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Re: Questions about editing AVCHD (.mt2S) file in Vegas

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John Bean
Re: Questions about editing AVCHD (.mt2S) file in Vegas
on Mar 9, 2012 at 7:13:44 pm

[Alan] (1) If I am using only the Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11, does the YUV to RGB, and 32-bit mode precision that you described in Vegas pro11 does still apply here?

Using this comparison chart:

It doesn't look like Movie Studio HD has 32-bit floating point precision. So with Movie Studio there's going to be a YUV to RGB 8-bit [integer only] color conversion precision.

[Alan] (2) What "category" exactly is the .m2ts file under? I thought .m2ts means "mpeg2 transport stream", that's why I first assume that I read somewhere that smart rendering works with mpeg2, so it will work with .m2ts... guess not..

M2TS is just media *container* format currently used for storing HD content. Most notably, it is used for Blu-ray media streams and AVCHD streams found in many cameras.

Remember that HD content can also be encoded in MPEG-2. A lot of Blu-rays still use the older MPEG-2 codec. M2TS is just an upgrade version of the older MPEG Transport stream (TS). That is where the "MPEG-2 Transport Stream (M2TS)" name comes frome.

Inside this M2TS *container*, it can contain video, audio, text, and menu streams. In the case of M2TS from a camera, it will have video and audio streams. So to a program like Vegas, it extracts the video and audio streams from this container to work with it. And the video stream codec is AVCHD (H264). Which Vegas cannot do *SMART RENDERING* on.

[Alan] (3)I guess I could live with just the Visually Lossless rendering. So you are saying, after I convert my .m2ts files into the Visually Lossless format with let's say the Cineform (since I hear it all the time), what extension will it become? It's that I am a bit confused about this Cineform... many places that mentioned it (even in Vegas) they keep refering to 3D video, but I just want to do simple 2D cutting eidit on my home video. So where do I get this Cineform converter? or is it already one of the format in Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11 that I could just simplely open a .mt2s file and select the Cinform to convert it?

A typical media file will contain a *video* and *audio* stream. That is why you need a *container*. This container encapsulates both these *video* and *audio* streams to make a single file. Each type of media container is different in the way they encapsulate their streams.

So Cineform is just a codec for encoding *video streams* only. It is not a media container like M2TS. It can be used to encode (compress) your project's *video streams* regardless if its 2D or 3D.

So when you render out your project, you need to select a media container format that supports the Cineform video codec. AVI supports the Cineform video codec.

So if you wanted Cineform as your video codec, you would select the [Microsoft] AVI option as your media container, and then select Cineform as your video codec [format]. You then also have the option to select what codec you want for your audio stream as well. The default for AVI is UNCOMPRESSED PCM 16-bit.

You will need to check to see if Movie Studio HD Platinum 11 already comes with the Cineform codec. I know that Vegas Pro 11 comes with Cineform. Again, in RENDER-AS, select Microsoft AVI, then look under "Video Format" to see if Cineform is one of the available codecs you have.

If you don't have it, just Google for it! Download it and install it.

So yes, you can just import your M2TS files into your Vegas Movie Studio and simply render it out as an AVI using the Cineform video codec, if that's all you want to do!

[Alan] (4) I read it somewhere earlier that Cineform convert the file into their own special .avi format. But whatever format it became, I will then be able to use this as intermediate format to do all kinds of editing in Vegas(in addition to simple cutting), and then render it as either normal mpeg, avi or .m2ts, and the resulting file will looks almost like orignial?

Cineform doesn't have its own *special* AVI format. So, if you follow, Cineform is just a *video codec* and AVI is just a media *container*. Select AVI is your media container, then select Cineform as your video codec. Then select the codec you want for your audio stream as well.

Yes, Cineform is commonly used as the *video codec* for an INTERMEDIATE FILE because it is VISUALLY LOSSLESS. A human being can not tell the difference between a LOSSLESS (or UNCOMPRESSED) video and a VISUALLY LOSSLESS encoded version of the same video. So to reduce harddrive storage space, people will use CINEFORM as the *video codec* for their INTERMEDIATE FILE, and use AVI as the media container.

If you are not doing any further processing beyond rendering it out to just ONE format, you can just keep your original M2TS files for archiving and skip the Cineform video encoding stage.

MPEG-2 is the video codec that is used for .MPEG files. This video codec is the only option if you want to make a DVD, ie. standard definition 720x480

MPEG-2 is a LOSSY video codec. AVCHD is a LOSSY video codec. LOSSY is not the same as LOSSLESS.

When you use a LOSSY video codec, depending on what your settings are, the resulting render-as video may not appear VISUALLY LOSSLESS. That is, if you use low quality settings, you will notice compression and upscaling artifacts. Your video will not look similar to the original.

A side not here: Cineform is *technically* a LOSSY video codec. It's just that Cineform does a great job compressing without any human noticeable artifacts. That is why people call Cineform a VISUALLY LOSSLESS codec. But technically (bit-by-bit), it is a LOSSY video codec.

The two main settings you will most likely be concerned with are:

To ensure the highest quality, you want to make sure you are using a FRAME SIZE that is equal-to your original video files. And you want to make sure you are using a BIT-RATE setting that is *atleast* equal-to your original videos.

(If you want to make a Blu-ray or DVD, there are restrictions to what your settings can be. But that is another subject for later on.)

Here is my suggested workflow for you:

For *single* HOME use only:

[CAMERA]->M2TS files->[edit in VEGAS]->[render-as high-quality MP4]->MP4 file

Archive your M2TS files along with your Vegas project files into your backup harddrive. Use the rendered MP4 file for viewing.

Make sure your PROJECT SETTINGS match your frame size and frame rate of your source M2TS files.

When you RENDER-AS a MP4, use one of Vegas MP4 TEMPLATES that matches your project settings. For best quality, then make sure the BIT-RATE is equal-to or greater than source M2TS video's BIT-RATE.

Here is an example for MULTIPLE USAGE:

[CAMERA]->M2TS files->[edit in VEGAS]->[render-as AVI using Cineform for video and uncompressed PCM-16 for audio]->AVI file

Then, for *home* use:
AVI file->[start new project in Vegas]->[render-as high-quality MP4]->MP4 file

For making a DVD:
AVI file->[start new project in Vegas]->[render-as MPEG-2 DVD-quality]->MPEG-2 file

For making a Blu-ray:
AVI file->[start new project in Vegas]->[render-as Blu-ray AVCHD or MPEG-2]->M2TS file

For uploading to YouTube:
AVI file->[start new project in Vegas]->[render-as YouTube quality MP4]->MP4 file

Then as before, you can archive your original source M2TS files along with your Vegas project files and delete the AVI file.

Or alternatively, you can just archive your AVI File and delete your original source M2TS files. Keeping the AVI saves you rendering time in the future, but then you lose the *originals*.

Hopefully, you have a clearer understanding of things now.


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