AVCHD (Advanced Video Codec High Definition) is a file format commonly used by the latest generation of consumer HD camcorders. It consists of an AC-3 audio stream and an AVC (H.264) video stream encapsulated into a custom MPEG2 transport stream container.

While Expression Encoder 2 does not natively support that file type, it is possible to use them if the right components are installed. More specifically, three DirectShow components are required:

  1. A MPEG2-TS splitter that supports the AVCHD variant.
  2. An AVC (H.264) decoder.
  3. An AC-3 decoder.

After installing those 3 components, you should be able to playback the M2TS files directly in Windows Media Player as well as importing and using them within Expression Encoder 2.

Also, David Sayed posted a very nice and detailed article on one of the multiple ways to get Expression Encoder 2 to support AVCHD files: http://blogs.msdn.com/david_sayed/archive/2008/05/31/avchd-recipe-for-expression-encoder-2.aspx

But if you own a Sony or Canon camcorder, you can also take advantage of the DirectShow filters that shipped with the bundled software.

 

Sony AVCHD Camcorders (SR, CX, UX and TG series)

Sony camcorder users: Sony Picture Motion Browser comes with a MPEG2-TS splitter and an AVC decoder. To use them in Expression Encoder 2, simply register sjvtdl.ax and SMParse.ax found in “C:\Program Files\Sony\Sony Picture Utility\Shared4” by following those steps:

  1. Press the Start button, select “All Programs” and “Accessories” and right-click on “Command Prompt”.
  2. In the context menu, select “Run as administrator”.
  3. Click on the "Continue" button when the "User Access Control" appears. A command prompt window will appear.
  4. In the command prompt, type: regsvr32 “C:\Program Files\Sony\Sony Picture Utility\Shared4\sjvtdl.ax”
  5. Repeat step #3 with SMParse.ax
  6. Close the command prompt.

Note: You will still need an AC-3 decoder to decode the audio.

M2TS files should now be playable via Windows Media Player and can be imported in Expression Encoder 2.

 

Canon AVCHD Camcorders (HG10, HF10/100)

Canon Pixela ImageMixer 3 SE registers all the required DirectShow components required by Expression Encoder upon it's installation.

 

Usage in Expression Encoder 2

To import the MTS or M2TS files in Expression Encoder, simply select "All Fles (*.*)" in the file picker in the import dialog. Then select the wanted MTS and M2TS files. The files will be treated like any other video files.

Known Expression Encoder 2 limitations:

  1. Expression Encoder doesn't currently support 6 channel authoring, so DD5.1 audio will be downsampled to stereo.
  2. Only deinterlaced encoding operations are currently supported.

 

We are hoping to further enhance the AVCHD workflow in future versions of Expression Encoder.