I'm totally unaware about Macs and video editing. I have an iMac and a Sony camera that produces .mt2s files. I've heard that the Mac is the best for graphic and video editing, so I was wondering how should I work with this file format on a Mac?


3 Answers 3


AVCHD is not an editing codec but an acquisition codec, which means that in order to be able to edit the footage, it will need to be converted/transcoded into a more suitable format.

Another bottleneck is that most AVCHD camcorders, record interlaced video, which is not suitable for computer/web use but only for televisions. Which means that if you plan to use your resulting video in computer screens, you'll need to de-interlace the video (preferably prior importing to editing software, but after the initial transcode). Canon released some camcorders which record in 1080p (progressive - no need for de-interlacing) format, but I don't think a lot of models support this function yet.

There are various workflows for these tasks, which they depend upon the available software you have.

My personal workflow from my 1080i60 Sony videos (already copied to hdd) to Final Cut is:

  • Rewrap the AVCHD videos to a Quicktime compatible format using ClipWrap ($49). This process is really fast, because it won't alter the video files, just replace their container/headers.
  • De-interlace the videos and transcode them to an editing codec (Apple Pro Res) using Jes Deinterlacer (free)
  • Import them to FinalCut

For sure they will be other ways also to reach to the same result, but in order to help you more, please let us know of what software are you planning to use for editing your videos (I suppose iMovie will be your best choice).

  • Thanks.Before I start I have a Sony HDR-CX6EK that produces Avchd 1080i videos.If I understand correctly so I would need to convert (for editing purpose)my .mt2s files to another format in both windows and mac environment?then I would need to de-interlace them (both windows and mac)? if this is correct how much time this workflow will take? and am I losing quality? whenever I decide to take them back to .mt2s i need to do the inverse? (interlace and convert back to avchd).
    – luca
    Jun 3, 2011 at 11:06
  • @luca, nuc's answer is quite technical and require deeper studying. if you're not willing to google yourself in hours of reading, you should probably try Drew's answer first and see if that works out as it's much simpler - and I'd say much more automatic too, if it works! :P Though it's obviously more limited as well, it should be enough.
    – cregox
    Jun 3, 2011 at 14:28
  • Anyway, you shouldn't "take them back" to .mt2s, it's not the best format to backup videos. Instead, use either mpeg or webm, good well spread default standards. And you got the original as well, if you really want to save 'em for any obscure reason. You're not losing quality and this workflow can take about 10 minutes to a few hours or days depending on the length of the video, the machine, experience and tools. I'd say not much more than 2 hours in ideal conditions but still depending on the length of the video and machine.
    – cregox
    Jun 3, 2011 at 14:32
  • @luca The first conversion is almost instant. The de-interlacing though takes quite some time, based on the length of the video and on the power of your machine. iMovie can import the video directly from your camera, transcoding and deinterlacing it but the result is not so great. But this depends on your expectations for the final video. It might worth checking this out, as you might be ok with it. But if quality is really that important to you, then you'll have to take the hard path. I'm thinking about writing a blog post, to describe the workflow in full detail, so I'll let you know :)
    – nuc
    Jun 4, 2011 at 18:16
  • @luca p.s. whatever you decide, is really important to keep separate copies of the original mt2s files. First reason is that you can easily playback them on your tv using a WD TV Live or a similar player. But more importantly, you'll always have the original source files for whatever need.
    – nuc
    Jun 4, 2011 at 18:20

Sony codes their recording in their own format, hence the .mt2s, and they want you to use a Sony Laptop to edit the footage. Anyways, there is a Mac app called, MPEG Stream Clip, that converts the footage to any format you want at any frames/second you want. You can download it for free from Squared 5, http://www.squared5.com/svideo/mpeg-streamclip-mac.html.

It is a great piece of free software.

As for video editing software you can use Apple's iMoive (for the amateur) or purchase Apple's Final Cut Pro (wait until July, they are releasing a new version).

  • This is how all the people working with professional video editing do? do they convert the .mt2s to another format?wich format?is it then convenient to use mac for video editing?thanks
    – luca
    Jun 2, 2011 at 22:53
  • 1
    @luca pros use Final Cut Pro or Adobe. That's all. By the way, great answer, Drew!
    – cregox
    Jun 3, 2011 at 14:20
  • @luca One of my friends is a serious film editor, and he films with a professional grade Sony HD Camera (not sure the model) that shoots 1080, but when he uses MPEG Stream Clip he converts it to just a regular .mov file. Every editor can read that. He does it at the highest quality file though. (Obviously it's HD)
    – dhjolesch
    Jun 3, 2011 at 15:37
  • I'm not sure how this is possible, since MPEG StreamClip open file window, is not accepting m2ts files cl.ly/7KQR If there is a way to open them, I would love to know!
    – nuc
    Jun 4, 2011 at 18:29
  • @nuc if this doesn't work, the answer loses half its value! :o
    – cregox
    Jun 4, 2011 at 19:38

I've done some semi-pro video editing (summer camps, bar mitzvahs, weddings) on both PC and Mac. (I'm currently a Mac user and app developer.) Mac OS X seems to have a smoother user experience, but that has nothing to do with video editing per sè.

I've never heard of m2ts files before but a quick look at the links shown by others here (or Google) seems to indicate that it is an HD file format. To handle the video files, your best bet is to try a professional grade tool, such as Adobe Premier (Mac or PC), or Apple's Final Cut Studio. These programs may support editing the files uncompressed (although you'd better have some solid hardware for decoding HD video in realtime). Even if they don't, they might support conversion to another filetype.

If you don't want to pay for a professional tool, and are not interested in trying the demo (at least for premiere, I don't know if Final Cut has a demo), then you can try a third part program, like handbrake. (I haven't had luck with handbrake, but it's been highly recommended to me by others.)Mac OS X comes with the excellent iMovie. It's not professional grade, but definitely worth a look. I don't know if iMovie can work with m2ts files though.

Regardless of what you choose, I strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with a video editing program. Pick a tool and explore it thoroughly. Trust me, you'll enjoy video editing that much more when you've picked your toolset and can command it.

Good luck!

  • I downvoted this for several reasons, but mainly because it's such a big text that ultimately addresses almost nothing from the question or problem and adds no personal experience whatsoever. It's too vague and other than citing few good programs it's all of no use, from my point of view.
    – cregox
    Jun 4, 2011 at 20:13

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