AVCHD camcorders have become the norm for most camcorder manufacturers, including Canon, Sony and Panasonic. I currently use a Canon AVCHD camcorder for most of my video recording needs. When I recently used the latest version of Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD to edit one of my videos, I realized I had no idea how to import the files from my AVCHD camcorder into Movie Studio HD. The list of import options under the Project menu does not include one for AVCHD. Instead of throwing my computer out the window in frustration, I dug around until I found the solution.
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"I have an iMac and AVCHD Sony video camera. Final Cut Express imports AVCHD files, but FCE does not output AVCHD. I'd like to create a Blu-ray disc with my AVCHD video. What is the best solution to edit my AVCHD files? Can I use FCE for editing and Adobe Encore CS4 for the high definition menu for Blu-ray? If so, which format should I choose for the output from FCE in high definition?"
Choosing the right tools for editing and authoring Blu-ray on a Mac is still somewhat confusing. Based on the tools you have available, I'm inclined to recommend editing with Adobe Premiere Pro and authoring a Blu-ray disc with Adobe Encore. However, if you are more familiar with editing in Final Cut Express, I can certainly understand the appeal of sticking with what you know. As for which settings to choose in either route, let me make a few suggestions.
"I just got a new Canon Vixia camcorder that records AVCHD video to an MTS file. I want to upload video to YouTube, but it doesn't look like YouTube supports MTS files. How can I convert that MTS AVCHD file to something I can put on YouTube?"
Without knowing a little more about what you want to do, there are a couple of routes you can go to get AVCHD files on YouTube. One option for putting AVCHD on YouTube is to take the unedited MTS file, convert it to anther format, and upload directly to YouTube. The other approach you could take is to edit the video first and then upload the edited file to YouTube. Either way, you're going to need some additional software.
"I want to edit AVCHD-Lite video from my Panasonic Lumix digital camera. I don't need any special effects, just the basics like trimming the end of a clip, combining two video clips, and uploading files to YouTube and Vimeo. What's the best solution for editing AVCHD-Lite movies?"
Any software that will edit AVCHD from a camcorder will also work for editing AVCHD-Lite. There are a bunch of options out there for editing AVCHD movies, but for most editing the easiest solution is Pinnacle Studio HD. I'm biased toward Studio HD because I use it frequently, but it's also a great product made by one of the top video editing brands on the planet.There are a couple of quirks to the process that I'll walk you through.
"I am considering buying a Lumix DMC-FT1. I want to be able to still use Movie Maker on Windows. Will I be able to do so with AVCHD-Lite which the camera records video in?"
AVCHD-Lite, which is a subset of the AVCHD format popularized by hard disk camcorders from Sony, Panasonic, and Canon, uses h.264 video coupled with AAC audio for recording movies. Neither of these two codecs is directly supported by Windows Movie Maker in either Windows XP or Windows Vista. There are 3rd-party solutions that work with varying degrees of success in allowing you to work with AVCHD video in both versions of Movie Maker, but for the most part you are safer in assuming AVCHD and AVCHD-Lite will not work with either the XP or Vista versions of Movie Maker. If you are willing to convert the files to WMV or MPEG-2 before editing, you have more options, but generally speaking if you need to convert the AVCHD video before editing, you are better off starting with an editing program designed to edit AVCHD. You have several choices you can make as alternative editors.
"What is the difference between AVCHD and AVCHD Lite?"
As if things weren't confusing enough in the video recording world, the AVCHD video codec just got more confusing. AVCHD is commonly used in hard drive recording high definition cameras, as well as in most of the camcorders recording to SD cards. Panasonic now uses the AVCHD Lite "standard" as the video format for many of their digital cameras.
"When I try to play m2ts files they cannot open and I have to right-click, browse for a program, and select Windows Media Player. When I do this the m2ts file plays only the video portion but not the audio portion. I have two questions:
Q1) What causes the m2ts file to not open?
Q2) What causes m2ts file to play only the video and not the audio?"
"I just bought a Canon HF100 and want to get a new computer. I have always used PCs but am considering a Mac. I have spent days online researching the two options and cannot make up my mind. It seems that the Mac and PC options are both very slow and difficult. I want to record home video on HF100, burn raw AVCHD to standard DVD for permanent backup, do some editing and then burn to standard DVD in 1080 to watch on my PS3 without any noticeable degradation. Based on the simple things I want to do with my new camcorder, what do you suggest I buy and what steps should I follow to get 1080 to
standard DVD for PS3."
There's really no right answer here, both Mac and PC solutions will get you the result you want. AVCHD video files are more complex to edit than the tape HDV format and will take longer to work with as a result. Here's some suggestions to help narrow down your choice:
"Is there any way to play the movies from my AVCHD Camcorder in Windows Media Player? I keeps saying something about not finding a codec."
You can play AVCHD and other AVC h.264 files in Windows Media Player, but in order to do so you must purchase some additional software first. Windows Media Player supports many file formats through third-party solutions, AVCHD happens to be one of these that isn't supported as part of the core application.
Jash writes, "I wish to convert M2TS / AVCHD files to an alternative format to send to people without the HDD software that comes with my Panasonic HDC-SD1. Is there a tool that will do this as most information is based around editing the files not converting them?"
At the moment, the best tools for converting files created using either the Panasonic or Sony AVCHD camcorders are the same tools used for editing the M2TS files. My personal preference is to use Sony Vegas for converting the files from AVCHD to whatever other format you want to work with, specifically because the interface makes it simple to either save the movie to a second format or do some additional processing if you want to crop the 16:9 video to 4:3 for standard definition conversion. Pinnacle Studio will also do something similar, but I like the Sony output configuration better.