Where do you store your HD video? Is there a way to compress .MOV files

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by desmotesta, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. desmotesta macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2012
    Hello all,

    I have recently moved from PC to a 17" MBP (early -2011).
    Although it was time for a new laptop, at least 50% of the "reasoning" behind buying something powerful was to be finally be able to edit HD Home/vacation videos.

    I have around 310 GB of AVCHD (home movies for the least 3-4 years), my MBP came with a 750 GB HDD which I thought was "plenty". I was WRONG.

    Yesterday I moved a 1 hour 13 minute AVCHD file (about 5.6 GB @ 12mps record rate, 30 fps) and once my MBP was done converting it to .mov I was left with a 54.6 GB MOV file.

    THAT is simply crazy.

    PLEASE tell me I am doing something wrong. At this rate I will only be able to process about 25% of my video library.
    Even if I choose to use an external HD, my current library will take 3 TB in MOV format.

    I am hoping some of the experts/veterans on this forum can help/guide me in the right direction.

    Historically (before acquiring the MBP) I was simply copying my AVCHD (.MTS files) onto 2 FAT 32 formatted HDDs which are connected to 2 PS3s.
    Both PS3s play AVCHD without any issues.

    I WAS hoping to edit movies using my MBP, but if that means I have to live with a file size 10X the original (i do understand/knew that .mts was a compressed file format) then at least 50% of the "reason" for buying the MBP is negated.

    I apologize for the long rant - Hope it made some sense.

    Looking forward to some feedback

    Thank you
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Depending on what application you use to edit video, the resulting file size is normal, as AVCHD is not meant for editing, and iMovie cannot edit AVCHD natively, only FCP X can do that (look for guides via www search engine, if you use FCP X).

    A small and simple guide to codecs and containers, if you want to understand why your transcoded (converted) video gets bigger in file size:
    Video Compression
    Why It Matters & How To Make The Most Of It

  3. dieselscout macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2011
    FCP X and Premiere can natively edit AVCHD files, however even in so doing, this codec does not hold up well to a lot of post processing of effects, color correction, etc. In the professional world we even transcode AVCHD to ProRes before editing for this reason. You may not find the need for this for editing home movies though.

    I would never recommend someone store and edit their movies on the same drive as your OS. It's best to store this media on External drives and edit from there leaving your OS drive alone. Filling up your OS drive with video editing can lead to an unstable OS, chunky or garbled video playback, and not leave enough free space for the OS to breath.
  4. desmotesta, Dec 5, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012

    desmotesta thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 17, 2012

    Thank you for your feedback.

    I know very little about both Premiere and FCP X, so I wil have to watch a lot of instructional/use videos and read some reviews before I know which one may work better for me.

    As far as proper "editing" goes I may do very little of that. I am not even an amateur, so for me patching different videos together and do some light work is called "editing".

    I do and always have 2 backups of ALL of our videos and pictures, neither of the backups are "always on/available", instead I do a quarterly backup of all pics/videos. The backup HDDs are always unplugged and only turned on when being used.

    One follow up question: Would it be easier/better if I start converting ALL of my AVCHD videos (90% of them no longer have metadata files-stupid of me to not research that fact before archiving) to MP4?

    I guess what I am trying to get to is given the information I am receiving regarding codec and different file formats, which ONE format works best with programs like FCP or Premier, Has smaller file size, has least loss when encoding and will remain more compatible for the next few years? (sorry about the loaded question)
  5. floh macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2011
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Well, for archiving purposes, it is best to keep the ORIGINAL data. The .mov files you are talking about are not the original data, but reencoded for better editing performance. That is not suitable for backup if you don't by accident have a huge pile of external drives lying around.

    The original data in your case would be the AVCHD files. But since you deleted the folder structure and only kept the .MTS files, I would recommend you to just change the container to .mp4 (which is kind of future proof) without reencoding anything. That way, you will keep the original stream without any quality loss, won't have to keep a huge amount of storage space, and will be able to import them into Adobe Premiere, FCPX and most other editing software. iMovie is great for beginners, but it will re-encode your footage on import into ProRes and will therefore take a bigger amount of disk space. For simple edits, you can probably use the original files. I am sure there are free editing programs out there that support native H.264 editing, but I have not tried any of them, so I won't make recommendations.

    To convert your .MTS files into .mp4, you can give this little tool a shot, which I programmed to only change the container. If it works (it might not, but I have hope), this will be almost as quick as copying the files, and it will not change the quality or file size. It is basically your best option to make a backup of your original streams.

    Good luck!


    Oh, I want to add some clearer answers:

    1. Your AVCHD files are encoded with an H.264 video codec. All AVCHD streams are.

    2. Yes, H.264 will give you the best quality for a given file size, and it is very future proof for now. It is not perfect for editing, but supported by more and more software.

    3. AVCHD has some nice feature, but they are all moot if you only kept the .MTS files. There is no reason to keep them in this strange container, so convert them to anything else (.mov or .mp4).

Share This Page