I’ve been working with video editing for a while now, and HD video editing since I got my first HD camera back in November. Since then I’ve changed cameras a couple times and am now using the Canon Vixia HF10 which is a flash-based AVCHD camera. I upgraded to this camera from a Aiptek ActionHD camera. The difference in quality between the two is no contest at all – with the Canon crushing the Aiptek in every possible way. The only feature from the Aiptek I miss however is the the Aiptek had three settings: 720p (30 frames per second), 720p (60 frames per second), and 1080p (30 frames per second). The 720p60 setting was really nice for high motion stuff.
You can read online about the debate over whether 1080p is really worth it as compared to 720p (with most saying that unless you’re looking at sceens above 50′ or sitting super-close (like computer monitor close) to small displays you won’t notice a difference (and I agree with this assessment). I have a 37-inch that can do 1080p and from where I sit normally you can’t tell the difference. But, what almost everyone agrees on is that the higher frame rate of 720p60 used in broadcasts by ESPN, ABC, and Fox when televising sports, is definitely noticeable compared to the standard 30 frames per second rate. Motion appears much smoother and more life-like, even with the lower resolution.
The problem is that the HF10 only supports recording in 1080i60, 1080p30, and 1080p24. Up and until now I’ve used the 1080p30 because it produces 30 full images per second which is great for outputting to digital sources like websites, etc. But a week or so ago I took some 1080i60 footage, brought it home, popped the flash card in my PS3 and played it back and was amazed by how smooth it looked – even compared to the normal 1080p30 footage. Then I realized that the PS3 was taking that 1080i60 footage, and deinterlacing it to display at 1080p60.
That got me thinking – is there a way to do that permanently? Shoot 1080i footage and convert it to 720p60? 1080p60 isn’t an option because the AVCHD standard doesn’t support it, but it does support 720p60. And I found a way… here it is (for Mac users)
1) Shoot all footage in normal 1080i60 mode
2) Edit and save all footage at 1080i60 – export as Apple Intermediate Codec and whatever type of audio you like best. Exporting at AIC just saves time at this point in the game, and makes the next step easier.
3) Once the file is exported download JES Deinterlacer and open it up. Select the file you exported and add it to the project. Make sure on the input window that “Interlaced” is checked. Then under project select standards conversion in the drop down menu and click on 1280x720p60. Then under Output make sure it’s set to “direct” with outputting as Apple Intermediate Codec.
4) Click OK and wait for your newly deinterlaced 720p60 file to come out…
5) Once you have that file you can convert it into whatever format you like. My experience has been that editing and converting works best in lossy formats like AIC as opposed to compared formats like MPEG-2 or h.264
To burn to disc for playback on AVCHD players simply add to Toast and burn away!
It is safe to say that going forward I will probably work mainly with 1080i footage and convert it to 720p60 for production and release.