How to Convert AVCHD With VLC

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VLC Media Player, a free multimedia player and transcoder available from Videolan.org, supports dozens of file formats, including MTS or M2TS files associated with AVCHD footage. AVCHD, or Advanced Video Codec High Definition, is a format developed by Sony and Panasonic video cameras that usually needs to be converted to another format in order to view the clips. Standard output formats for playback on Windows computers are AVI and WMV files; however, you may convert to any one of VLC's output formats. If converting for an electronic device or program on your computer, consult your user manual for the correct audio and video specifications.

Things You'll Need

  • Latest Version of VLC Media Player
  • Camera Connector Cable

Preparing Your Footage

  1. Open your Web browser and visit Videolan.org. Click the "Download VLC" button near the top of the page, and wait for VLC Media Player to download to your computer's hard drive. Double-click the ".exe" program file to install the latest version of VLC Media Player. Follow the on-screen instructions, accept the terms of use and launch the program.

  2. Connect one end of your AVCHD camera's connector cable to your camera and the other end to the correct port on your computer. Turn your camera on, set it to its "Playback" or equivalent mode and wait for Windows Explorer to recognize the device connection.

  3. Choose to "View Files and Folders in Windows Explorer" when prompted. If not prompted by Windows, locate your camera's contents in "My Computer." Drag and drop the folder containing the desired AVCHD footage onto your Desktop or another folder location and wait for the contents to copy. This may take several minutes.

Converting AVCHD With VLC Media Player

  1. Click the "Media" tab at the top of VLC Media Player's screen, and select "Convert/Save." Click the "File" tab in the top-left corner of the Open Media window.

  2. Press the "Add" button on the right side of the window to enter a pop-up search screen revealing your hard drive's contents. Highlight the desired AVCHD file's icon, and click "Open" to load your file in the Open Media window. Press the "Convert/Save" button in the lower-right corner of the screen to enter the Convert window.

  3. Click the "Profile" drop-down box, and choose a VLC preset output option. Options include MPEG-4, MPEG-2, WMV, ASF and more, each with specific encoding types.

  4. Change any advanced settings, or create your own profile for your output video by clicking the wrench icon to the right of the "Profile" box. Choose an available Encapsulation Format and Audio and Video Codec, like AVI, WMV, MOV, MPEG-4 and make any advanced setting changes like bit rate, frame rate and frame size. However, note that not all formats will be available, depending on the MTS, M2TS or other AVCHD input file type. Click "Save" to save your changes and return to the Convert screen.

  5. Click the "Browse" button in the Destination field to choose a save location on your computer for the converted files. Name your file, making sure to include the file extension for the format previously chosen. Press "Save" to return to the Convert window.

  6. Click the "Start" button in the lower-right corner of the screen to begin the conversion.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your AVCHD footage does not play or convert correctly, try changing your caching value settings. Caching value refers to the amount of time a video loads before playback begins. Open VLC's preferences by clicking the "Media" tab and selecting "Preferences." Click the "All" button in the lower-left corner of the screen. Click the "Input/Codecs" drop-down arrow, select "Access Modules" and "File." Try resetting the caching value from its default 300 milliseconds to 1000 milliseconds or higher, then click "Save."
  • High-definition files can cause VLC Media Player to skip or lag in playback and may result in faulty output. These problems are most commonly associated with your computer's processing speed.

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