How to convert Canon .mts video files to other formats in Ubuntu

My Canon Handycam (Camcorder) makes high quality HD videos in .MTS file format. Though the quality of this file is of very high, still there is no good software to play this in Linux (so Ubuntu) without compromising the quality. VLC and Totem media players in Ubuntu 10.04 are able to play with a lot of jerks and poor quality. So I thought of converting these video to known .mp4 or .mpeg formats which will be of decent quality and reduced size of file. I did it with ffmpeg & WinFF tool in Ubuntu 10.04. Here is how to do it in GUI way and also command line.

Using WinFF GUI tool

Step-1: Install the WinFF application from console (Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal).

$ apt-get install winff

Step-2: Run the WinFF from Applications -> Sound & Video -> WinFF

WinFF application screenshot

Step-3: Click Add button to add your .MTS video files to the list of files to be converted.

Step-4: In Output Details tab, select your video format in Convert To … listbox.

Step-5: Select the device which you target through Device Preset.

Step-6: Select where you want to save your converted files in Output folder text box using browse button.

Now it will show a terminal for you to monitor the progress. Just sit and relax for some time (depends on your file size), you are done!

This way you can convert .mts file to format suitable for youtube by selecting Web in Convert To …

How to do it in command line?

Ensure the ffmpeg tool is installed ($ sudo apt-get install ffmpeg) and then run the following command to covert .mts to .mpeg (DVD quality)

ffmpeg -i “Input.mts” -f dvd -target ntsc-dvd -r 29.97 -s 720×480 -aspect 16:9 -b 8000kb -g 12 -mbd rd -trellis -mv0 -cmp 0 -subcmp 2 “output.mpg”

I got the above parameters from WinFF. Feel free to experiment with it.
Hope these tips will be useful to you, enjoy happy holiday memories!

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  1. When i want to convert mts to wmv(for web use) thats error. [wmav2 @ 0x8e135e0] too many channels: got 6, need 2 or fewer. Any idea how to solve? Thanks

  2. Brilliant that you put the CLI version as well. I had a batch job of 2000 videos in hundreds of separate directories. Find + your CLI command + 1 night good sleep while my Laptop worked saved my life!

  3. well with a decent graphics card which can handle HD (720 and 1080) there is a program which can play mts straight off

    smplayer go options/preferences/video and pick vdpau

    works fine for me on a very average computer

    those mts files are bluray when i read them through mediainfo

  4. Wow, what an awesome piece of advice. I’ve tried multiple free .MTS conversion programs and WinFF is by far the best quality. I didn’t really use the instructions here, but rather just googled WinFF to download.


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