Can an Apple TV (1 or 2) stream camcorder files (mixture of SD & HD)?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Azzin, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. Azzin, Mar 18, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011

    Azzin macrumors 68040

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    London, England.
    #1
    Hi folks,

    A bit of background...

    I'm fairly new to the world of Apple streaming. I recently got an Airport Express for the living room and we love it!

    We're in the process of redecorating our office at home and I was considering getting another AE to go in there, but then I discovered that Apple TVs can stream photos as well as music, so I thought I might get one to replace the AE in the living room to add the option of viewing our digital camera pics as well as listening to music in there and move the AE to the office.

    Then I got to thinking some more! :D

    We have a Panasonic HD camcorder (HDC-SD9EB-S), which from memory records in *.MTS format (these clips currently reside in folders on my PC (yes-they are also backed up!), named after the occaision they were filmed on-birthday, wedding etc).

    We also have a fair few clips from our previous (SD) camcorder, which I think are pretty much all files in *.VOB format, also in folders named after the occaision.

    So...

    Can an Apple TV also stream our camcorder movies?

    If so, then it's a 100% dead cert for me.

    Thanks all.
     
  2. salohcin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #2
    Hi Azzin, I'm not exactly an expert, but for what it's worth I believe that you would have to convert your videos into a format that the Apple TV can recognize.

    To do this I would suggest using HandBrake, which is free (http://handbrake.fr). I know that it will convert the VOB files, and I'm guessing it should be able to handle the MTS files as well (although I don't have any experience with them).

    HandBrake has an Apple TV 2 preset which makes it easy to get an output video that is compatible with the ATV2. I would suggest downloading HandBrake and trying it out on a couple of your videos and see if you like the results.

    Good luck with whatever you decide! :)
     
  3. Azzin, Mar 18, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011

    Azzin thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Location:
    London, England.
    #3
    You sir are a star!

    1 question if I may?

    Each occaision folder has several *.MTS files in it, can Handbrake convert a folder full of files, or would I have to do each file individualy?

    Many many thanks. :)

    [Edit] - I just found the "Queue" button in Handbrake!

    It would appear that after selecting the first *.MTS file in the folder, I can queue the remaining ones for conversion too!

    So what I've done is set the queued files to output to a folder within the folder that has the files that's being converted in it (if that makes sense!?)

    So I had:

    D:\Camcorder\Birthday

    Only now I have
    D:\Camcorder\Birthday\For Apple TV.

    Once they're done, I'll test them and then if all ok I'll delete the MTS files and move the M4A ones into the Birthday folder.

    Still awake!?

    This will be superb if it works!

    Thank you again. :)
     
  4. salohcin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    #4
    Glad I could help! What you described sounds like it will work just fine.

    If you have the extra space, I would suggest keeping the old files as well (if only as a backup). If you ever want to change formats or re-encode a higher quality it would be better to start fresh from the original files. Every time you encode from one format to another you can lose a little something in quality.
     
  5. Azzin thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Jun 23, 2010
    Location:
    London, England.
    #5
    Well I've got the 1st folder of files queued up and converting now, so I'll let you know later. ;)

    I hear you, but they are already backed up to a seperate server so the originals are safe. :)

    Thanks again.
     
  6. Azzin thread starter macrumors 68040

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    Jun 23, 2010
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    London, England.
    #6
    A question re Handbrake:

    Our camcorder files are stored in folders (birthday/holiday/wedding etc) and each folder has lots of individual MTS files in.

    Is there a way I can get Handbrake to convert all the MTS files in a folder, or do I have to select the 1st file and then manually add the rest 1 by 1 by selecting "add to queue"?

    Cheers.
     
  7. Azzin thread starter macrumors 68040

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    #7
    Anyone, please? :)
     
  8. Azzin thread starter macrumors 68040

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  9. HobeSoundDarryl, Mar 21, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #9
    azzin, you need to plug something beyond Handbrake into your workflow. The easy option is to import your movies into iMovie, where you can also edit out anything you don't want in a final render, then export from there to an :apple:TV file.

    Within iMovie (or similar) you can mix & match SD and HD (if you want both in a single render), and combine video clips into a single final video (for example, if you have 5 MTS files of a birthday party, you could put all 5 in ONE final render (video) instead of converting to 5 individual videos for :apple:TV). In general, it seems to be a much better option for you than thinking about Handbrake as the path from raw camcorder footage to :apple:TV files.

    If you need some option in Handbrake to be applied to your footage, you can render from iMovie to a minimally compressed file format compatible with Handbrake, then pass that file through Handbrake. For example, I'll occasionally do this with old SD footage to take advantage of some of the tools in Handbrake that seem to do a better job (in some cases) with SD interlaced video. But, for most of your stated needs, I would guess that you would get a lot more out of using iMovie as your "middle ground" instead of Handbrake.

    You seem to have a lot of focus on automating a group conversion of files. For example, you talk about having a lot of MTS and/or VOB files in folders and are seeking ways to convert them as a batch. If you really want to do that, iMovie is NOT much for batch processing. The idea with iMovie is to import up to all that footage and then put clips together much like assembling scenes in a movie. Thus, if you have 10 MTS files of a vacation (because you pushed "record" 10 times during the vacation), the batch process mentality is going to result in 10 individual videos for :apple:TV. If they are all clips from the same vacation, why not make 1 movie with up to 10 scenes in iMovie. Then, you'll have 1 :apple:TV video file that showcases the whole vacation (UNINTERRUPTED).

    If you need to be able to jump to individual segments, you could use iMovie to tag the 10 scenes as chapters (much like DVD chapters), then jump to those segments easily with :apple:TV chapter access. So again, you could merge 10 MTS files into one finished, polished video, maybe apply chapter markers to make it easy to jump to each segment (if desired), and render just 1 video for :apple:TV. Unless, I'm not understanding your needs very clearly, that's probably the way for you to go.

    Final example. This weekend I shot a lot of HD video of some AAU volleyball games in which my kid played. The final result was probably 25 individual MTS files over 6 matches. A few MTS files were mistakes where I pushed the record button but there were game delays, etc that I wouldn't want to retain in the final video render. I imported all that into iMovie, jettisoned the clips of those game delays, then marked the individual matches with chapter markers. The final render was a single file for :apple:TV. When watching that movie, if we want to jump to a certain game, we can easily do so using the chapters.

    If I handled this the way you are thinking, I would end up with 25 video files, many of which would be just segments of matches (and some would be undesirable game delay segments). To watch a whole game, or whole match, or several matches, I'd have to be selecting a next segment over and over again in :apple:TV, as I work my way through 25 videos. The analogy would be to think about watching a DVD with 25 chapters. Instead of playing the movie straight through, you would come to the end of chapter or scene, and then have to go into the DVD menu to select the next chapter to watch. That's not fun. Often, when a person has a bunch of camcorder video segments, they want to assemble them into one polished video and be able to play them back uninterrupted. However, if there is a need to be able to jump to some particular spots in such a video (for example, in my volleyball video, if I want to be able to jump to spots where my kid had some spectacular plays, or jump from game to game), chapter markers make all that very easy.
     
  10. Azzin thread starter macrumors 68040

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    London, England.
    #10
    Thank you. :)

    Isn't iMovie a Mac program though?

    I should have mentioned that I'm using Windows (7). :eek:
     
  11. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #11
    There are many movie maker software packages on Windows. I think of Handbrake as more of a file conversion utility. I think of your apparent need as mostly disconnected from what Handbrake is intended to do. My suggestion would be to look for something like iMovie that is made for Windows. Your needs are not complex or difficult. I would guess that many iMovie-like applications could cover those needs.
     
  12. Azzin thread starter macrumors 68040

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    London, England.
    #12
    Hi there and thanks.

    All I want to be able to do is watch my camcorder files on an Apple TV (2).

    I know I can't watch them in their current format (MTS), so I'm just after a program that I can point at a folder ("Wedding" for example) and have it convert all the MTS files in there and output them to to the same folder in M4V format.

    That way I can delete the MTS files (I do have everything backed up anyway!) and stream them to my living room using iTunes/Apple TV2.

    Cheers.
     
  13. Azzin thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2010
    Location:
    London, England.
    #13
    Ok, that worked a treat. :thumbsup:

    I tested it on a folder full of *.MTS files from a holiday we went on to Cuba.

    I created a new folder in the "Cuba" folder called "M4V" and had the program output all the files there.

    I went out and left it running and came home to find a folder full of M4V files!

    So here's the issue..... :god:

    When I play one of the files using iTunes (right click>Open with), it plays, but the video pauses and stutters-although the audio carries on fine.

    However, if I play that file using VLC (right click, Open With>VLC Media Player), they play fine. :eek:

    (The files are on the D Drive of my hard drive and so are locally stored).

    The converted files must be ok as they play fine in VLC, so I'm hoping that iTunes is just poor at playing them and the files will be ok when streamed to Apple TV2.
     

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