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Archive for September, 2009

Why h.264 doesn’t equal h.264

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Since purchasing my Canon PowerShot SX1 I’ve been reading stuff online about how people are touting the superior video capability of cameras like the Canon 5d Mark II or the forthcoming Canon 7D over AVCHD cameras in part because cameras like the Canon’s use 42 Mbps h.264 compression as opposed to the 17 or 24 Mbps compression used in AVCHD cameras.

Now, to be clear.  There is no question that under the same conditions that Canon 5d Mark II, the Canon 7D, and even the Canon PowerShot SX1 take superior video to the AVCHD-based HF10 (which is the model that I’m comparing it to).  I’m just not sure it has as much to do with Compression as it does with optics and sensors, and here’s why.

h.264 is the codec, but it has different levels and profiles that control how things are encoded.  There are many different profiles and levels for h.264 that control complexity, bitrates, etc.  For most people’s purposes, three profiles are of interest:  Baseline, Main, and High profile.  One concrete example of the difference is the Main profile uses B-frames in encoding, while Baseline does not.

So the h.264 coming off of the PowerShot SX1 is Baseline profile, Level 5, while the video coming off of the HF10 is High Profile, Level 4.0.   Needless to say, it takes a lot more power to playback the more complicated High Profile footage (even though it’s a lower bitrate) than it does to playback the higher bitrate Baseline profile footage.

My guess is that its significantly cheaper to put in hardware that will encode in real time into baseline profile than it does to put in hardware that will encode in high profile and since on a digital camera Canon is envisioning different use (short clips as opposed to long sequences) it figured higher bitrate lower profile would be preferable (and I think they were right).  But in the end I think it has more to do with optics and sensors than compression.

Categories: Main

Meredith and Andrew’s September Video

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Wallace Kids 2009 JPEG Image

Meredith and Andrew’s September

It an was an exciting September @ the Wallace’s as Andrew started preschool and Meredith kept growing and growing and doing more and more.  Here are a few highlights.

(Check out the Video Formats page if you’re unsure which format is best for you)

QuickTime (Macs and PCs)

Windows Media (PCs)

Categories: Main

Canon HF10 vs. Canon PowerShot SX1 IS

September 22, 2009 6 comments

After my trusty Kodak Z812 IS died I decided to purchase a Canon PowerShot SX1 IS in large part because of its ability to shoot 1080p30 video.  Today I decided to compare my Canon HF10 to my new PowerShot SX1 IS shooting video – here are the results.  Click on the image to view @ full size.

In general the SX1 looks significantly better than the HF10, providing much richer color and slightly better detail.  The biggest difference I noticed was in the wide-angle shots of the trees in the background – the HF10 just didn’t handle those well at all while the SX1 did better.

(These are stills taken from ProRes422 transcodes and compressed into JPEG) so there’s some distortion but you’ll get the basic idea.)

Zoomed In (Both cameras at max zoom)

PowerShot SX1

SX1-Zoomed

HF10

HF10-Zoomed InZoomed Out

PowerShot SX1 IS

SX1-Near

HF10

HF10-Near

Pan Shot (In the middle of a left to right Pan)

PowerShot SX1

SX1-Pan Shot

HF10

HF10-Pan Shot

Technical Details

HF10: FXP Mode (17 Mbps), PF30 Mode – Auto white balance, no image filters

SX1: Video Mode, Auto white balance, no image filters

Transcoded both files from AVCHD (HF10) and Quick

Categories: Main

Andrew and Meredith’s Summer Movies

September 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Andrew and Meredith’s Summer Movies

Andrew Tickling Meredith

Andrew and Meredith have had a busy summer and a lot of was caught on video!

(Be sure to check out my About Video Formats page if you’re unsure which format is best for you)

Andrew and Meredith Summer – Part 2 – This video highlights the second part of Andrew and Meredith’s summer including our vacation.

High Definition (QuickTime)

DVD Quality (QuickTime)

Standard Definition/iPod (QuickTime)

Standard Definition (Windows Media)

Meredith’s First Movie (Co-starring Andrew) – This is the first movie where you get to see Meredith interacting.  Andrew still co-stars mind you

High Definition (QuickTime)

DVD Quality (QuickTime)

Standard Definition/iPod (QuickTime)

Standard Definition (Windows Media)

Andrew Dancing – At the Strong Museum of Play Andrew really liked the loud music that he could dance to.

High Definition (QuickTime)

DVD Quality (QuickTime)

Standard Definition/iPod (QuickTime)

Standard Definition (Windows Media)

Categories: Andrew, Meredith, Video Editing