Blue in the face, trying to figure out AVCHD editing

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by cmoroy, Dec 25, 2009.

  1. cmoroy macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2009
    Ill start off by saying that i've been searching these forums all over till im blue in the face but im not very knowledgeable about computers beyond anything basic so please bear with me.

    So, I got a Canon HF200 for christmas for some amateur videography. Now I need an editing program. My MBP is somewhat old (purchased early 2007) and heavily used. I have 17 GB left of my 120 GB HD but I also have roughly 400GB available on an external. My only video editing program so far is Imovie HD and my experience is very limited.

    Basically what I want to do is store any video that I take on my external and have it available for editing whenever I am ready to put it all together. How and what do I need to make this happen? I am considering buying FCE. Does FCE do any conversion from AVCHD to AIC or do I need a 3rd party program such as toast or voltaicHD to do these conversions? The way apple makes it seem is that FCE is an easy plug my camera up and drag clips in to FCE for editing but that is not the feeling I get when reading on any forums. I'm sure ill think of more but this is all I can come up with right now can yall please help provide some light on the subject for me. Keep in mind i need the editing for dummies version.
  2. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    FCE has built in software to automatically convert AVCHD to AIC. And, you do ACTUALLY just select clips to import from your camcorder and Final Cut Express does everything for you. It's very very simple. It's exactly like importing a CD from iTunes.

    Also, here's what you want to do with storing footage. Final Cut Express stores footage in a folder it creates called "Scratch Disk". It's just a folder made by FCE. However, you can set that folder to be on your External HD. So, the footage will automatically be imported directly on your External and not eat up your MBP's HD space.

    Lastly, you can edit directly (and it's strongly recommended)from the External HD. You don't need to have the footage stored on your MBP. Just make sure your External is hooked up via Firewire and you're good to go.

    I suggest going to and watch all of those videos on the left sidebar there. It helped me a lot when I first started out.

    Hope this helps!
  3. huskyfan macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2009

    I share your frustrations. I have a yr old canon HF-10 which I believe runs the same AVCHD. Does it still come with Imagemixer for editting and play back?

    I have a MBP and importing to iMovie is very easy. I would assume FCE is the same. My primary concern with using this for archiving is the loss of quality when exporting it to a file. If you transfer video off your camcorder HD or SD card to iMovie and delete/clear the camcorder memory you have lost the raw data and are reliant on iMovie or FCE to export in a preserved a quality. This is the tricky step.

    After a year of browing the forums, I have concluded that there are three good options for storing video data for future use:

    1) Transfer to a pc or a mac using the imagemixer (provided with camcorder). This will ultimately put the video in a m2ts format file with little to no loss of quality. This gets the file off the camera's memory and into a stable format. The problem is that macs seem to have a hard time playing this, even the vlc player. It is very choppy. If you have a pc, the DivX player (free download) will play mts and m2ts. The problem with transfering a mts or m2ts file to a mac is that iMovie will not recognize it.

    2) Make a disk image of your video. This essentially copies the data off your SD card and puts it on the Mac harddrive. The advantage of formating the video as a disk image is that iMovie will read it. It somehow tricks iMovie into thinking it is reading the video directly off the camera. If you simply drag the video file off the camera to a folder (not as a disk image) iMovie will not read it and you will be stuck with a file that you cant play or edit on the mac. The link below provides a nice explanation of this.

    3) The simplest, albeit most expensive option is to just save the sd cards and archive them. When a good avchd edittor comes out you will have your raw data. I used to record in the FXH mode (highest quality), but I have found that I can not tell the difference in resolution if I record in XP+ or SP. This will give you 30-60minutes per 4GB card (about $10).

    There seems to be something about importing through the Imagemixer program that gives the best, most stable video. I have taken files and dragged them to a folder on my pc (not mac). I then imported the same files via imagemixer. The video imported via imagemixer played normally on DivX, but the other video file that bypassed imagemaker was terrible. I dont know if Canon ships a mac version of imagemixer with the HF200, but I would assume they would??

    Good luck and let me know if you find any other good ways to archive canon avchd video.
  4. cmoroy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 25, 2009
    I like the disk image idea it seems like a good way to store any raw footage that i get and still be able to edit. Will I be able to import these disk images and edit video in FCE as if it were coming directly off my camera?
  5. huskyfan macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2009
    I would think FCE would be able to read it if iMovie can, but I have no experience with FCE or FCP.

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