Edit AVC-HD 24p using Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

Starting with CS4, Adobe Premiere Pro supports AVCHD video.  For owners of AVCHD camcorders, this is an huge step forward.

Moving from CS3 to CS4/CS5

If you were one of the early adapters, you might have followed my guide Editing AVCHD 24p using Adobe Premiere Pro CS3. If you made the jump to CS4 or CS5, you can not tweak your old projects so that they use the .mts files directly.  The following work flow did the trick for me:

  1. Open the .prproj file using a text editor such as GNU Emacs, and search “.avi<” and replace it with “.mts”.  Once you are there, you may as well replace “<FrameBlend>true” with “<FrameBlend>false” to disable frame blending.
  2. Move the .avi files (in the odd chance that you still have them) out of the way
  3. Open the project in Premiere Pro.  It will automatically port it to the new version.  When it complains about the .mts being missing, just say “offline all”.
  4. Once in Premiere, select all the .mts files and right-click.  Select “link media”, then point it to the .mts file.

Preventing choppy 24p video in CS5

Premiere Pro makes a fair attempt at removing the pull-down, but on high motion scenes, it misses the boat and doubles frames or leaves interlaced frames.  At first glance, playing with the the Field Options appears to help, but closer inspection of the rendered output will reveal doubled frames giving the video a stuttered look.  Those who shoot “24p wrapped in 60i” and expect a correct pulldown will need additional steps.

Oddly enough the companion product After Effects CS5 (AE) does a better job at removing the pull-down.  Maybe one day, the Premiere Pro developers will decide to reuse the .mts import functionality from After Effects.  Until then, you will need some additional legwork to extract the 24p from the 60i container.  For this, the following approaches come to mind:

  1. Import the Premiere Project in After Effects.  Right-click each clip and have it Interpret and “Guess 3:2 pulldown”.  This can be automated by using a script such as [dead link to hv20.com/showthread.php?13421-After-Effects-CS3-pulldown-removal-automation]. The only downside is that AE only supports a subset of the Premiere Pro elements.  Titles and most transitions will be rendered as black video.
  2. Import the clips in After effects and have it guess the 3:2 pulldown, create compositions and dynamic link those for use in Premiere Pro.  This will only work in the Premium version.
  3. Use After Effects to convert the 24p-in-60i .mts files to 24p .mp4 files.  This can be achieved by importing the .mts files; select them all; and run ReverseTelicine.jsx to have it guess the cadence; select them all clips and add them to the Render Queue.  One would then import these 24p .mp4 files in Premiere Pro, or if you have an existing project using .mts files, you would replace the .mts assets with the equivalent .mp4 assets.  Note that AE still makes some mistakes, but beats PP.
  4. Stick with the approach outlined in Editing AVCHD 24p using Adobe Premiere Pro CS3. It takes a lot if disk space, but it is fast and accurate.  This might feel as two steps forward and one step back, but it is correct and the approach that I use myself.
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Passionately curious and stubbornly persistent. Enjoys to inspire and consult with others to exchange the poetry of logical ideas.

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