Borrowed camcorder uses obnoxious format. How to fix?
January 11, 2009 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Converting ".mts" to ".avi?"

I've been recording stuff for work on our office camcorder. The software that came with it is useless, it's basically Canon's "picture browsing" software that they just threw in the box (if there's a "video edit" software, it's not included or mentioned in the manual). I can pull the files off the camera via USB, but they're in MTS format. I need to edit these down into discrete clips, preferably as AVI's (Adobe Premiere). Tips? Advice? I've seen a handful of programs online that claim to be able to shift MTS to AVI, but they're in that "sketchy freeware might be adware" territory. Thoughts?
posted by ®@ to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
VLC and MPlayer are the two reputable free programs I know of that do this.

MTS is an MPEG transport stream; AVI is a fairly generic container format, so it should be easy to convert it from one to the other without actually reëncoding the video/audio itself.
posted by hattifattener at 12:20 PM on January 11, 2009

Is this a new-ish AVCHD camera? Try throwing one of those files at MediaInfo and finding out exactly what is inside. AVC in AVI is an ugly hack, and other options will require re-encoding and a loss of quality.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:49 PM on January 11, 2009

Another option
posted by rhizome at 12:54 PM on January 11, 2009

Does the camera have firewire, and if so, do you have access to pull off the video via firewire rather than USB? We borrowed a camcorder from a friend of ours, and we definitely had to install a firewire card, but it was SO WORTH IT to get the raw video.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:59 PM on January 11, 2009

Best answer: Final Cut Pro can either import directly from the camera, or from the mts files themselves if they are pulled onto a local disk. (Don't know about FC Express.)

Maybe Premiere can this to, have you looked into that?

Also note; Final Cut needs the whole directory structure from the camera, not just the single MTS files. I guess there is some support files with metadata that is needed. Maybe Premiere needs the same.
posted by gmm at 1:21 PM on January 11, 2009

Response by poster: I've tried VLC and it doesn't work, I'll look into MPlayer. Will post results.
I'll also check out whether Premiere can convert, but so far it's been pretty tempermental.
posted by ®@ at 5:14 PM on January 11, 2009

Post a sample, if possible. From there, it will become much easier to determine whether you need to re-encode to edit or merely remux.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:05 PM on January 11, 2009

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