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Convert AVCHD to H.264? Best setting?

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steve nichollConvert AVCHD to H.264? Best setting?
by on Jan 12, 2010 at 11:02:08 pm

Hi all,
Apologies if this has been asked before but I've had a search on the forums and came up with nowt. What I'm struggling with is which conversion/compression setting would best suit my needs.

I've got is a panasonic HDC SD5 camera that records in 1080i (I think?) and I'm finding that the footage it records (although good for what I want) is absolutely massive, and sooner or later its going to make my hard drive keel over. So what I'd like to do is convert the footage to a format that is going to be more manageable, and from what a lot of people are saying on the net H.264 would probably be best (is this right? correct me if I'm wrong?).

I'd also like to de-interlace it as well as I'll mainly be viewing it on my Sony Bravia (which is 1080p).

Ideally I'd like to do this conversion as a batch process, so I was thinking of using Adobe CS4 Media encoder, I also have access to Compressor, is one better than the other I've no idea? Can Adobe Media Encoder de-interlace? if not is there a application that can? I'm on a Macbook Pro. I've got handbrake but the que set up seems a bit clunky.

I've had a look at the Adobe CS4 Media encoder presets, but I'm not entirely sure which one to use?

Sorry for so many questions but as you've probably guessed its all fairly new to me, and yes I could find the right settings through trial and error, but if someone could tell me, or point me in the right direction I'd appreciate it and it'd save alot of hair loss;D

Cheers,
Steve


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Craig SeemanRe: Convert AVCHD to H.264? Best setting?
by on Jan 12, 2010 at 11:12:34 pm

AVCHD is H.264.

I'm not sure what the top data rate for that specific camera is but generally the top rates are no more than 24Mbit/s (and often less) which is a little less than DV (25Mbit/s). Hard drives are cheap and compressing an already compressed file is a bad thing.



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Daniel LowRe: Convert AVCHD to H.264? Best setting?
by on Jan 12, 2010 at 11:34:15 pm

[steve nicholl] "I'd also like to de-interlace it as well as I'll mainly be viewing it on my Sony Bravia (which is 1080p). "

Leave that for the Bravia to do. It'll do a better job than you can and it'll do it in realtime.



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steve nichollRe: Convert AVCHD to H.264? Best setting?
by on Jan 13, 2010 at 9:02:04 am

Thanks for the replies, so in terms of the de-interlacing I'll let the TV do the converting (thanks Daniel), but for the AVCHD conversion, am I right in thinking I'm stuck with editing the MTS files as they are? Ideally I'd like to convert them as they're so big it makes working with them a little slow. I'm willing to sacrifice some of the size/quality in doing so?


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Craig SeemanRe: Convert AVCHD to H.264? Best setting?
by on Jan 13, 2010 at 5:22:04 pm

[steve nicholl] "but for the AVCHD conversion, am I right in thinking I'm stuck with editing the MTS files as they are? Ideally I'd like to convert them as they're so big it makes working with them a little slow. I'm willing to sacrifice some of the size/quality in doing so?"

I'm not understanding this at all. Generally anything you convert the AVCHD file will be BIGGER than the source .mts. On the Mac for example, one would convert them to AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) for iMovie or even Final Cut Pro otherwise one might use Apple Pro Res. Generally you'll be INCREASING the size of the file 3 or 4 fold (off the top of my head). Even DV is slightly BIGGER.

If you can't handle the file size of DV (AVCHD is natively slightly smaller at best quality on most consumer cameras) you have some VERY SERIOUS hard drive problems. You need to spend some money on a firewire hard drive if you don't have the hard drive space.

BTW different NLEs need different files as mts is very hard to decode with most systems. Even if you convert to DV you're going to get a LOSS in QUALITY and INCREASE the file size slightly.

If you're using Adobe Premiere see if it can handle the AVCHD directly otherwise you'll need to encode to another HD format it can handle (and that's going to be a BIGGER file).



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steve nichollRe: Convert AVCHD to H.264? Best setting?
by on Jan 14, 2010 at 3:47:15 pm

Ahh right I see, for some reason I thought the MTS files were huge and needed to be compressed before they could be worked with. In that case I'll get myself a couple of externals to put them on which will freeing up some space of my drive.

So once I've got my MTS files into my editing software (final cut/premiere/after effects) what would be my best choice to output with the best quality but not gigantic file size? Or can you not have one without the other.

Thanks again for your advice:)


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Craig SeemanRe: Convert AVCHD to H.264? Best setting?
by on Jan 14, 2010 at 6:37:41 pm

I can't speak for other NLEs but FCP can't handle the .mts. You'll be forced to convert to AIC and ProRes and YES those files are huge compared to .mts. Basically, until direct AVCHD support is adding, there's not choice but to go bigger (as far as FCP or even iMovie is concerned).

What you output depends on what your target is. Your master should be the code you're working in on the timeline.

What you do after that depends on whether you're going to Web, DVD, Blu-ray, broadcast, etc. One MUST ALWAYS think the entire workflow through BEFORE one starts a project.



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ximena Davalos ArayRe: Convert AVCHD to H.264? Best setting?
by on Oct 28, 2012 at 1:06:42 pm

Hello, I'm Ximena...YOur Q-A already help a lot, thx.
Can you recomend me the best program to conver the .mts files into AIC or ProRes?
What's the difference between this 2 (AIC vs ProRes)?
Whats the file name of the AIC? .mov?

Thx.

Ximena


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Craig SeemanRe: Convert AVCHD to H.264? Best setting?
by on Oct 28, 2012 at 1:52:41 pm

AIC is Apple Intermediate Codec. It's .mov
Apple ProRes (ProRes LT on up) is better than AIC but generally one has to have FInal Cut Pro or a few other products to encode to it.

If the .mts came from a camera you really should be using the full file structure. That's your camera master. NEVER remove the .mts from the file structure. It's like ripping the tape out of a cassette.

Final Cut Pro X can import the complete file structure and convert to ProRes for example. That' won't work if you take the .mts out of the file structure.



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ximena Davalos ArayRe: Convert AVCHD to H.264? Best setting?
by on Oct 28, 2012 at 3:48:56 pm

Oh! Thanks for your reply. Yes, the mts come from a cama the Sony a77'. I have move the whole files together from the camera to the computer. The mts files come under files into files, I have take them all into my computer. I hope I have not damage anything! Because we have already erase the memory cards from e camera!
We do work with final cut pro. Will you pls help me with the procedure to import the files with FCP in proRes? I have no idea how to do that. Until now I thought we needed to convert the mts files into avi or proRes.

What or which exactly is the structure file?


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