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AVCHD vrs. CS6?

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Stephen NorringtonAVCHD vrs. CS6?
by on May 27, 2014 at 5:17:41 pm

Hi there, we've recently come up against what seems like a very deep problem with AVCHD used in CS6 (AE and AME). The details are complex and we're still doing a lot of testing but my fundamental question for today is: does CS5 (AE and AME) decode AVCHD in a different way than CS6?

The one-liner description of the problem is that CS6 seems to decode AVCHD incorrectly on all platforms and all configuration of hardware that we've tested whereas the same AVCHD clip decodes fine in CS5 on all platforms and hardware configs.

The visual appearance of the "bad decode" is a diagonal random "grunge" across the frame, top left to bottom right - it shows up on all AVCHD footage in CS6 no matter the source but is most pronounced in low light footage - transcoding the footage in AME does not make the grunge go away - at its most pronounced it looks like an actual grunge filter has been applied which is how we discovered it in the first place: "who put that grunge effect on and why?!"

The footage plays fine in WMP or VLC and transcodes fine in Rarevision 5DtoRGB - we believe we have isolated the effect to CS6 which chucks a bit of a spanner into our workflow so any info will be gratefully received. Thanks!

Stephen Norrington
Artproject Independent production


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Michael SzalapskiRe: AVCHD vrs. CS6?
by on May 27, 2014 at 6:20:20 pm

What version of CS6?

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Stephen NorringtonRe: AVCHD vrs. CS6?
by on May 27, 2014 at 7:24:03 pm
Last Edited By Stephen Norrington on May 27, 2014 at 7:29:18 pm

Noticed it and did most of our tests on 11.0.0.378 but have seen it in every other updated version we've tried, on many hardware configs - have never seen it in any version of CS5 on any hardware configs.

Stephen Norrington
Artproject Independent Production


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EricBowenRe: AVCHD vrs. CS6?
by on May 27, 2014 at 8:34:31 pm

Do you have any system with the Cloud installed? If not download the trial of Premiere and then check the media quick.

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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Stephen NorringtonRe: AVCHD vrs. CS6?
by on May 27, 2014 at 9:49:01 pm

Hi Eric, no, no CC Cloud, we are a "quarantined" facility ie: no constant internet connections, no subscription software - we are built around Blender and use CS5 and CS6 as support, no need to move to CC.

The strange thing about the issue I'm describing is that it's very pronounced and yet we find no mention of it on any forums - our first thought was that it must be something to do with our studio but that doesn't seem to be the case - if someone can confirm that there's a difference between how CS5 handles AVCHD and how CS6 handles it, that will clear up a lot of the mystery - if CS5 and CS6 are identical in their AVCHD handling then we investigate other possible causes.

Representative comparison image attached (exposure blown-out to emphasize the issue): 7538_avchdbaddecodecs5cs6comparison2.jpg.zip

Stephen Norrington
Artproject Independent Production


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EricBowenRe: AVCHD vrs. CS6?
by on May 28, 2014 at 10:11:00 pm
Last Edited By EricBowen on May 28, 2014 at 10:11:29 pm

Can you take the media into CS5 and convert it to Cineform then import the Cineform files into CS6? As stated below CC has options to run with internal deployment now and don't require an internet connection to validate subscription. I know GOV and EDU are able to get those licenses. I am not sure about other entities.

I have not noticed AVCHD showing those anomalies before in CS6 but then again I never really was looking for them. Is this all Interlaced media or mix of Progressive and Interlaced?

Eric-ADK
Tech Manager
support@adkvideoediting.com


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Stephen NorringtonRe: AVCHD vrs. CS6?
by on May 28, 2014 at 10:47:30 pm

Hi Eric, the media is all progressive 24p (23.976fps etc.) direct from Panasonic GH2 cameras - as part of our tests, we've transcoded numerous AVCHD clips to PNG frame sequences and/or ProRes via all of the following apps:

Cineform, 5DtoRGB, MediaCoder, AE CS5, AME CS5, Blender versions 2.68a, 2.69, 2.70, CS6 AE and CS6 AME

All transcodes are clean except those from CS6 AE and AME. CS6 "bakes in" the problem during transcoding so it subsequently appears in frame sequences and ProRes media. All transcodes from the other apps are clean, in the case of resultant PNG frame sequences, absolutely lossless and indistinguishable from the AVCHD original.

It's a deep mystery! We can only theorize that there's some fundamental handling of AVCHD in CS6 that's different from CS5 and perhaps CC - if we can know for sure we can solve our workflow and move on - anyone from Adobe's tech backrooms clear this up for us ?:-)

Stephen Norrington
Artproject Independent Production


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Michael SzalapskiRe: AVCHD vrs. CS6?
by on May 28, 2014 at 1:22:42 pm

It does seem odd that it would be happening so consistently for you and not for others. There must be something we could figure out with your system that causes this issue.

I seem to recall AVCHD handling being dealt with in an update. CS6 is on 11.0.4 now, so your testing machines are four major bug-fix updates behind.

Also, as a side note, you don't need an internet connection to use CC. They have editions for people in situations like yours (and mine). I am in the middle of trying to convince my folks here to upgrade us.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Stephen NorringtonRe: AVCHD vrs. CS6?
by on May 28, 2014 at 4:10:39 pm
Last Edited By Stephen Norrington on May 28, 2014 at 4:41:48 pm

Actually, we've tested for the issue at a number of different studios, not just ours, Mac and PC based, all with different updates of CS6, all with different hardware and we see the problem consistently in every case, on every AVCHD clip from many different sources.

These other studios, once they see the problem they discover that it's been there all along in their own AVCHD footage too - perhaps the "consumer" status of AVCHD is why it hasn't been noticed much? AVCHD not handled often by studios for VFX, just "DIY"-ers?

[Edit] - we took a look this morning at the fixes executed by the various CS6 updates but didn't find anything relating to AVCHD handling.

My original post is a last gasp trying to understand what's going on - we've 99% isolated the issue to something about how CS6 specifically handles AVCHD but can't seem to pinpoint it - we tried swapping out the CS6 codecs with CS5 codecs throughout the CS6 architecture but saw no change which is why we've been theorizing about some deep difference between how the two CS flavors handle AVCHD.

In the meantime we've got a lot of workarounds going but it's a drag to have to avoid using AVCHD natively in any CS6 applications - we've been handling the material in CS5 and other apps, getting to clean frame sequences and going back to CS6 for initial camera tracking to finalize in Blender - but CS6 AE/AME are great apps so we sorely wish there's something obvious we're missing which we could correct and have a more transparent pipeline.

If you didn't already, please check out the representative image I posted in my reply to Eric. Cheers.

Stephen Norrington
Artproject Independent Production


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