How to edit MTS files?!?!

Viewing 23 reply threads
  • Author
    • #44262

      I have 20 DVDs worth of unedited .MTS files from a Canon Vixia HD prosumer camera.

      I need to edit these using Sony Vegas, which supposedly supports .mts. Within Vegas however, when I preview my clips on the timeline, the quality is terrible. I get a single frame in the window every 2 or 3 seconds making editing impossible. Apparently this is a common problem with .mts.

      How do I go about being able to edit .mts in Vegas? If that’s not possible, how do I go about converting the .mts to a file that Vegas will support for smooth editing?

      I have an Acer Aspire laptop running 4GBs of DDR3, a Duo 2.26 Ghz processor, 1066 Mhz FSB, 3 MB L2, 320GB harddrive, and my project files are on external 500GB hard drive. I have the 512 MB NVIDEO GeForce 9600M GT in the laptop.

      These must be for professional DVD output, so if I convert, I can’t lose any visual quality for when I put them on DVD.

      Nobody seems to have a definitive answer thus far…you guys are my last hope!!!!

    • #185400

      Render the events to uncompressed AVI or uncompressed MOV (I prefer AVI files) which will have the smallest hit on quality. The problem with compressed video formats is that the processor has to do a lot of decoding between I-frames. By transcoding to uncompressed AVI, you will not have that overhead.

      Warning, file sizes will be huge.

    • #185401

      You really have two options.

      1) Get a much more powerful computer (Core i7 920 with 8GB RAM sounds good – just kidding).

      2) Convert the MTS files to something less compressed.

      I have edited MTS files without too many issues on a Core 2 Duo @ 2.2 (I think) GHz with 2 GB RAM – I would not go down that path again unless I really did have an ultra fast machine now.

      I currently use New Blue FX’s AVCHD Upshift which converts the MTS files to lightly compressed M2T files (about four times the size of the MTS files) keeping most (if not all) of the quality. I then edit (using Sony Vegas Pro 8) on a 2.6GHz Pentium IV with 3GB RAM with absolutely NO problems – I used to edit on a 2.53GHz P4 with 1GB RAM also without problems.

    • #185402

      Ok….so I have heard a few options here from you guys and the research I have done….

      Option 1 and 2: File conversion. Render the files as an uncompressed AVI, or use New Blue FX’s AVCHD Upshift for a less compressed file.

      However, being an amateur…..How do I go about doing those two options?! What program do I use to render the files as .AVI, what settings do I choose to maintain quality, etc. What settings to use when using Upshift? You gotta spell it out for a retard like me. πŸ™‚

      Option 3: Hardware upgrades. Say I buy an Alienware system with a liquid cooled Intel Quadcore I7 860 2.8ghz 8mb Cache, 8mb of triple channel DDR3 (1333 mhz) RAM, SATA harddrive for Windows only, another SATA harddrive for my video project only, a 1GB dedicated and high quality DDR5 graphics cards by Radeon or NVidea, etc…

      Would that solve my hardware issues make it so that I can edit my .mts files natively with no problems? I’d hate to spend $1500 on a new desktop to find that it’s still choppy in my preview window when trying to edit because the issue at hand was the .mts file, not the hardware.

      Let me know what you guys would do and what you think of options 1 and 2, and 3.


    • #185403


      As usual it’s navcomcamgrupac to your media rescue! You’ve got what you need on hand in Vegas. Best bet upfront (and least expensive) is to just convert the files to uncompressed .avi files. So just like when you take a Nav’ test, here’s the KISS Program for doing what you need in Vegas:

      File > New Project

      Under the ‘Video’ tab choose the following settings;

      Template – HD 1080-60i (1920×1080, 29.970 fps)

      Full-resolution rendering quality – Best

      All other settings in the video tab should be left at the default settings. Don’t forget to specify where you want your ‘Prerendered Files Folder’ to go. If you have a separate harddrive to store your video (which you should) you’ll need to input that info in or it will go to your C: drive and end up causing you some major grief by slowing down your system.

      Under the Audio Tab choose:

      Master bus mode – Stereo

      Sample Rate – 48,000

      Resample and stretch quality – Best

      All other default settings are fine and again in the ‘Recorded Files folder’ portion you’ll have to input where you want the recorded audio files to go. As previous you want these files to go to your separate drive too.

      Since you have the clips on DVD, load them up and then go to File > Import > Media and load them all into the Media Bin. Once you get them there, then drag them one at a time into the timeline and then drag the yellow slider just over the timeline ruler so that it covers the clip from one end to the other. Next go to File > Render As.

      In this window you’ll have to make a folder for your rendered clips to be stored. Again you want this to be on a separate drive. Once you’ve made the folder name the file and put the following number after the name; 001. Number all your clips in sequence like that as it will save you time and headaches trying to find your clips. Next do the following;

      Save as type – Video for Windows (.avi)

      Template – HD 1080-60i YUV (Next to this will be a button that says ‘Custom’. Select it)

      Custom Settings > Video format – Uncompressed

      Hit ‘okay’.

      Back in the Render As window your new settings will be visible and just below them check;

      Render loop region only (that’s the blue area you chose with the slider)

      Stretch video to fill output frame size (do not letterbox)

      Uncheck everything else.

      Hit ‘Save’.

      Do the same with each clip. Since Vegas doesn’t have ‘batch rendering’ you’re going to have to repeat that for each clip. Rendering from .mts to uncompressed .avi will take some time with a slower system. However, once done you’ll be able to handle your clips easily. This you can do now. Save your cash for the new system. Hooyah!

    • #185404

      Wow, thank you for the detailed reply and the step-by-step instructions. King’s to you!

      This worked very well! Looks like you were all right in regards to the .mts problem being that it’s just too compressed for my hardware to run.

      The uncompressed AVI ran great in preview mode…no choppiness what-so-ever. I made a 15 second clip and then authored using DVD Architect to see what it’d look like on a DVD player. Very nice!

      One problem however…..

      These uncompressed .AVI files are HUGE. I already thought .mts was big enough as it is as I have about 20 hours worth of footage taking up over 200 GB of space.

      This 15 second .mts clip went from being a 60 megabyte .mts file to an OVER 2 GB uncompressed .avi file!

      If I had unlimited amount of space, this would be fine…but I don’t, nor do I want to buy a bunch of external HDs as I’m running a laptop here.

      Perhaps I really should get that $1,500 Alienware set-up? Do you think it would be able to run .mts natively without having to convert? I’d be running quad core 2.66 I7, 9GB of triple channel 1333mhz RAM, 2 7200rpm 1TB 3G/s 32mb cache HDs, and either the 5870 Ati Radeon HD card at 1GB or Dual 1GB Ati Radeon 5670 crossfire cards or 1.8GB NVidia GeForce GTX 260.

      That would save me a lot of time and I wouldn’t have to buy so much external hard drive space. Note that I have about 250GBs and over 2,000 individual clips of footage I have to run through, convert, and edit.

      Every response you guys give me gets me more and more educated and familiar with this stuff.

    • #185405

      Rule of thumb for standard (not high) def AVI is about 13GB per hour of video. HD will be about five to six times more.

    • #185406


      That Alienware rig sounds like a dandy! It’ll push your native files all right, but… be advised; as Birdcat mentioned, the size rates of HD .avi video is much larger than your compressed files so whether you stick with with what you have or get the new rig, extra internal/external drives are in your future. You have come upon the major hurdle of working with HD… storage.

      Also, as you’ve found out working with converted files is easier but takes up more space. In the old days you would use compressed files to keep down the amount of storage space used and then ‘Res-up’ your final product. That’s changed. Now that storage space is cheap, you res-up during or after capturing your footage and work with the uncompressed files. This is better in that you have much more information within the clips and when it comes time to do effects, motion graphics, compositing or color correction/color grading the final output will be much more accurate.

      The drawback is you’ll be needing harddrive space. Cool thing is there are many inexpensive external harddrives out there. When working with HD, for your own sanity you’ll want drives in excess of 1TB. Whatever you get, if your laptop has an eSATA input roll with eSATA capable drives. Do not use USB 2.0! For video that stuff moves slower than an Admiral giving out medals! Until USB 3.0 comes out, eSATA’s the way to go. The eSATA external drives come in two varieties; a standalone unit or a hot swappable ‘Toaster’ in which you can use (cheaper) internal SATA drives by just sticking them into the unit. That will come in mighty handy when you’re storing all of your raw and converted clips, graphics, audio and project files.

    • #185407


      So far, out of everything I have tried, your decompression method has worked best. However….the files size was just WAY too ridiculous. I took a 60mb .mts file, followed your steps, and then converted it into the uncompressed .avi file. It worked like a charm in my video editor. However…..the 60mb file magically jumped to over 2GB!!!! At that calcultation….a 1 hour video will be 500GB! Even a powerful machine would have trouble handling that much just to make a 1 hour video in the editor.

      It seems my only two options left are to edit using a less compressed file that is more user friendly in Sony Vegas, or to hope that my upgraded hardware will be able to edit the .mts files natively.

      I did some more hardware research and decided to make some upgrades to the new system that I hope will solve this problem. I will be overclocking the i7 920 2.66ghz quad-core processor to 3.33ghz and be using 9GB of triple channel 1333mhz RAM. I’m going to upgrade to the $400 Ati Radeon 5870 card. 1GB of dedicated video memory. It’s the second fastest card in the world and designed for HD and hefty video encoding. I’ll have two 7200rpm 1TB drives running SATA-II at 3Gb/s.

      If that system doesn’t do the trick…I don’t know what would, thus again leaving me to convert the files.

      I’ve tried Upshift converting to the m2t files, converting to .mov, MPEG2, etc etc etc. I still get the same choppiness in my preview window with Vegas. Only the uncompressed .avi worked…but the file size is beyond realistic to work with.

      I really hope my new system will be able to handle .mts natively…but if it doesn’t…I need a tried and true way to convert these .mts files into a Vegas friendly file that does not compromise quality, runs smooth in the preview window, and can be outputted to a professional DVD with no quality loss.

      It seems I’m on the right track with everyone’s help thus far….keep it coming. I’ll put you in my credits…for real…once I launch my DVD/products.

    • #185408

      One more thing….I am putting these out on single layer DVDs… I even need to convert these to HD quality files unless I was working with Blue-Ray? Could I not convert them to standard definition and still get perfect DVD quality?! I do however want the option in the future to be able to make my final edited Vegas file ready for Blue-Ray output without having to re-edit or re-convert everything….

    • #185409

      If I understand yourquestion right, Idon’t think you need to convert them to get perfect DVD quality. Just render.

      I want to hear how that new system works if you get it! If it works perfectly, without choppiness, I (and others) might consider upgrading in the future. Perhaps posting a walkthrough video here to show it off to us would be nice, too. Be sure to come back and keep us posted!

    • #185410

      “… the 60mb file magically jumped to over 2GB!!!! At that calcultation….a
      1 hour video will be 500GB!”


      That’s about right when working with HD at the pro level. Well there’s always ‘plan B’. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, you convert from AVCHD to AVI but at a compression level low enough to save drive space, but high enough to see your footage in reasonable detail (approx. 60 – 75% compression.)

      Long as you aren’t going to do any compositing (greenscreen or matting in visual effects) or high-end graphics (3D titles, etc.) you should be able to put together something that won’t ‘blow up’ your system. Once it’s done, if you plan on doing any color-correction or final color-grading you do it before final render.

      When you’re ready to do the final render then you do so as an Uncompressed .AVI as your master version. Now it won’t be as vivid had you worked uncompressed, but it will a lot better looking than rendering out at compression. Either way, you still need to get some external drives so that if you ever want to go back into the project and change anything you’ll have everything saved on the drive and won’t have to go through all of those steps from the beginning!

    • #185411

      Well, I’m getting this system regardless, as I really shouldn’t be trying to make a professional DVD production of 20 DVDs on my personal laptop anyways.
      As of now, I can’t even work with the New Blue Upshift lighter compressed files either. They work somewhat ok in low/mid quality preview mode in Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum, but not good at all with Sony Vegas Pro 9 (64-bit). I’ve tried converting to mpeg, using Upshift, converting to .mov, etc, and nothing seems to work besides the uncompressed .avi conversion, which alone is impossible. I can’t afford 10 Terabytes of drive space, nor do I think Vegas Pro could even handle 500GB of files in a single editing project without some sort of ridiculous RAID or server set-up.

      I’ve got to either be able to edit these .mts files natively in Vegas, convert the files to a more friendly and editable format, or use some sort of intermediary codec….anyone ever heard of Cineform?!

      I’ve got to be able to do it with one of those methods no?! I’m using Sony Vegas to send my final project by the way to Sony DVD Architect to burn a master DVD of the edited project for DVD replication at a professional media factory as well as a DVD-RAM ISO for the same purposes, so my render afterwards and final output is relatively easy to manage….it’s just getting these damn .mts files into an editable format first.

      This system I am getting can’t be built and shipped for 2-3 weeks! Luckily, I still have a few weeks left of shooting to finish up my footage collection so that when I finish, the new rig should arrive. Hopefully it answers a lot of these questions and minimizes the variables so I can solve this madness.

    • #185412

      “I can’t afford 10 Terabytes of drive space, nor do I think Vegas Pro
      could even handle 500GB of files in a single editing project without
      some sort of ridiculous RAID or server set-up.”


      Hoss thou art making a ‘Mountain Range out of a Hill’. When working on large format projects you want to plan your asset management which you so far are doing. However, in the initial stages of reviewing footage, you spend time going through and logging your DVD footage. I can promise you that out of the 20 hours of footage you’ll maybe get 2 – 3 hours of usable footage (and I’m being generous.) While you’re logging, you’ll be primarily looking for useable shots. Super shaky footage (Earthquake Cam) that can lend nothing to the story you’re telling, out of focus, over/underexposed shots, shots that look great but the sound is ‘effed up and shots that either repeat better shots or don’t do anything to push your story along you can ‘S-can’ them long before you drag them into the NLE. Those kind of shots will be prevalent among your raw footage. Don’t waste time on them

      Also, how long were you planning to make your piece? It is not uncommon to shoot enough footage to make a 3-hour epic but only use enough for a 10-30 minute piece. I guarantee you every inch of footage shot was not captured and rendered in that situation.

      Lastly, you don’t need a ‘Crazy RAID Setup’ (it’d be nice!) Via external firewire or eSATA drives you can make your own RAID setup. Check out the links;

      Now you would have to buy drives to go in the enclosures in the second link, but the potential and affordability is definitely there.

    • #185413

      I didn’t do a very good job of making my details very clear….

      I have over 3,000 clips of footage! Once I throw away junk takes, edit, cut, trim, format, etc…my FINISHED products which I will put on DVDs will be between 20-25 individual hour length DVDs….in other words….20+ hours of completed and edited video! Right now, I have triple that amount of footage, meaning I will scale it down and throw away 66% of it as it is.

      Everything was recorded indoors in a homemade studio with professional lighting, white balanced, near perfect focus and excellent lighting, excellent tripod for stability, crisp audio with no other noise etc etc etc. Very controlled environment with minimal variables.

      This is for a 20+ DVD series. Each DVD one hour long of edited footage. I have been filming this for over 10 months now…just going to finish in 3-4 weeks…then comes my post production and editing…thus why I want to prepare and get my hardware and software set-up ASAP.

      Everyone I talked to says when they use Upshift or convert to mpeg, the videos run smooth. My video was only able to run smooth using Sony Vegas Platinum (consumer version) after using Upshift….so I really think it must be my hardware as that was already able to make significant improvement. Perhaps with high-end hardware, I can go .mts direct into Vegas or at least have no problems with Upshift or MPEG conversion.

      I’m using my personal laptop to edit this stuff at the moment…probably not too smart to be editing HD, be it raw, converted, or uncompressed period. This desktop should eat it up though I am hoping. If it doesn’t…I don’t know what would…..

      Thanks for all the help and responses thus far…you guys have been tremendously helpful. I’ll keep you updated….unfortunately, this system will take 3-4 weeks to arrive at my door….

      Until then…I will still be scouring for the best intermediary codec….maybe cineform…..or the best conversion software….like Upshift…..

      Suggestions or prior success most appreciated…

    • #185414

      A couple of tidbits of info for ya…. if you are hoping to get flawless previews,forget about it,on any nle or computer other than the tens of thousands of dollar avid systems. Once you add a single effect or title element, you are tasking the processor to process the file, the effect or element and send it to preview. You may want to consider dropping the preview window quality to compensate. If you have to see something in full resolution, then switch it back and do a ram preview (shift+b) on a region. You are working with highly compressed files (not so big), re-rendering to lightly compressed files (really big) so you can edit them. You will be recompressing those files to dvd compliant mpeg2 on the final render. Don’t be suprised about long render times getting to the final format. The nice thing about Vegas is that you can set up your project properties to DV (720×480) and throw the HD files on the timeline and render it out to DVD compliant mpeg2. Just keep in mind that standard DVD’s only hold about 4.2 gb of info. You will have to use a bit rate calculator to set the render settings in Vegas, and I would reccommend that you render in Vegas and then drop the render into DVDA to burn the disc. Video cards in Vegas don’t matter, it doesn’t use gpu memory. It’s all in the processor and system ram. A desktop system is the way to go for editing IMHO, as slower rpm laptop hard drives will have problems with keeping up in data transfer rates.

      Good luck with the dvd’s.


    • #185415

      A conversation like that shows me the gaping holes in my knowledge. Hope you don’t mind me “eavesdropping” – you guys are awesome!

    • #185416

      “A conversation like that shows me the gaping holes in my knowledge. Hope
      you don’t mind me “eavesdropping” – you guys are awesome!”


      You get tossed into a room full of buzzsaws you learn damn quick how to duck and dodge, or you don’t. Everybody who’s learned (and still learning) this stuff has taken a butt kickin’ at some time or another trying to get it all to work smoothly. Just like everbody else ‘who’s been through the buzzsaws’ will tell you, ‘You’ll learn….’ No real ‘awesomeness’ included. Thanks though.


      Looks like you’ll be doing single ep’s at a time. Vegas will easily do long format work, but you won’t be able to do a 20+ hour epic on a laptop or a desktop without lots and lots of storage. However, you can knock out your eps 1 at a time with a max time frame (30 min – 45min, etc.) As is you still are going to have to res down your final versions to SD DV so they’ll fit on a standard DV with any additional content anyway.

      Your footage you could just back it up to tape once each ep is done since you are loath to buy and back up to storage drives. It will take a while to do that’s if you want to keep your rendered clips. Otherwise, you can just S-can everything when the ep is complete so you’ll have room for the next ep. They used to do that in the old days of NLE (but they always backed stuff up to tape) Definitely save your project files as it will make it easier to put stuff back together should you want to go back.

      I do realize the magnitude of what you are doing, but it strikes me that you are wanting to do an entrepreneurial endeavor with a ‘mom and pop’ attitude about what you’re going to need to get it done. If this thing of yours takes off, there’s a strong possibility that a HD/Blu-Ray version will be required. If you had already done the heavy lifting in HD and had that stuff stored on HDD’s then it wouldn’t be much of a lift to prep it for the new format and you could concentrate on making the extra content more palatable to blu-ray.

      Without the converted HD footage, you’ll have to go through the whole process of editing from scratch + create the BRD content which will cost you more time and money. Pay now or pay later. Just a thought.

    • #185417

      Big update….

      Alienware system came in.

      2.66ghz i7920 quad processor, 9GBs of 1333mhz RAM, Ati Radeon 5870 (1GB), 2 1TB 7200rpm HDs, 64-bit Windows 7, etc. Hefty.

      Magically fixed my preview problems I was having prior without even having to convert my .mts files. Vegas can edit them and preview them smoothly now. I haven’t even overclocked the processor yet. I was going to jack it up to 3.2ghz.

      So, it looks like I can finally edit my .mts files in Vegas natively now that my hardware can handle it.

      It’s never over till the fat lady sings though eh?

      Next problem….

      When I drop some of these .mts clips into Sony Vegas Platinum (consumer version), and then use the make DVD wizard, it renders and then sends my media files to DVD architect 4.5 and then burns my DVD to look spectacular. This is what I need because my project is going on 4.7GB DVDs for commercial DVD players or computers.

      I don’t want to use Sony Vegas Platinum though….I want more advanced options and more options later for BluRay, etc etc etc.

      Sony Vegas Pro does not have this streamlined “make DVD” option. After editing, I have to manually render my project using the plethora of options available, which honestly, I don’t know much about. I’ve tried rendering using NTSC widescreen for DVD architect (MPEG-2), I’ve tried HDV with high settings, etc etc etc and when I drop these rendered files into DVD Architect, they don’t turn out well quality-wise. I simply want to render these edited .mts files to a format that DVD architect will like and then burn in high quality so my DVDs look good on any DVD player with a standard monitor or HD monitor. Vegas Platinum does a great job, but it’s unknown to me what it is doing behind the scenes to render my files before it sends them off to DVD architect. Obviously it works great given my test with Vegas Platinum and native .mts files, but I have no idea what Vegas Platinum is doing to convert or render these editing .mts files to make them still high quality and smooth for DVD architect. I just need to know how to replicate this process manually in Vegas Pro and I’m set.

      So to recap, and in a nutshell, I need to know what render settings to choose in Vegas Pro after editing my .mts files natively so I can then send them over to DVD architect pro 5.0 and burn my project to a DVD without loss of visual quality.

      Any help greatly appreciated.

    • #185418

      navyspecwarfare, thanks for posting the update! i was wondering about whether the hardware issues would improve. glad to hear it. has implications for me (and many others editing .mts files, i’m sure).

      i don’t know about Vegas (i’m sure someone here can point you in the right direction) but it looks to me like it should be pretty straightforward. the new system looks like it’ll handle about anything.

    • #185419

      Don’t know if this is helpful to anyone, but just last night I found a free ‘light’ version of a program called Prism, by NHC Software. Now, I’m brand new to all of this, only having owned a Canon HF S100 for about 3 days, but this seems like ahandy littleprogram. Still tweeking around with it, myself. But then, I don’t really have any clue what I’m doing.

      It converts .mts to about 6 or 7 different formats, including .avi, .wmv, .mov, and .mp4. I imagine the paid version has more features,etc. There’s more flexibility to the conversion process than I have the ability to use, at this point, so can’t coment on just how usefull it would be to you guys. Like I said, absolute newby, here, so keep that in mind. But for some who may be lurking (like me), it may be handy. Seems to be an answer to some of my problems, at this point.

    • #185420


      I have a very powerful machine. Processor Intel Core i7 2720QM with up to 3.3Ghz with ram 16GB DDR3 1600 MHz (4 x 4GB). I am editing for blu ray and rendering from original Sony .MTS to m2ts Anything i try gives me really bad patches of tremmor if you look closer, like shifting sideways. I render to m2ts

    • #185421

      “Anything i try gives me really bad patches of tremmor if you look closer, like shifting sideways.”

      Are you sure this is happening during the rendering process, or are you not deinterlacing your footage before editing?

    • #185422

      Hello XTR

      Thanks for your quick reply

      Ok my work flow is like this: I have .MTS files 1080i 24Mbps bitrate on my camcorder.. I take the USB cable and take lets say 1 video from AVCHD folder with .MTS format and load it to Sony Vegas Pro2 (trial) I have the following project settings: HD 1080-60i 29,970fps Audio 5.1 surround. For the test i don’t edit anything but straight render to Sony AVC m2ts 16Mbps or any… All the bitrates and all the project settings have been tried.

Viewing 23 reply threads
  • The forum ‘Video and Film Discussion’ is closed to new topics and replies.

Best Products

The best video editing software β€” 2021

In this article, we’ll go over the criteria you’ll need to consider when choosing the best video editing software for your needs.

Need help making a stellar first video?


Download our free eBook with 8 tips to get on the right track and create a video that you can be proud of.



Given away to one lucky winner

Competition is open worldwide