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Old February 26th, 2008, 01:03 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Warsaw, Poland
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Video file formats

Dear all,

I have been pretty new to the digital video and wanted to ask some - most probably extremly basic for most of you question. I am coming from the professional photography world and quite recently started to get installed into the wildlife filming world. I am using Sony HDV camcorders.

My questions are:

1. What is the best file fromat to which I should capture the clips from the tape? Is this .m2t? Pls correct my current understanding, that .m2t is something like the RAW format in photography - carruing the most of the digital informayion on the movie, and best for PP (e.g. change in color, contrast, saturation, White Balance, etc.)

2. If the #1 is yes - is it corrent, that once I capture the .m2t file and edit it - I cannot save (archive) my edited clip in .m2t for further use, but instead I have to save it in other format?

which leads to the question #3:

3. AS I am producing clips for video stock/archive and want to end-up with the final edited clips (mostly between 3 to 10 seconds) of maximum quality/versatility for further use - what is the file format I schould use for this purpose? Which carries the most of information, like .TIFF in photography.
The archive/stock clips are used for DVD/B-R/HD DVD/TV/web applications.

Thank you for your support and advise.
Bernard Bialorucki
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Old February 26th, 2008, 10:52 PM   #2
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Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
What editing software are you using? That makes a difference in recommending the best procedure.

Technically the M2T format recorded by HDV cameras is sort of like a JPEG photo, in that it's compressed from the raw sensor data. For maximum editing quality it can help to capture your footage to an "intermediate" editing format like Cineform Aspect HD, Edius HQ or Apple ProRes. This expands the data to reduce artifacts when applying effects, like working with a high-quality JPEG as opposed to a heavily compressed one.

For distribution you may want to save a final copy in the HDV (M2T) format, plus a more compressed version for the internet and a widescreen SD version for standard DVDs. M2T is the highest quality video format which can be played directly on a wide range of devices, but it takes up a lot of storage space. The closest equivalent to JPEG for video is a new format called AVCHD.
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Old February 27th, 2008, 12:22 AM   #3
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thanks a lot for you comment.

As per the editing software - I am struggling between Premiere and Vegas, since the Premier interface seems quite useful and clear for me, however, I face a lot of "bugs" from this piece of software. I have provlems with acquiring my clips from the camera (it does not "see" my camcorders quite often and automaticaly saves the captured files in the .mpeg files format (the options for changing this stays inactive, no matter what)
From the other side the Vegas capturing works beautifully, but interface seems a little odd (but I think one can get used to it :(

Getting to the comment, that the .m2t firmat is the compressed one, but as I see it is the only file format which can be captured from tape, as camera records using this format. Can it be changed in any way?

And as for the archiving options - I believe that neither Premiere nor Vegas allows to export the timeline to the .m2t file. It allows to export to .wmf, .avi, mpeg or .mov formats, but not .m2t = or I am missing something?....

thanks for supporting,
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Old June 28th, 2008, 10:43 AM   #4
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Location: Pembrokeshire, Wales
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This is similar to the question that I want answered.

I use premiere elements 4 because I don't have time to use all the features of a high end NLE (I'll save my money til I do have the time, and by then the program will have gone through more upgrades).

PE4 captures the video from my A1 in mpeg form. It isn't clear how this can be changed, though the program does apparently recognise m2t for import and export.

I keep the original mpeg file, and cut clips from it as I want them. They are exported as mpeg files, and look a lot softer than the original file. Capturing clips from the original tape has to be done manually, with a lot of fiddling, so I'd prefer to keep doing it from the original capture file.

So, is there a better way of getting high quality in my clips? A different file format? Another utility that will do a batch capture of clips when you feed in the in-and-out points as time-code?

I was disappointed with the quality of SD by the time I had captured it, edited it, rendered it, etc and saw the result on DVD. So I'd like to get it right with HD from the start.

Canon XH A1; Canon XF100; Nikon D800
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