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AVC HD vs MP4


Paul Brenno
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It depends. From what I've read when shooting 4k 24p mp4 is your only option, then with HD 24p it's just AVCHD. I don't own the camera, so I could be totally wrong.

 

If you're shooting for 30p, maybe do a test to see which has better quality. I've heard AVCHD has more efficient compression, though I've never pitted two lossy compressions against each other; rather AVCHD vs ProRes or stuff like that.

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I'm mainly shooting AVCHD 30p....

I did shoot 4k 30p, so guess I'll keep testing

 

Unless Panasonic has something 'special' in one or the other case, as far as I know, both format use H.264 for their encoding method, with user selectable resoutions and frame rates. There may be limits to the selections in one or the other formats.

 

In the case of my GH-1, I always used AVCHD, and Premiere CC can 'playback' for editing purposes AVCHD formated media directly.

 

Also, AVCHD defines a number of things, it is a hierarchical set of files. At the lowest level of file, the H.264 recorded video is saved in an MTS(MSDOS 3 character extension mode) or m2ts file.

 

Since AVCHD is a set of files in a hierarchical 'tree', it is perhaps harder to move/copy/etc. If the editor does not understand the file tree, one has to burrow down into the hierarchy to get the MTS files.

 

The MP4 file is a single file, containing both audio and video data streams. Hence it is easier to move around a system. Otherwise both would use H.264 as their method of encoding for video. There may be differences in the audio recording AVCHD is essentially the Blu-ray format, and has requirements for compatibility in video and audio.

 

Some manufacturers may offer certain resolutions using certain formats... I don't recall what the other options for the GH-1 were, but I selected 1080p, 24 fps, and AVCHD.

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I own a GH4 and have shot both formats. They both have the same H264 codec at the same bit rates. The main difference is the wrapper - one is an MP4 wrapper and the other is a MOV wrapper. For editing on a MAC, i'd stick with the MOV wrapper when possible - since it MOV files tend to play better on their native 64-bit MACs. I believe Quicktime for windows is limited to 32-bits. MP4 plays fine in either MAC or PC.

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