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Panasonic HC-V100 - Edit MTS files & get into iTunes

trjack

Standard Member
Hi all

Recently bought a Panasonic HC-V100 to record home videos. My objective is to be able to edit the videos (add titles/music etc) and then add them to iTunes so I can watch them via my Apple TV on my big HD TV.

Note that I am using a Mac running OS X Lion 10.7.5.

I've looked all over the net for answers but can't seem to get a clear answer.

What I've been doing so far:
1. Transfer MTS files from camcorder to hard disk on Mac (1920 x 1080)
2. Convert MTS files into MP4 files using Handbrake (1920 x 1080)
3. Import MP4 files into iMovie '08 ver 7.1.4 (takes forever)
4. Edit movie - add titles/music etc (painful as system is forever pausing to load - I have over an hours worth of clips that I want to put into a single Home Video)
5. Export iMovie project using Quicktime option (to preserve the HD quality of 1920 x 1080) - this took overnight and only came out in 1024 x 576.
6. This created a MOV file which I can't get into iTunes. I could use HandBrake again but seems like too much conversion!

The quality of the exported file looks pretty good but the file size is huge and it's not in 1920 x 1080!

The size of the project changed as follows:
Folder full of MTS files = 8.8GB
Folder full of MP4 files = 5.7GB
Exported file (all combined into 1) = 16.2GB

I'll be taking home video on a regular basis and would like a simpler solution to what I've come up with.

Can anyone suggest a better process that would keep the file size as compact as possible but still preserve the full HD from the MTS file, and be in a format that iTunes will recognise?

I'm willing to purchase video editing software but prefer not too spend much.

Thanks in advance!
Tim
 

Hillskill

Moderator/Games Reviewer
Take a look at Final Cut Pro in the Apple store. If you are comfy with iMovie then the transition should be a simple one. It will give you a wealth of added options and features to edit with plus will give you more export options. Ideally you want to be able to output h.264 MP4s with a bitrate around 10Mb/s which is what I output my videos at (for web or for safe keeping on a server). Very efficient space wise and the quality is generally really really good.
Crucially FCP now claims to work natively with AVCHD codecs meaning you could work directly with your MTS files in FCP. I have no experience of this as I don't use the format but it would obviously meaning you skip the Handbrake stage. You can DL from the app store for a free 30 day trial. If it works for your workflow then it will be worth the relatively minor expense (in terms of high end editing software).

Why type of mac you running.
 

DocJackal

Prominent Member
So editing .mts files in iMovie is a bit of a mess...

With what you're doing... firstly, transcoding to mp4 files using Handbrake is not so great for your workflow. Assuming you are making h.264 .mp4 files, h.264 is a really intensive codec to edit from. It's basically an acquisition and a delivery codec, but not an editing codec. If you carry on doing what you are doing, try converting to ProRes 422(HQ) instead. The conversion will be faster and you will find the edit process much, much smoother (no hanging when you add an edit etc). Down side is that the ProRes files are pretty massive - but they do remain full quality and you can usually just dump them once you've exported your edit (to h.264 as Hillskill recommend).

Secondly, let me quote...

What I've been doing so far:
1. Transfer MTS files from camcorder to hard disk on Mac (1920 x 1080)
When you do this transfer, make sure you take everything on the card, nit just the .mts files. Make a new folder on your hard drive and drag the entire contents of your camera / SD card into it, maintaining all folder structures etc. Do not ever go digging into the card and just picking out the .mts files. Many programmes (FCP especially) simply will not work without the entire, in-tact folder structure.

2. Convert MTS files into MP4 files using Handbrake (1920 x 1080)
This is a conversion where you will be loosing quality and taking time.

3. Import MP4 files into iMovie '08 ver 7.1.4 (takes forever)
This is another conversion where you may be loosing more quality. iMovie may be creating ProRes files here (not sure though)

4. Edit movie - add titles/music etc (painful as system is forever pausing to load - I have over an hours worth of clips that I want to put into a single Home Video)
May be pausing as you are working with .mp4 files, or perhaps not if it's made its own ProRes proxys.

5. Export iMovie project using Quicktime option (to preserve the HD quality of 1920 x 1080) - this took overnight and only came out in 1024 x 576.
Another conversion here, this time you got your settings wrong and have output a SD file (forced 16x9)

6. This created a MOV file which I can't get into iTunes. I could use HandBrake again but seems like too much conversion!
Again, another conversion so more quality loss. You should be able to get a file that iTunes likes straight out of iMovie with the correct settings.

As Hillskill mentioned, you could look at something like FCP (FCP-X i presume he means). FCP-X claims to work 'natively' with AVCHD, however in reality it is simply rendering (or converting) it to FCP's preferred format (ProRes) constantly in the background. Really not working natively. If using FCP-X, i would try that out first and see how it handles for you - you may like it. For me, personally, i would recommend using FCP-X to import your footage as ProRes files - so it reads your offloaded folder structure and imports/converts everything to ProRes for editing with. You then edit, export, and delete the ProRes versions.

Alternatively, try Adobe Premiere. That really does support genuinely native AVCHD, and is a great editor. With that you just point it to your offloaded camera folders and start editing straight away - no conversions. Once you've edited, simply set an export off and leave it going. So long as you get the setting right, you can export an h.264 .mp4 (if you like) that will be full HD, look great, and upload to Vimeo etc. No handbrake, no making ProRes proxys.
 

trjack

Standard Member
You guys are awesome. Can't thank you enough for the suggestions. Will give them a go and come back if I have any further issues.

Cheers!
Tim
 

Ivanovitch

Standard Member
My workflow is a bit simpler cutting out some of the conversions:

Attach camera to computer.
In iMovie hit the capture/import from camera button (on the left looks like a camera).
Select the correct camera then the clips I want and download.
Edit
Export - in your case hit share-iTunes

Maybe your older version has the button in different places but it should still work. If not, and your willing to buy new software why not try the latest iMovie?
 

trjack

Standard Member
My workflow is a bit simpler cutting out some of the conversions:

Attach camera to computer.
In iMovie hit the capture/import from camera button (on the left looks like a camera).
Select the correct camera then the clips I want and download.
Edit
Export - in your case hit share-iTunes

Maybe your older version has the button in different places but it should still work. If not, and your willing to buy new software why not try the latest iMovie?
Thanks Ivanovitch. That does work really good. I had to upgrate my iMovie 08 to iMovie 11 and ended up doing the same thing you suggested and it works great. The share in iTunes option in iMovie 08 didn't allow full 1080p HD but iMovie 11 does. The quality is perfect.

As a side, do you watch your videos on a big TV? If so, have you found an effective way to access them from your storage device. I'm planning to stream via Apple TV but I think I'll have to improve the speed of my wi-fi network as it seems to take forever to start streaming the videos from my Mac's iTunes. Any suggestions?
 

Ivanovitch

Standard Member
If you're struggling with wifi you could try Homeplugs.
I don't have an Apple TV but use a Raspberry Pi to view video off a NAS and it works fine over wifi, though over a relatively short distance (in the next room).
Mainly I edit videos for a sports team. The high quality videos get given to the coach with a USB 3 flash drive. I then run the video through Handbrake to reduce the size to be uploaded to the Internet, either way most people watch them on their computers.
 

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