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My family has used a Sony Cyber-Shot camera for several years. A few months ago, we replaced it with a newer model Cyber-Shot. To our dismay, however, the videos the camera records are not in the old familiar ".mov" format, but rather are in some strange ".mts" format that does not open when we double it.

Is there a way to enable iMovie, iPhoto, QuickTime, etc., to play said video files (and copy them from the camera automatically, as happened with my previous Cyber-Shot?

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Though Quicktime does not (and I couldn't find a codec plugin to support it), VLC apparently plays AVCHD video files (.mts). There is also a way to use VLC to transcode any video it can play to another format.

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I use ClipWrap to rewrap the .mts file. then it can play without any problem.

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As of iPhoto 9.3, iPhoto now supports AVCHD. So the officially sanctioned way to add such support for iPhoto now seems to be to install version 9.3.

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There's a QuickTime plugin from Panasonic:

AVCCAM Importer

QuickTime Plug-in component

The AVCCAM Importer QuickTime plug-in component is to enable direct editing of AVCHD ".mts" file (*1) without conversion. AVCHD clips recorded on a Panasonic AVCCAM lineup product can be handled directly in QuickTime Player and Final Cut Pro.

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The answer to your question is no, there is no way to get iMovie, iPhoto or Quicktime to recognize the .mts format. However, you can import the video files and then convert them into something the iLife apps will recognize. (.mov, mp4 etc.)

I use Handbrake for this. It is free, and you can queue up videos if you have a lot letting it convert away in the background.

This is a blog post about converting .mts videos using Handbrake:

You can queue up a bunch of files and choose a format to convert them too. I found converting to the preset Apple TV settings works pretty well for importing into iMovie.

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PlayMemories Home is the free Sony software that let save your clips as .mts and .mp4 formats. It is easy and friendly to use. That way you can upload the clips directly to Youtube or edit them with Adobe Premiere PRO.

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Spent the weekend importing years of .mts Sony cam footage into iPhoto/iCloud. Here are my conclusions:

Good Free: ‎AVCHD to Mov Lite on the Mac App Store

  • recommended across the internet
  • VERY dated interface, hasn't been updated in years
  • default rewrap standardizes framerate to 60fps. Couldn't figure out how to change
  • Rewrap with passthrough of both video/audio wouldn't run/error. Default rewrap will passthrough video and convert audio to AAC.

Better Paid: EditReady 2

  • free trial allows rewrap/conversion of the first minute of video
  • custom settings allow you to passthrough both video/audio. Zero conversion, will be the original file in Apple friendly container

Best and Future - HEVC (macOS included software)

  • Right Click file ⇨ Encode Selected Video Files (macOS 11.x) ⇨ select your settings
  • file is 1/2 to 1/3 the size. Absolutely insane, and I didn't notice any artifacting or degradation
  • HDR, 10bit color support, essentially where media is going. This will future-proof the videos for some time to come

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-1

VLC player plays all video from modern camcorders.

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