What does it look like when you import it into AE?
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Your computer specs may be to blame. Mts, being so new, didn't play well until I was on W7, with some computing power.
VLC doesn't like .mts files on my computer. But Windows
Media Player plays them perfectly, however I'm running W7 and the latest WMP.
I've found only WMP can really play them well. Anything lossless and the file will be too big to play well on VLC.
Converting down to mp4, etc. will allow you to see watch them, though at the quality cost. But AE and PPro CS5 handle them very well natively, as well as the lossless converts, for editing. The 1080 Youtube videos you are watching are probably all mp4s. And that would be one of the better formats if you plan to upload to the web anyway.
Thanks for all the replies.
Unfortunately im running XP which only has WMP 11, which doesnt support mts files.
However I tried converting it to a mp4 file and it now works perfectly on AE.