News about AVCHD and hardware decoding

Dear friends,

Some quick news about AVCHD and hardware decoding:

  • Ivan Schreter did a terrific job to add better support for AVCHD in FFmpeg. This includes fixing .ts and AVCHD timestamps, interlacing and seeking issues. Most changes have been commited to FFmeg SVN. The speed improvement on some clips is nearly 50% using ffplay. In the next days Ivan plans to submit a patch to MLT mailing list for better handling of recent changes. Thanks Ivan. By the way, do not recompile yet FFmpeg, MLT and Kdenlive, as you would not befinit from the changes.
  • Gwenole Beauchesne proposed FFmpeg developers an API for unifed hardware acceleration of Nvidia and ATI video cards for Mpeg2, Mpeg4 and H264. The interesting story is that we got in contact with Gwenole to explain that we would like to have access to hardware decoded frames. With recent high speed PCI-e busses, this seems possible and Gwenole wrote us that he would have a look at this issue. He seems pretty motivated to help us and he is a very talenteous developer.
  • Of course this was made possible by the hard work of the FFmpeg community reviewing patches and also Dan's work on MLT. Ivan had a baby girl and spent some time hacking to help us, which we thank him for. At least, we hope that he will be able to film his baby-girl in AVCHD!

In the next weeks, we hope to achieve a really good support of AVCHD, both on single core computers AND on hardware accelerated video cards. IMHO, this would raise a large interest on Kdenlive, MLT and FFmpeg, demonstrating the power of Free Software.

We will keep you informed when it is time to recompile and test the whole bunch.

Now, on Kdenlive website front, there are also some news:

  • Per discussion with JB, we plan to manage profiles and rendering formats using the collaborative work on website. This is still alpha and we will keep you informed.
  • Drupal project management modules was migrated to Drupal 6. This should allow an all integrated website giving allowing to follow bugs. We will only migrate in a few weeks or months, when everything is ready and after long discussions.

Kind regards,



To date I've been using KDEnlive with video clips from my Canon Ixus digital camera (640x480 @ 30fps) and I'm a happy kdenlive user.  But I'm now looking at purchasing a modern Canon (Vixia HF S10) or Panasonic (HDC-HS300) camcorder with 1920x1080 High Definition and MPEG4-AVC/H.264 (AVCDHD starndard compliant) encoding (probably purchase in April or May of this year).  I am worried about the capability of Linux NLE to handle that format.

Thus the progress that is made here is of major interest to me.  I hope to have the Camcorder with me during a June/July  2009 vacation, and then from August to December process the videos taken into (yet another) home movie. :)

So thankyou for the update.  Please be assured your efforts are appreciated, and are being watched with interest.

This is really good news. I recently put in an Nvidia 9400 card to see if I could get the VDPAU drivers etc. working. I'm now able to play mts files from my Canon AVCHD, as well as 1080p h264 files, with barely a bump in CPU usage over idle. That's impressive.

I agree that if Kdenlive can pull this off, it could really turn a lot of heads. The lack of a good HD video editor has really been a huge stumbling block for me to be able to recommend any kind of Linux to people I know.

I'd be very interested to know what the minimum CPU-GPU will be to edit AVCHD with Kdenlive. I've found that on Windows you really need a quad core to get smooth playback in the NLE. If you could do it on Linux with a mere single or dual core that would be impressive.

I am also in the market for Canon HF S10 and can't wait to see the support. Thanks go to everyone doing a great job trying to make AVCHD on Linux happen!

Reference the superb work that has gone on with ffmpeg (and mplayer) I installed a BFG nVidia GeForce 8400GS (512MB) PCI (not PCI-e) card in a 4+ year old PC (with an Asus A7N8X deluxe motherboard and Athlon-2800+ cpu, 2GB RAM) replacing an AGP card (nVidia FX5200).  Now normally one would expect an AGP card to be superior to a PCI card, but with the nVidia proprietary driver (180.51 installed) on openSUSE-11.1 , under KDE-3.5.10, using the PCI (8400GS) card, and using the openSUSE Packman packaged ffmpeg and mplayer I am able to play High Definition videos, that are a challenge to my much newer Laptop with an Intel Core2 P8400 cpu.  This nVidia 8400GS PCI card has made that possible.  To my knowledge there is no AGP card with the same level of VDPAU support.

VDPAU is quite impressive for decoding and playback of H.264, MPEG1/2 and selected .WMV files.  Many thanks to those who made this possible.

I hope you have success with influencing those who develope the appropriate dependency software, such that kdenlive will being able to access hardware decoded frames.  If that access is possible, would you then be implementing some sort of proxy editing? Or would access to the decoded frames be associated with the method noted in a previous post, where the view was expressed that one approach would be to "only use i-frames during display and fix timestamp issues in MLT".  Independant on what ever approach, if VDPAU can be used to improve kdenlive's timeline, that would be superb to see.

Thanks again for the efforts of the developers.