My family has a ton of photos, we all have digital cameras and are pretty liberal with their use. Most of our family videos are on DV tapes or even dreaded VHS… I should have them all converted over already but I have been slacking on that job. Recently my father purchased a high resolution video camera (Cannon HF100) which does 1080P video quite fantastically. However the camera creates its files in some format that was up until recently not able to be read by major media players like VLC and Totem.
The files are .mts which are also known as AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec High Definition) files. These are high-definition MPEG transport stream video used by Sony, Panasonic, Cannon and other HD camcorder manufactures. .mts is based on the MPEG-2 transport steam and supports 720p and 1080p video formats.
My family wanted to be able to view our files on our media center, which is currently running ubuntu and sometimes Boxee. I wanted to choose an open standard that would ensure the highest quality and best transportability for these files because we really only want to convert them once. For this I wanted to go ahead with the Matroska video container becuase it seems to be on the rise in popularity while it supports great compression using MPEG and x264, most players natively support it and many hardware based players are adding support for it every day.
Its Business Time:
I have seen some great ways to go about tackling this issue, most notably the post on fsckin w/ linux which is referenced below. I wanted to use a tool to do this rather than a script because I didn’t want to remove the power from other members of my family in choosing to encode their video’s with whatever settings they chose. I ended up deciding to use Handbrake because it has a great UI in windows and linux and has a bunch of wonderful features for encoding video.
With Handbrake you can set up ‘presets’ which is perfect since I need to create one that my family can always default to. Here is the information about the preset that worked best for me:
Video: MPEG-4 (FFMPEG), Quality 97%, Constant Rate Factor
Audio Codec: AC3 (Pass-thru)
This is going to expand the files from their compressed format. Most of my videos are roughly 4 times larger than the original .mts files, but they are now in an open format where you may do as you wish with them. This process is very resource intensive, on my machine (Quad core Q6600 with 8GB of ram) it takes a little while for each video, it would take much longer if you were actually doing a compression.
Please let me know if you get any better results using different settings! I tried using x264 but the quality was absolutely terrible compared to MPEG.
Trans coding MTS/M2TS AVCHD Video Into AVI Files with Free Software (fsckin w/ linux)
AVCHD .m2ts conversion for Linux (AV Science Forum)