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Still learning a little bit about converting formats, fps, etc.

I have a Sony A6000 and have the option to record in 1080 at 60fps. This is perfect for me because I absolutely love the smoothness of it. However, when I import it into my Macbook using PlayMemories Mobile, it imports the .MTS file (perfectly fine) and converts it into MP4. The problem is that the MP4 file looks pretty crappy compared to the original one. Very choppy, etc.

Is there any better way that I can handle this? How do other people record 1080 at 60fps and upload videos to YouTube? I'd like to be able to accomplish the same goal, but have no idea how to. I hope this all makes sense, although I'm sure I'm misunderstanding something here.

I'd love to maintain 60fps if possible during the conversion.

  • So this program that you use (Playmemories Mobile) converts your videos upon importing? Why do you use it then? Have you tried copying your video files directly from the camera to your macbook? – MoritzLost Apr 10 '15 at 10:18
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I agree with what @MoritzLost said. Better that you copy those video files directly.

Once you have these MTS files copied, there are a variety of options. I ran into this problem myself recently and found the two best options were rather simple (despite lots of complicated discussions online):

  1. Simply rename (or copy first and rename the copy) the video file from a .MTS extension to .MP4 extension.

    Sounds a bit stupid, but the video and audio are generally supported by lots of different programs. Problem is, the MTS container surrounding the video and audio streams us bit as well supported. Give this a try first, because it's the easiest thing to do with keeping the audio and video quality exactly as it is in the original file.

  2. The next best option I found was using ffmbc. You can find the website for it (which will eventually be unsupported or removed completely) at: https://code.google.com/p/ffmbc/ . There is also a Google Groups website for it at: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/ffmbc-discuss . For the Windows version, you'll find a download on the Groups website, while for Mac and Unix/Linux, you can download and build the code yourself (sorry, I can't help you with building on a Mac).

    After you have the program built, you can run the following command:
    ffmbc -fflags +genpts -i "FILENAME.MTS" -vcodec copy -acodec copy "FILENAME.mp4"

    Obviously, you'll need to make sure ffmbc is runable from the command line of whichever OS you are using...otherwise, you can use the full path to the ffmbc executable. And change "FILENAME" to be the name of whatever file you are using.

    **From my experience, you will find the resulting file to be smaller. For some reason, the MP4 container format is more efficient than the MTS container format. You could research the reasons behind this, if you're interested. Anyway, I have found that with a 6.1 GB file, repackaging an MTS file drops to about 5.7 GB. The time it took to repackage that particular file from MTS to MP4 was about 1m 30sec. So, even if you have incredibly large files, you are not looking as nearly the length of time that you would for re-encoding the video/audio.

  3. You could also try using ffmpeg, MP4Box, Libav, are a variety of other tools. The key here is that you do not need to re-encode the audio or video (unless you want/choose to). You simply want to change the container that "holds" the video and audio streams.

**Generally speaking, the AAC audio format is better supported and standard for MP4. So, you might want to copy the video stream but re-encode the audio if the application or media player you're using doesn't support AC3 (the default MTS audio format). Re-encoding the audio won't take much extra time, but will add time compared to simply repackaging the video/audio in a different container.

Also, if you need to change anything, such as framerate, resolution, audio bitrate, etc., then you'll need to re-encode the audio or video (or both). But, if you literally want the audio/video to be the same, the container change is your best choice and the fastest (with the exception of if renaming the extension MP4, if this works for your purposes).

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  • ffmpeg will be more current than ffmbc, and if you're not encoding to an exotic production codecs or containers, is generally unnecessary. – Gyan Dec 17 '15 at 7:30
  • What you are saying is only partially true. Yes, ffmpeg is more current. Regarding "exotic production codecs"...well, ffmbc also supports most/all of the same "non-exotic" codecs that ffmpeg does. Problem is the issue that was posted here on Stack Exchange a year ago, listed here: link. Basically ffmpeg changes from 29.97 fps to 59.94 fps. Unless you know a way around this, using ffmbc to maintain the correct fps of the original MTS video is better. – whatisit Dec 18 '15 at 10:05
  • As an additional point, if the @lewlsaucengravy uses ffmpeg and doesn't have a problem with with the fps changing, then ffmpeg is perfectly fine to use. I am hesitant to suggest it given my problem and others' with the fps changing when changing the container from MTS to MP4. – whatisit Dec 18 '15 at 10:14
  • That old question presents a complicated case. See the answer I just posted there. Note that the output I produced for a similar file - interlaced HDMV/AC-3 in MTS to MP4 with copying video stream - plays properly. And progressive H264 will mux fine. And all H264 streams will transcode correctly with ffmpeg. So, unless the OP needs to mux the current stream, my suggesrion stands. – Gyan Dec 18 '15 at 11:20
  • I had the same issue as that post...I don't see it as being overly complicated. That person attempted multiple things which made his post long and complicated, however. As as you wrote in that thread, it played properly for you. That poster said in his post that it did not play properly for him. If it works for you, great. However, I posted this answer based on my problem experience with fps and that other people who have posted here obviously had the same problem. Also remuxing = copying video/audio stream into a different container. So...I don't really follow your last sentence. – whatisit Dec 19 '15 at 12:11

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