3 Replies Latest reply on Nov 27, 2013 7:05 AM by the_wine_snob

    Making MTS AVCHD Clips Small and Manageable for Computer Viewing


      I have dozens and dozens of folders full of MTS clips from my Canon HD camcorder. It's no problem joining these via Premiere Elements to make a Blu-Ray disc, but these huge, split files aren't realistically manageable or even usable for viewing on a computer. I needed to find a good way to merge these into combined files that were small enough to be played by Windows Media Player, VLC, etc.


      I was given multiple options for simply joining the files . . . but those options, aside from being either very imperfect or resulting in too-large files, were also more labor-intensive than I had the time for.I thought, and this thought was also recommended by others, that I should join the files in Premiere Elements and output them as joined MTS files, but this resulted in WAY too large files that couldn't be played on my computers. So I then used a converter on the files to turn them into MP4s. But for some reason, that conversion resulted in 60 frame per second videos when the source material was 30 fps, and some of them still choked my media players.


      Knowing this was to be a one-time event, thus worth it (to me) to redo it all, I experimented and found the optimal way to do this was to join and convert within Premiere Elements to high quality MP4s. Here's what worked very well for me:


      1. Open the project as AVCHD Full HD 1920 1080i 30

      2. Import the clips and ready them to burn (I grouped the scenes, but doubt it's necessary)

      3. Share tab: Export to computer as AVCHD, select MP4 1920 x 1080p 30


      I had wondered if going from interlaced input to progressive output would introduce artifacts, and was advised something along the lines of "probably." Actually, what happens is I have terrific looking output that doesn't choke Windows Media Player or VLC. These players handle even the largest of these files with ease.


      I now am able to drop all these videos into a Public Videos folder on my server, accessible and actually useable by everyone in the house. Incidentally, I use the naming converntion "YEAR-MONTH-DAY File Name," as in "2004-12-25 Smith Family Christmas, Johnson Dr, San Antonio TX." This causes all files to appear chronologically in folders.

        • 1. Re: Making MTS AVCHD Clips Small and Manageable for Computer Viewing
          the_wine_snob Level 9

          If your ONLY use for the joined output files is playing (no additional editing required), there are some streaming options, that you might want to look into:


          WMV (Windows-based) files, with a lowered Bit-Rate

          DivX (X-platform) files, with a lowered Bit-Rate

          AVCHD H.264 (X-platform) files, with a lowered Bit-Rate


          When outputting, the two determining factors for File Size are - Duration (fixed by the combined Duration of the Source Files) and Bit-Rate. As Bit-Rate goes down, so does quality. However, some CODEC's allow for lower Bit-Rate, with minimal quality loss. The ones above do a good job there - the Bit-Rate can be lowered, but visual quality stays pretty high. Finding the ultimate Bit-Rate for smaller File Sizes and adequate visual quality, is a balancing act - lower the Bit-Rate too much (smaller files), and the visual quality suffers. Improve visual quality, and the File Size goes up.


          It appears that you have found a balance, that is acceptable to you, if I read correctly. If so, well-done.


          Now, if you plan on re-editing the output files, at a later date, there are more considerations to be taken into account, and to maintain quality there, the File Sizes WILL be large.


          Good luck,



          • 2. Re: Making MTS AVCHD Clips Small and Manageable for Computer Viewing
            SKTGH87 Level 1

            Thanks Hunt, yes, I'm very happy with where I landed. I was also looking for maximum compatibility now and in the future, and felt, correctly or not, that MP4s would be recognized by multiple platforms as long as anything else.

            • 3. Re: Making MTS AVCHD Clips Small and Manageable for Computer Viewing
              the_wine_snob Level 9

              For compatibility, I think that the MP4's will be around for a very long time.


              Right now, it's extremely popular, and very useful. A newer CODEC, H.265, is on the way, but will probably take quiet a while, before it displaces MP4 in popularity. Even if MP4 falls back a bit, it will still be around.


              Good luck, and glad that you have found a good output - that "balancing act" can be tough, but you have mastered it.