Transcoding AVCHD files for editing Elements 3

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    • #46890

      My new Sanyo Xacti VPC-FH1 camcorder shoots AVCHD H.264 files (with a .MP4 extension) atvarious quality levels -the highest being FULL HR 1920 x 1080 at 60fps. I have elected to use the less demanding 1920 x 1080 at 30fps for editing in Premiere Elements 3. I am attempting towork withfiles which I have transcoded into .WMV files using a nativeapplication within Roxio Creator 9 – having first tried SUPER and AVS transcoding software. Roxio works fine (as did one of the others) for a small number of clips, the WMV filesbeing good on both video and audio, and transitions added appear to be good also. However, when alarger number of clips (say 20) are initially added a dialog box appears in Premiere Elements 3 stating:-

      “Adobe Premiere Elements is running very low on system memory. Please save your project and proceed with caution”. Attempted further work in PE3 such as rendering caused the application to fail.I tried but was not able to transcode successfully to .AVI files. PE3 would not recognise them.

      Can anyone suggest a solution to this problem please.


    • #193043
      1. Increase available RAM on your computer (may be limited by OS in use)
      2. Increase available space on your hard drive for swap files.
      3. Work with reduced number ofclips by rendering smaller groups into “chapters”.

      Most NLEs do not touch the actual video clips but record file locations and your edit marks until the session is rendered. This is very memory intensive.

      For any better info to help you please post your computer stats so we can review further (OS, RAM, Processor, Free HD space, Number of HDs, etc.)

    • #193044

      Thanks for your help.

      My OS is Vista 32 bit with 4GB of RAM, so can do nothing much there. However, will try increasing available space for swap files & your comment on rendering a limited number of clips at a time is a good one.

      Am experimenting with, and seem to be having more luck with, would you believe, Windows Movie Maker & the resident video editing app. in Roxio Creator 9. So, maybe PE3 will reluctantly be put on the back burner.

    • #193045

      Do you have the Premiere Elements 3.0.2 patcch?

      Version 3 does not work at all with HDV, 3.0.2 has limited HDV support.

      You really need to upgrade if you plan on editing HDV with Premiere Elements

      If you are going to convert the files then use DV-AVI, not WMV. But I would recommend upgrading and then editing the originals.

    • #193046

      Thanks for your response.

      Yes, Premiere Elements 3.0.2 patch has been applied. However, didn’t know that 3.0.2 has limited HDV support. Will certainly consider upgrading to version 7 but understand that to encode directly using PE7 some fairly hefty computer power is necessary. This I think I have so maybe PE7 is the answer. As far as transcoding to .AVI files is concerned, have tried that but PE3 would not recognise them. I believe that AVI is just a container for a number of different file structures, so maybe I do not yet have the appropriate codec/s installed.

      Interestingly, I met two other people today who have recently bought HD camcorders. Neither have yet attempted to edit their clips. I wished themthe best ofluck.

      Shot 81 new clips today. Will transcode them (to WMV for now using Roxio) tomorrow & drop them into Windows Movie Maker & Roxio Creator 9video editors just to see whether the same problem occurs. If not, andhaving used15 clips in them both to date without problems, then I will have to consider whether the Roxio application will be adequate formy requirementsor whether I need to buyPE7.

      A recent article in Personal Computer World would suggest that the general problem of successfully editing some HD file content is somewhat serious – anyway will continue to try.

      Thanks again.

    • #193047

      No matter what editing software you have it is a very intensive process to edit AVCHD files.

      Quad Core processor is highly recommended, version 3 or version 7 doesn’t matter.

      If converting to AVI you need to make sure the conversion is to DV-AVI, you are correct that there are many forms of AVI.

      Lots of good stuff about editing AVCHD in Premiere Elements is available at the Muvipix Community

    • #193048

      I wouldn’t suggest converting AVCHD in order to make editing easier. This defeats the purpose of buying a good camcorder. Rendering and re-encoding is a lossy process, and it will permanently degrade the quality of your video. It’s even worse if you transcode before editing, only to have your editor render and re-encode your finished movie when you are finished (as most editors do). Going from AVC at 12 to 15 Mbps to HDV (MPEG-2) would require you to use a very high bitrate in order to minimize the loss of quality, as MPEG-2 is less efficient than AVC.

      It is possible to edit AVCHD without transcoding… either on import or export (as long as you are exporting to AVCHD or Blu-ray disc). I don’t want to come here to advertise (VM has a different department for that)… but I don’t want to see my fellow video editors struggle. Remember, friends don’t let friends transcode HD video. It is possible (with PowerDirector) to edit AVCHD natively without transcoding. Give it a try, and you will see that it is very responsive. It doesn’t require a quad core CPU. Enable SVRT (Smart Video Rendering Technology) when you produce your final movie to AVCHD or Blu-ray, and all segments of video that don’t include effects or transitions will not be re-encoded. The original quality is preserved, and you’ll get your result much faster. And I promise that you won’t get “running low on memory, proceed with caution” messages.


    • #193049

      Thanks Chuck will look on the Muvipix site & Tom, I appreciatedthatsome loss of quality would ensue by transcoding, but didn’t realise quite how much. My main reason for doingso, in my panic, was to get something out and onto DVD as quickly as possible in order to prove to “the boss” that the purchase of the new camera was at least worthwhile. Am just beginning to understand what is going on here and will look at ‘PowerDirector’ as soon as possible.



    • #193050

      One more suggestion… PowerDVD will let you play AVCHD clips and titles natively. So you may want to purchase the Cyberlink Suite, rather than buying PowerDirector directly, as you will get PowerDVD included for very little difference in price. PowerDVD Ultra will play your Blu-ray discs very nicely (drives are getting pretty affordable these days… a BD-ROM for about $77, and a BD-R drive for about $160).

      If your final target is standard definition DVD, you don’t have to worry about the loss of quality nearly as much, since you will lose far more when you scale the video down from 1920×1080 to 720×480. If you can play your final video from a PC, you can output your final production to AVCHD, which can be written to DVD. PowerDVD can be used to play back AVCHD on DVD. Still, it’s better to preserve the quality, then have multiple output options from your editor.

      So check out PowerDVD, and you can show your boss the video without even having to edit anything.


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