I have a Canon HD camera. The videos are .m2ts files while the saved projects on the computer are saved as .es5 files. What movie program opens these movies with the above file extensions?
The M2TS file format is used by Sony and Canon camcorders. As you know, HD stands for High Definition and several competing formats have been developed for HD video including Blu-ray. M2TS is a type of Blu-ray format known as Blu-ray Disc Audio/Visual (BDAV). BDAV is based on MPEG-2 Transport Stream (M2TS). In addition, you may notice a couple of other acronyms in the mix: AVCHD and H.264. Basically, BDAV is a container format that has extended from the MPEG-2 Transport Stream format. It can contain audio, video, and data by Blu-ray or AVCHD. File extensions used include .m2ts and .mts. While Blu-ray uses discs, AVCHD uses other media types such as memory cards and hard drives.
While this sounds like a confusing alphabet soup of file types, working with the M2TS files isn't overly difficult. You simply need the right program.
Programs that Work with M2TS Files
First, did your camcorder come with software? If so, the Canon software should be more than capable of playing these files. If not, you may want to look into M2TS-compatible media players such as CyberLink Power DVD, Roxio Creator 2010, Sony Picture Motion Browser, or VideoLAN VLC Media Player. However, anecdotal information on the Internet indicates that not all M2TS-compatible medial players can handle Canon's version of M2TS files, so try before you buy.
Pixela ImageMixer 3SE Software
It looks as though most Canon HD camcorders come with Pixela Image Mixer 3SE software which is capable of importing .m2ts files. If so, there's no need to invest in another product unless you are unhappy with the Pixela software. After importing and editing your video, you can specify the format for the final project including the same H.264/M2TS file type or the more universal MPEG-2 format.
As far as the .es5 files as "saved project" files go, it appears that the .es5 file extension is used by your editing software to save your project. For example, when editing a video project, you normally import video clips, drag and drop them on a timeline, add transitions, music, and other effects before creating the final edited file and burning it to disc. Video project files are files containing all of your specifications such as references to the source videos, edit points, transitions, and titles. You'll notice that these files are much smaller in size than your source and edited video files. That's because they are project files, not video files. The final video file is not created until you say it's time to "publish" or "render" (or similar term depending on your video editing software) the video.