Best workflow for HV20 with Premiere and After Effects
December 31, 2007 4:27 PM   Subscribe

What is a good workflow to capture and export video with the Canon HV20 using Premiere and After Effects?

Hi, I just recently purchased the HV20 camera and I am having a hard time figuring out the best settings to use for capture and output. I am new to HD and fairly new to video. The footage will primarily be put online onto a site like vimeo keeping the video looking as nice as possible but still stream-able. I would also like to keep a master file saved on my hard drive at pretty nice resolution.
The videos will be mostly be short clips, possibly loops. I am using Premiere and After Effects CS3. Eventually I am going to upload videos to a personal site and most likely use flash cs3 to make the site. Any suggestions will be appreciated!

The problem I've had so far is with playback of the HD video. It is very slow and barely plays. I talked to a friend and he said I'm probably saving it at too high a bit rate. Also, the computer I am using is a new mac mini with an external firewire hard drive.

posted by austinlee to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Premiere will do the capture, as I'm sure you know by now. The playback problem is in your computer, not the video file. HD does have a higher bitrate (duh) so there's a good chance your computer can't keep up. This is especially true if you have a single hard drive.

The one thing you absolute do not want to do, however is to throw away data. Don't choke the bitrate or capture to a compressed format. Uncompressed HD AVI files will be huge but there you go. That's the price of HD.

Whenever possible, use two hard drives: one for your 'system' (including editing software) and one for your video files. The video drive needs to spin at at least 7200 RPM. Depending on other factors, you might be able to get away with the video drive living externally via firewire.

You can limit the playback resolution in Premiere by clicking on the 'output' icon (3 little circles) in the playback window. You can change to 'draft quality'. IIRC, you can do the same in AE.
posted by trinity8-director at 6:28 PM on December 31, 2007

Sorry, missed the part about the external drive. That is probably the choke point in your throughput, especially if the drive spins slow. Changing to draft quality for previews might make it tolerable, though. Adding an internal drive will really help, though.
posted by trinity8-director at 6:33 PM on December 31, 2007

Response by poster: The video plays back fine when it is in premiere. The problem is really just when I made I've exported footage that I had worked on a little bit. That is why I am thinking that it might be just an issue with how I am exporting it. Let me know if you have any suggestions? Could you suggest a good format to export to to test it? I may have been choosing the wrong one. When I create a new project in premiere it gives me the option of
HDV 1080i25 (50i)
HDV 1080i30 (60i)
HDV 1080p25
HDV 1080p30
HDV 720p25
HDV 720p30

My camera is set to HDV (PF24) when I record. I've been choosing the HDV 1080i25 (50i) option when starting the project.
I will then use adobe media encoder to output it to H.264 and then the HDV 1080p 24 (High Quality) preset. I've tried a couple other presets with varying results. Do you see any issues with the way I am doing this?

thanks for your help, austin
posted by austinlee at 7:06 PM on December 31, 2007

Response by poster: Also! I do have the firewire drive daisy chained to another firewire drive. Do you think that might be causing an issue? I'll try connecting it directly and seeing if I see a difference.
posted by austinlee at 7:10 PM on December 31, 2007

Since you plan on these being on the web site (is that the only distribution format?) have you tried exporting as flash video?

PF24 is, I believe, the 'fake' progressive mode. However, if the preview in Premiere looks OK, then your project settings are probably OK.

Try exporting to Quicktime or WMV and see what you get. You can shrink the frame size and bitrate to anything you like. Start with one of the modest size presets just to see what you get.

Oh, and yes, the daisy chain can cause problems. You are basically doubling the amount of data passing through the pipe. At least, when both drives are having IO operations on them at the same time.
posted by trinity8-director at 7:59 PM on December 31, 2007

Also, if you haven't been there yet, check out the Wrigley video forum. Lots of friendly, knowledgeable people hang out there.
posted by trinity8-director at 8:00 PM on December 31, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for your help. I also found a really great forum at just now that seems to have some great tips.
posted by austinlee at 8:44 PM on December 31, 2007

the fact that it is choppy and barely plays back is due to the hardware. the mac mini was not designed to be a HD video power house. it was made for the 'average' user who might want to get online, check email, type up a word document, organize pictures, etc. it was NOT designed to run pro applications such as the CS3 suite and to then handle editing and playback of uncompressed HD video on top of that. both of those things are resource hogs and the lil' mac mini can't handle it.

just out of curiosity, have you tried using iMovie 08 to capture and edit the video? it won't have a lot of the more advanced tools CS3 will have, but it will perform better on that machine.

also, if you don't already have 2gb of RAM in the mac mini, make that upgrade a priority. you WILL see a substantial performance increase in the mac mini when maxing out the RAM.
posted by hummercash at 12:07 AM on January 1, 2008

whoah, i just reread the posts and i guess i just completely missed the part where you said playback of the final output was the problem and you're encoding 1080p... the mac mini can't handle that. try a 720p high quality setting and see how it likes that. all of vimeo's HD content is 720p.

also, the first 2 paragraphs and 1st sentence of the 3rd paragraph here might come in handy if you want to have a clean and consistent workflow and not constantly be mixing and matching frame rates and such.
posted by hummercash at 12:42 AM on January 1, 2008

Inside of premiere: HDV is 25mb/s. It's the same data rate/demands as DV. The only thing that makes it 'harder' is that you're dealing with editing MPEG-2 in RT (being decoded and encoded on the fly.) The mac mini can handle this.

Where you're running into problems is what you're doing with the HDV video outside of this.

So, what exactly are you doing with it? Are you re-encoding it to a different format? Or rendering as uncompressed HD out of AE (or in the Animation Codec)? These probably wouldn't play on anything less than a hardware based system with very fast drives for playback.

The h.264 playback is very demanding (the mini does 720p). You might try halving the frame rate (15fps) or/and the size (down to 960x540) and see much better results.
posted by filmgeek at 10:25 AM on January 1, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for all your help everyone. I think I'm starting to understand how this works and some of my limitations. I think I'll just export everything to 720p for now. I don't really need any output to be higher than this right now anyway. (I don't even have an HD tv!) I was just trying to find a nice way to store high quality files in case I make something nice and want to do something special with it later. I think I will try using the pulldown technique to see how that looks. I am using 2 gb of ram in the mini. Thanks for the link hummer cash. It is very helpful!
posted by austinlee at 11:37 AM on January 1, 2008

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