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Using AVCHD files on a low spec PC - is there a file convertor available?

braddo111

Active Member
Hi Guys,

I'm about to buy a camera (Panasonic HDC-TM10) and I want to get into editing, and also to be able to play back footage on my PC - not just through the camcorder itself.

My PC is very low end. It's a 5 year old P4 2.8Ghz, 1G RAM, that my employer was throwing out and I took home. We use it as a media centre - it's fine for watching DVD's, itunes, basic digital photo editing etc.

I've downloaded some mts files to test - and predictably, my PC can't handle them. VLC = nothing. My editing suite - Cyberlink Power Director 9 runs the files jumpily. Editing them won't be possible.

I will aim to upgrade my PC when I an afford to.

Temporarily though, I want to film in AVCHD, and convert all files to a format that will be more managable by my PC - so that I can learn how to edit etc - and then decide whether I want to plunge the £££ into the new hobby.

Can anyone recommend what would be the best format to convert the mts files to? And recommend a decent file conversion program?

Many thanks,

Brad
 
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rogs

Well-known Member
I have an earlier Panasonic AVCHD camcorder, and it came with version 2.0 of the HD Writer software, which allows you to convert your footage to Standard Def MPEG2 format, which was easy for my (then) P4 to play.

So - assuming the cameras still come with HD writer - import your AVCHD from the camera using HD Writer. This retains the full folder structure, and keeps your options open for the future.

Use HD Writer to convert your footage to standard def MPEG2, and use that footage for playback. Although it's not HD, it still looks pretty good!

You could try converting the AVCHD to Cineform Neoscene , or Canopus HQ with EDIUS Neo 2 Booster | Grass Valley (both have 'neo' in the name, but are no relation!). Both can be trialled for free, to see if they work for you

These programs will create high quality HD files, which are much easier to use than AVCHD on lower power PCs, although an old P4 might still struggle a bit.:) Be prepared for some large files in the converted video!!
 

braddo111

Active Member
Hi Rogs,

Thank you so much for your quick reply. It's much appreciated.

When I buy the cam, I will definitely take your advice and try to use the HD Writer software to convert.

I have a few other questions that you be able to help with:

1) If I utilise one of the two "neo" options you've provided, will I be able to import/edit those files into a program like Cyberlink Power Director 9, or other editing software suites?


2) Assuming I used HD Writer (or other) to convert (or comprerss?!?) the files to something like MPEG 2. Lets say I trimmed, chopped, edited and created finished videos from that MPEG 2 footage. Would I ever be able to convert (decompress?!?) it back to full HD quality?

Cheers!! :)
 

rogs

Well-known Member
There is a difference between the two 'neos' (as we're calling them!)

Cineform Neoscene is a high quality conversion utility, which is designed to convert AVCHD into a 'intra frame' AVI format which you can then import into other other editing suites, for further use. Because it is much less compressed than the original AVCHD, it is easier to work with , and to view. The files sizes, however, are going to be much larger than the originals - something in excess of 40GB per hour!
It does however allow you to view and edit with a much lower power computer.
It is not intended to be used as a final output format however - the files are too large -- so having edited your footage, you might expect to finally export from the editing software back into a 'compressed' HD format. But that of course needs amore powerful computer to play, and we're back to square one, in some respects.

Edius Neo2 is a complete editing package that allows you to convert your AVCHD to Canopus HQ, (a similar quality conversion to Cineform) and then edit in Edius. Again, the advantage is the ease with which the converted video can be dealt with on a lower power computer.

Neither of those options is cheap, unfortunately, but it is usually cheaper than buying a new computer!

One other option you might like to try is to use the Canopus HQ format outside Edius --it can be made to work with other editiors, although I've only tried it with an old version of Premiere myself.

In that instance, you can convert to Canopus HQ using their freeware utility -- so much cheaper!!:)

You should be able to find the appropriate links from my post here:http://www.avforums.com/forums/camc...d5-camcorder-file-type-m2ts.html#post11156583

You might also try use the utility to convert to HDV -it does have that capability. HDV is still a compressed format, but is much less demanding of computer 'grunt'.
It might even play smoothly, as HD, on a P4 - especially if you resize to 1440 x 1080, if your original is interlaced, or 1280x720, if you original is progressive. How well HQ would work with Cyberlink, I've no idea, but with a freeware converter, it's not going to cost a lot to try! :)

To your second question -- no. Once you've converted to MPEG2 SD, you can only use that new file for editing in it's own right -it will have no 'backpath' to the AVCHD original.

Which is why I suggested capturing and storing your original footage using HD Writer. Keep those originals for the future, and use MPEG2 conversions for SD editing and viewing.
You'll need to dive into the folder structure, to locate the '.m2ts' or '.MTS' files for conversion to Cineform or Canopus. These are the actual video files (I think HD Writer stores them as .m2ts, but .MTS files are the same).

Again, use your 'converted' copies to play around with -- you've still got the originals for future use, if and when you upgrade your computer.

And to deal with AVCHD effectively, in it's 'native' form, you going to need at least a Quad Core, and preferably an i7.

It really does need a lot of computing power!
 

braddo111

Active Member
Brilliant - I understand most of that - I think.

Thanks Rogs!

Rough day at work today - but will look at the links when I have a chance. Thanks again!
 

senu

Distinguished Member
Edius Neo2 is a complete editing package that allows you to convert your AVCHD to Canopus HQ, (a similar quality conversion to Cineform) and then edit in Edius. Again, the advantage is the ease with which the converted video can be dealt with on a lower power computer.

Neither of those options is cheap, unfortunately, but it is usually cheaper than buying a new computer!
Seems reasonable to me

CANOPUS EDIUS NEO 2 (EU) (606249) CAN-EDNEO - PC World Business Online Store UK - Buy The Best Deals Online.

And to deal with AVCHD effectively, in it's 'native' form, you going to need at least a Quad Core, and preferably an i7.

It really does need a lot of computing power!
To be honest both for playback and editing even with Rogs very useful suggestions ( I have tried them on a decent QUadcore PC which can edit natively) More horsepower is better

A P4 2.8 with 1 Gb Ram is really going to protest;It wont playthe files). I suggest you get some AVCHD footage even before you buy the camcorder and see just how much
 

braddo111

Active Member
senu - I've downloaded some mts files and it does struggle. VLC won't play at all. Other programs have serious jumpiness issue. Unwatchable.

I'm considering a 2nd hand PC rig - specs below. Can you let me know your opinions on whether this is likely to suffice please? :) Is it worth paying £500 for this pc? Any advice, much appreciated! :D

Base : Studio XPS Intel Core i7 Processor 920 (2.66GHz, 8MB cache, 4.8GT/sec)
D03SX09
Resource DVD : English Studio XPS Diagnostics and Drivers
Memory : 3072MB (3x1024) 1067MHz DDR3 Tri Channel
Media Card Reader : 19-in-1 Media Card Reader
Hard Drive : 500GB Serial ATA (7200RPM)
Optical Drive : 16X DVD+/-RW Drive
Graphics : 512 MB ATI Radeon 4770 GDDR5 DVI VGA HDMI PCI-E
Audio Integrated HDA 7.1 Dolby Digital capability
 

senu

Distinguished Member
It seems very fine... do get a bit more RAM though:) 4Gb is the sweet spot
 

braddo111

Active Member
Does tri-channel mean there are only 3 slots for ram on the motherboard? Ie. I have to buy 3 new ram modules?

Or can I just buy an extra 1 GB? Any idea how much I should budget for this?
 

senu

Distinguished Member
DDR3 memory tend to be installed in "3s" .
Triple channel is a memory mode architecture term but it also means that 3s or multiple of 3s of the DDR3 modules are required; I would not bother to change it , unless you change all 3 , they have to be identical in speed and cpacity
I guess being " cutting edge for memory speed it is probably enough in terms of speed
You would need to have say 3 X 2Gb to change it
As for cost 3X 2Gb wil probably set you back another £120 odd ut you have to be care ful to get the right spec the MB can support
They come in 1067 1333 and 1600 Mhz... !
If you want to go for it I would try it as is first, If you can get more memory do so with some knowledge it will work, and you can sell your existing memory
 
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senu

Distinguished Member
]
thanks Senu. I understand :)

Is there any chance that a quad core (non i7) will be sufficient? i7's are just so expensive!
An i7 system would really be ideal but yes a decent Quad core with 3 or more Gb RAM and a decent GPU will work quite well
The I7 system you linked is VFM though:)

I guess it also depends on software. some are better able to utilise modest hardware
 

braddo111

Active Member
Thanks for your input and advice Senu. Unfortunately someone else offered the seller more than me, so I missed out on the i7 rig that I posted above. Probably a good thing, or else I wouldn't be able to eat until next month!
 

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