XDCAM EX that the Sony EX-1 and EX-3 cameras record, and the AVCCAM proved to be a superior CODEC. ( the XDCAM EX CODEC broke while the AVCCAM CODEC would not )

Barry Green : XDCAM-EX vs. AVCCAM


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Rafael Amador
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 31, 2011 at 11:31:53 am

[Guy McLoughlin] "The AF-100 does NOT output 10-bit/422/YUV to an external recorder, it ONLY outputs 8-bit/422/YUV video.

Everything the AF-100 captures is ALWAYS 8-Bit, which is too bad, but I expect to see a P2 card version of the AF-100 within the next year or so, and if we are lucky it will include 10-bit AVC-Intra 100 Mbit recording."

I know that that HDMI put out just 8b Unc, but the codec used to record that is AVC-I is 10b Compressed, so you end up comparing 8b/YUV stuff with an 10b/YUV stuff using an 8b RGB codec.
To make an unquestionable test, the HDMI out should be recorded to 8b Uncompressed.

But in the end that is a technical question. I start to think that the appreciation of these guys comparing the AF codec with AVC-I. may be right. AVC-I is very SHORT of data rate for being an Intraframe codec. In fact the difference with the AF codec may be just on the GOPs structure.
I've ever thought of AVC-I as mistake of PANA.

[Guy McLoughlin] "The AF-100 DOES do 1080 60P overcrank conformed to a 1080 24P video stream but ONLY when recording to an internal AVCHD SDHC memory card. Also, you must use a CLASS 10 SDHC memory card to record 1080 60P overcrank, as the data-rate becomes 35 Mbit in overcrank mode."
OK. I wasn't aware of this. I understand that the SDI can not gives the 1080p60, but can be recorded on camera.

[Guy McLoughlin] "AVCHD is a good example of this, as most AVCHD video is quite bad, but AVCCAM ( Panasonic's AVCHD ) is really good. Barry Green ( Panasonic Guru ) has compared 21-Mbit AVCCAM against 35-Mbit Sony XDCAM EX that the Sony EX-1 and EX-3 cameras record, and the AVCCAM proved to be a superior CODEC. ( the XDCAM EX CODEC broke while the AVCCAM CODEC would not )"
Is clear that at medium/low data-rates AVC beats MPEG-2. This what has beed designed for (there are more than 15 years of developments in between).
I agree with you that the EX-1 at 35Mbps is too short. This is why I bought my NANO-Flash. 'm sure the AF - even using a better codec - will be benefited by recording with a Ki-Pro or NANO.
Cheers,
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 31, 2011 at 2:50:25 pm

[Rafael Amador] "This is why I bought my NANO-Flash. I'm sure the AF - even using a better codec - will be benefited by recording with a Ki-Pro or NANO."

If you read the post by Stephen Mick, writer/director of the AF-100 short "A Verse Before Dying" he states...

On "Verseā€¦" we used the Nano for one particular scene, one we thought would be a tough challenge for the onboard AVCCAM codec of the AF-100. What our editor found was that indeed, the differences between the AVCCAM and Nano files were minimal to non-existant.

Stephen Mick commenting on shooting "A Verse Before Dying"

...So using a very high bit-rate CODEC via the NANO would be useful for green-screen or SFX compositing, but makes no real difference when compared to the built-in AVCCAM CODEC for regular video shooting.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 31, 2011 at 4:27:50 pm

[Guy McLoughlin] "...So using a very high bit-rate CODEC via the NANO would be useful for green-screen or SFX compositing, but makes no real difference when compared to the built-in AVCCAM CODEC for regular video shooting."
Well , f they did set the NANO at 35Mbps, they got plain EX-1 footage.
Whatever these guys may say, comparing 420 with 422 it doesn't sustains. Nothing about codecs, but about Chroma Subsampling.
I can tell you that with the EX-1/NANO you may not see that difference neither, but is there and you don't need to do ChromaKey to feel it.
You may don't notice it if you are using the 3W-CC on FC, but you'll do it as soon as you go to Color. Much more in the moment you start to use the Secondary room.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 31, 2011 at 8:33:37 pm

[Guy McLoughlin] "...So using a very high bit-rate CODEC via the NANO would be useful for green-screen or SFX compositing, but makes no real difference when compared to the built-in AVCCAM CODEC for regular video shooting."

[Rafael Amador] "Well, if they did set the NANO at 35Mbps, they got plain EX-1 footage. Whatever these guys may say, comparing 420 with 422 it doesn't sustains. Nothing about codecs, but about Chroma Subsampling.

...But they DID NOT set the NANO to 35Mbps, they used the high bit-rate settings. They are professional film-makers and know how to get the best results out of their equipment.

So far many comparisons between high bit-rate 4:2:2 video recorded with an external recorder like the NANO and the built-in 24 Mbit AVCCAM recorder in the AF-100 show almost no visible difference. Yes it would make a difference with green-screen or FX compositing where 4:2:2 color helps to record more Chroma information.

Since the introduction of the AF-100, I have seen several film-makers claim that the AVCCAM CODEC is not good enough, that you must use a high bit-rate 4:2:2 external recorder, but so far nobody has been able to demonstrate this with the actual camera. Every professional comparison I've seen so far proves that there is very very little difference between AVCCAM and any 4:2:2 external recorder.

As for color work, if you ONLY use the AVCCAM CODEC as an acquisition format, and use a professional higher bit-rate 4:2:2 CODEC ( like ProRes or Cineform ) for color / grading work, you will see essentially no difference in the finished result, compared to shooting with a 4:2:2 high bit-rate CODEC.

The bottom line is that the AVCCAM CODEC is really good, and can be used in place of a high bit-rate external recorder for general video work.

Critical video work like green-screen or FX compositing will benefit from the extra Chroma information of a 4:2:2 CODEC, so this is where the external recorder makes a lot of sense.


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Rafael Amador
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Jan 31, 2011 at 10:44:45 pm

Hi Guy,
Thanks for sharing your insights on this.
I have that camera in mind and I want to know as much as I can.
Our "tennis" has been very useful for me.
I hope I can try all this by my self soon.
Cheers,
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Feb 1, 2011 at 2:41:58 am

Hi Rafael,

Thanks, our "tennis" match has been fun. I also plan on buying an AF-100 this summer, but right now I am slowly building up my micro 4/3 lens collection using a Panasonic GH-2 DSLR body. The GH-2 shoots very nice video, but it's not a professional camera like the AF-100.

Over the past 2 years I've been shooting corporate videos mostly with a Panasonic HMC-150 camera, which is how I became familiar with the AVCCAM video CODEC. I want to add the AF-100 to shoot more sophisticated corporate work and for a few fictional short films I've written.

The Sony F3 is also a very interesting camera, but it's way out of my price range. ( $15,000 is my budget for everything right now, and outfitting a Sony F3 would mean moving up to a $30,000 budget for a complete basic set-up. Too much for me. )

Thanks for your insights.

Good luck with your shoots.

- Guy


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Bob Amato
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Feb 12, 2011 at 3:50:23 pm

Guy McLoughlin: I agree that there are many bad implementations of the AVCHD CODEC that can produce horrible results, but the Panasonic AVCCAM implementation is a very good CODEC.

Do you mean that cameras like Panasonic SD600 and SD700 have horrible codec`s?


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Feb 12, 2011 at 4:18:37 pm

I haven't evaluated the CODEC used by the SD600 or SD700 cameras, but I know that many people have had bad experiences with consumer cameras where the AVCHD CODEC is not properly implemented.

The Panasonic AVCCAM cameras have the best AVCHD encoding hardware of any consumer/prosumer camera. The AVCHD video from these cameras is almost identical to higher bit-rate I-frame based CODECs. The image quality is outstanding.

The thing to keep in mind is that AVCHD is a long-GOP CODEC, so it's designed for image acquisition and not for editing. Some NLEs have no problem with it, but many do, so depending on your NLE you may have to transcode to an I-frame based CODEC to properly edit your AVCHD footage.


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Bob Amato
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:18:52 pm

Guy McLoughlin: Some NLEs have no problem with it, but many do, so depending on your NLE you may have to transcode to an I-frame based CODEC to properly edit your AVCHD footage.

How do you do that?


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Guy McLoughlin
Re: Panasonic AF-101
on Feb 13, 2011 at 6:23:46 pm

If you are working on a Mac and own Final Cut Pro you can convert to one of the Apple ProRes CODECs.

I use is the Cineform NEO SCENE software to transcode video to the Cineform 10-bit CODEC. NEO SCENE is available for both Mac and Windows, and video files stored in the Cineform 10-bit CODEC format can be edited on BOTH Mac and Windows editors. The cheapest place to buy Cineform NEO SCENE is from the http://www.videoguys.com website, which sells both the Mac and Windows version for about $100 US.

You can also go to the Cineform website and download a free trial, so you can test out the software before you buy it.

Since I edit with Sony Vegas Pro 9 / 10, I have no problem working with AVCHD files, as Vegas opens up the native AVCHD video files within a 32-bit color-space which allows me to edit them, and then save the finished work in the Cineform 10-bit CODEC format.

On the Mac side of things, Adobe Premiere CS5 also has no problems working with native AVCHD video files, so you can by-pass the whole transcode step if you work with Premiere CS5.


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