Canon HF200 on Linux/Kubuntu 9.04

Being an 100% Linux user, the software shipped with Canon HF200 is not useful for me because it’s Windows only. Anyway, I’ve tried Pixela Software, the shipped software  on a virtual machine, and I wasn’t convinced…

So far  on Linux there is a complete lack of tools for management the video files that are produced by this camera, namely the MTS file format, despite being able to play them with no problems, only with small quirks… Right now I’m using VLC, and the x.264 codec downloaded from the sources, not the one shipped with Kubuntu and the quality the video is more or less OK. The latest ATI drivers for my ATI 4870 also improved a lot the visualization of the video. Playing the MTS files on the WD TV works 100%, and the quality is superb.

So I can play the files in my computer, BUT for KDE 4.3  Dolphin, it  has no support for thumbnails for MTS (M2TS) files… so I need to open each file to see wich are it’s contents… a painfull task.

It took me a while to solve more or less this issue. It’s not perfect, but it helps:

Using the latest ffmpeg, donwloaded from the sources, I can create JPG thumbnails related to the each MTS file. The idea came from here: http://johannesluderschmidt.de/?p=525

I’ve changed the script so that I can create AVCHD thumbnails:

#!/bin/bash
for FILENAME in *.MTS
do
if test -f “$FILENAME”; then
echo “Create thumbnail of $FILENAME”
ffmpeg -i “$FILENAME” -ss 00:00:01.00 -vcodec mjpeg -vframes 1 -an -f rawvideo -s 180×120 “$FILENAME”.jpg
#cp $FILENAME ~/test1/
else
echo “File $FILENAME not existing.”
fi
done

Save this file with a name like avchdthumb.sh, somewhere on your path, and make it executable with chmod +x avchdthumb.sh

Now you can go to your folder (folders) whre you have stored your MTS files, and just run the command like this for example: /home/primalcortex/tools/avchdthumb.sh

It will take a while, depending of the number of files and the your computer horsepower… I have an I7, so can’t complain… 🙂

At the end the result will be for each MTS file a new MTS.jpg file with the initial frame as the thumbnail.

Now I have an idea what’s in the MTS videos.

If thumbnails in video format are needed, like the first 10s, then this URLhttp://code.google.com/p/hdffxvrt/ will do the job. Just change the line for the resolutionof the HF200 to 1920×1080, and execute the script with:  hdffxvrt thumb 0001.MTS. This will create a 10s clip in MOV format named 0001.MTS.mov.

This is a good as it gets. Now I’ll I need is Picasa in Linux to support AVCHD 🙂

Regarding the camera itself, when connecting through USB to the Kubuntu, there is no problems in detecting and accessing it through Dolphin, but it’s faster to use a SDHC card reader to copy the files. The camera can create thumbnails for the videos when connecting by USB, but in my case it failed to create ALL thumbnails… weird…

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2 thoughts on “Canon HF200 on Linux/Kubuntu 9.04

  1. Hi,
    i want to buy this camera and I read a review saying that the SDHC card is formated by the camcorder in it’s own format making imposible to import files with anything else (card reader) but the Pixela software.
    Can you please confirm that this is not the case?
    Also are you happy with the quality of the HD video and sound?

    Thank you very much,
    Radu

    • Hi!

      The card is formatted in standard FAT type filesystem, so you can just plug it in with any card reader and access it’s contents manually. What Pixela will do is also import clip information, and other data, but all that is inside the card. I manually copy all .CLI and MTS files for my hardisk and I have no problems seeing the video. I even copy these files to another USB flash PEN and using WDTV connected to my CRT telivision I see all videos perfectly. So no problem there!

      Regarding the quality of the image, so far is OK for me, because I still have a low definition TV. My computer monitor does have HDMI interface and connecting the video camera to it, it works fine, and the videos look fine. I’m no expert, but for me it’s ok. Only at night or with low light situations there is a bit of noise. Sound with wind can also be noisy.
      Using for taking pictures is no better that a top quality mobile phone, but for photos I have a Nikon D80, and nothing can beat that… 🙂

      Hope this helps!

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