How to edit MTS files?!?!

Anonymous (not verified)

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!!!!


SteveMann's picture
Last seen: 3 years 10 months ago
Joined: 07/26/2005 - 4:35pm

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.


birdcat's picture
Last seen: 5 years 3 days ago
Joined: 10/21/2005 - 10:09am

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.

Bruce Paul 7Squared Productions http://www.7squared.com


H. Wolfgang Porter's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Navspecwar,

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 (1920x1080, 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!

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


birdcat's picture
Last seen: 5 years 3 days ago
Joined: 10/21/2005 - 10:09am

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.

Bruce Paul 7Squared Productions http://www.7squared.com


H. Wolfgang Porter's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Navspecwar,

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.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


pseudosafari's picture
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 01/19/2009 - 2:09am
Plus Member

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!


H. Wolfgang Porter's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

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

Navspecwar,

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!

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


H. Wolfgang Porter's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

"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."

Navspecwar,

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;

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=5384378&Sku=M261-8232

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/search.asp?keywords=firewire+hard+drive+enclosures&searchbtn.x=29&searchbtn.y=6

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

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


Anonymous (not verified)

A conversation like that shows me the gaping holes in my knowledge. Hope you don't mind me "eavesdropping" - you guys are awesome!


H. Wolfgang Porter's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

"A conversation like that shows me the gaping holes in my knowledge. Hope
you don't mind me "eavesdropping" - you guys are awesome!"

Bob,

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.

Navspecwar,

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.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


pseudosafari's picture
Last seen: 1 year 11 months ago
Joined: 01/19/2009 - 2:09am
Plus Member

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.


XTR-91's picture
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Joined: 12/06/2008 - 8:57pm

"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?