Kodak playsport and VMS10HD P

Comments

Eugenia wrote on 12/2/2010, 7:38 PM
Bartman, your replies to musicvid and I aren't acceptable. You sound like an old man with a grudge. We only try to help here, but you seem to ask for our help from one side, and discard it from the other. It's like talking to wall.

Please understand that since musicvid and I don't own the source code of Sony Vegas, we can't FIX your problem in its root. We can't just find the bug, fix it, recompile the software, and give you the fixed version. For bugs like this, we can only suggest workarounds.

However, I will go the extra mile for you, and try to explain the situation to you better, but for the last time.

>a product aimed at the CONSUMER level should work with CONSUMER level cameras.

This is where your misconception lies. Your problem is really lack of historical knowledge. Please, allow me to explain.

Sony Vegas Platinum is a fork off of Vegas Pro, which was made to work with camcorder formats. These formats included DV, and later HDV -- formats that were designed for editing. You see, back in the day, only real camcorders could record video -- not cellphones, digirecorders, tablets, microwave ovens and their kitchen sink.

In 2005, when Apple started touting h.264 as the next best thing for *delivery* purposes (delivery meaning: playback-only format), HDV was supposed to be the format that HD cameras were supposed to record in. But HDV's reign was short. On paper, h.264 is twice as good as mpeg2's HDV, at half the bitrate. What this meant for camera manufacturers was: higher quality, in smaller filesizes (since consumers hated the 12 GB per hour on the DV/HDV tapes), and without having to deal with tapes (that consumers also hated).

So another division of Sony, and Panasonic, came together, and created AVCHD. A more edit-friendly h.264 format (special container, and special encoder switches to help with editing), a format that was to kill HDV. To this day, AVCHD is the most heavy of the "camcorder formats" as it still requires lots of CPU power to decode. But since it's somewhat edit-friendly, editors like Vegas don't have huge problems with it. They manage for the most part.

Here's the kick though, and please pay special attention to the following.

Seeing the big impact h.264 was going to have to the camera world, companies like Flip, Sanyo, Kodak, Samsung, and many others that were not *camcorder* companies traditionally, started jumping to the "digirecorder" bandwagon. Problem was though, instead of using the edit-friendly AVCHD h.264 format, they went with "generic" h.264. Instead of following the well described standard (which is available for a fee), each one of these companies just licensed random cheaper DSPs, that were recording a version of h.264 that was not meant for editing. A version that was very difficult to decode without a DSP.

Absolutely *none* of the editors until the past year could deal properly with these formats! http://eugenia.queru.com/2008/06/17/i-hate-samsung/ Even Apple's iMovie, the most user-friendly editor around, had trouble editing these files! EVEN APPLE had to come up with something terrible like this http://eugenia.queru.com/2009/10/16/regarding-apples-iframe-spec/ in order to deal with the bruhaha of generic h.264 digirecorders. The thing was (and still is) unmanageable. As you can read there, you are not the first person FRUSTRATED about the situation! I've been where you are now since 2008.

Only *very recently* editors added hardware acceleration to assist decoding these formats! And that, only after Canon's still picture division (which obviously didn't even bother co-operating with their camcorder division to use AVCHD, or they couldn't use the same electronics since AVCHD requires faster and more expensive DSPs), started putting generic h.264 on their dSLRs, and so wedding photographers started shouting left and right about how unmanageable these files are! All of us with these dSLRs, had to use Cineform! Cineform had become our religion, because there was simply no other way!

The good thing about this, was that when professionals started requiring better h.264 support, video editing companies started taking notice. Before that, digirecorders were simply rogue products, that never cared about anything but themselves in the chain of usage. And since these manufacturers never cared about editing companies, editing companies never cared about them either. It's not about what people buy the most in this case, it's about co-operation between these companies, in order to get access to SDKs and APIs etc. Otherwise, companies would just waste money going blind towards trying to deal with these unmanageable formats.

Vegas got this "better" h.264 support with Platinum 10 for the first time, just a few months ago. Before that, it was a DISASTER. Obviously, since you're still using this very first implementation of their new h.264 decoder, bugs still exist. But I believe that Vegas Pro, which uses the same codebase, but it's a bit newer, has your bug FIXED (in my tests, at least). This is why I'm saying that all you have to do is wait a bit for a FREE update on Platinum 10.0. If and when Sony does that, your bug *should* go away! Until then, you should indeed use Matrox AVI, which is the free alternative to Cineform.

Basically, what I'm saying is that GOOD software support for these out-of-spec cameras will come, but it will take a while. You should have researched before you bought a digirecorder. In my writings I always mention how bad of an idea is for a normal consumer to buy a digirecorder instead of a camcorder. I never suggest them. I realize that you bought the Playsport model because you want to play with sports, and no camcorder would give you that form factor. But when you take the decision to buy a camera that never passed any validation test in terms of recording format, you should live with the consequences.

I did the same thing when I bought my two Canons dSLR/digicams. I knew where I was diving into. And I bought them by preparing myself: I also got myself Cineform. Without Cineform, these cameras would have been trashed right now. Because there was nowhere to go at the time. NO EDITOR on this planet could deal with them!

>Not like Kodak has only been around a couple years.

No, but Kodak being Kodak, went with the cheaper solutions and didn't bother to license AVCHD. And so they went with solutions that look good on paper, but they're a nightmare to deal with in post processing.

>It's like buying a car then having to go somewhere else to buy an ignition key to start it.

No, it's not like this. It's like you bought this instead, http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/photogallerys/2007_Bimota_shop.jpg which was hand-made, OUT OF SPEC, and it's not street legal. So no wonder you don't have your keys yet!

Look, I'm not saying that it's your fault. You just bought a camera, you expect it to work. I get that! It's just that the state of things on ANY video editor are more complicated than that. And video codecs, especially h.264, is way more complicated than that too. You're a victim of complexity on the video editing side, and quick-profit/scamming on the cheap manufacturers' side.

To give you an example of the complexity video editors are into. Back in 2003 I wrote an editorial on my site about the state of video editors on Linux. They all sucked immensely. I got the fury of their developers. But it's 2011, and things are as bad on Linux as they used to. The Windows and Mac video world looks like heavenly playground compared to the video editing world of Linux. Even Ubuntu's CEO (Ubuntu is Linux's most popular version), has admitted that video editing sucks on Linux. And the reason? Complexity!

So, for the last time, please:
1. Install Vegas Pro trial in parallel, just to see if your bug is fixed, so you'll know what to expect in the near future from Platinum. It can give you hope.
2. In the meantime, follow the tutorial for transcoding to Matrox AVI. You will lose no quality with this intermediate format.

Alternatively, you could either:
1. Buy a REAL camcorder. If you're after extreme stability and compatibility, go with a tape HDV camcorder instead of AVCHD.
2. Buy another editor (good luck dealing with its own complex probs and quirks though -- nothing is perfect out there).
3. Buy Cineform (it's faster to encode/decode than Matrox AVI).

But none of these options are free. And they aren't free, because your CHEAP digirecorder came with a GOTCHA. So either please follow my two suggestions above, or stop editing altogether, and give the whole video industry the finger. I know I've come close to that once or twice.
bartman wrote on 12/2/2010, 7:59 PM
I apologize for my outburst. You are taking the high road and I will clean up my act to do the same.

Really I am angry with Sony's inability to even begin to give me an explaination for why things fall apart at 30 clips in the media bin. I have read countless threads on countless forums with users expressing this same frustration and getting no where with any of it. I guess I am lucky to get 30 because most people say it caves at 20 in the media bin.

Unfortunately, my anger with Sony spilled over here which it shouldn't have. I am actually very reasonable. I've only had problems with VMS from my first exposure to it, but everyone always points to it as being "the best option". Well, if this is the best option out there I fear for what the worst must be because all but simple editing jobs have been a failure with VMS and it's bugs.

I can't even save a file in VMS8 without using backwards path syntax typed in manually and the list just goes on and on from there. I was to get a free version upgrade to 9 because of all the bugs, but Sony didn't come through on that either. I figured by number 10 I should be able to use my new camera and edit some vacation video, but that was too much to ask as well.

I know you guys are just trying to help. My own frustration with the program is just at a boiling point. I'l like to finish projects started 2 years ago and do something with new footage from 2 months ago. I didn't expect to have to start bug fixes and work arounds all again with the exact same useless responses from Sony.

So I really do not think VMS will work for me without having to shell out more $$ for a good program to transcode. I will try the transcoding software you suggest this weekend when I have more time to take another shot at making this work.

Thanks and once again my apologies to both of you.

Bart

P.S. for the record I AM old. I come from the generation that expects things to work out-of-the-box right away not at a later date. I much preferred film to digital, but film is no longer a real option for the consumer.

musicvid10 wrote on 12/2/2010, 8:30 PM
Apology accepted.

You really need to look at Quicktime's history of crippling Vegas (and itself) when it comes to h264 MOV files. Ever tried to actually play some of this stuff in Quicktime Player?

Unfortunately, Sony Vegas is effectively constrained to using the QT libs to open files from your camera. Memory loading from these files is only the beginning of these issues. That doesn't mean Sony isn't working on it. However, that's the price of capitalism in this world. I understand that sales of Zantac are particularly good in Madison WI this time of year . . .
bartman wrote on 12/2/2010, 8:45 PM
I don't doubt QT is 90% of the problem. That said, if the files open and play perfectly in QT and Sony is using QT to deal with .MOV files then it seems odd to me that they do not work in VMS just as well as they do in QT.

I haven't been using the software that came with this camera to play anything so whatever format Kodak used seems 100% compatible with QT.

As for memory issues. I will not buy that 15 GB is too much in the media bin. The reason being the 30 odd clips I can load already far exceed my 2 GB of available RAM and have no choice but to be spooled to the HD which has a ton of room.

This system was built with the intent of video editing so 90% of what is on this machine is directly related to photo and video editing. It isn't a game machine or plugged up with an array of other junk to slow it all down.

Kodak must be aware of the issues based on their reply to my question of known issues between VMS and their camera which was, basically, "We know it is important for you to make them work together, but we can't help you." Sounds remarkably pathetic really, but thus far all technical support I have received from Sony over the last 2 years has been the same so if there is one industry standard out there I believe poor support is it.

I am considering loading VMS10 onto my laptop. It is not half the machine in terms of speed, but it is 64 bit and has 4 GB RAM so maybe it would, ever so slowly, work for extremely basic work. Not an ideal fix if it worked at all.

Bart
Eugenia wrote on 12/2/2010, 9:07 PM
Apology accepted. :-)

BTW, Vegas Platinum 10 and Pro 10 do not use Quicktime anymore. Indeed, previous versions of Vegas would crash in an instant with MOV/MP4 digirecorder/digicam h.264 files because of Quicktime, which is why for version 10 Sony wrote their own h.264 decoder. Things are way better now. More info here: http://eugenia.queru.com/2010/10/08/h-264-performance-on-vegas-pro-10/

The problem here is really that Platinum 10 is based on an older codebase than Vegas Pro 10. Platinum 10.0 (latest version) came out back in April, while Pro 10.0a came out in October. Vegas Pro 10 has the *remaining* h.264 bugs *fixed* (in my tests).

ALL it requires now, is for Sony to offer Platinum users a free update, to bring its common code to the latest version. This is what they've done in the past for VMS at a timely manner. This time they haven't, and I don't know why. I find this somewhat suspicious to be honest.

Basically, Platinum 10 users must unite and ask for a free update from Sony. This forum usually has two main bug reports: the MP4/MOV h.264 crashes (as bartman did), and Sony AVC crashing when exporting in 1080i AVCHD (out of memory). The first bug is fixed on their common code since then, as Pro 10 proves, so since this is such a popular bug report, they should release an update. It's been too long without a Platinum 10 update IMHO.
Eugenia wrote on 12/2/2010, 9:20 PM
Musicvid is correct about Quicktime problems (for pre-Platinum 10 versions that used to use QT for h.264 decoding). Programmatically-speaking (I used to be a developer back in the day), it's a different thing loading ONE clip to playback, and another loading 30+. Also, when the Quicktime app is playing that one clip at a time, it may be using non-public APIs for extra stability -- APIs not available via the Quicktime SDK that Sony and all other editors use. Besides, Quicktime is a foreign object, with its own quirks and bugs. Bugs that don't always reveal themselves in the same way from all the apps that using it. But as I said, now Vegas doesn't use QT anymore for h.264 decoding. It just needs to perfect its own, young, implementation.

Regarding your RAM. In my opinion, 2 GB is not enough for video editing if you're running Vista or Win7, or your XP is too old and has acquired craft through the years. You see, these operating systems require at least 1 GB of RAM in their leanest configuration, and 1.5 GB in their worst. This doesn't leave much space for Vegas to operate in HD mode.

If your operating system is 64bit, buy 2 more GB RAM, so your OS can "live" in the high 2 GBs, and Vegas can then operate at the low 2 (you see, 32bit apps like Vegas can't use more than 2 GB of RAM). If your operating system is 32bit too, like Vegas is, then buy 1 GB of RAM. More than that, would be a waste in this case. You see, Microsoft has written Windows in a way that the 32bit OS can use one extra GB for itself (actually, just the kernel), and that will leave about 2 GB of RAM just for Vegas. Vegas does require 2 full GBs of RAM for good HD editing, so as musicvid also suggested, look into upgrading to 3 GB or 4 GB of RAM overall. No more than that though, it won't be really utilized for more than that.
bartman wrote on 12/3/2010, 5:03 AM
So perhaps I should give VMS a go on my laptop then. It is a dual-core, 64 bit, 4 gb system which should still meet the minimum specs. Maybe the performance won't be too bad compared to the higher powered desktop.

I guess nagging Sony about the QT thing will also have to be in order.

It is interesting that they haven't done this yet if there is a fix out there. Shame on them. Also not good that they couldn't even provide that information when I asked for help.

I am going to try the conversion first so I can compare quality then if that is okay I'll just finish the one project. I'll then look at the pro trial for later on.

Thanks,.

Bart

Edited to add: I received a refund from Sony for this program which I think is appropriate considering they promised me a free upgrade when version 8 didn't work and didn't do it when version 9 arrived on the scene. Of course they disabled the serial numbers so it may not actually work, but one more thing I can fight with them on now.
bartman wrote on 12/6/2010, 7:11 PM
An update.

I downloaded the trial version of pro 10 to the laptop tonight and tested it. I chose this because the laptop has 4 GB memory and is 64 bit.

The good news is all the clips loaded very quick with no crashes into the media bin. No green thumbnails either.

The bad news, which I suspected, is that playback is very jerky. It won't be possible to edit on the laptop. The laptop doesn't have enough processor power to dead with these files. The files also playback jerky in QT outside of Vegas although not quite as bad.

The next step will be to try the 32 bit version on the more powerful desktop and see what happens there.

Bart
Byron K wrote on 12/6/2010, 10:06 PM
If the jerky playback is too much to bear, you can convert the original clips to smaller more manageable proxy clips. Edit the video using the proxy files, then do the final render with the high resolution clips.

This was my standard m.o. on my P4HT machine. Renders took a loooong time but it worked.

Eugenia wrote on 12/6/2010, 10:44 PM
Yup, as I suspected, the bug is fixed on the newer Vegas codebase. All you need now is to add 1 or 2 more GB of RAM on your primary desktop, and edit on Vegas Pro 10 for 30 days until the trial ends. After that, dunno..
musicvid10 wrote on 12/6/2010, 11:00 PM
And set your project properties to match media settings . . .
bartman wrote on 12/7/2010, 7:30 AM
Proxy files. Interesting. I get it in theory, don't know how to execute it. This 4 minute project could take 20 hours to accomplish at this rate.

I can't say for sure yet the bug is fixed with the pro version. I need to installed the 32 bit version of the pro 10 on the desktop and see how it works there. Perhaps tonight. I don't have a ton of free time hence why I want things to work out of the box without all this fiddling.

If it does work on the desktop with its 2gb of RAM, but more powerful processor and larger hard drive I'll be hammering Sony on the fix for VMS. Shouldn't be a need for all these hoops.

A friend of mine has suggested some editor that I had never heard of before, but he uses it on HD .mp4 files without problems so I may have to look at that as an option.

Bart
Eugenia wrote on 12/7/2010, 12:22 PM
Proxy files are NOT a good idea in this case, because with proxies, you switch back to the original files just before you render out. And since these files crashes Vegas in large quantities, you will most likely get it too. Digital Intermediates with Cineform or Matrox AVI or Avid DNxHD are a better and more stable idea.
bartman wrote on 12/8/2010, 7:13 AM
Test number 2:

Vegas Pro 10 32 bit version on my desktop with 2GB memory and the quad core processor, larger hard drive. .MOV files all renamed to .MP4 just in case.

The clips all loaded into the media bin with full thumbnails in a few seconds. The processing of the clips did take a bit longer on this system then the 64 bit laptop test, but they all completed.

I grabbed the largest clip and trimmed a section and dropped it in the timeline with no issues.

Playback seemed to be at normal speed without jerking in both the trimmer window and preview window.

So, this looks good. I will now attempt to do the project before the trial expires and see if the pro version continues to work without issues.

The proof as you have said, Eugenia, is evident. This does nothing to make me less angry with Sony for not having this already fixed in VMS 10.

Bart
bartman wrote on 12/19/2010, 12:36 PM
Reporting that Vegas 10 pro worked fine on the 32 bit machine with 2 GB memory. No crashes with importing and slicing things up. Rendering for the 4 minute test project was quick.

My biggest problem with the pro version is the lack of the consumer level things that are helpful for us consumers like being able to upload directly to YouTube. I know it is the pro version so I shouldn't expect that, but I'm only using the pro version because of the sloppy operation of VMS10 which would have worked just fine if it were ever fixed.

As such I don't know what the best render options were for a 720p video heading for YouTube so I ended up with a 600 mb file which seems a bit large and unruly trying to upload.

Any tips on what might be the best way to render for YouTube and Facebook in HD format 720p?

My next decission is if I should wait for VMS10 to fix the .MOV issues or save some extra cash and upgrade to the pro version. I did discover that the backwards path syntex error still exists in version 10 of VMS and I reported that problem back in version 8 so that is disappointing that such simple things are not corrected. I have my doubts that other problems in 8 have been fixed since as a result and maybe the pro version is the only version that works as it should.

Bart
amendegw wrote on 12/19/2010, 1:19 PM
"Any tips on what might be the best way to render for YouTube and Facebook in HD format 720p?"The quick answer is "Sony AVC" -> "Internet 1280x720 30p" but there's lots of discussion on this over in the Pro forum.

Good Luck!
...Jerry
romagjack wrote on 12/19/2010, 3:07 PM
I'm having similar problems with vms10. I looked at all the good help from members on the forum and downloaded the Pro10 trial. You all were right, everything worked great with no tweaking necessary. Sony has fixed the problem in Pro. I use a Canon SX30 that produces 1280x720HD mov files. Guess I'll have to wait for the fix. Can I continue to use the Pro trial and will the project files be editible in VMS10 when Sony fixes the problem? Thanks
richard-amirault wrote on 12/19/2010, 3:38 PM
.. will the project files be editible in VMS10 when Sony fixes the problem?

No.

Not only can't you use project files from a higher version of VMS (in a lower version of VMS), and you can't use Vegas Pro files in any VMS version.

Just to be complete .. you cannot use higher version Pro files in lower versions of Pro either.
romagjack wrote on 12/19/2010, 5:49 PM
Thanks, I'll have to get my project done before the trial runs out.
bartman wrote on 12/19/2010, 7:01 PM
Thanks amendegw. That cut about 2/3rds of the file size out.

I do have some very minor ghosting on moving objects, but I think that's because the original material was shot at 60fps (a mistake in the settings) and it rendered at 30fps. Not enough to bother with sorting out a fix.

I wish VMS would have had the .MOV issues fixed. A lot of wasted time getting this done. The pro version, I can see, would be a very powerful editor, but I don't know if I can justify the price even with the upgrade discount.

If Sony could just get a fix for VMS sometime this century it would help.

Bart
Eugenia wrote on 12/19/2010, 8:09 PM
Bartman, please use this guide for online videos: http://eugenia.queru.com/2007/11/09/exporting-with-vegas-for-vimeo-hd/ The way I suggest to do things there, do not produce ghosting. Still export at 29.97 though, because youtube and vimeo don't support above 30.00 fps.

Even if there was a youtube direct export, you should not use it btw, it's never good, and sometimes it breaks as Google changes their APIs. The above way is the right way of doing things.
bartman wrote on 12/21/2010, 8:11 AM
Thanks.

I checked that out and will use it next time. This one will need to suffice as is. It's not really that bad and most people would not notice it.

I found your political blog linked there to be extremely interesting!

Bart