Almost all modern consumer HD video cameras and camcorders use a version of the H.264 codec to record HD video. They mostly use either - .MTS - .m2ts - .MP4 or .MOV - for the video file extension.
These are all highly compressed video formats, which are not well suited to editing - especially when it comes to the type of timed 'slo-mo' clips we are looking to create for this project..
To help overcome the problems that can occur when trying to edit these compressed video files, we'll be converting them to the Grass Valley HQX intermediate format for this project. You can read more about HQX by LEFT clicking on the box below:
Originally intended for use with 'Edius' editing software, both the HQX codec and its associated Converter Utility are now available as free software for independent use as well.
You can use the link above to register a free account with Grass Valley, and download the software from their main site.
Or you can find copies of both the items you need by clicking on the boxes below...
Firstly, create a new project folder on your computer. Name the folder 'slomo'.
RIGHT click on the boxes below and 'save link as' or 'save target as' (depending on your browser) ..to download the required files. Save them both in your new 'slomo' folder
To install the HQX codec -
DOUBLE LEFT click on the downloaded .exe file and follow the installation instructions.
(You will need to re-boot your machine to complete the codec installation)
To install the AVCHD2HQ converter utility -
RIGHT Click on the downloaded zip folder and select 'extract all' - (Untick the 'show extracted files when complete' box)..
DOUBLE LEFT click on the unzipped file folder and locate the 'setup.exe' file.
DOUBLE LEFT click on that - and follow the installation instructions.
As mentioned above, both the HQX codec and the AVCHD2HQ conversion utility were originally intended for use with Grass Valley's own 'Edius' video editor, and some of the functions will only work when that program is installed. (The preview and HQ codec functions, for example, won't function without Edius).
For this project, it's only necessary to use the HQX codec, which will function without Edius being installed.
SETTING UP -
To set up the converter, locate the new 'AVCHD2HQ' -'HQ' icon on your desktop - (this was automatically installed with the utility) - and double left click on that icon.
(Note: you can ignore or delete the second new 'AVCHDPRV' icon - that only functions with Edius installed)
The 'AVCHD converter Settings' set up page will then appear - a sample of that page is shown below...
Starting from the top of that page:
You can of course choose to change other settings at any time, by double left clicking the desktop 'AVCHD2HQ' icon to bring up this menu again. Remember though, as mentioned above, not all settings will work without Edius installed. (You will get a 'codec cannot be used' notice when you try to use an invalid setting).
CONVERTING THE VIDEO -
To convert your video clips into the HQX format, simply right click on your '.MTS - .m2ts - .MP4 or .MOV' video file, and choose the 'Convert with AVCHD2HQ' option from the drop down menu, by left clicking on that heading.
The converter will now automatically create a new 'avi' file, which is an HQX version of your original video clip.
(With an i5 quad core processor - or similar CPU - this conversion should take place in approximately real time).
Notice that this new '.avi' file is much bigger than the original file (typically between 5 and 10 times larger).
There's no need to worry though... these large files are only working files, and do not need to be kept after your project is finished..
You can now DOUBLE LEFT click on this new '.avi' file to open it in Virtualdub.
One thing thing you will notice is just how easy it is to 'move around' this new file. There will be almost no lag as you scrub along the timeline... That's one big advantage when using an 'intraframe' intermediate format like HQX... it needs a lot less computing power and is decoded easily, for smooth replay in real time - even on modestly specified computers .
These HQX files are the ones that will be used in the following stages of our 'slo-mo' project..
It's now time to move on to the 'Installing AviSynth' heading below - or at the top of the page...