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Author Topic: How does a novice make AVCHD files from a GH2 usable?  (Read 2120 times)
tommm
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« on: July 06, 2011, 01:52:52 AM »
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Hi,

I'm a newcomer to video but have recently been shooting some videos on my GH2.

Could someone explain the best / easiest way to get AVCHD files from the camera into a useable format on a mac? I've tried importing into iMovie but it just crashes and I don't have FCP?

Do I need to buy some software to convert the files and is .MOV the best format to convert to for simple editing and play back?

Thanks in advance,

Tom
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bcooter
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2011, 02:10:19 AM »
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http://prores-converter.com/2011/06/convert-avchd-files-to-apple-prores-422-for-fcp-with-best-camcorder-software-for-mac/


http://www.moviesmac.com/tutorial/mts-converter-mac.html#part2

IMO

BC
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tho_mas
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2011, 02:51:14 AM »
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ClipWrap: http://www.divergentmedia.com/clipwrap

Can simply re-wrap the MTS files which is very, very fast (files come out as .MOV files in H264).
Alternatively you can also transcode to the codecs shown here: http://www.divergentmedia.com/Assets/images/cwtranscode.png
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tommm
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2011, 03:36:26 AM »
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Thanks for the replies. Any chance you could explain what re-wrapping is as I'm not sure I understand?

What's the difference between re-wrapping as .MOV and trans-coding to .MOV, is it even possible to trans-code to the .MOV format (it's not one of the options on the page tho_mas linked)? If re-wrapped as .MOV is it then safe to edit and store in this format or do I then need to do something else? Is the .MOV the best format for my novice requirements (simple editing and playback) or would you recommend one of the other formats?

Sorry for the many questions, haven't quite got my head round this yet!

Tom
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tho_mas
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2011, 04:28:01 AM »
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MOV is a container format. "H264" or "ProRes HQ" are codecs that define the compression, color and other attributes of the file within that container.
Roughly comparable to still image formats: JPEG is a "container" format (image format) and for instance sRGB is a color space the image is coded in.

MTS (the file format of your GH2) is also a container format (MTS = MPEG Transport Stream). The MTS files of your GH2 are coded in H264.
ClipWrap simply re-wraps the container format without transcoding the actual image data (colors, gamma, whatever). Consequently a re-wrap results in a H264 MOV. As the actual data is just wrapped into another container format it's really fast.
Transcoding to another codec is much more time consuming as the application has to calculate an "image-conversion" frame by frame. However both re-wrapping and transcoding to another codec result in MOV files.

Generally: yes, you should convert to MOV for further editing.
Highly compressed formats (such as H264) are actually not really suited for editing. But as you just want to make some simple and basic editing I don't think this is going to be a problem. Too, a re-wrap through ClipWrap is the fastet way to playback your GH2 files in almost any software.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 04:30:07 AM by tho_mas » Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2011, 05:38:38 AM »
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MOV is a container format. "H264" or "ProRes HQ" are codecs that define the compression, color and other attributes of the file within that container.
Roughly comparable to still image formats: JPEG is a "container" format (image format) and for instance sRGB is a color space the image is coded in.

I'm not sure that's a fair analogy. JPEG is the coding format, analogous to H.264, MP4, etc. Sometimes you don't need containers. Apple, to protect their interests, insist on wrapping every codec into its MOV container, but this MOV container cannot be opened by QT on computers on which FCP isn't installed. A TIFF, DPX or JPEG image sequence has no container, but Apple can find a way to put all these images into a MOV, just so they can feel better. AVI is another container. Color space is a totally different concept to encoding. It's a whole different ball game.

However, MOV is only a 'container', and it does not change the coding in the footage in any way, while it is being ingested into the system. 'Transcoding' is changing the coding from one format to another - usually a total rewrite of the data. This almost always, in the practical world, means losing data in one way or another. On a typical workflow, one tries to avoid transcoding as much as possible. Converting to Prores is transcoding, albeit to a format that can withstand heavy manipulation (like visual effects, color correction, etc). The AVCHD format is not robust enough to withstand heavy manipulation.

To a novice, I recommend using FCP if you have to be mac-based, or switch to Sony Vegas Pro for the PC.

Does your footage need heavy color grading or visual effects? Then you need to transcode to a more robust format like Prores (which has three flavors I think), or Cineform (on a PC), or an uncompressed file (like an image sequence). If not, you don't need to transcode at all. Edit natively (an i5, 8GB and two 7200rpm drives is all you need) and render on final output.

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tommm
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2011, 06:30:05 AM »
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Thanks tho_mas, obviously no analogies work perfectly but I think i get the idea. I've down loaded clipwrap and think I'm now sorted as far as getting the files onto the mac and doing some simple editing. If I get into video more I shall investigate further but for the time being you've got me on the right track, thanks. Tom
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