AVCHD + iMovie -- its supported so why all the problems?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by CMD is me, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. CMD is me macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    I've been looking at AVCHD cameras. I recently shot with a HC9. Great camera and simple to use with iMovie, but and had tape dropouts (seems fine w the $13 tapes, but does not like anything else) and a condensation error caused me to loose an hour of shooting (unfortunately the sunrise couldn't wait for the camera either). Oh and, a dumb one, I accidently pushed "record" when putting the camera away so now I have several minutes of the inside of my bag... nice. I think I've had it with tapes.

    I'm on a C2D MacBook Pro with 3.3gb RAM and have 3 LaCie FW800 external drives: 750g for video, 320g and 250g for back up. I plan on getting an :apple:TV very soon as well.

    Apple says the HF10/100 is supported with iMovie 7. I've read many posts where people say it works perfectly. So why would someone at the Apple Store tell me to stick with HDV to avoid the headaches and why do I keep seeing so many recent posts (even here) where people are having problems getting their AVCHD video into iMovie?

    What's the deal?
  2. Courtaj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2008
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    Does it help to know I've had absolutely no problems? It's like AVCHD is the new communism or AIDS or something.
  3. CMD is me thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 7, 2006
    You're right about that. Once the AVCHD file is imported into iMovie (which I've read is no more than 1.5-2x what the HDV takes), isn't it the same AIC format as HDV? If so, why is that more processor taxing than HDV or is the fuss all about importing?

    All the propaganda has me cautious with AVCHD, but I'm still liking the idea of tapeless.
  4. gpeden macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2007

    No problems for me with an HF 100 and a PB Pro2.2... I've also tried what was suggested in another thread here:


    ..... dumping the contents of the 8 gig SDHC card into a disk image (using a card reader) to save raw footage until later. And that should fit on a dual layer DVD if it's worth archiving. Just mount the image, start iMovie 7.1.1 and the movie can be imported just like it's still on the camera, uh,,, while the camera is otherwise tied up with the stock charging system :)

    I'll be bringing a 320 gig portable drive with me when I go on a trip next week. With three 8 gig cards, and 2 batteries, I suspect that the time it takes to charge a battery (no external charger yet) will be the limiting factor on filming activity, not data handling or storage space.


  5. Chris7 macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought
    Here’s a product that converts AVCHD into AIC before import (VoltaicHD for Mac). http://www.shedworx.com/volmac-home

    I was going to make a post asking if there were any similar products that convert AVCHD to ProRes before import, when I came across your post.

    Some scoff at the idea of going AVCHD (or HDV) into ProRes rather than AIC, because AVCHD is such a lossy format. But ProRes looks considerably better to me on these shots from HDV. Screenshots here:

    Disclaimer: I do not yet have experience in HD nor FCP (still researching).
  6. mynameisshawn macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2008
    I don't know about iMovie, but using FCE and a HF10 I have had no problems.
    I love AVCHD, sure it takes longer then DV to import, edit, and export, but the quality is gorgeous! I was surprised how crisp the images were.
    I'm sure this kind of reaction was the same when DV first came along, people saying stick with editing with two VCR decks, your computer needs to be on steroids to handle the new format, blah blah blah.
    If it works for you, dandy! Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

    EDIT: When someone tells you it takes longer to import, tell them at least you have to choice of what to import in one go.
  7. Chris7 macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2008
    Lost in Thought
    From what I've read, one AIC format (say 1920x1080) is the same as another -- AIC will not know what the original source was before the conversion. So AVCHD transcoded to AIC (or ProRes) should be exactly as "easy" to edit with as HDV transcoded to AIC (this is not factoring in offline edits and other ways to make the data easier to work with while editing) . I think people are having problems with the import. However, I hope someone with some real experience would chime in to confirm (or discount) this point.

    BTW, I've gotten much more accurate info from the Net (Wikipedia, the online manuals, and the better forms) than I have from the people at my local Mac store.
  8. ftaok macrumors 603


    Jan 23, 2002
    East Coast
    I don't actually have any real-world experience with HD footage (I'm still stuck in SD Hell). But I do have opinion based on what I've read.

    Anyways, I do believe you're correct that AIC is AIC, regardless of the original source. Since iMovie only works with AIC, then it shouldn't matter if you have an HDV or an AVCHD camcorder ... once you import the footage.

    Here's the rub. Based on the current Mac line-up, I think that HDV is easier to use because the conversion from HDV to AIC is much less system intensive than converting AVCHD to AIC. From what I've read, importing HDV into iMovie with a decent Mac is in real-time (or slightly longer). Importing AVCHD takes much much longer.

    Also, I'm not sure if anyone converts their AIC footage back to HDV, but I'm pretty sure that no one in their right mind would convert AIC back to AVCHD. Not convince that it's even an issue, really, just a thought.


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