AVCHD in Final Cut Express

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by dougz, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. dougz macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2009
    Hello all-

    My basic question: can I preview .MTS files in Final Cut Express without Importing them?

    The details: just got back from a trip, and I have about 700 .MTS clips (250GB total) saved onto a hard drive (transferred from the camera).

    Adobe Premiere has a Media Browser that shows me a list of files on my computer and any connected external drives, and then I can preview play those files before importing them. From what I can tell, Final Cut Express has no such browser - is that correct?

    I can only find the option to Capture (which I think needs to be done from the camera rather than a drive) or Import (which I don't want to do because it will take up so much space and I want to use less than half of my clips.

    Is there a way to tell FCE's Media Browser to show me the contents of my drives, rather than just clips I've already imported into the project? Can I preview .MTS clips before import?

  2. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    You can preview and log AVCHD clips from a mounted camera in FCE via the Log and Transfer window. I don't think it's possible without transcoding otherwise.

    In your case (MTS files stored on a hard drive), you would have to use an application like VoltaicHD to preview and transcode the files. It's a $35 program, but once the MTS files are copied off the camera to another storage device, FCE wouldn't know what to do with them.
  3. Courtaj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2008
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    CaptainChunk is correct. Final Cut will only handle AVCHD files when it finds them in their original file structure (either by connecting the camcorder or using a memory card reader), not isolated .mts files. You could download VLC, a free media player which, among other things, can play .mts files, then transcode the ones you like using Voltaic - which, incidentally, is a very time-consuming process, typically taking around 12x real time to import your clips, whereas FCE will do the job in 1.2-1.5x real time, depending on processor oopmh.
  4. dougz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2009
    Thanks, guys, for your thoughts. All helpful information.

    CaptainChunk, you are correct. Once I moved my files from camera to hard drive they were no longer readable by Final Cut or iMovie. I looked at Voltaic but was put off by the lengthy conversion time and massive files.

    Incidentally, their program HD Quick Look is helpful - it allows you to view .MTS files as preview thumbnails in the Finder, rather than just blank white icons.

    And Courtaj, thanks for pointing out VLC. I use it all the time for other things and I had tried several times to launch .MTS files but it always crashed. Turns out I needed to upgrade from 0.8.1 to 0.9.9 and now VLC plays my .MTS files no problem. That is just what I needed.

    I appreciate your help.
  5. lapino macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2009
    I am unable to play AVCHD files fluently with the latest VLC on my late 2008 MBP 15". Is this normal? When playing back a 24mbps 1920x1080 file, it stutters every few seconds. Maybe a setting in VLC?
  6. dougz thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2009
    Same for me. I think VLC just has to work so hard to read those big compressed files off of the camera and convert them in real time.

    I'm just using it to preview files so I can take notes and import them into FCE or Premiere later.

    If your files are still on the camera, I think iMovie '09 is the best option for playback. In Capture mode, it shows you thumbnails and you can play clips almost full-screen if you stretch out the window.
  7. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
    Question about this: Let's say we copy the entire file structure by inserting the memory card and simply copying the main folder onto our hard drive, like so:

    > AVCHD
    >>> AVCHDTN
    >>> BDMV

    Would we then be able to use Final Cut Express?

    I'm thinking of moving from PC to Mac, and this one is a biggie for me! :)
  8. Courtaj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2008
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    Yes - though I always copy the entire contents of the card just be be sure (everything from the root directory down). But if you just copy the files to a hard drive then you'll need to copy them back to a memory card in order to import them. The other option is to use OS X's Disk Utility and make a disk image (.img) file of the memory card, save this on a hard drive, and mount the image when you want to import. Final Cut won't discriminate between this and a mounted camcorder.
  9. Sounds Good macrumors 68000

    Jul 8, 2007
    Hmm. Seems like a bit of a hassle. I think AVCHD is a bit easier on a PC, isn't it?
  10. lharvest macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007
    You DO NOT need to copy the files back to a memory card for FCE to import them. I do this all the time - copy file structure to my hard drive and the use Log and Capture to view and/or import the files into FCE.
  11. repairsd2007 macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2007
    To whom have lagging mts or mt2s files playback problems. Try PLEX player. That solve my problem.
  12. Romac182 macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2010
    Import and view HDCHD on FC Express

    I had all sorts of difficulties, but this thread on the apple site fixed my import and viewing issues. Follow the threads to fix problems viewing and importing direct from cameras hard drive and memory card. I am using a new Panasonic HDC HS-20:cool:

  13. PenguinMac macrumors member

    May 21, 2010
    I have 3 years worth of MTS files from my PC, and I plan to use ClipWrap to change the MTS containers to MOV for editing on the Mac. I couldn't edit AVCHD files on my PC because Adobe. Premier Elements would only save them in an MTS file, which isn't portable and won't play on many PC's and Macs. I'm hoping for better output options on the Mac.

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