Question

AVCHD to MP4? (or any other ways to archive AVCHD files?)

Hey! I'm new to this. I'm using CAnon Legria HF G25 to shoot a documentary, it's going to be a one-year--long project. I realized that the AVCHD folder is not good for archiving my footages, since I can't name every clip (date/venue/activities for future editing). It's going to be a terrible job to hunt down each clip while editing at the end of the year.
I found a post in 2017 by "boya84", that telling a method to save each clip by using QuickTime. It works, and I chose 1080 while "export" (that's the highest given).
My question is: if this kind of conversion decrease the quality of the original clip?

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Clarification Request
My old method.

I'd put a text file of the same name that allowed me to add details about the clip.

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Answer
Short version: "No".

Don't confuse file type with compression or the conversion somehow impacting the video quality.

Long version:
If the video is highest quality when captured by the camcorder, then converting it from one file type to another will not reduce the video quality unless video compression, frame rate, or some other video-quality-impacting change is made.

A 29.97 frames per second (most call this 30 fps) video captured by your camcorder at best available quality will be the same when decent tools are used (i.e., HandBrake, VLC Player, etc.) and the resulting converted file continues to be a low compression video at the same frame rate at which it was captured.

When that video is imported to the video editor, it remains low compression. The edited video needs to be rendered to a low compression file (whether MP4, MOV, or something else) - and once this "master" is made (your "final" archive), you can either downsample the resulting file from this master using a converter utility (like HandBrake - it has useful presets for different target playback devices) or render a more compressed version directly from the video editor (whether Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Vegas Pro, etc...).

For example, I've taken low-compression 1080p files and rendered them to be playable on a regular DVD player. The resulting standard definition (480p) highly compressed VOB file can be played back on a regular DVD player... and the media file is a lot smaller than the original because so much video data was discarded to get to 480p and compression to the VOB format that regular DVD players can deal with.

There seems to be a process flow item going on. Since all the captured videos have their own timestamp, you could make a note of the date/time in a text file of those which are "keepers". When I import the AVCHD file (to Final Cut Pro), that import takes all the discreet files (each time start-stop is pressed on the camcorder, a single file is created). This is an alternative to using a slate or clap-board (for scripted projects). Then I use the notes I took to target the keepers. These notes are also used to compare to the shot list to be sure all the shots needed have coverage...

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Thanks!

Thank you so much!!! I'll continue to study further...

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We don't know your plans for your project

After each day of shooting, copy the AVCHD file to a computer's external drive.

Copying the file to a computer's external drive more often (each scene) is preferred, but we understand when that gets tedious, especially over the course of a year. You can rename that AVCHD file with that day's date... Try it with non-critical video... capture 4 different start/stop sequences, copy the AVCHD file to the computer and rename the file that was copied to the computer... After the file is copied to the computer (and hopefully backed up on yet another drive, format the card in the camcorder using the camcorder's "format memory" menu selection.

Why do this so often? It is possible the flash memory card gets a problem. Its database becomes corrupted, the camcorder is stolen - with the memory card in it... whatever... If you use the same memory card in that camcorder for a month or year of video capture, that just becomes problematic.

You don't want the single card to fail without having copied that file anywhere. And even if the file was copied to one drive, you don't want *that* drive to fail, either. The idea is to have the important files in at least two places. And reformatting the flash memory for the camcorder takes the database failure and corrupting the flash memory card out of the equation.

Because a memory card can fail when you least want it to fail, best to have a couple of smaller cards rather than one big one.

The reason to copy the AVCHD files to an external drive has more to do with computer response time... Most "modern" computers use virtual memory even when they have a decent amount of RAM (minimum 8 gig physical RAM, more is better). Virtual memory is a reserved part of the start-up hard drive that augments physical RAM. It takes more CPU cycles to deal with the operating system + the video editor + the input/output of the video project files from the start-up drive... if the video project files are stored externally, they are read from the external, not the start-up drive. This offloads a decent amount of the effort from the start-up drive. If you are fortunate enough to have a SSD startup, then the performance impact is not so much...

How I would do it:
Create folder on external drive for the project. Name it whatever you call the project. In this folder, create a folder called G25 video. You may want others like "Stills", "Releases", "Permits", "Agreement" (for grip, crafts, audio, lighting, rentals, etc...) For the AVCHD files:
1) Capture video.
2) Copy to the external drive(s)
3) save card 1, insert card 2 to camcorder. Repeat steps Step 1, Step 2... probably through 4-5 cards. This should give you enough time to copy to the hard drive - and the back-up drive.
4) Format the cards when the video copied from them is on at least 2 external hard drives. If you never use cards 2-5 because you are doing this daily (or more often), great. That means you still have cards available if the card fails.

Use of a 2-drive RAID-1 system where the two physical hard drives in a single case are mirrored counts as having 2 drives. I use a 4-slot OWC cabinet that lets me have 2 pairs of mirrored drives. When you copy a file from the camcorder, it is written to 1 pair of mirrored drives at the same time. If one of these drives fails, the other drive still has the file. Pull out the failed drive and replace it with a working drive the same size as the one it replaced. The RAID-1 intelligence will copy all the data from the remaining drive to the new one and make sure all is synchronized.

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Thanks a bunch!!!

This is VERY VERY VERY helpful! Thanks so much! Love

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We all started somewhere.

Your HF G25 is a great camcorder - and like any other camcorder provides best behavior when used within its design parameters.

Its low light behavior will be better than smaller consumer-grade camcorders because it has a wider lens diameter and larger imaging sensor... but will not behave as well as a camcorder with larger lens diameter + imaging sensor or one with a 3CMOS or 3CCD imaging sensor system.

Use and external mic... meter yet, use an external audio field recorder and sync that audio with the video when editing. Get the mic element close to the (speaking) subject and monitor/control the audio levels recorded so they don't "peak". From a meter's perspective, occasional peaks won't kill you, and being about 3/4 of the way up is about right.

Don't take new equipment out for the first time on an important shoot. Use it and understand how it will behave before you need it.

Try to always use some sort of steadying device. A tripod is common, but don't forget a shelf, chair, table, rock or the ground. Then there's the expensive stuff like a camera crane, Steadicam vest/arm system, slider and others. Humans were not made to be steady - and handheld shots are usually not steady. Most editors can take some shakiness out (Final Cut Pro and iMovie can); I presume Premiere can, too - it has been a while since I used that). Don't depend on the image stability feature of the camcorder. Unless I must shoot handheld, I generally turn image stabilization off.

When in doubt, add light. It is much easier to deal with "too much light" than not enough light. If you've ever been to a big budget shoot, lighting is typically really good and if darkness is needed, that is dealt with in editing.

Documentaries are a bit different - especially if you plan to shoot as much video as possible, then build the project around what you got... but having an outline which turns into a script which turns into a shot list and possibly storyboards will help keep you on track and reduce the possibility of "missing a shot"... since you may not be able to go back and get it.

The camcorder can be used at eye level, shoot up or shoot down... or used at knee level or up high. Take advantage of the 3-dimensional space.

Try not to pan or zoom unless you have to. Frame the shot and capture. If you pan or zoom, expect to cut that portion while panning or zooming (unless the shoot really needs it). If you pan or zoom and plan to keep it, pan or zoom s l o w l y...

During editing, stick with cuts and crossfades.

Good luck and have fun!

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