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If a .mts video file is opened or imported to a project in a video editor like Adobe Premiere Pro, is transcoding going on? Video or audio compression? If so, why, instead of editing the raw file as is?

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  • If you don't transcode you are limited to cuts only on i-Frames, no effects, colour grading, transformations etc. Nobody will die if you transcode your video, if quality was that important you'd shoot on a camera that produced 16bit RAW files, not .mts. – stib Feb 25 at 8:07
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You have control over this. If you use the correct settings, you will work on the original file.

When you setup a project you can define what Ingest Settings to use during import. Those settings can also be changed later. In your case you probably want to use Copy.

new project ingest settings

If you drag and drop a video from the Media Browser panel to the Project panel the video will be imported. By clicking the Ingest checkbox before dragging the video you can control if ingest settings are used or not. If the box is unticked, the video will remain in its folder location. If ticked, the ingest settings you have selected will be used, e.g. the file will be copied into the targeted folder location (as defined in the project settings under Scratch Disks). The wrench icon right of the ingest checkbox opens the ingest settings again.

ingest checkbox

Now to the second part: why not work on the raw file? Sometimes the codec of the source material is not suitabel for editing. If you transcode to suitable formats that use intraframe codecs you usually don't have to worry about the quality, but the video editing works overall better (here's a bit more on this).

Another reason why you do not want to directly work on the original file is if you're computer is too slow. For example if you edit 8k or 4k raw video most computers will become visibly slower at some point when they have to apply various effects. In this case lower resolution proxy videos are a great help. (here's a bit more on that topic). And don't worry, in the end, when you export your video the original videos are still there and all the editing is applied on these and so you export the good quality videos, not the proxies. You can switch back and forth between proxy and original video in Premiere whenever needed.

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  • Isn't "ingest settings / copy" just the same as the raw file? – user610620 Feb 25 at 2:18
  • @user610620 Yes, that's correct, the original file is just copied, nothing more. – Matt Feb 25 at 8:15
  • Is the .mts codec singular and universal? Or are there many different codecs of it. If so, how to tell which codec a file is? – user610620 Feb 25 at 12:03
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    The mts file ending is an alternative for m2ts. It's a container format which can contain different codecs, you can read about it here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.m2ts – Matt Feb 25 at 16:55
  • .m2ts says it's MPEG-2. how does that relate to .mts being MPEG-4? – user610620 Feb 25 at 19:39

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