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Thread: Could somebody please give this novice a little advice?

  1. #1
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    Default Could somebody please give this novice a little advice?

    I recently bought a Panasonic AG-HMC41E camcorder. I have a Mac mini for editing, with a 1.83ghz processor, and I'm running iMovie for editing.

    The first problem I encountered was that iMovie doesn't recognise .MTS files, so I got around that by purchasing iSkySoft Video converter.

    The problem I have now, is the quality of my video files, and I don't know where the problem lies. I have thought of three potential problems, and Id really appreciate some advice from some people with experience?

    The quality is fine in images with no movement, but whenever there is any movement at all (be that via zoom, panning or the subjects own movement) I see pixelation on the edges of the image that is moving. I am shooting in good light, and on a tripod incidentally.

    I am thinking it could be either:

    a) The video card in my Mac is not good enough to play back the video
    b) I have the camera set up wrongly, or it has a fault
    c) iSkySoft is converting the files badly

    Can anyone offer any advice, as I am getting pretty frustrated?

    This is the best I have got out of it so far: and I did this by uploading the .MTS file directly to YouTube.

    Thanks a million in advance for any help.

    Best,

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeTV; 03-07-2010 at 10:11 AM.

  2. #2

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    Hi Mike I can't help you with your set up as I'm not familiar with any of your software or Mac etc.

    I tried to play a .mts file in Windows Media player once and it wouldn't play so I changed the .mts to .mpg and it played. This would be an interesting experiment and if it worked would solve all your problems.

    If this does not work for you I would guess that your answer would probably be a settings issue with your conversion software but like I said I'm not familiar at all with it.

    Those people who can help you will need more information such as what are your camera settings 720p, 10801 etc. and what settings you have with the iskysoft converter.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post

    I tried to play a .mts file in Windows Media player once and it wouldn't play so I changed the .mts to .mpg and it played. This would be an interesting experiment and if it worked would solve all your problems.
    Thanks very much for taking the time to reply mate. I just tried changing the file to a .mpeg, and the icon changed to a Quicktime movie which got my heart racing ... sadly it didn't open still, nor did it import into iMovie. Thanks for the thought though, I am willing to try anything!

  4. #4
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    As suggested by Midnight Blue, I am putting down a little more information, in the hope that somebody is willing and able to help me. Please help! It's a beautiful day outside and I want to be shooting vide, not messing about with files in doors

    I am shooting in PH1080 50i mode on the Panasonic AG-HMC41E and the .MTS files that it produces, are not recognised on my Mac.

    So, I am using iSkySoft Video Converter to convert the .MTS files into files that my iMovie software recognises and I am using the following settings:

    Resolution: 1280*720 (other options are 320*240, 640*480, 720*480)

    Frame rate: Keep original frame rate (other options are 24fps, 30fps)

    Sample rate: 4800 Hz (other options are 22050, 3200, 44100)

    Channels: 2 Channels stereo (no other options)

    Bitrate: 96 kbps (other options 64, 128, 160)

    Encoder: AAC Audio (MC) - (no other options)

    I am asking it to convert the files to MP4 AVC(*.mp4) files but there are about 100 options, all sub-filed under headings such as Common Video, Common Audio, iPod, iPhone, Apple TV, PSP, PS3 etc etc

    Anyone able to help me out?

    Thanks again in advance.

    Mike
    Last edited by MikeTV; 03-07-2010 at 01:27 PM.

  5. #5
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    Hi Mike,

    The camcorder you've bought should be capable of outstanding images and the current mac minis are more than capable of dealing with HD.

    1280 x 720 sounds rather small for true HD. Your iskysoft (which I've never used) is downconverting your footage and you're losing a lot of definition. I understand that AVCCAM is panasonic's version of AVCHD which spits out at full HD or 1920 x 1080, much bigger than what iskysoft is offering!

    If AVCCAM is an AVCHD compatible format (and I think it is) then imovie 9 should be able to import it directly. I would suggest that you go onto the apple site and make sure that you have ALL the latest updates. Very important that bit.

    Then configure your imovie ... Go to: imovie > preferences > settings > video and make sure that the video standard is Pal- 25fps and Import HD video as "Full - Original size".

    I hardly use imovie, so I can't help too much. However, it would be worth investing a bit more in a decent edit software, Final Cut Express is superb and designed for Macs.

    Edit: I assume that you're transferring the footage to your mac by connecting the camcorder to the mini, not by using a card reader. I personally recommend the direct camera-computer method, I've had a few problems myself when taking the files off an SD card with a card reader.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 03-07-2010 at 02:27 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gaffer View Post
    Hi Mike,

    The camcorder you've bought should be capable of outstanding images and the current mac minis are more than capable of dealing with HD.

    1280 x 720 sounds rather small for true HD. Your iskysoft (which I've never used) is downconverting your footage and you're losing a lot of definition. I understand that AVCCAM is panasonic's version of AVCHD which spits out at full HD or 1920 x 1080, much bigger than what iskysoft is offering!

    If AVCCAM is an AVCHD compatible format (and I think it is) then imovie 9 should be able to import it directly. I would suggest that you go onto the apple site and make sure that you have ALL the latest updates. Very important that bit.

    Then configure your imovie ... Go to: imovie > preferences > settings > video and make sure that the video standard is Pal- 25fps and Import HD video as "Full - Original size".

    I hardly use imovie, so I can't help too much. However, it would be worth investing a bit more in a decent edit software, Final Cut Express is superb and designed for Macs.

    Edit: I assume that you're transferring the footage to your mac by connecting the camcorder to the mini, not by using a card reader. I personally recommend the direct camera-computer method, I've had a few problems myself when taking the files off an SD card with a card reader.
    Hi The Gaffer,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it.

    I am using a card reader actually, so I'll take your advice and buy a lead so I can import directly from the camera.

    I'll also go to the Apple store now, and see if I can get the latest updates for iMovie.

    One thing though. My iMovie was set at 29.97 fps ... is 25fps deffo the right setting?

    Thanks again for your help. I'll let you know how I get on.

    Best,

    Mike

  7. #7
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    If it's a UK camcorder then it's probably recording in 25fps so you should have the imovie set to the same frame rate as the camcorder, which in Europe is 25fps.

    You might not have to go to the apple store and hunt through the updates. First , open imovie then click imovie > check for updates and it'll do it for you. If it doesn't do it automatically then have a look at the Apple store.

    While you're at it you might want to click on the apple logo at the top right of the screen, then on Software Update.

    Let us know how you get on.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Gaffer View Post
    If it's a UK camcorder then it's probably recording in 25fps so you should have the imovie set to the same frame rate as the camcorder, which in Europe is 25fps.

    You might not have to go to the apple store and hunt through the updates. First , open imovie then click imovie > check for updates and it'll do it for you. If it doesn't do it automatically then have a look at the Apple store.

    While you're at it you might want to click on the apple logo at the top right of the screen, then on Software Update.

    Let us know how you get on.


    Thanks again mate, I really appreciate it.

    The only update it is offering me is iMovie 09 as a part of iLife at 71

    Final Cut Express 4 is nearer 200, and I am not sure I have enough RAM on my machine to support it.

    I think I'll buy a firewire cable (surprised the camcorder didn't come with it tbh), and try importing directly from the camera first. I have changed iMovie to 25fps, so hopefully that will help as well.

    If all that works, then happy days. If not, I'll have to think about other options.

    Either way, I really appreciate your help.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeTV View Post
    Thanks again mate, I really appreciate it.

    The only update it is offering me is iMovie 09 as a part of iLife at 71

    Final Cut Express 4 is nearer 200, and I am not sure I have enough RAM on my machine to support it.

    I think I'll buy a firewire cable (surprised the camcorder didn't come with it tbh), and try importing directly from the camera first. I have changed iMovie to 25fps, so hopefully that will help as well.

    If all that works, then happy days. If not, I'll have to think about other options.

    Either way, I really appreciate your help.

    Hi, I found a cable that was essentially an old Blackberry charger (I think) and it connected my camera to my Mac OK. It was a USB connection on one end.

    iMovie still wouldn't import the files, so with that in mind, is it still worth trying a fire wire cable or should I go straight to a newer software solution?

    Thanks in advance for your help!

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