Archive for May 16th, 2008

The trouble with AVCHD editing

It’s ridiculous how much CPU speed you need to edit full 1080p AVCHD clips with Vegas. I got my hands on a 1920×1080/60i 14mbps AVCHD clip today and it plays back on the Vegas Pro timeline at ~2 fps on my P4 3Ghz (in “preview/auto” quality). Vegas only supports basic DirectDraw functions, so a faster GPU won’t help either.

Now think that the fastest affordable PC on the market is a Quad-Core Intel at 3Ghz, which is about 5 to 6 times faster than my PC (including bus/RAM speed). Now, multiply that: 6*2fps=12 fps. This means that even the fastest PC on the market today won’t give me full preview speed while editing AVCHD. I would need double that speed. And that’s before adding any plugins or transitions that slow-down preview even more.

Someone might suggest the way Apple does things: all imported footage gets re-encoded to AIC or ProRes codec before editing which are faster to edit/playback. You will have to wait for the transcoding to take place of course, and that will take quite some time for ProRes (it’s faster with AIC, but AIC is not lossless so I can’t recommend it).

So in essense, you have the choice: do you want to wait while importing in the beginning, or wanna wait while editing? In both cases, there’s gonna be stalling. This means only one thing: I will have to wait for a few more years before I decide to get an AVCHD camera and a new PC. For now, the HV20 with its faster-edited M2T format will suffice.

Update: Some people are telling me that AVCHD editing is plenty smooth on newer computers. Good to hear.

Scheduled to shoot a music video clip tomorrow

Big day tomorrow! I waited 8 months for it, to find a band that I both like, and they would like me to shoot a music video clip for them. So tomorrow, I will be shooting my first music video clip. I can’t wait!

The indie band is a Bay Area native one, they are called HIJK, and they rock! Download some of their songs for free here or buy their album on iTunes. The band already has a video for their first single out of their “The Pen and letter” album, called “Paper boat” (also a free download). They filmed it themselves, and edited it very nicely together. Very creative! Tomorrow, we will be shooting a video for the song “Alibi”. My idea for the video is a more conservative “alt.rock music clip”, which will hopefully pan out ok as I don’t have a 35mm adapter yet (I expect one in a few weeks) and I have not even seen the shooting place yet. I will have to improvise immediately tomorrow after I arrive at the set.

These are the tools that I will have with me tomorrow to materialize the shoot: an audio CD that has the song “Alibi” recorded spent up 125%, a CD player, a camera bag, the Canon HV20 camera, 2 camera batteries fully charged, our new lights, our deflector, my shoulder bracket, my tripod, my steadycam, my WD-H43 wide-angle lens, my 43-to-52mm step-up ring, polarizer/ND/contrast filters, my HDTV-fx Tiffen film-look filter, lens cleanser and brush, 3-4 tapes, our white balance gray card, a Kodak digicam for tests, and a hat (as we will also be shooting outdoors).

Wish me luck! I will need it as I will be shooting “blind”.

RE: Geek survey repost

Stormrider challenges me with the following survey:

* How many years do you use a computer for?
About 16.

* Are you a newbie, casual user, power user, master, umber, jedi?
Power.

* What’s your main computer?
A Dell Hyperthreaded 3.06 Ghz P4.

* Do you put together your own PCs?
I used to, but I don’t bother anymore. I buy them ready.

* Have you ever broken a computer because of your anger?
Naah.

* What browser are you using?
Firefox on the PC, Safari on the Mac.

* What media player are you using?
WinAMP and iTunes.

* What mail client are you using?
The shit called Windows Live Mail.

* What IM client are you using?
Trillian and Adium.

* Do you run add-ons?
No.

* What anti-virus do you run?
AVG Free Edition.

* Favorite software
Outlook Express is not the most secure software, but it’s solid as a rock.

* Favorite software house:
Google

* Most hated software house:
Electronic Arts

* Favorite hardware company:
Apple

* Most hated hardware company:
Anything cheapo Asian, including HTC.

* Favorite geek PC usage:
None anymore.

* Dream-machine?
The fastest PC you can find to edit AVCHD in real time.

* Was your first video you saw on a PC porn?
Nope.

* Do you modify other people’s PCs when you use them?
Ah yeah, I need to “fix” things.

* Anything embarrassing in your Trash Bin?
Not much.

* Do you spend useless time opening/closing windows in your OS?
Naah…