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Old Dec 31, 2009, 8:04 PM   #1
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Not related to Pentax DSLRs, but you folks are so knowledgeable, I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction. If this post is not appropriate, please accept my apologies in advance, but I need some help.

Santa was very generous to me this Christmas. I am the proud new owner of a Canon HF200 hi-def camcorder. The camcorder records on to SDHC cards. When I connect the camcorder to a TV and play back what I recorded, it plays beautifully. But if I copy the file to a computer and play it with the software Canon provided, it looks dreadful: poor quality picture, very jerky motion. The audio sounds just fine, however.

I know absolutely nothing about editing video. I have learned from searching the web that each manufacturer uses its own unique formatting, so there is little compatibility between brands of camcorders, and most video editing software is pretty buggy. The web sites I have found are all oriented toward professionals and advanced amateurs. Can anyone point me toward a book, magazine, or web site dedicated to complete video newbies?
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 8:08 PM   #2
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Sounds to me like you may need a new video card. Do you know your video card specs? If not, I can tell you how to get them.
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 8:17 PM   #3
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I'm using a SanDisk Extreme III SDHC card, rated for class 6 video. The manual says I need a card rated at class 4 or higher, so I don't think the card is the problem. But as I said, I know nothing about video, so any and all suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 9:18 PM   #4
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I'm using a SanDisk Extreme III SDHC card, rated for class 6 video. The manual says I need a card rated at class 4 or higher, so I don't think the card is the problem. But as I said, I know nothing about video, so any and all suggestions will be appreciated.
The Class rating provides only the minimum write speed - Class 4 is 4 MB/s, Class 6 is 6 MB/s. The speed rating printed on later Extreme III cards is printed on the card label as 30 MB/s (maximum). Earlier Extreme III SDHC cards are 20MB/s (which is 133X) with or without the speed shown. I know this because I just got an OEM Extreme III card without a speed rating, which I thought might be counterfeit (it wasn't, and is 20MB/s), and queried Sandisk about it. Current Sandisk Extreme !V SDHC cards are Class 10.
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 9:20 PM   #5
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Hey Ted,
I believe he was referring to the video card in the computer that's connected to your monitor. I know it gets rather confusing.
Video play back on the computer depends on several factors; processor speed, amount of system RAM as well as the video card memory and the software program you use to view it with. If you can tell me what you have I might be able to pinpoint where the weak point is.
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 9:24 PM   #6
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Hi mtnman,

I'm sure your memory card isn't the problem, or you'd be seeing problems when viewing from the camera.

I think that jennlynn is correct and that the video card in your computer might be the culprit (or possibly lack of enough system memory or CPU speed). The camera's software probably specifies minimum and recommended specs for the CPU, system memory, and video card memory. Take a look at the documentation that came with it and see if your computer's hardware is up to snuff.

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Edit -- Wow you guys are fast!
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Old Dec 31, 2009, 10:16 PM   #7
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Quote: I believe he was referring to the video card in the computer that's connected to your monitor...

Wow, I'm embarassed. I didn't even understand the question. As I said, I don't know anything about video, so I have a very steep learning curve ahead of me. GW, thanks for the offer; I put the video on my wife's laptop, since hers is the newest and most powerful computer in our family. I'll check the specs on her machine and will post them when I get a chance.
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 8:05 AM   #8
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But if I copy the file to a computer and play it with the software Canon provided, it looks dreadful: poor quality picture, very jerky motion. The audio sounds just fine, however.
It could be Canon's software. But, AVCHD decoding is very CPU intensive, especially if you use the highest quality setting with that camera. So, you may need to buy faster hardware (or use a lower quality settings when recording your videos).

You may want to give VLC a try. It's very popular for Linux. But, they have Windows and Mac versions, too. It's free:

http://www.videolan.org/

Then, try this trick to help with performance:

http://wiki.videolan.org/WindowsFAQ-...ck_is_too_slow

Quote:
You can speed up the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC playback by disabling loop filter for H.264 decoding. To do this go to Tools -> Preferences... (set Show Settings to All) and Input / Codecs -> Other codecs -> FFmpeg and in the drop-down box for Skip the loop filter for H.264 decoding change it to All. Remember to press Save to save VLC settings and restart VLC after that to make sure changes are enabled.
Then, visit their forums for tips if you still have issues.
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 6:54 PM   #9
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Thanks very much to everyone for your help. Turns out my wife's laptop was set to "power saver" mode, designed to maximize battery life, at the expense of computer performance. Since she usually uses the computer with an AC adaptor, I changed the setting to maximum performance. Videos now play much smoother.

For those who wanted to know, she has a Toshiba laptop model A505-S6965. It has a 2 GHz Intel Core 2 duo processor, 4 gigs of RAM, and an ATI HD 4570 video card. I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I suspect her computer is powerful enough to edit and play HD video. Now I just have to learn how to use video editing software!
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Old Jan 1, 2010, 7:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Thanks very much to everyone for your help. Turns out my wife's laptop was set to "power saver" mode, designed to maximize battery life, at the expense of computer performance. Since she usually uses the computer with an AC adaptor, I changed the setting to maximum performance. Videos now play much smoother.

For those who wanted to know, she has a Toshiba laptop model A505-S6965. It has a 2 GHz Intel Core 2 duo processor, 4 gigs of RAM, and an ATI HD 4570 video card. I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I suspect her computer is powerful enough to edit and play HD video. Now I just have to learn how to use video editing software!
Good! Glad to hear you got it going, Ted.
Yeah, sounds like the computer has plenty of get up and go with room to spare.
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