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AVCHD footage appears De-Interlaced when exported Interlaced or Progressive

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William Duke
AVCHD footage appears De-Interlaced when exported Interlaced or Progressive
on Jan 3, 2012 at 10:26:52 am

I wish to edit footage shot with my Sony Handycam HDR-CX350 in Final Cut Pro 7. It is AVCHD, recorded in .mts format. I am aware of the compatibility problems and yet, after days spent trying to de-bug this issue (including reading through many forum topics and FAQs here) I haven't found a way to resolve it. I am able to import footage into Final Cut just fine via 'log and transfer' (I have tried both AIC and ProRes 422 settings here, both work) and edit without error. In playback the footage looks crisp. However when I export to any setting available (I've tried almost all of them) the footage looks de-interlaced, with jagged horizontal lines breaking up the slightest motion. I am aware that this must be some sort of interlacing issue, but it persists even when the option to 'de-interlace' is checked and, when exporting with Apple Intermediate Codec, with both HDV1080i and HDV1080p settings applied.

Assuming this was that known compatibility issue, I tried to use a converter. However both VoltaicHD and Tanabee AVCHD Converter on my Mac and Wondershare Converter and Adobe Premiere Elements 9 on my Windows 7 Laptop all have the exact same issue with the footage when converting to a .mov or mpeg4 file.

Thus far the only 'fixes' I've found are to select the 'blur' option when exporting in Final Cut (turned up to at least 4) and to export in 720P in Final Cut, which leaves the footage with with ghost images upon motion instead. The native footage on the camera is not 720P (it is 1080i). I think the issue might lie in the playback itself, not the file. It does appear worse in Quicktime, although playback in Final Cut and iTunes also shows interlacing issues. Perhaps it is my computer, as a burned DVD of the footage played back smooth enough on my television (I could not see the lines, and they are rather noticeable elsewhere), however the issue is also on my laptop, and I've never had any problems like this with video playback on either computer.

Can anybody isolate the issue? It's driving me quite mad.


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Brad Wright
Re: AVCHD footage appears De-Interlaced when exported Interlaced or Progressive
on Jan 3, 2012 at 3:05:01 pm

If you are checking the footage in the Quicktime Player be aware that the Quicktime X player automatically de-interlaces all of the footage. Use either the Quicktime 7 player or bring the exported footage back into FCP and check it. I would recommend playing it back on a television connected to Final Cut Pro to see if is actually interlaced.

Brad Wright is software engineer, so it may be difficult to understand what he is saying. He is always happy to explain his greater detail.


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William Duke
Re: AVCHD footage appears De-Interlaced when exported Interlaced or Progressive
on Jan 3, 2012 at 10:47:51 pm

Well if that's the simple answer to my problems I'm going to feel very embarrassed... but it does seem to be the case! This morning I exported the timeline according to its current settings and, sure enough, it did play back properly in Final Cut (this has happened before, but I assumed that was some sort of error on Final Cut's behalf, not Quicktime). It even worked in iTunes.

I can only assume that, by the time I was also checking my videos in iTunes and replaying them regularly in Final Cut I was already so far into tweaking the output settings for a random desired affect that the footage actually was de-interlaced, explaining the lines in playback on those programs as well as Quicktime. As for the converter programs on my Windows computer... Well they may very well have de-interlaced the footage without my knowledge, or perhaps their media player has the same issue. Either way it is not a concern at this point.

I suppose the lesson here is to trust my admittedly basic training a little more, and certainly more in Final Cut itself. My base assumption for years has always been to blame the editing program first, however if I had been thinking pragmatically I would have realize sooner the majority of the issues this time oriented with Quicktime.

Either way I thank you very much for the help. With this resolved I can finally move on to my next project. Perhaps a minor dedication in the credits is in order for a Mr. Brad Wright?


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