How To Archive AVCHD Video

If you have purchased a new video camera recently that records to a hard drive or SD card, it probably is recording AVCHD. This is a standard video format that was created for consumer high definition video cameras.

The problem, is that the raw files, designated by the “.MTS” extension, cannot be played by the most popular video players (strike one). So, you have to capture it, which takes a long time (strike two), and takes up about twice the hard drive space (strike three). I hate throwing any video away, as every clip has historical significance that may, someday, mean something to someone.

Here’s what I do:

I make an image (.dmg) of the capture drive (camera or SD card) and store it on an external hard drive. This saves on hard drive space, as I am keeping the smallest and highest quality video file, the original. I mount the image and use VLC to view the “.MTS” files, and if I want to use one to create a DVD, I either use Handbrake to convert the file to an .mp4 using the Regular > Normal preset, or I just capture it into the application from the disk image.

Notes:

  1. The external hard drive can’t be formatted FAT32 if you want to store disk images larger than 4 GB.
  2. It is good to store your video files on multiple hard drives.  I recommend a Western Digital Mirror Edition external hard drive. It writes to two hard drives simultaneously, so you don’t have to keep swapping hard drives.

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