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I have a camera (Panasonic Lumix GF-1) that outputs "AVCHD Lite" files, 720p h264 in a MTS container. I saw this question that said Movie Maker in Windows 7 supports AVCHD...but I just tried, and unfortunately it does not support AVCHD Lite.

Are there any free or inexpensive non-linear video editors (NLE) that can natively handle AVCHD Lite files, without requiring some 3rd party driver? If not, are there any 3rd party drivers that are especially stable? (In my experience they usually have some problems...I got AVCHD Lite loading into VirtualDub using a 3rd party plugin, but it's very slow and sometimes crashes, and seeking takes ages.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Adobe Premiere Elements 8 supports it. It's lowish cost and you can do a a 30 day evaluation if you want to test it first. I'm using it to edit Panasonic TZ7 videos (AVCHD Lite).

Note that there is no difference in the actual files of AVCHD vs AVCHD Lite - it simply defines the resolution and framerate.

EDIT: I was doing some more editing last night and I've found a cheaper solution which seems to work very well:

This is about half the price of Premiere Elements, and although not as fully featured, it seems much easier to use. I didn't even need to press the help key to achive everything I wanted. It seems it can also upload directly to YouTube if you want it to and I noticed no quality loss on the edited video when saving in "HD Video 720p" DivX format.

There's a list of more editing software here:

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If there is no difference besides resolution and framerate, why is it that some apps that support AVCHD do not support AVCHD Lite? Just poor coding? – davr Mar 25 '10 at 22:08
Yes I would presume so. Check my Wikipedia link for the source: "The 720p/30 video is recorded in the normal AVCHD 720p/60 format, but every other frame is duplicated, resulting in 30 actual frames per second. This frame rate limitation stems from the capabilities of the camera sensor, it's not a limitation of the format (as normal full-fledged AVCHD is used as the storage format)." – NickG Mar 26 '10 at 9:15
I've found another good solution, so I'll amend my answer. – NickG Mar 26 '10 at 9:18

You'll have a much easier life if you convert the AVCHD Lite files (.mts) to another format. You may then use any video editor you like, including VirtualDub (I would in your place try to see if VirtualDub and FFDSHOW can together handle mts).

Some conversion programs that claim .mts capabilities are:
Format Factory
VLC media player can transcode MTS files

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I know this is one solution, but it adds lots of annoyances. 1) Transcoding HD files takes ages, now I can't just open my video files and edit them, adds an extra step up front. 2) Potential quality loss from transcoding 3) Increased disk space if I keep the original files around – davr Mar 29 '10 at 20:07
@davr: Did you try VirtualDub with FFDSHOW? (making sure AVCHD is installed) – harrymc Mar 29 '10 at 20:14
I've used VirtualDub (mostly just to use the 'Deshaker' plugin), but it can't open the MTS files directly, I have to use the "DirectShow Input Plugin". The problem with that is that it has HORRIBLE seeking support. It can only seek at something like 2x to seek to the end of a 10 minute video takes 5 minutes :/. It's like it doesn't know how to find keyframes or something. – davr Mar 30 '10 at 17:24
@davr: If you google for "MTS editor" you'll find heaps of commercial editors. The only free one I could find is Free Video Converter by Extensoft, which can open MTS, but not output it. It can do splicing and joining, though: – harrymc Mar 31 '10 at 6:43

The best codec I've found so far for AVCHD is CoreAVC

It's not free, but it's quite cheap ($13), and it correctly interprets more AVCHD files than any other codec I've found (including ones that come with very software packages like Sony Vegas, Ulead Video Studio, etc.).

A pretty-good one that's free is ffdshow-tryouts:

You'll have to try it out on your camera's videos to see if it works. If your camera encodes the videos as true 720p frames, it should be fine. If your camera plays dirty tricks with interlacing the progressive content, then you may need to use CoreAVC.

If you'll be doing any non-trivial amount of editing, you might want to first transcode to a another format like huffyuv, mpeg1, or mpeg2 (all supplied with ffdshow-tryouts), using very high compression settings. It'll look awful but be fast for seeking. Create the edit list with the highly compressed video, then process the original when you're ready.

If you like a basic GUI that's very robust, VirtualDub ( is great. Adobe Premiere is a nice product if you really need the more advanced features it offers. If you prefer command-line tools, check out mencoder and/or ffmpeg.

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If you find a program that remux from .mts to .mkv without re-encoding (it is fast and you won't lost quality) then you can open it directly in VirtualDub with the Matroska input plugin:

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Good idea. Do you know a program that can remux? Only downside is that VirtualDub is not a very good's a huge hassle to cut clips, move them around, transition, etc. – davr Dec 18 '10 at 8:20
I think that VirtualDub is good, it just need a lot of time to understand all the options :-D Make sure you have the last version of VirtualDub: 1.9.10 --- You can follow this guide: Altough the guide is for linux, you can just ignore the linux commands and execute the operations with the graphical interface of the programs (TsRemux and mkvtoolnix). To detect the fps I suggest using MediaInfo instead of MPlayer. --- At the end you have an .mkv file that can be opened in VirtualDub, with this process you lost some time but less than a re-encoding. – ale5000 Dec 19 '10 at 2:52

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protected by Ivo Flipse Feb 18 '11 at 8:11

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