AVCHD and Mac

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by mbell75, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. mbell75 macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007
    Well I dont get it. You cant just open a file off an AVCHD cam and play it. Its an MTS file and its not readable by a Mac. So your only option is to capture it in imovie. The thing that sucks is that imovie decompresses the file! A video shot in 1920x1080 at only 16 Mbps is over 800 MB a MINUTE. When I up the same clip to my roommates PC, its only 120 MB. Storing an original file nearly a GB per minute is just crazy. So the cam is compressing it, imovie decompresses it while its being captured and then you have to compress it all over again to make the file size manageable? Ridiculous. Has anyone figured out how to get AVCHD and Macs to get along better?
  2. wkearney99 macrumors member


    Dec 14, 2008
    Bethesda, MD USA
    VLC can play them.

    It's ridiculous how iMovie insists on bloating the files just to show them. It's entirely unnecessary, takes forever and wastes HUGE amounts of disk space. For all of Apple's claims about ease-of-use they screwed this one up big time.
  3. blitzkrieg79 macrumors 6502


    Mar 9, 2005
    currently USA
    But I thought that Mac OS X and wonderful Apple commercials would make Macs breeze through everything without any hitch, AVCHD, ha, I can open it with my eyes closed :rolleyes:

    On a more serious note, Apple, considered to be the audio/video platform of professionals, should have figured out AVCHD way before Windows but it's not the case. Maybe instead of concentrating on iPods, iPhones, they should put more effort into their computers and OS (lets be honest here, Snow Leopard with all the hype around it compared to Windows 7 is a disappointment). I have been playing with Windows 7 and I can tell you that as much as I like OS X, Windows 7 is not any worse and in some cases, such as AVCHD files, is a whole lot better.
  4. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    Apple dropped the ball with AVCHD, just like blu ray. To busy with ipods and iphones and the tablet coming up. If apple screws up the next version of FCE/FCP, i'll be bailing back to the dark side. IF snow leopard ever gets fixed properly AND FCE/FCP gets updated properly to take advantage of multicore and open CL, then apple be back on top of the game. Right now, there a loosing team.
  5. mbell75 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007
    No kidding. I thought AVCHD was compressed with H.264 and isnt that one of Apple's Quicktime codecs?
  6. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You thought wrong.
  7. betomax macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2008
    So then, is there a decent way to deal with AVCHD on OS X? It currently takes 24 hours to import 16 GB of 24 Mbps 1920x1080 video (still have another 32 GB left to go); I'm not going to buy another workstation for me until this process can be done in about an hour (or less).

    Is there any development going on to use OpenCL to help out?

    edit: Apple should add a pause / resume or even scheduler for long imports; I know I can select a few clips to import at a time, but that seems like the windows way: working around shortcomings in the software rather than software working around the shortcomings in my computer availability.
  8. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    I tried playing a file with VLC but it stuttered quite a bit. Seems like it reads in a segment, pauses to decode it, then plays it. The audio is OK but the video pauses every few seconds.

    There is another application out there called VoltaicHD that gets good reviews. It converts AVCHD to pretty much any format. It runs on Intel and PPC computers. Haven't tried it myself but am looking at it. $39

    You can view ACVHD files in iMovie without converting them. However, you just get a preview screen, not full screen, but the playback is smooth.
  9. TennisandMusic

    Aug 26, 2008
    You can also use Clipwrap 2.0, and edit natively in whatever software. But you still need a pretty beefy system to deal with it properly. I imagine a mac pro or the new iX iMacs. They are pretty choppy on my macbook pro.
  10. mbell75 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007
    What about running Parallels with Windows 7? If I boot up Windows and then plug in the camera, should I not be able to get it to read the MTS files?
  11. pcconvert macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2008
    AVCHD requires raw power. Cores. Period. Dual core maxes out playing AVCHD on Mac or Windows irrespectively to the platform.

    iMovie is NOT a player. It's an editor. Players such as Toast play AVCHD just fine. Working with AVCHD in real time is so processor taxing that any attempt to use native AVCHD editor on Windows (such as Pinnacle Studio) ends in painfully slow and disinteractive process when these editors recalculate effects, transitions etc. That's why most reasonable editing softwares decompress AVCHD for post production work.

    If you only cut and paste parts of videoclip Pinnacle (and some others) would do well under vmware to edit AVCHD natively - provided you have 4cores. For every other work you need to decompress.
  12. ymarker macrumors member

    Sep 6, 2009
    Power (atleast for decode) that even a tiny old mac mini with 9400m integrated graphics can provide. Check out this thread linky doo I'm using about 10% cpu on my mac mini to decode avc 720p with hardware accelerated decoding by the gpu.

    The power to decode exists within the onboard gpu. The problem is access to the power within osx due to it's inhibition of exposing the interface required to hardware accelerate video (e.g. directx under win). Though it's m$ is at fault for not doing the same thing with hd audio (dts ma / dolby tru-hd) and hence the mess we are in now where the various vendors have to scramble to get hd audio to bitstream.
  13. CyberBob859 macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2007
    Would this help?

    Might want to look at this from Elgato. May help with importing AVCHD files.

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