I have been banging my head against the wall since Christmas trying to figure out the best workflow for me to edit my AVCHD Home Movies from my Sony HDR-CX150 HD Camcorder. I want it to be easy, fast, reliable, and not too expensive (I would be willing to pay several hundred dollars for a solid workflow solution that met my needs). So far, I have played around with iMovie and Toast on MAC and Cyberlink Power Director and Adobe Premiere Elements on PC. For me, Adobe has been slow and locks up sometimes. iMovie is slow to import and export, but is very reliable. Toast is slow and unreliable and the video comes out a little soft from the conversions. Power Director is easy, fast, all inclusive workflow, and doesn't crash, but occasionally has annoying glitches to the video, and doesn't have the same quality templates as iMovie.
I need help so am asking you to post your work flows and why you use them and the pros and cons. Thanks in advance!!!
1) MAC or PC
3) Importing/Conversion SW (If Different than Editing SW)
4) Editing SW
5) FX or other Add-in SW (If Used)
6) Export SW (If Different than Editing SW)
7) Authoring SW
8) Burning SW
Why are you using this workflow? (Quality, Speed, Price, Easy, Other?) and any other comments.
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I use Corel Videostudio PRO X5 for my video editing. Then, one day I downloaded Vegas Movie Studio 11 Platinum and tried it out. The level of complexity between the two is enormous. Things that are easily done in Corel are more envolved in Vegas. Moving around with a storyboard editor, in Corel, is a simple matter. When you only have a timeline (Vegas,) it's a bitch to locate and move around efficiently with 50 to 60 clips or more. You must edit in small packets.
Also, in rendering, I was in for a big surprise-few talk about this. The author of "101 Tips, Tricks and Techniques," Bill Myers substantiated what I found out through experience. A one hour video, with many effects, can take over five hours to render in Vegas. I hate to think how long my European Trip Video, of over two hours, would have taken-over night to be sure. Apparently, Vegas lovers are not bothered by this fact. So, rendering and fexibility of movement are Vegas shortfalls to me.
Now that I mentioned the bad, here is the good. Vegas is extremely powerful in motion video, color correction and chroma key. It blows Corel away, to mention only these few things of which there are more. It takes a steep learning curve but, it is well worth the effort. "Nothing good of consequence is ever accomplished without exertion." So, I use Vegas for clip editing and effects and then put clips into Corel for quick rendering and flexibility. I take the best from both and with excellent result My videos produced by Corel are vivid, rich in color and clarity that I don't think waiting an extra four hours, or more, can noticeably improve upon.
If you want it quick and easy use Videostudio as Vegas has a learning curve. Export the edited video project to m2t in VS (custom template) or, use AVCHD or Blu-Ray settings provided . Then change extension to m2ts and use TsMuxer (does not like m2t files) to create the BDMV. Then, burn with Imgburn to Blu-Ray.
Last edited by pepegot1; 13th Mar 2012 at 17:17.
Thanks for the inputs so far. Also curious on the MAC side.
How do people author Blu-Rays on MAC for a reasonable amount of money?
I have used Final Cut Express 4 for the Mac but it looks like it might be discontinued. Its similar to Video Studio and should be easy to learn. There is a Final Cut Pro at the apple store and it should have all the bells and whistles your looking for and more if the express version can't still be purchased.
Last edited by Speedy2; 14th Mar 2012 at 10:29.
There are two major variations in AVCHD editing workflow; direct editing and conversion to a digital intermediate. Since AVC (h.264) is a highly compressed GOP based format, decompression to frames takes a great deal of CPU grunt, or CPU with GPU assist.
Programs like Vegas and Premiere allow direct editing of AVCHD. After setting an AVCHD project, import is immediate because there is no conversion. However when searching, scrolling, scrubbing the timeline, there is delay as the AVC GOPS are decoded into frames. The user perceives this as sluggish performance. The delay is proportional to CPU+GPU grunt. Both companies offer GPU assist to speed the process. Export encoding is a separate process.
Most other companies convert AVC to a digital intermediate on import. Many low end programs simply convert AVC to short GOP MPeg2 which is easier to decode on lower end CPUs. File sizes grow and 2x-3x in the import conversion. Higher end programs decode AVC to frame based digital intermediates in order to speed timeline performance. Some popular digital intermediates include ...
AVID DNxHD - MJPEG based
Cineform Neo/Neoscene - third Party codec that works with Vegas, Premiere, Mac and others.
Edius HQ - Used in Edius editors
Apple Intermediate Codec - a 4:2:0 8bit digital intermediate optimal for HDV and AVCHD
Apple ProRes 422 - an 8 or 10 bit 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 digital intermediate.
Apple 960x540p30 (default for iMovie).
Apple forces the user to use a digital intermediate. As a result users experience conversion delays on import, file size increase but relatively good timeline performance. iMovie users are encouraged to use 960x540p30 for low end CPUs. Resolution is reduced 4x and motion samples are reduced by half to 30p. iMovie and FCP Express offer AIC as an alternate. AIC is optimized for 4:2:0 HDV and and AVCHD formats. FCP offers Prores422.
Cineform Neoscene converts HDV or AVCHD to 4:2:2 wavelet encoded frames. It includes an import program and codec that works in many editors but is optimized for Premiere, Vegas and offers a Mac version to compete with Apple's Prores422. The claim to fame for Cineform is fast resize/effects processing with low mult-generation loss.
In general digital intermediates offer faster timeline performance at the cost of file size growth. Direct editing keeps the files small for simple editing but when filters are used, AVC is decoded to RGB frames into large temp files.
During export, the intermediate file is converted to the desired export codec.
Sony Vegas on a Windows machine is optimized for 2D and 3D Blu-Ray at a low entry cost compared to others.
PS: Other option is edit in FCP then export to a third party Blu-ray authoring program.
Last edited by edDV; 14th Mar 2012 at 10:51.
Thanks for your responses! Looks like the new FCPX supports Blu-Ray now, but I think Compressor is also needed, so $299+$49. This at the ceiling of what I could justify spending for home movies. I would rather not spend this much and the reviews scare me a bit.
I went back and tried iMovie again and for some reason am having troubles now. I will keep working on it. Toast is very unreliable for me too and Encore is ridiculously expensive. I could take back to a PC environment to burn Blu-Ray, but this is not ideal.
I downloaded the new VideoStudioX5 demo and loaded my project. 122mins of avchd. I hit play and it crashed. I repeated twice with the same results. It seams that it is not stable enough for me.
I downloaded Vegas Demo and it was really solid, but painfully slow to render, prepare, and burn a DVD. I will keep this option on the table. If it was faster, I might stop searching.
I still have to look at Edius Neo and Magix Trials.
Slow is a relative statement of course and I was comparing two different projects I did between Vegas and PowerDirector. So Apples and Oranges, which in hindsight isn't fair. When I get a chance, I will render the same project in PowerDirector as I have in the others to make sure I get an apples to apples comparison.
Once I complete narrowing my selection based on stability(No Crashes, limited hesitations) and useability(subjective ease of use), I may pick a smaller clip and perform a more scientific render performance comparison between the remaining candidates.
I rendered in Magix last night and feel that the render time is roughly equivalent to Vegas in my example. The Magix I/F was good and the product was stable throughout my tests. I had a little trouble with a few things that didn't seem intuitive to me, but for the most part seems like a decent package on the surface. I would pick Vegas over Magix based on experience, broader customer base, association with a leading Camera mfg, etc.
Tonight a was able to complete a render of the same project in Corel VideoStudioX5. My initial impressions are that the program isn't bad. Render time seamed about the same as as Vegas and Magix. I could play individual clips back in the editor ok, but when trying to playback the entire project, the application would crash. The search continues.