Lightroom: Support the AVCHD video format

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LR surprise everyone with support for video in LR 3, but it does not support the AVCHD video format.

Why not?
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Photographe

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Posted 8 years ago

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Rob Cole

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Until Adobe does support AVCHD video, why not use the solutions that are available today?

There's tons of info on the *other* forum about it, but a quick recap:

Option 1:
- Copy mts files to wherever (via plugin or manually...)
- Use plugin to display / launch in Lightroom (AnyFile or JF's video plugin)

Option 2:
- Re-wrap mts files in a video container that *is* supported by Lightroom.

PS - I was going to add a plugin option to re-wrap mts files into a supported container file format and import automatically, but I never got enough info from AVCHD proponents.

PPS - Video support was no surprise to me ;-}

Reminder:
-------------
It may be another year or more before Lr4 is out - do you really want to wait that long?

Summary:
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I'm *sure* (I dont know) Lr4 will support AVCHD, but until then...

Rob
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Photographe

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I had posted this as a question rather than a FR because I was hoping to find out Adobe's thinking. It was changed to a FR, but I'm still hoping Adobe would weigh in. It is a critical issue for me.

(PS: I'm not sure that Option 1 works because of the way Premiere Pro--my editing app--handles metadata. The option I've adopted is to cut LR out of the loop. I just use other tools.)
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Rob Cole

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What about option 2?

PS - Adobe considered AVCHD (Adobe employees did chime in on the forum *after* Lr3 was released) but it didn't make the cut for Lr3. My guess: Lr4. But Adobe *never* reveals plans for future versions, so...
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Photographe

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I looked into option 2 for a while. I understand some people use Mediacoder to change mts to mp4, but that leads to audio problems, which they then use Audacity to solve. I have no idea what Mediacoder is, and wouldn't want to do this unless there was an app that I fully trusted.
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Rob Cole

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There's a bunch of programs that can convert an mts to mp4, surely they dont all have audio problems, eh?
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Photographe

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I don't know what problems the conversion programs may have.
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Rob Cole

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I'm sure if you do a little research you can find something that works. If you do (or anyone else does), then please let me know. If its easy enough to do it via a simple command line, then I'll automate it via plugin, as an option for the brave...

Lee Jay: You got audio issues using MediaCoder?
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Lee Jay

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I did direct stream copy. No data was changed at all.
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Rob Cole

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Photographe - Lee Jay had NO problems with audio. Why don't you give it a try? I mean, if it looks good, sounds good, loads into your editor, supports metadata, and plays in your player, then there's no problems. Sure - archive the original, why not? The mp4 vs. mts "envelope" is really just a way to house the video & audio streams, plus metadata. Nothing is being re-encoded... There's no real downside of giving it a shot, and you may have what you want, and be able to wait far more patiently & happily for official Adobe support.
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Rob Cole

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Lee Jay - I tried stream copy of video *and* audio but Lightroom did not like the ac3 audio that was in it, or something (transcode audio to aac and all is well). Is your audio in a different format? or am I doing something wrong? I tried media-coder (gui) & ffmbc (command line) - same problem. Dunno where the mts file I was testing with came from.

b.t.w. wmp12 can't play the mp4 with ac3, but vlc can.
(wmp12 *can* play the mts with ac3 though - go figure)

I'm guessing Adobe is using wmp guts for video support on Windows, eh?
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Photographe

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Here is what Julie said: "we're using native OS libraries (i.e. QuickTime) to create the thumbnails in grid and to play them. QuickTime doesn't support .MTS files, and coverage on various Windows versions was spotty."

It's not spotty on Windows 7, AFAICT. Maybe they didn't want to support Windows 7 when so many people are still using older versions.
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Rob Cole

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Maybe "spotty" means not supported on XP(?) (dunno 'bout vista).
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Julie Kmoch, Sr. Development Manager

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The main problem we ran into with AVCHD is that we're using native OS libraries (i.e. QuickTime) to create the thumbnails in grid and to play them. QuickTime doesn't support .MTS files, and coverage on various Windows versions was spotty. We definitely hear you on the feature request.
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Rob Cole

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Any thoughts from Adobe on translating .MTS to .MP4 instead of trying to keep them in original containers? My (rather limited) experience indicates the folders & mts format is more nuisance than desirable for the users even if Lightroom could handle it without translation.
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Photographe

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A question for Julie and other experts: does Lightroom support the video from Nikon D7000, which is H.264 compression stored in .MOV file?

Rob: I googled Mediacoder. At least half a dozen different programs using that same name came up. One site triggered a security warning from my firm's server. I really don't want to play where is Waldo, and typically I do not install software I don't trust. In Adobe I trust.
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Rob Cole

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The software is open-source, and you can download a binary from CNET - should be safe: http://download.cnet.com/MediaCoder/3... - this is for Windows (are you on Mac?)
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Photographe

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Right now I'm considering a Nikon D7000, which wraps H.264 compressed video in .MOV file. Is that supported?

Did you try downloading mediacoder from that cnet page? It sends you here to the "publisher's pages": http://mediacoder-sourceforge.net/.

Anyhow, I really am not interested in hacking my way around. I am editing mts files just fine right now without LR in the workflow. Sure, video support happened to be one of the main factors that swayed me in favor of upgrading from LR 2--I would have been happy editing my photos in Photoshop/Bridge CS5 and only sending the output to LR 2 to organize--but Julie Kmoch explained pretty clearly that Adobe just didn't have time to support .mts files in LR3 because of OS issues. Oddly, Bridge CS5 displays thumbnails of mts files just fine on Windows 7.

The bar is higher for LR 4. For LR 4 to convince me, it has to do more than support mts--for which I have devised a workflow that doesn't include LR--it has to support all files that might be used in a video including audio. I have another feature request on that and we'll see what happens.
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Rob Cole

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I get it. You'd *like* to have your AVCHD videos imported along with your photos in Lightroom. But the problem is manageable without re-wrapping or plugin automation in the interim. - One version at a time I guess...
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Photographe

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I'm trying to find out whether Lightroom supports videos out of the Nikon D7000; should I start a different question thread for that?
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Rob Cole

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Lightroom supports .mov file format and h.264 streams, so it probably supports D7000 video, but I don't know for sure. But good idea to find out for sure before buying one... I couldn't find it straight-away in the product info - I'd definitely start a different question thread if I were you...
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Photographe

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Thank you.
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Photographe

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I just tried a full-fledged digital asset management program called IDimager. It has full support for all video formats. When I pointed it to the main folder where my AVCHD folders reside, in no time at all it had gone through all subfolders, found the .mts files, created a thumbnail for each one and added them to the catalogue, sorted by date and ready for meta-coding. I can't tell you how satisfying that is. Next, I will test for inter-operability with Premiere Pro CS5, but just having all of the files in one space is a great boon to productivity. A 30-day trial is found at www.idimager.com, and I definitely won't commit until I've tested it thoroughly. Any indication from Adobe on future support for AVCHD and other media files would also be helpful.
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Steve-O

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For my most favorite program, Adobe Lightroom, I would really appreciate AVCHD video support in a forthcoming update.

AVCHD info: www.avchd-info.org/format/index.html

OK, video isn’t really my main thing so this is by no means a deal breaker, but once you get used to having all of your camera output in one workspace inside of Lightroom, it becomes really difficult to go without! (Browse for files in an Explorer window? Oh no!)

Any and all feedback, comments, or possible workarounds would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lr Feature Request: AVCHD video support.
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Rob Cole

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This thread already mostly covers the ideas I've had, namely:
- "re-envelope" mts files to supported format, or
- use John Ellis' AnyFile, or
- use Jeffrey Friedl's video plugin
Some people are using 'RC Importer' just to get the mts files from the card into Lightroom, in conjunction with the above, but you can also just drag-n-drop...
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Photographe

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I tried Friedl's video plugin. It's a valiant effort at fixing this problem. What it does is create a jpg image from the video file and then adds that jpg to the catalogue. I never use it. Why, you might ask? This is neat trick, and kudos to Jeffrey for doing it, but it really is not a DAM solution....I can't add metadata to the video file, can't search for it by file type or metadata, can't move the file, and so on, because the video file itself is not in the catalogue.
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Rob Cole

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Thanks for reporting back to us Photographe. But, can't you just do all those things to the jpg instead? And then when AVCHD video support is finally added, use JB's Syncomatic or something to transfer the metadata from jpg to the video.

Anyway, assuming that's no good, I guess to accomplish your goal you'd have to use the "re-envelope" solution, eh?

I toyed with plugin support to automate the re-envelop solution, but was never able to finish the job - still, a drag-n-drop batch file could do it, no?
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Photographe

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Unfortunately the answer is probably "no" for a number of reasons (depending on what you're trying to accomplish).

First, other programs, such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Bridge, don't recognize the jpgs as proxies for video files. So if your goal is to catalogue video files NOW to help you edit them in Premiere, this is a nonstarter.

Second, this doesn't help you find video files since LR thinks they're JPGs. To search for them, you have to search for JPGs. If you can keep that straight day in and day out, ok.

Third, what about the folder structure? Unless you collapse that, the videos will still be separate from your photos, and will have a different naming convention (i.e. no naming convention).

Fourth, if you recall from previous discussions, one of the problems with at least some AVCHD implementations is that the camera does not produce unique file names. This does not help with that problem. Also, the identical file names could confuse Syncomatic (or at least require some thought to get around).

If your only goal is to be able to browse to the files in LR, yeah you can do that, and then you can play them by navigating to some menu item hidden in the plugin menu if I remember correctly. But Bridge can also do that probably more easily.

In short I really didn't find it helpful for me. For a while, I thought of moving over to IDimager, which is a very powerful DAM package. But in the end the solution I chose might surprise you. I got rid of the camera and got one that used a more user-friendly video format.

The re-envelope solution probably works to an extent. You still have the issue of collapsing the folder structure and renaming and copying to the right folder, and I have no idea whether Premiere Pro will like it or not (Premiere Pro will not add metadata if it thinks the file is messed up, even though it might play and edit it.)
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Rob Cole

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Thanks Photographe - much clearer. I think if I had AVCHD, I'd import them along with my photos using 'RC Importer', which I use anyway. In that case, the folders would go bye-bye and they would receive the same filename treatment as my photos. Then re-envelope them for standard video handling in Lightroom. Although I think I like your solution better (get a new camera ;-}

From what I can tell, there is absolutely no reason not to extract the mts files from their folders. The folders seem to me like excess baggage tagging along because AVCHD is derived from BluRay. I could easily be wrong about this, but from what I know...

In which case, maybe that's what Adobe should do to support AVCHD - discard the folders and rename the files like photos, then re-envelope on-the-fly instead of copying. Any reason that wouldn't work? That would solve a lot of problems, for Adobe *and* their users, but would it create any?

- Cheers, Rob.
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Photographe

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"From what I can tell, there is absolutely no reason not to extract the mts files from their folders."

I wouldn't be so sure about that. At the beginning I used to do just that with the lowly Adobe Bridge program, which (unlike LR) is able to import and rename .mts files. Then I noticed that Adobe Premiere Pro did not take too kindly to these imported and renamed files. Apparently, unless the files exist in the original folder structure and with their *original file names*, Premiere Pro will not create an xmp file for them. Which is kind of annoying for a Premiere Pro user. There may be other side effects, too. There are programs out there that try to recreate the folder structure for you. Re-enveloping might solve this issue, but my day only has 24 hours in it. And for every issue solved another one or two are created.
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Rob Cole

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Right. mts files look broken when sans folders, but if re-enveloped as mp4 they would look normal. So the question would be: is there any stuff in those folders that's worth saving. From the little bit of experience I have with it, the answer is "no", and if there was anything, perhaps it could be carried over to the new envelope.

It actually seems like Adobe may be doing their users a favor by leaving the AVCHD baggage behind (rather than trying to implement support for original mts files in original folder structure).

I don't know enough to be sure about this, but so far nobody has come along and said "that would be a bad idea...".

I mean AVCHD is kinda like DVD. If I had camera that shot:
AUDIO_TS
VIDEO_TS
-- asdf_1.VOB
-- asdf_2.VOB
(basically, mpeg2 video in vob files in funny folders...)

I'd be grateful if Lightroom re-wrapped the videos in standard mpeg containers upon import.

-R
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Photographe

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They should add that to the list of features:

New: Does not support AVCHD!

:)
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Rob Cole

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Well, I guess you don't care too much since you traded in your AVCHD camera, but I think it would be good for users to voice their opinions about whether it would be better to support AVCHD with folders intact or re-envelope. The former is what Adobe was stumbling upon prior to Lr3 release, the latter would be straight forward for them to do (and could be done manually or by a plugin in the meantime), and might be a better solution anyway(?)
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Photographe

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I got rid of the camera because the support in the Adobe family of products--Lightroom, Bridge, and Premiere Pro--is not adequate. If I could have gotten rid of the software products instead, I would have, but you have to be pragmatic.
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Steve-O

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Hey Rob and Photographe, thanks for the feedback!

It seems that AVCHD is truly a pain in the neck video format, so I've changed my camera settings to capture in MPEG-4 (.mov) - problem solved. ;-D

Best regards,

Steve-O
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Rob Cole

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I don't know how many camera models support the option to not shoot AVCHD in the first place, but that sounds like the best solution when available. Are there *any* advantages to AVCHD over mpeg-4/mov...?, or only disadvantages......(?)

I mean, perhaps people should be pressuring camera manufacturers to *not* use AVCHD, instead of (or along with) pressuring Adobe to support AVCHD.
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Steve-O

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Good point Rob!

Fortunately my new Lumix LX5 does offers MPEG-4 in addition to that wacky AVCHD format. The RAW images by the way are not shabby at all for a compact camera in this class. Now that AVCHD is out of the picture, integration with Lr is once again right on!
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Rob Cole

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I have the feeling AVCHD shooters have no idea whether the folders have anything of value in them, or whether they'd rather them be mp4 once they come out of the camera. I've posed this question before but I don't remember whether there is a good answer.

The reason I ask is two-fold:

1. It might save Adobe some effort to implement support by rename & re-wrap, *and* be better for the users too.
2. Users may be able to take advantage of a workflow now that would be easily migrated if Adobe adopted the same approach in Lr4.

But, hey - I don't shoot AVCHD, so I don't know why I can't seem to just stay out of this... ;-}

Summary:
========
Lightroom, Bridge, and Premiere Pro have adequate support for mp4, so why not rename & rewrap AVCHD to mp4, and be done with it.
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Rob Cole

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I just enhanced RC Importer to support AVCHD video.
(re-wraps mts -> mp4)
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Photographe

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Rob--that's great. If I shoot AVCHD in the future I would definitely use it.
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Rob Cole

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I just added support for importing AVCHD videos on Mac (initially supported on Windows only). Audio is fine too from best I can tell.
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ben peng

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Lightroom needs to support AVCHD files. HD is the trend for digital camera's, and lightroom's organizational abilities could be put to great use by supporting this current format. camcorders/ dslrs/ etc. thanks

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom: AVCHD file support requested.
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Jim Voita

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Why is it supported in Elements 10 and not in lightroom
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Rob Cole

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Lr4 supports AVCHD.

UPDATE: I see you are having a problem with sound. Dunno 'bout that part. 'RC Importer' will often import AVCHD without sound problems - not recommended if Lr4 native support is working satisfactorily, but otherwise may get you through 'til next dot release fixes it.

I'm sure other video-savvy people know more about this, and there may be a better solution/work-around today/right-now.

Rob
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Jim Voita

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There is no sound and I think I have made all the proper settings.
It works in Elements 10
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Rob Cole

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There is another thread about AVCHD sound issues - have you read it? (I haven't read it, and don't know where it is, I just remember seeing it).