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  1. I am working on a project that mainly uses CineForm .mov files, however I will be incorporating some AVCHD .mp4 files. My understanding is AVCHD is not particularly good for editing, so I would like to transcode, in my case, the foreign footage to match my source material to make editing easier. What is a good software, hopefully free, that will help me transcode everything to CineForm to prep them for editing with out losing much quality?
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  2. I'm a MEGA Super Moderator Baldrick's Avatar
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    Are you using Gopro products? or some other editing software?
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  3. Yes GoPros mostly and also Sony DSLT's. Software I will be using Adobe Premiere Pro CC. I can use GoPro Studios to decode the AVC .mp4 the GoPro's make to a CineForm .mov to make them easier to edit, but I am curious about other video formats. I am assuming there has got to be a great transcoder that everyone uses.
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    Originally Posted by fabes253 View Post
    I am working on a project that mainly uses CineForm .mov files, however I will be incorporating some AVCHD .mp4 files. My understanding is AVCHD is not particularly good for editing, so I would like to transcode, in my case, the foreign footage to match my source material to make editing easier. What is a good software, hopefully free, that will help me transcode everything to CineForm to prep them for editing with out losing much quality?
    Do not use lossy compressors. USe only lossless compressors!
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  5. Originally Posted by fabes253 View Post
    .... but I am curious about other video formats. I am assuming there has got to be a great transcoder that everyone uses.
    Well I don't know about 'everyone using' it, but Grass Valley HQX is an excellent high quality intermediate codec.

    It's now freeware, and you can download it from that site by registering a free account with Grass Valley.

    You can find earlier versions of the codec pack - without registering - on their Taiwan site HERE

    And their useful AVCHD converter utility HERE

    Designed primarily for use with the Edius editor, the conversion from AVCHD to HQX part of the Utility works well without Edius being installed.


    The HQX codec is much more flexible than the earlier HQ version. Fully scaleable - up to and including 4K -- and with an alpha channel. Intraframe of course, and pretty well immune to significant generational losses with complex projects. Up to 100 generations I have seen described (altohugh I've not tested that claim myself!).
    Works well in vfw environments like Virtualdub.... and should work fine in Premiere (although you may have to frame serve your edited HQX output from Premiere?..)

    I prefer it to the free version of Cineform personally...
    Last edited by pippas; 10th Apr 2015 at 09:58.
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  6. Premiere Pro CC can import your AVC files directly and convert them to cineform in a quicktime (mov) wrapper. No additional software required.

    (Premiere, and AME, will also convert your footage directly toDNxHD, or Grass Valley HQX.)
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    Originally Posted by fabes253 View Post
    My understanding is AVCHD is not particularly good for editing, so I would like to transcode, in my case, the foreign footage to match my source material to make editing easier.
    What particulars are you worried about?

    What kind of footage are we talking about HD, QHD, UHD? And the frame rate?

    Also what editor are you going to use?

    Do you have decent hardware?

    The reasons I am asking those questions is to find out if you try to find a solution for something that is not a problem.

    Last edited by newpball; 10th Apr 2015 at 12:28.
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  8. Originally Posted by newpball View Post
    Originally Posted by fabes253 View Post
    My understanding is AVCHD is not particularly good for editing, so I would like to transcode, in my case, the foreign footage to match my source material to make editing easier.
    What particulars are you worried about?
    @newball: AVCHD is long-GOP which is not conducive to responsive editing. If you're simply clipping out commercials or butting a few clips together it won't make much difference. If you're creating an original show it's a pain.
    Last edited by smrpix; 10th Apr 2015 at 12:09.
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    Originally Posted by smrpix View Post
    Originally Posted by newpball View Post
    Originally Posted by fabes253 View Post
    My understanding is AVCHD is not particularly good for editing, so I would like to transcode, in my case, the foreign footage to match my source material to make editing easier.
    What particulars are you worried about?
    AVCHD is long-GOP which is not conducive to responsive editing. If you're simply clipping out commercials or butting a few clips together it won't make much difference. If you're creating an original show it's a pain.
    You say you are having a problem with AVCHD may I ask what kind of hardware you use and what resolution and frame rate are your clips?
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  10. Originally Posted by pippas View Post
    Originally Posted by fabes253 View Post
    .... but I am curious about other video formats. I am assuming there has got to be a great transcoder that everyone uses.
    Well I don't know about 'everyone using' it, but Grass Valley HQX is an excellent high quality intermediate codec.

    It's now freeware, and you can download it from that site by registering a free account with Grass Valley.

    You can find earlier versions of the codec pack - without registering - on their Taiwan site HERE

    And their useful AVCHD converter utility HERE

    Designed primarily for use with the Edius editor, the conversion from AVCHD to HQX part of the Utility works well without Edius being installed.


    The HQX codec is much more flexible than the earlier HQ version. Fully scaleable - up to and including 4K -- and with an alpha channel. Intraframe of course, and pretty well immune to significant generational losses with complex projects. Up to 100 generations I have seen described (altohugh I've not tested that claim myself!).
    Works well in vfw environments like Virtualdub.... and should work fine in Premiere (although you may have to frame serve your edited HQX output from Premiere?..)

    I prefer it to the free version of Cineform personally...
    Thanks Pippas, Ill check out the Grass Valley codec and compare it to CineForm.


    Originally Posted by smrpix View Post
    Premiere Pro CC can import your AVC files directly and convert them to cineform in a quicktime (mov) wrapper. No additional software required.

    (Premiere, and AME, will also convert your footage directly toDNxHD, or Grass Valley HQX.)
    Smrpix, thanks I wanted to find this out but I havent used Adobe Premiere just yet, I am moving over from Sony Vegas Pro 13. How much quality is lost when Adobe premiere converts the footage?
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  11. Originally Posted by fabes253 View Post
    How much quality is lost when Adobe premiere converts the footage?
    Assuming you match raster size and framerate to your source it's transparent. It will be identical to the GoPro and Edius and Avid native conversions.
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  12. Originally Posted by smrpix View Post
    @newball: AVCHD is long-GOP which is not conducive to responsive editing. If you're simply clipping out commercials or butting a few clips together it won't make much difference. If you're creating an original show it's a pain.
    +1 .... converting long GOP to intraframe makes editing so much simpler (and more accurate). Can't see the point of going for high spec hardware just to be able to cope with long GOP files, in an attempt to make them easier to edit 'smoothly'. All these 'smart rendering' and 'proxy' tricks don't need to be there, if you're editing from intraframe intermediate files.

    As smrpix says, editing long GOP is OK if you just need to clip out a few commercials. But converting it to an intraframe for easier 'creative' work is so much better... Much more like editing DV in the 'old days'!

    And then there's no need for a particularly high spec computer either...
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    Originally Posted by pippas View Post
    Can't see the point of going for high spec hardware just to be able to cope with long GOP files, in an attempt to make them easier to edit 'smoothly'.
    Me neither.

    But perhaps you do not see the point in avoiding transcoding when there is really no need.

    All we know is that the OP is "incorporating some AVCHD .mp4 files" and wants minimal loss. Transcoding may make sense but unless we actually know what kind of editing the OP is talking about it may turn out overkill.
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  14. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Yet, that is the preferred workflow for all modestly-powered devices.

    Maybe overkill (but it won't hurt to make use of it even if it is), maybe not. Regardless, it is good "help" to let the OP know what those transcoding options are (and how to achieve them), in addition to the "help" you like to provide in suggesting it isn't necessary.

    Scott
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  15. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    <DUPE>

    There is a place for pointing out theoreticals, for education in technical fundamentals, and for suggesting optimal, no-holds-barred, no-constraints, unlimited-budget solutions.
    And then there is the real world and real-world solutions.
    More actual help can get done for actual posters when the OPs' circumstances (and budget) are fully included in the solution mix.

    Scott
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 10th Apr 2015 at 17:53.
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    More actual help can get done for actual posters when the OPs' circumstances (and budget) are fully included in the solution mix.
    I wholeheartedly agree, hence my questions concerning his situation.
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  17. Hey sorry been stuck on the road all day today, TGIF!

    @newpball, my system is decent more geared to gaming but its an i7 with 32gb ram with 2 GTX980's in SLI. I will be using Adobe Premiere once learn the ropes (transitioning from Sony Vegas). The project will be a little large utilizing probably about 40 hours worth of footage obviously I will be trimming much of it out in the editor. The GoPro's will be a majority of the source material ranging from 2.7k@60fps and 4k@30fps. The AVCHD material will be 1080p@60fps.

    The fact that Adobe Premiere can handle the conversion 'in-house' pretty much solves my questions. Any additional help or tips are great, appreciated. Thank you to everyone who contributed information on this thread!
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    Originally Posted by fabes253 View Post
    @newpball, my system is decent more geared to gaming but its an i7 with 32gb ram with 2 GTX980's in SLI.
    Sweet!

    Honestly I don't see how a few 1080/60s trims warrant transcoding but hey there isn't a law against it either.

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  19. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    What you have given us of the specs (incomplete, but helpful) would indicate you may not need transcoding after all, particularly if you can utilize GPU decoding accelleration. But the quantity of footage often ends up putting a "cumulative burden" on the RAM allocation, so a project with as large of a timeline as you indicate may bump it back into "needing transcoding" territory again.

    Your call. Try a little 10min. test project and see which works better for your needs. Remember, even though there are clear benefits to using DI codecs, it does take time to transcode and it does use up much greater HDD space. That's the bargain compromise you strike up when you use them.

    Scott
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Try a little 10min. test project and see which works better for your needs.
    I second that suggestion!

    By the way, editing 2.7k@60fps and 4k@30fps directly is not for the faint of heart even on an i7!
    You may wind up having more 'problems' with the 4k than with 1080/60 AVCHD material.

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  21. GoPro footage specifically tends to be somewhat more difficult to handle natively. I suspect it has to do with file length and the specific implementation of h.264, but I have not analyzed it closely enough to give a definitive answer why.
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