.mts file transfer/store question

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Pwpw, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. Pwpw macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2011
    #1
    Hi,
    I'm on vacation and need to download/store .mts files and photos from my Canon HF S20 to a harddrive.

    The goal is to store the files as .mts on an EHD I have with me byway of MacBook Air, and then later access them on home computer (MacPro) for processing. With the aim of keeping the highest quality image/sound possible.

    Second question.
    Do I need to first download/install a Cineform Neoscene type program to transfer the .mts files from Canon camcorder or can I simply drag/drop a folder off the camcorder to the EHD?
    Same with pictures? (I'm assuming j-peg type files?)

    Lastly, what's your 2 cents on best processing program for a home movie+ user?
    Sony Vegas Imagination Studio Suite?
    Adobe CS 5.5?
    FCE?

    Thanks,
    Pwpw
    http://cdn.macrumors.com/vb/images/smilies/confused.gif
     
  2. floh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #2
    First: You don't have to do the transfer while on holiday and can copy the files to your hard drive. Just make sure that you copy the whole folder structure of your SD card and not just the .mts files. Otherwise you will have a lot of work later. Most programs can import the footage from the folder structure, even when on a hard drive, and in the worst case, you can always copy them back to the SD card and then import, one backup after the other. :) But it should work fine if you copied the whole structure.

    Whenever my cards are full and I'm on the road, I do a complete backup and then reformat them.

    If you have not yet tried any software, I think iMovie is actually the easiest to start with. If you want to go more professional and do some more complicated stuff, you can upgrade to Final Cut Pro X without relearning the interface completely. I would not recommend Final Cut Express, since it is not much cheaper than Final Cut Pro X and has some major drawbacks in comparison (if you want to know more, ask...). Adobe Premiere (and especially After Effects) has a very "pro" interface. Meaning that if you already have experience with a lot of non-linear editing software, you might like Premiere better than iMovie or FCPX. But if you start out new, both programs have a very steep learning curve.
    I haven't tried Sony Vegas...

    Just my two cents.
     
  3. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #3
    Floh is correct - make sure you copy the entire folder structure. I usually label the folders as whatever events I recorded and keep them on an external drive for archival purposes. In iMovie, you can import the footage by going to File > Import > Camera Archive and then drilling down to the folder you saved. At that point, it acts just like it would if you were importing directly from the camera itself.
     
  4. Pwpw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2011
    #4
    Thanks for the help. I was worried about running out of space on my camcorder's internal memory and my small memory card in slot 'a'.

    But it seems I can put a memory card in slot 'b' and transfer the files from the internal memory and slot 'a' card to the card in slot 'b'.

    I think I'll transfer the folders to an external HD and to a memory card in slot 'b' just to make sure I'm competent in both methods.

    What/how would I copy to ensure I "copy the entire folder structure" to my external HD?
    Thanks,
    Pwpw

    Thanks for the 2 cents. I think I'll start with iMovie to process/edit the files. And try to learn the Adobe CS 5.5 suite I was given as an x-mas present. Is there any loss in HD picture quality with iMovie?
     
  5. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #5
    You could use Disk Utility to create disk images of the cards, that would ensure that all the strucure remains as it was shot.
     
  6. Pwpw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2011
    #6
    Thanks again for the help.
    Could you give me a better step-by-step process to use the Disk Utility to do this.
    I don't see a copy/paste feature in Disk Utility. Would I use the 'Burn' feature?
    Pwpw
     
  7. floh macrumors 6502

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    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #7
    In my opinion, the disk utility is over the top for this. You don't really need it. Just copy all content of the card to a destination folder with Finder. That bit-by-bit backup is not only more effort to backup but also to get the files imported in the end.
     
  8. initialsBB macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2010
    #8
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9B176 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I don't remember exactly how you do it on disk utility but I think that once the storage is mounted, you select it in disk utility and go to one of the menus (file menu?) and choose save as disk image. Manually copying the files is OK for the shots themselves, but I know that some editing apps prefer the original disk to retain metadata. This is not essential but can be very useful !
     
  9. floh, Mar 16, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012

    floh macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Really? I don't know what the disk utility could copy in addition except for hidden (.*) files, and I can find none on my cards. I thought all metadata was saved in the .CPI files in the CLIPINF folder and you are fine if you make sure not to throw that away...

    I just realize that this comes across as "I know better than you", but it's not meant like that. I would seriously like to know about additional metadata that I might be missing. Maybe someone can help me?

    I could see how it might be less of a hastle to import files into some programs if you mount the backuped image and the system sees it exactly as if it was the original card. On the other hand, you will always need the whole size of the card for your backup, independent on how much was actually on there.
     
  10. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #10
    I can only speak for iMovie and Final Cut Pro (7 and X), but there is no need to create a disk image. As Floh said and as I posted above, just copy the folder contents into a folder with a descriptive filename and you're all set. All the data you need is in those folders. Making a disc image just takes more time and is unnecessary.
     
  11. Meric macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    #11
    I am new to HD filming and video editing.. have a compact sony tx-10 camera and will be shooting some HD movies soon.. ( 1080i, AVCHD, 30 fps mode )

    I shot a 1 minute test clip at home to see how much space it'll take... with the AVCHD mode it made a 160 mb MTS file... I filmed a movie on my tv, it was kinda dark in the room..

    then imported it to the imovie, copied to a new project and exported 1080p without changing anything...

    it made a mov file of 148 mb... this whole process took 20-25 mins.

    I am hoping to shoot 1-2 hours of video and it looks it will take so much time..

    my laptop is a last years mac book air, core 2 duo processors.... don't have a faster one yet.

    my question is, did I lose any quality by this import/export process? is there a faster/better way to convert mts files to mov or mp4s ?

    how can I transfer these to my ipad ? itunes or any other easier/faster way ? ( before converting or after converting )

    thank you.
     
  12. floh macrumors 6502

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    Nov 28, 2011
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    Stuttgart, Germany
    #12
    I am very surprised that the file got smaller on import... I honestly did not expect this! Are you sure about the original file size of 160MB on the camera? That seems a bit much to me...

    Most people don't know that there are two things that define how a video is stored: The codec and the container. The codec is something like H.264 or DivX, Apple ProRes or mpeg4 (I'm sure you've heard some of those) and it is with what algorithm the video is compressed, i.e. how big the file will be, how the quality is and how easy it will be to use in an editing software. The container contains (sic!) all the additional information on the video, like resolution, the type of codec that is inside and other meta information (like recording date or similar). The container defines the file type of the video, for example .mov, .avi, or .mp4.

    Your camcorder stores video in the codec "H.264" and in a very special container, which together make up the AVCHD standard. The codec is pretty standard and can easily be played by your computer or iPad, but the container is kind of weird and only very few players can handle it directly. The reason for this exotic container is because it holds a lot of information (like time code, information on your camcorder or even GPS data) that most other containers are not equiped for.

    Anyways, to the point: iMovie will convert all your footage on import into Apple's ProRes codec, which is far less compressed than the original AVCHD files. This is very advantageous if you really want to do serious editing afterwards, since the compressed files will be very hard on your CPU when cutting.

    That is the reason why it takes quite a long time and produces big files on import. And there is not really a workaround in iMovie if you want to just copy the files from your camera to view them without any editing. Final Cut Pro X will ask you on import if it should convert the footage or leave it as is. But iMovie won't (at least I think so).

    You don't lose any quality (well, hardly any...) during that kind of import, since you are converting from a highly compressed codec into a much less compressed.

    If you only want to copy the files to your various devices without really editing them, you may only want a tool that changes the container of your files to .mp4, but leaves the content inside as is. I don't know of any free and nice looking program that can do this (maybe others do?). There are some converters out there, but they cost money (first one I stumbled across was this one). I know that it can be done with the command line tool ffmpeg, but that might be a bit raw in handling.

    I am pretty sure there is an option to export to your iPad from iMovie.

    If you want to actually edit your movies, there is not really a way around the time consuming conversion and (again time consuming) export via iMovie if you are working on an older machine. If you just want to basically transfer the movies without really touching them, then iMovie is not really needed. Maybe someone can point you in the direction of a free converter for that. Or you can ask me about ffmpeg, if you are somehow familiar with using the Terminal. :)

    Wow, that was a long post. Sorry for rambling. I hope it somehow came across what I wanted to say.
     
  13. Meric macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2010
    #13
    thanks for the long detailed response. yup the mts file was exactly 159.7 mb and mov file is 148 mb..

    by the way I just figured the camera is capable of saving the videos as a mp4 file, too.

    should I change it to mp4 or keep it avchd to preserve the quality ? ( camera menu says avchd is better quality and mp4 is for web/email etc )

    also some posts say there is a 2 gb file limit on this camera.. which is I guess 20-30 minute of recording.. I dont think I'll be shooting that long..probably shoot 1-2 minute videos and then put them together....

    this is a compact underwater camera.. maybe I am expecting too much from it?

    its just I am going to a 10 day hawaii trip and wanna shoot the beautiful nature, night sky and underwater with the best quality..

    I have a 4 gb eye-fi and 8 gb transcend sd card.. will buy 1-2 extra battery and 16 gb transcend card.. do you think I need something else ?

    thought about buying a flip hd or a comparable kodak to shoot but then thought they would be pretty much same as this little sony camera..
     
  14. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #14
    Sorry for the correction of the quite descriptive post, but iMovie, as Final Cut Express, uses the Apple Intermediate Codec. The ProRes codec is meant for FCP and its studio applications only.

    Video Compression
    Why It Matters & How To Make The Most Of It

     
  15. floh macrumors 6502

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    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #15
    Sorry, simsaladimbamba right. It was late and I was typing like crazy, as you can see. :)
     
  16. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
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    located
    #16
    10.00 am in Stuttgart is late? You were dancing again, weren't you? Leonhardstraße is a very, very luring place as far as I remember.
     
  17. floh macrumors 6502

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    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #17
    Huh? You are from around here? Anyways... I actually had a whole day of rehearsing Bach's Johannespassion with a concert in the evening, from which I came home at this time. Why this is relevant to this thread, you ask? Because right now, I am editing the multicam footage from the concert and I will save my long answer to the longer question above for later. :)

    So you caught me again, it wasn't late, I was just exhausted. :) Greetings from Stuttgart!
     
  18. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #18
    Yeah, I was in Stuttgart twice, once even WOM was still open on Königsstraße, but the last time it wasn't. And I also had to film and edit a concert, and a bit more, presented in the Liederhalle by a lot of pupils of varying ages, organised by the Bachakademie. It was in 2008 or 2009 I think.
    You can see some photos from Stuttgart here (starting at "view from one day not before").
    Like this for example, of which I don't know how it is called, but I like its form:
    [​IMG]
     
  19. floh macrumors 6502

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    Nov 28, 2011
    Location:
    Stuttgart, Germany
    #19
    I am actually more of a musician than a filmmaker and was performing... still, for my hobby, I put up 2 stationary cameras, put a camcorder in a friend's hand and set up some audio recording, so I'm stuck with the footage. :)

    I think a might have actually been in the audience in your Bachakademie concert... not sure though, this was shortly after I moved to Stuttgart.

    Your pictures are actually really nice. I mean, of course, one can expect nice framing and composition from a video guy, but I am very impressed. Maybe I'll see some of your film work some time...

    Man, this camera synching is taking forever, I think I'll tackle the long answer now...
     
  20. floh macrumors 6502

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    Nov 28, 2011
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    Stuttgart, Germany
    #20
    I am still baffled by that... Does anyone else have an explanation?

    I just checked your camera manual, and that is actually true. Well, there are 4 settings that you can choose from. The video codec is always the same and they only differ in the bitrate (and therefore quality). In order from high quality to lower quality, there are:
    AVCHD FX (24 MBit/s)
    MP4 HQ (12 MBit/s)
    AVCHD HQ (9 MBit/s)
    MP4 LQ (3 MBit/s)

    As you can see, the bitrate and with it the file size and quality differs greatly. However, the 12MBit MP4 is not that bad in quality and you will have to backup your card less frequently (twice as much footage will fit on it...)

    If you really don't want to do any editing, I would recommend you go with the higher quality MP4, which is very easy to just copy into iTunes, on your iPad or youtube. If you are really shooting amazing landscape pictures and you want to use them in breathtaking clips and edit them a lot, then go with the highest quality setting. Still, looking at the camera, I don't think the compression of the 12 MBit/s MP4 file will limit the look of your movie too harshly. ;)

    That is also true (says the manual, I haven't tried it). The file limit only applies for MP4 recording and with the higher quality, it will actually turn out to be around 15 minutes before you have to start a new clip. I don't know if that bothers you.
    For AVCHD, there is theoretically no limit because it could stream into multiple files, but the camera seems to stop recording after 29 minutes maximum cliplength anyways.

    I don't know how amazing the quality of your pictures is going to be. In my opinion though, it's more about the landscape and the guy who shoots the camera than about camera specs. I think you'll do fine with Hawaii. :) I am pretty sure though that you will not be able to record a decent night sky with this camera. Still, nature and underwater is also impressive.

    Honestly, if you can carry it: A tripod. Or maybe at least a monopod. Your videos will look much nicer in comparison if they are less shaky than if you chose the best possible recording quality.

    Other than that, I think you'll be fine for a few days. I wish you a nice trip, you lucky guy!
     
  21. cgbier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    #21
    Sorry to be late in the party. Vegas is Windows only. I haven't used it for years, but it is a pretty capable editor (at least the more expensive, "Pro" version). Has been pretty crashy though (and still seems to be).

    Neither MP4, nor AVCHD are anything you want to edit with. If it is only for transfer to a different device, I'd go with MP4. Get bigger cards than the 4 and 8GB. SD cards are dirt cheap nowadays, so I'd get a bunch of 32GB.

    The 2GB limit comes from the archaic file system the cards use. The 29 minutes stem from EU import duties (with less than 30 minutes recording time, a camera is considered a still cam and costs less to import).

    Stuttgart? I lived there in the eighties for a couple of months. Do they still roll up the board walks at 9pm?

    Hawaii? Nice, but if you really want to enjoy island life, check Micronesia. There's no surfing here though, but it is much cheaper, and not as cold as Hawaii.
     
  22. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #22
    It was this event, it was called "Response" and it was in 2010 actually, the preparation began in 2009 though.
    Seems I am one year less older than I thought.

    Thanks. That is good to hear, though I am still uncomfortable with compliments.
    And those photos are at least two years old, and I haven't shot any good new material in the past two years, my muse has left me, even literally.

    The wonder of tapeless ingestion. While it offers so much more information (HD, metadata, ...) it is sometimes a crux to import it, especially with compressed footage.
    The last before last project I worked at was shot in ProRes 422 on an Alexa, and the import was really smooth and fast, even as the material was transcoded to DNxHD (Avid Media Composer).
    The last project was only 50 GB of H.264 encoded footage, but it took a whole night to transcode the footage to ProRes 422 and then again some hours to DNxHD (used 5DtoRGB* for better colours and more dynamic and it has no DNxHD option).

    In order to find out, why that video, the .mov file, is only that big, you can use the following applications (or just QuickTime Player > CMD+I) to find out, what codec is used, as I suspect, it is still H.264:
    When done, you can use the "Report" (VideoSpec) and "Export" (Media Inspector) button to export a report,
    attachable to your next post via the [​IMG] button.
    In MediaInfo you have to go to the Menu Bar, select View > Text and copy the text via CMD+A > CMD+C and paste it via CMD+V into your next post.

    Maybe this can help too:
    Transcoding .MTS files (AVCHD footage) to an editable format (.MOV)


    When I was there in 2009 and 2010 it looked like 7pm, but since I have been there only for a couple of a couple of days, I probably haven't seen where the party was going on. Leonhardtstraße is still going strong though.
     

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