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  1. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2009
    Location: Seattle, WA
    Search Comp PM
    Hello Everyone,

    Well, I'm not a video professional but I do run into chopping some videos together every now and then for work. I also am looking for a clean workflow to downsize the source videos so I can archive them. I'm looking for some advice on workflow and how to achieve the desired results. I'm also going to put all my testing results here so if someone down the road finds this thread on a search, it will save them some frustration. I have done some extensive research on this. Money is not really an issue with software as most of this is for work and I have a decent budget to do these types of things. I also have access to some nice machines to crunch the videos.

    I am basically looking for an easy workflow that does a few things:
    1. Be able to transfer these videos in the correct aspect ratio into a much smaller WMV container that can be streamed on our intranet for work
    2. Be able to easily transfer these videos into a little smaller container for archiving, so they take up about half to 1/3 the space


    Here is my hardware setup:
    Intel Core2 Quad Q6700 @ 2.66
    8gb RAM
    Vista 64bit Enterprise
    Quadro FX 1700 with the new 186.16 Drivers (CUDA enabled)

    So, here we go.

    Canon HG10 on Max settings (because you can always downres) produces an AVCHD file format and folder structure.

    with a bunch of files in the STREAM folder, all with an MTS extension/container.

    You can just copy those over if you want, but I have found that the MTS container is a little problematic. So, using the bundled Corel GuideMenu software to transfer the files, renames the actual filenames and gives them an M2TS extension, container.

    If you look at the new files in MediaInfo, here is what you get:

    General
    ID : 0
    Complete name : G:\Canon\20090708\20090708094934.M2TS
    Format : BDAV
    Format/Info : Blu-ray Video
    File size : 1.91 GiB
    Duration : 16mn 41s
    Overall bit rate : 16.3 Mbps
    Maximum Overall bit rate : 18.0 Mbps

    Video
    ID : 4113 (0x1011)
    Menu ID : 1 (0x1)
    Format : AVC
    Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
    Format profile : High@L4.0
    Format settings, CABAC : Yes
    Format settings, ReFrames : 2 frames
    Duration : 16mn 41s
    Bit rate : 15.4 Mbps
    Width : 1 440 pixels
    Height : 1 080 pixels
    Display aspect ratio : 16/9
    Frame rate : 29.970 fps
    Resolution : 24 bits
    Colorimetry : 4:2:0
    Scan type : Interlaced
    Scan order : Top Field First
    Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.331
    Stream size : 1.80 GiB (94%)

    Audio
    ID : 4352 (0x1100)
    Menu ID : 1 (0x1)
    Format : AC-3
    Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
    Duration : 16mn 41s
    Bit rate mode : Constant
    Bit rate : 256 Kbps
    Channel(s) : 2 channels
    Channel positions : L R
    Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
    Video delay : 47ms
    Stream size : 30.6 MiB (2%)

    First problems with this stream are the sizes. Its anamorphic and an odd number of pixels. It will cause most programs to die because it is a funny DAR and size. IF you open them up in DGAVCindex, they are squished due to the square pixels and the goofy size.

    Now, there are a ton of programs I can use to transcode these but finding the right combo is the probelm. I have tried just about every one of them. Here are things I have installed just to name a few.

    ffdshow, Haali Splitter, CoreAVC, Xilisoft Converter, Adobe Master CS4, Sorensen Squeeze 5.1, Media Player Classic and Cinema.

    First thing I did was install the CoreAVC codec after ffdshow, haali, etc. I had some issues with that because it wouldnt initially work properly under 64bit Vista. So I had to disable the ACV settings in ffdshow for it to recognize it. Then after that I could get it to start decoding H264. Then Sorenson would automatically die as soon as I dropped an M2TS file into the job area, so a couple of reboots, disabling it in ffdshow made it work.I used gspot to push CoreAVC to the top of the line, but even then it wont always be picked up. I'm not quite sure how I got it to where it is.. but its decoding H264 most of the time now.

    First program I tried to use was SUPER. The problems with that were it was using an old version of x264 which seemed off, but it also refuses to allow DirecShow to decode the 264 with CoreAVC, which wouldnt be a problem... but Core fixes the 8 pixel difference at the decode, if not SUPER chokes and produces an error. It either will not decode it at all or it will give the incorrect aspect ratio at encode. No matter what I tried, the aspect ratio cannot be fixed... even size and DAR set still messes it up.

    Adobe Media Encoder does ok. Using that I cant use Core, but it will produce decent videos. For some reason, no matter what I change Adobe will not look for another Codec to decode. I like using Core because it can really get the multi-threading going and its much faster. If I try to use the MainConcept it causes some weird errors.

    Also, not sure why but when I use Adobe to create a WMV and open it in VLC, it spawns about 7 instances and plays them all. Weird.

    Then I installed MainConcept's reference pack with the HD plugin for Premiere. It was advertised as the ultimate transcoder solution. It does well for everything except it doesnt do WMVs. It does work pretty fast and it works just as advertised, but it wont do WMVs and the Flash Videos for High Res are actually quite nice. If I disable the Mainconcept MPEG importer, I can also use the CoreAVC plugin with it as well. Which is nice. Also, I have noticed that if I use Core for the decode and then MainConcept for the encode, it goes fast as hell. That leads me to a question though:

    Should I continue to keep struggling to use CoreAVC inside of each program for decoding? or is Mainconcept's better?

    You name it, I have probably tried it. After everything I have tried, and believe me.. I have tried them all I think. I have come down to a few things.

    1. Use CoreAVC for everything I possibly can to decode.
    2. Use Sorenson because it has some nice presets..it is a little simplistic compared to Adobe Media Encoder, but it works nicely. It also handles the DAR/SAR issue well.
    3. Adobe Media Encoder does a decent job, but it doesnt have all the HD formats. Even after I installed the plugin, it crashes randomly. I investigated a bit and it seems that my SB X-Fi card installed on my system somehow conflicts with Adobe Media Encoder and MainConcept, so it will crash randomly if you choose that as an export.
    4. I used Badaboom, because I have a Cuda card... well, that thing blazes and it puts 0 load on the CPU. It does it all in the GPU. The only problem is there are not enough choices. Its really basic and not much selection in how you export things.

    To sum up, I would really like to hear from the experts about my settings I should use in exporting for archiving these huge M2TS files. I would like to save them without much loss in quality and preferably the same size or close.

    Also, whats the best settings I should use for export to a downloadable WMV file via our intranet? Should I just use one of the settings inside Sorenson?

    Which program is the best.. a one stop shop if you will to transfer these videos to WMV, to another container for archiving.. and be able to edit them a little better than these 2 gig files that are 15min runtime.

    If anyone wants any screenshots or benchmarks let me know.

    Other Software I have tested or tried in the past few days: AVC2AVI - not good for my purposes, AutoX264 - pretty cool, but cant get past the DAR/SAR issue, Ripbot - might work nice after I know all the settings that are best, hard to determine without seeing updated export size, etc, HDconverttoX - couldnt get this to work, but got his other programs to work, Xilisoft Ultimate Converter - this worked suprisingly well. I thought it was going to be my choice until the settings just didnt go deep enough for any granular selections - uses Core, MeGUI - i love how this stays updated, but I think this is for someone after they know all the settings they need and wants to set up huge batches, etc.
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  2. what you have is already compressed into the most compact storage format available. avchd mp4 not meant to be edited, just played back on the tv. get yourself a couple large external harddrives to offload the video to for long term storage. for an easier editing format convert it to a lossless avi like lagarith. the filesize will be quite a bit larger but easier for editors to deal with. another option would be to buy the cineform neoscene codec.


    1440x1080 is not a "odd" size, it's a pretty standard HD format. it uses non-square pixels. the square pixel equivalent is 1920x1080.

    adobe works fine with my sb xfi and i've never heard of anyone else with one having any problems.

    vegas pro 9 is my editor/encoder of choice and i use it all the time with 1440x1080 material from HDV cams. the HDV is much easier on the editor than avchd mp4 but both work.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2009
    Location: Seattle, WA
    Search Comp PM
    Hi, thanks for the reply.

    What I meant about the goofy size is the size of the input to the size of the output. Its actually 1440x1088, which is then stretched to 1920x1080. So its Anamorphic ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamorphic_format ) to start with. The 8 pixel difference in the height is what gives most encoders such a hard time because its not a derivative of 16.

    CoreAVC has a great setting:

    Where it automatically crops 1088 to 1080. So if you use that as your first line decoder, most of the other decode/encoders will work well.

    Here is a thread about Premiere vs SB-Xi,

    >Premiere freezes, and I'm forced to restart the whole computer. (The task manager doesn't help.)

    >X-Fi

    This behavior is typical of a crash with Creative Soundblaster audio hardware installed and in use. The app crashes and you can't kill it in Task Manager because the Creative drivers won't let go of the audio resources.
    http://forums.adobe.com/thread/385628

    So you think that its a waste of time to try and get the files down to a more reasonable size? Hmmm.

    As for WMV encoding, one of my options/Adobe Media Encoder or Sorenson should be fine you think? What settings are optimal or what should I be sure of checking, since I am very new to the video encoding world and I am probably missing something important.

    Thanks.
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2009
    Location: Seattle, WA
    Search Comp PM
    OH, and do you have any opinions on MainConcept's Reference Package vs CoreAVC or Badaboom?
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  5. your mediainfo says 1440x1080, and so do the hg10 files i've come across. is there a menu setting to change 1088 to 1080?

    General
    ID : 0
    Complete name : G:\Temp\video test files\canon_HG10-00093.MTS
    Format : BDAV
    Format/Info : Blu-ray Video
    File size : 78.8 MiB
    Duration : 43s 648ms
    Overall bit rate : 15.1 Mbps
    Maximum Overall bit rate : 18.0 Mbps

    Video
    ID : 4113 (0x1011)
    Menu ID : 1 (0x1)
    Format : AVC
    Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
    Format profile : High@L4.0
    Format settings, CABAC : Yes
    Format settings, ReFrames : 2 frames
    Duration : 43s 560ms
    Bit rate : 14.3 Mbps
    Width : 1 440 pixels
    Height : 1 080 pixels
    Display aspect ratio : 16/9
    Frame rate : 25.000 fps
    Resolution : 24 bits
    Colorimetry : 4:2:0
    Scan type : Interlaced
    Scan order : Top Field First
    Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.367
    Stream size : 74.2 MiB (94%)

    Audio
    ID : 4352 (0x1100)
    Menu ID : 1 (0x1)
    Format : AC-3
    Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
    Duration : 43s 648ms
    Bit rate mode : Constant
    Bit rate : 256 Kbps
    Channel(s) : 2 channels
    Channel positions : L R
    Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
    Video delay : -80ms
    Stream size : 1.33 MiB (2%)
    if you want to stream the files in HD use 1280x720 mp4 encoded using h264 with aac audio. you can get down to about 1000kbps and still have a nice video.

    here's a sample hg10 mp4


    hg10_1000kbps.mp4
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  6. i've used mainconcept reference and find it limited in encoding options for a standalone encoder. i mostly use vegas pro. occasionally premiere pro cs4. for some streaming videos i use sorenson squeeze, handbrake, or mediacoder.
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2009
    Location: Seattle, WA
    Search Comp PM
    Well, I'm not that familiar with the camera to be honest. The only reason I know of that size issue is whenever I would try to import it to one of the freebie converters, it would choke. I started doing a lot of searching and came across a few posts about it.

    http://forum.doom9.org/archive/index.php/t-135805.html

    I may be confused though. I may have just confused the anamorphic with the 1088, but ever since I got CoreAVC and hit that setting for 1088, I havent had any issues.

    Here is the media info from a file I grabbed straight from the HDD on the camera with no GuideMenu to convert it to M2TS.

    General
    ID : 0
    Complete name : C:\Users\Ron\Desktop\00020.MTS
    Format : BDAV
    Format/Info : Blu-ray Video
    File size : 104 MiB
    Duration : 53s 536ms
    Overall bit rate : 16.3 Mbps
    Maximum Overall bit rate : 18.0 Mbps

    Video
    ID : 4113 (0x1011)
    Menu ID : 1 (0x1)
    Format : AVC
    Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
    Format profile : High@L4.0
    Format settings, CABAC : Yes
    Format settings, ReFrames : 2 frames
    Duration : 53s 453ms
    Bit rate : 15.4 Mbps
    Width : 1 440 pixels
    Height : 1 080 pixels
    Display aspect ratio : 16/9
    Frame rate : 29.970 fps
    Resolution : 24 bits
    Colorimetry : 4:2:0
    Scan type : Interlaced
    Scan order : Top Field First
    Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.331
    Stream size : 98.2 MiB (94%)

    Audio
    ID : 4352 (0x1100)
    Menu ID : 1 (0x1)
    Format : AC-3
    Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
    Duration : 53s 536ms
    Bit rate mode : Constant
    Bit rate : 256 Kbps
    Channel(s) : 2 channels
    Channel positions : L R
    Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
    Video delay : -66ms
    Stream size : 1.63 MiB (2%)
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  8. it's 1080 not 1088, the reason encoders might have been refusing to accept it is that you might not have had a proper codec installed until you used the coreavc one.

    if adobe pp won't work for you, maybe get the demo of vegas pro9 and give it a whirl. it will work with your source and allows plenty of output choices.
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2007
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    For watching at the office - I'd use avisynth to feed it into Virtualdub. For my 1440x1080 videos I'd make them 1280x720 instead of 'upconverting' it to it's 'normal' 1920x1080... plus, 1080 is overkill for watching over intranet/internet. If you want to go with WMV and have awesome video quality use a 4000kbps VBR 720p profile in windows media encoder.

    But, I have found that using MeGui to encode in the x264 format using 3000kbps DVXA profile produces a much better (and smaller) file then the above WMV method does. So far, these files are my goto system for sending my videos over the internet in 'HD'. Point your people to the Media Player Classic Home Cinema page, and almost anyone can watch your videos with no installs (as long as you used a DVXA profile for older computers)!

    Lose the Core... Just use ffdshow for your AVCHD decoding. Everything I mentioned above is freeware. Money isn't really an object with me either, but the freeware works so well, why bother?

    For storing the originals, use winrar at best settings, and burn to DVD or BD-R. It really won't be worth the time since it's already compressed to the max, but if you're archiving your internet videos, and DVD quality encodes too, then it's worth doing it. I use Filename-AVCHD.rar, Filename-DVD.rar, Filename-WEB.rar, and then make pars. But if you're just doing the AVCHD.... just burn on whatever it fits on.

    BTW - if you run into the dreaded canon 2GB max file problem (canon splits the video into 2GB chunks with long recordings) use MTS File Joiner. Any other method usually causes a 'burp' when trying to put them together.

    As for my entire post - YMMV
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