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Author Topic: GH2 Video - Exporting for viewing from Premiere Pro or generally  (Read 20365 times)
pflower
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« on: December 09, 2010, 07:36:12 AM »
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The last time I made videos mini-DV and FCPro v.1 were cutting edge.  Now there are a bewildering number of codecs, specs and who knows what else which are rather beyond me.  I have read Michael's introduction essay which has clarified a number of things but I am still very much a beginner in this field.  However I have decided to go back and look at video again and bought a GH2.

I am in the UK, on PAL, and using Premiere Pro CS5 on an iMac.  The advantage here is that it can edit footage in AVCHD format without transcoding.  I can dredge my memory from using FCP and am getting to grips with the program but am very confused about what to do with footage from the GH2 once it is edited into some kind of form.  The footage looks very good within Premiere but when I go to export it, there is an option to Match Sequence Settings which (as expected) says it will output at 1080i/25fps (50i). But the quality setting is set to 50% and the slider to increase this to 100% is greyed out.  The resulting file does not look as good as the footage within Premiere.  Anyone using Premiere got any explanation as to why the quality output is limited to 50%?

More generally - for viewing footage on a computer screen - what is the best way to get edited footage out of a NLE at the highest quality?  I guess I am stuck with Premiere Pro but it does have a large number of export formats and presets for those formats.  Unfortunately none of these (other than the ubiquitous Quicktime) mean anything to me.  Aimlessly playing with them produces a variety of very odd looking video so I am not going to stumble onto things on my own. 

Anybody got any suggestions either specifically or where to go for a basic introductory course?  If anyone is kind enough to attempt a reply can you please try and make it so that an 8 year old would understand?

Thanks

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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2010, 08:15:34 AM »
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You have a fairly steep learning curve ahead of you. There is a lot to learn. Take small steps.

If you have not read it, download this PDF from Adobe on CS5 and Panasonic AVC files

The Premiere Forums on DVXUser are very useful. [EDIT] But I see you have already posted the same question there  Smiley

A very good resource for all things video is CreativeCow.net. You will find tutorials, forums and outward links to further learning.

Your questions suggest an early exploratory jump into the wild world of video codecs: COmpression/DECompression. Creative Cow will help.

Even though Premiere can view and edit AVCHD without transcoding, my guess is that since you are editing in that codec, your output choices are going to be more limited than if you had transcoded to a less compressed codec that does not use such complex algorithms. AVC HD is a recording and playback codec - not really an editing codec. A full res editing codec, be it DVC PRO HD, Apple ProRes 422 or other is going to be several times larger since it will not be relying on as complex a DECompression for playback. This allows non-computationally intensive editing that is frame accurate at the cost of increased file size. The video file size of an intermediate editing codec is great for retaining quality but far too big for most delivery. So you will need to experiment with various COmpression codecs to see what gives you the best size/quality ratio for your use on output.

Welcome to video!  Grin
« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 08:50:30 AM by Chris Sanderson » Logged

Christopher Sanderson
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2010, 09:01:23 AM »
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...and one additional point. Premiere is a really good editing program. But for output, you may really need Adobe Media Encoder - a really good compression & output program.

OR if the CS5 Production Suite is a bit too rich for your taste, check out Episode for output & Compression. It is quite brilliant.
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Christopher Sanderson
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pflower
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2010, 10:34:00 AM »
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Thank you for your comments.  You are not joking about the learning curve.  My head is already spinning and I understand maybe a third of what I am reading at present.

If I understand you correctly, I may get better results by transcoding the AVC HD files to ProRes 422 or DVC Pro HD and then finding a good compression codec to deliver the final product.  The Panasonic pdf you pointed me to was helpful and stated that Panasonic provided a transcoder for .mts to DVC Pro - unfortunately only for Windows and not Mac.  There was a suggestion from one of the Creative Cow forum discussions that you could import .mts files into Quicktime Pro and then export to DVC Pro - is that right?  If not what do you recommend for that job?

I in fact have the entire Adobe Creative Media Suite including the Media Encoder - but the various formats and codecs available there are all incomprehensible to me at the moment.  Just as an experiment I exported a 3 minute clip to a Quicktime .mov using the DVC Pro codec - the file size was 1.6gb.  But what really confused me is that it changed the aspect ratio of the sequence - shot in 1280x720p it insisted upon outputting at something like 960x720 thus squishing the video - and it didn't look good either.

Thanks for the suggestions.
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2010, 10:48:27 AM »
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When you do an Export from an edited timeline, there are a whole bunch of settings that you need to check. Doubtless the defaults or settings in your exported movie were off. This gets complex. Remember the exported file type is simply a wrapper that surrounds a particular chosen codec. That wrapper is pretty much only useful for guiding the OS to a particular media player and whether it should start playing immediately or wait for all the data to 'arrive'.

The guts of the exported file are in the codec and its settings which include:

Aspect ratio; pixel dimension; picture dimension; frame rate; compression codec used; bit rate; interlaced or not; Key frame occurrence; Sound codec; sound sample rate; Sound channels; sound bit rate; any text or subtitle track and its settings........ Roll Eyes

And if you think that gets complex, take a look at the settings within the codec itself. Just take a look mind you and then if you are like me, hurriedly back away and leave the codec alone acknowledging those who have gone before... Smiley

Like making a complex adjustment in RAW conversion to a bunch of similarly shot photos or doing a complex Print settings dialog, you really only want to do this checking and setting once. Then save the preset calling it something useful allowing yourself to simply choose it again in the future. A good Compression program will allow you to save these settings and then forget them or do incremental and single adjustments to a short test sequence as an iterative learning process. I drove myself around the bend in early days doing exports from Final Cut or Compressor without the ability to save the adjusted settings. Dig into Adobe Media Encoder and save yourself future grief.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 11:01:02 AM by Chris Sanderson » Logged

Christopher Sanderson
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pflower
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2010, 12:51:05 PM »
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That's fantastically helpful.

I have been digging around inside Media Encoder but at present I am a long way from getting a grip on a useable export scenario.  I had a look at the videos you produce for LULA - one of the LR3 files is about 10 minutes in length but only 106 mb in size. My 3 minute clip comes out at between 1GB and 3GB no matter what codec I use.  Changing the quality setting doesn't appear to reduce size significantly.  Restricting the bit rate does reduce size but results in unwatchable, blocky video.  At present I am at a loss to think what to try next.

Any hints?
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2010, 01:32:05 PM »
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It is really hard to know at this remove since there are so many settings. But -

- Use H264 for an export codec that will be used in most (not by any means all) situations. This codec is a splendid export and viewing codec. For HD set the bitrate between 1.3 and 2.5 mbs depending on motion within the frame, dissolves etc.

- do not try to export edited AVC HD from an ingested AVC HD original. This is analogous to adjusting a shot in JPEG and saving as a JPEG. My guess is that this is your problem. You need to start at the point of ingestion of the original camera files with a really good original HiRes editing codec that uses as little compression as possible. That's why most editors use a high bitrate codec like ProRes.

I haven't played with CS5 & AVCHD within Premiere and Media Encoder but the potential for compression horrors is high IMO - but maybe the Adobe hype of "native AVCHD editing" has some superb Adobe magic behind it that allows the export of edited AVCHD - but I am skeptical! It's great to simply stay with the edited Premiere project file but as soon as you export it -  Huh

« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 01:37:08 PM by Chris Sanderson » Logged

Christopher Sanderson
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pflower
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2010, 02:56:48 PM »
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Again thanks, lots of food for thought.

Still find it weird that the "Match Sequence Settings" button results in a modest file size whilst using any of the codecs results in gargantuan files.  Still I shall continue to research and play and see what turns up.  Work seems to have dried up this month so I have plenty of time to browse the internet for ideas.  Again thanks for your time - most appreciated.

I know you have one of these.  Perhaps once you have explored it in more detail you might give a brief overview of your modus operandi.

Thanks
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2010, 03:12:50 PM »
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Michael & I plan to do a "Video for Photographers" basic introduction video Tutorial. In fact we will be shooting for it shortly in the NewYear.
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Christopher Sanderson
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fredjeang
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2010, 03:28:28 PM »
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Michael & I plan to do a "Video for Photographers" basic introduction video Tutorial. In fact we will be shooting for it shortly in the NewYear.

That is THE great news!
Thank you so much.

A precision with Premiere: you need as Chris said to work with the media encoder.
Be carrefull with QuickTime, specially with this when you export for the web a .mov so you want the movie to start alone, in spanish it is called "inicio rapido" (can't remember in english, something like quick start)
Premiere has this option yes, but you'll see that it simply won't work if you use a pc.
To acheive that, and more generally, all what has to do with quicktime, I by-pass my premiere and open the final uncompressed movie, in quick time pro, and then you export directly from quick time with the quick start option enable. In short, let quicktime pro render for you and not the adobe encoder. You are sure of the result.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 02:01:30 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2010, 08:56:46 AM »
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I am speaking from conjecture and principle - not experience: I have not tried editing AVCHD natively in Premiere and then exporting it as AVCHD.

If your edit is simple and does not require any complex effects, colour grading or multi-layering, then in principle the AVCHD>AVCHD workflow is great.

But normally at least one of those post-production effects will be required at some stage of the edit. Then the computationally complex effects required in AVCHD will likely be far more problematic than working with a non-GOP codec where each frame already exists.

Let us know how the completed and exported AVCHD edit within Premiere works for you and what effects, transitions & colour grading you performed.
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Christopher Sanderson
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fredjeang
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« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2011, 09:55:46 AM »
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I am speaking from conjecture and principle - not experience: I have not tried editing AVCHD natively in Premiere and then exporting it as AVCHD.

If your edit is simple and does not require any complex effects, colour grading or multi-layering, then in principle the AVCHD>AVCHD workflow is great.

But normally at least one of those post-production effects will be required at some stage of the edit. Then the computationally complex effects required in AVCHD will likely be far more problematic than working with a non-GOP codec where each frame already exists.

Let us know how the completed and exported AVCHD edit within Premiere works for you and what effects, transitions & colour grading you performed.
Now I got it, I was comfused with my english.

Well I have a straightforward answer: I would not do serious editing in AVCHD. Too slow.
It consumes a lot of power and if you are in star wars special effects you need the Pentagone computers.
I'd use the transcoder to DVC pro or uncompressed AVI.

also, in long recordings, (like an interview for ex) this format splits the clips but the audio has a blank Huh...very nice...so you have to use a merger software wich obliges you another step on the yet veryyyy long list.
no thanks! See a free merger to dowload here: http://vontraining.net/download/

I prefer to invest in storage than to have to deal with this AVCHD.

I'd shoot in motion jpegs in 720 for short sequences.

The Edius latest version supports avchd editing and I'll get that version. If Edius follows the same philosophy, it should be a less cpu consumer than Premiere so maybe the AVCHD edition in Edius will be more fluid. I'll comment on that when I got my Edius 6. It also supports Grass Valley Infinity REV PRO, SONY XDCAM, and Panasonic P2 also.
http://www.grassvalley.com/downloads/servers/revpro_20080430.html



« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 02:00:03 PM by fredjeang » Logged
fredjeang
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« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2011, 12:26:20 PM »
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Well...my intuition was right.

I just installed the Edius 6 trial and what happens with AVCHD is that you can actually edit with no slowdown while Premiere slows the workflow.

Provisional and strictly personal conclusion? Edius is used mainly by and for professionals and they are in video industry for a long time. So I guess their products are highly designed for the industry while Adobe being more "generalist" is aimed to a more consummer market? Don't know, but I've been impressed by the Edius 5 and the latest version does not consume more of your cpu, or at least you hardly notice it.
Edius is very stable.

Now, to export just in AVCHD, you have as much parameters options than the all Adobe media encoder...you know what? I'm going right now to the bar and have a beer. (a coffee would be more appropriate).

All that is completly crazy. I want a view camera.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 12:46:03 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2011, 01:15:28 PM »
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I'm honestly not happy with this format avchd. Not at all.
AVCHD as a codec is very good. But the user needs to be aware of what the codec is good for and what it is not good for.

AVCHD is a complex and large COmpression & DECompression standard. It is very good because it COmpresses very well with some but little loss. It DECompresses to an output which is very close to the original de-mosaiced sensor information. Most lower & mid-range camcorders are now adopting it because the trade-off of file size vs. quality is very good.

BUT

The AVCHD codec relies on highly complex computational algorithms built in to the cameras' COmpression hardware and firmware.
Similarly, the codec relies on hardware and firmware/software DECompression for playback.
N.B. Not all software media players are written to take advantage of the full DECompression side of AVCHD.

I believe the software media player that comes from Panasonic bundled with the GH2 as a standalone player gives reference quality only - equivalent to a JPEG stream. This makes sense if you think of GH2 users who may use low-powered computers for playback - computers & video cards that might be overwhelmed by the DECompression requirements of AVCHD.

Bottom line: If you are seeing excessive noise and hesitant playback, first make sure your player, computer & video screen are robust and compliant enough for full 1080 24P playback.

« Last Edit: January 01, 2011, 01:18:04 PM by Chris Sanderson » Logged

Christopher Sanderson
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