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Old February 7th, 2013, 11:50 AM   #1
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MTS files converted into M4V?

Hi everybody,

I just bought a Sony HDR-PJ710V camera and after shooting some test footage I notice the clips are in MTS format - which I gather from comments all over the WWW that it is not a well-liked format (but high in quality). I want to convert the MTS files to M4V files to edit in iMovie on my Mac.

But...... There's a plethora of programs - free and not - that convert the files. I've tried several. I'd like to know what other people use. While converted footage 'appears' the same from each program, the files sizes can be significantly different (up to 100%+ different), so I would like to find what people have found to be the best conversion program.

I have HandBrake, and it seems to have done a decent job of conversion, but the file sizes are so small that I have to believe something is being lost in the conversion...

I had mixed luck importing the MTS files directly into iMovie - it accepted one clip only, and would not accept the other clips, which were shot in the same format at the same time...

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Darryl
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Old February 7th, 2013, 12:12 PM   #2
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Re: MTS files converted into M4V?

I stand by Clipwrap 100%.
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Old February 7th, 2013, 12:20 PM   #3
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Re: MTS files converted into M4V?

Thanks John,

I'll check out that program. I'm not missing something, right? I mean, MTS files MUST be converted - cannot be edited as is, right? If they can, I haven't found a way.

Thanks again
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Old February 7th, 2013, 12:22 PM   #4
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Re: MTS files converted into M4V?

Supposedly there are systems that can edit it, but you need a workehorse, and I wouldn't bother. It's worth the extra time to convert to relieve frustration.
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Old February 7th, 2013, 01:01 PM   #5
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Re: MTS files converted into M4V?

I downloaded and tested ClipWrap. It produces a file about the same size as the MTS file. It looks good. But I tested others as well - notably Wondershare (slightly smaller file than MTS), and HandBrake in both 60 fps and 30 fps conversions (both significantly smaller files with slower data rates than MTS). Both HandBrake conversions look good though... albeit, there's not a lot of fast action in this clip...

So, next question how important is data rate in all this? Clipwrap has 27.09 MB/Sec. Wondershare = 24.89. Handbrake 60 fps = 11.03 & HandBrake 30 fps = 8.43. All other stats look basically the same.

I know higher data rate = higher quality, but I don't see any differences in the clips...
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Old February 7th, 2013, 01:15 PM   #6
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Re: MTS files converted into M4V?

Handbrake will allow you to spec any datarate aka. bitrate that you want. You can save new templates, too.

Yes, higher bitrate means higher quality, but this can be hard to see on many types of content.

Generally, you're more likely to see the artifacts of low bitrate in scenes that have high motion and/or subtle color gradation.

For example, moving water is a killer because every pixel is changing color in every frame.

Video noise (grain) due to gain applied in the camera. This too can be a killer...

Jerky hand-held camera work.

Objects/people moving through the frame quickly.

Subtle color gradations, like clear skies, looking towards the horizon.

These artifacts can look like color banding, mosquito noise, macroblocking, or frame drops. Hard to describe some of these in words, google for some images and view them full-size. Then, look for these artifacts in your footage. If you don't see them or it doesn't matter to you, then choke that bitrate down!

OTOH, if this is footage that matters, or good archiving is important, or it's for special effects, or will be graded, you're going to want high bitrates for best results.
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Old February 7th, 2013, 01:24 PM   #7
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Re: MTS files converted into M4V?

Thanks guys,

That's sort of what I thought. Good to have it confirmed.

I'll stick with ClipWrap cause it's fast and it appears to keep the high data rate. Quality is good.

Oh, one last hypothetical question Seth: If I want to save space (& crunching computer time) is is possible to edit clips of varying data rates into one movie? So, fast motion clips with high data rates, and then for something that is basically static could I used a slower data rate to save computer resources? Or am I going in too deep here? Would the tradeoff in storage space and computing time be worth the slight loss in those primarily static clips?
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Old February 7th, 2013, 04:36 PM   #8
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Re: MTS files converted into M4V?

I'd expect mixed bitrates to be fine in most editors, but have never touched iMovie so I really can't say.

Not too hard for you to test it, though...

Hard drives continue to get less and less expensive, so keeping big clips around gets easier.
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