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What & How

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Stan Causely
What & How
on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:17:15 pm

Very simple needs, film a long meeting, take the multiple files generated, trim the meeting time-line beginning & end, join the multiple files, and put it on the webpage. Maybe edit out a long pause, or break in the meeting.

While I haven't settled on an editor yet, the ones I've tried (demo versions of Vegas, Adobe, Pinnacle, others) all seem to have sufficient editing tools for my needs.

They are all very slow, and that might be the source file format. Specs below *

The "what" question is with which editor should I settle on as I begin my learning curve?

The "how" question centers around workflow - most of the editors have some assistance on how to edit, however hand holding on rendering to maximize an attribute appears weak. It appears to be trial & error, select one of many options, point, fire, see what happens. This is a lot like my experience with free software - which I hoped to avoid with licensed products.

So, I need an editor that will work with my file format and modest editing needs & shepard me a bit so I don't get lost in the rendering/format weeds.


Me - geek, technical, hands on.
My PC is 4 gig, dual core, 2.5 mhz, Vista 64 SP2
My camcorder Samsung H200 H264/AVCHD mp4
Capture 2/3 hours = 4 or 5 2 gig files.

Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : Main@L4.2
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames : 4 frames
Format settings, GOP : M=3, N=15
Codec ID : avc1
Codec ID/Info : Advanced Video Coding
Duration : 35mn 51s
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 5 995 Kbps
Width : 1 280 pixels
Height : 720 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16:9
Frame rate mode : Variable
Frame rate : 59.940 fps
Minimum frame rate : 59.920 fps
Maximum frame rate : 59.960 fps
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.109
Stream size : 1.50 GiB (98%) (one file)
Title : HMX200
Language : English

ID : 2
Format : AAC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
Format version : Version 4
Format profile : LC
Codec ID : 40
Duration : 35mn 51s
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 128 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : Front: L R
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 32.8 MiB (2%)
Title : HMX200
Language : English

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Mark Suszko
Re: What & How
on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:45:35 pm

Well, the laetst version of Adobe Premiere AFAIK can handle that format of yours natively. Apple's FCP (for now) would need an intermediate step of transcoding the footage. And won't help you anyway since you are on PC.

I don't know what Sony VEGAS can do these days but it used to be pretty much a Swiss army knife in terms of formats it could accept. But it runs on PC. That would likely be your least expensive route, if that's an issue. Vegas has a U.I. that some like and others don't. But it may be the quicker one for a beginner to get familiar with versus Premiere's interface. Your project, apart from the recording format, sounds pretty basic and you won't need a lot of "firepower" to accomplish this.

So I would go over the specs for Premiere and Premiere Elements (the "lite" version) and see if you like that and can work with that for your budget. Premiere is dual-platform these days, available mac and PC.

I can't speak to Avid these days, you could ask in the COW Avid forum.

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Michael Kammes
Re: What & How
on Dec 16, 2010 at 12:29:16 am

I can speak to Avid...

The bottleneck is your acquisition format.

H.264 looks great, but sucks in post. Yes I said it. It's tough to decode in real time, let alone effects. See also: Canon 5D / 7D.

Let's say we use Avid with the new AMA plug-in structure (i.e. most anything you can play at the OS level in Quicktime, Avid can understand *without transcoding / import* including XDCAM and P2.) If we run Avid on the fastest industry standard CPUs out there (HP z800, Westmere Macs) and use AMA for your footage, even Avid does not guarantee playback 100% at full quality. H.264 is a tough piece of gristle.

I've found Premiere to be able to chomp through h.264 a wee bit better...but still hit or miss, and FCP, well, that's gonna be a crapshoot with playback set to unlimited, but usually will be the worst of the big 3.

Camera manufacturers (for the most part) need to get pretty pictures at low data rates (cheaper). H.264 does this. Since Post is an after thought, h.264 gets the nod in-camera. There are exceptions; Alexa (ProRes), for exmaple. XDCAM and P2 are a good balance of compression and editability...then again, they've been out for about 5 years.

You may want to look into a baseband conversion into a more edit friendly codec while shooting (all done in RT). (Ki Pro, Ki Pro Mini, Nano Flash)


.: michael kammes mpse
.: senior applications editor . post workflow consultant
.: audio specialist . act fcp . acsr

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