Does AVCHD work better in FCP?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by mbell75, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. mbell75 macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007
    Well, better than in imovie? Specifically, when you upload it into FCP, does it uncompress it and make it a huge AIC file like imovie does? Or does it compress it better so it doesnt take up tons of HD space?
  2. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    No, basically. You have the option of using different codecs with Final Cut, but transcoding to more compact codecs would degrade the picture quality.

    The reason Apple have shied away from native AVCHD editing is that it would be a hugely frustrating experience on most computers. In time that will change and native AVCHD editing will become the de facto. But for now you might want to take a look at this thread.
  3. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    The thing I don't get it is that I see people on VAIOs editing AVCHD natively without problems.

    The thing is AVCHD is such a popular consumer codec, it bothers me that Apple doesn't cater to them in iMovie.

    If Apple spends time, I bet they could offer native AVCHD on a Mac Mini with little/to no hiccups. Then again, they march to the beat of a different drummer.
  4. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    I'd imagine AVCHD is workable on most recent machines, but Apple likely want to avoid the wrath of the sizeable number that would have problems. It's their ethos to limit options (like offering the user a native or transcode option on import) to keep things simple. A clunky AVCHD experience would be more of a threat to Apple's all-in-one brand than to some software maker and Windows.
  5. VirtualRain macrumors 603


    Aug 1, 2008
    Vancouver, BC
    I recall reading that Adobe Premiere edits AVCHD natively. But storage is cheaper than new software. :)
  6. mbell75 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007
    Well I render my videos down to 6Kbps and in 720 as an MOV file. What i meant was on import into the computer. The AIC files are huge, like close to 700MB a minute uploaded at full 1080 in imovie. I wanted to know if I use FCP, if they will be smaller file sizes. When I upload the same footage to my roommates PC, its only about 120MB a minute which is way more manageable and easier on an hard drive for storage.
  7. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    Here's what you have to do: (FYI, AIC files are gonna be that size; the trade off is that AIC take up more space but can be edited on regular computers without slowing it down)

    You take those AIC files into Final Cut.
    You edit.
    You finish your project.
    Now, you go to Export (Using Quicktime Conversion) your finished movie, then you can pick a more compressed format (aka a format with a smaller file size yet high quality). Pick HDV, or DVCPRO HD.

    Let's say your finished movie is 30 minutes long, if you Exported in HDV, your movie would be roughly 6-7 GBs.

    Again, the reason for Apple automatically converting those AVCHD files into AIC (ProRes would be better if you want to redo it, but that takes up more space) is that AIC or ProRes requires less processing power. You can edit faster, render graphics faster, Colorize it faster etc. The idea is that its a lot cheaper get a bigger External Hard Drive than RAM or VideoCard or Processor (even though most Macs don't allow you to alter any of those).
  8. FSMBP macrumors 68020


    Jan 22, 2009
    I agree. However, my guess is that the next Final Cut Express might offer native AVCHD on certain Macs (after all, Final Cut Express is a pro/consumer application and most camcorders in that group are AVCHD ones).

    That's the thing I'd hate though; if I got all my footage onto a Camcorder with an HardDrive, the beauty would be to take all the footage off faster than realtime playback. But I hear that it takes about the duration of clip to import it and convert it in FCE - so it defeats the purpose. I would for once love to take an hour of footage shot on a tapeless camcorder and import under 30 minutes. That would significantly help people's workflow (especially those on location and want a rough edit).
  9. mbell75 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007
    Ah ok. Thanks for the explanation.
  10. cz9h3d macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2009

    I've been shooting miniDV for 10 years, and have always cursed at my PC as I've attempted to edit and make DVD's. Do you mean to tell me that now with my iMac i7 on its way, as well as an AVCHD camcorder, that I'm going to have to do intermediate steps to make the files editable, but PC software today can edit these files?!?!?!

    I've put off an HD camcorder purchase just because I knew the formats were still being standardized. Would I be better served to consider a Sanyo hd2000 with its MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 file format?? Am I going to need a room full of hard drives to archive original/edited footage?!?

    With hard drive / flash camcorders taking over, I keep wondering what all these non-techy consumers are doing with their files once they fill the camera up?!?! Makes me want to go purchase a Canon HV30 while I still can!
  11. mbell75 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 30, 2007
    Pretty much. imovie needs to transcode AVCHD into AIC format to edit it and FCP does the same or the ProRes format to edit. With a PC and Sony Vegas 9 Pro, you can just drop the MTS files right in and start editing. This is why I will be getting a nice PC laptop soon.
  12. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    That might have been a semi-valid statement two years ago, but with today's hardware, there's really no excuse for the absence of native AVCHD support in Apple NLEs. Adobe Premiere and Sony Vegas already do this and have for a while. And as far as consumer HD formats are concerned, AVCHD is already basically de facto.

    So as much an Apple lover I am, I can't let them off the hook here. AVCHD has been around for over two years while everyone has waited almost 10 years for a complete rewrite of Final Cut Pro. Just sayin'... ;-)
  13. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    Are you thinking of the hardware of a fanatic or of the average camcorder-user? Pure guesswork, but if the average computer is a 3-year-old low-mid-end, will that be powerful enough to deal with native AVCHD?

    I'm not saying technology companies should be waiting around for everyone to catch up, but as a mass-market company Apple has to be sensitive to not excluding or making life difficult for a large/the largest chunk of its customers.

    The AVCHD situation will evolve — there'll be a tipping point where more will have computers capable of native editing than not — but for now Apple have chosen to keep things as problem-free as possible. And simplicity is Apple's thing. Not saying it suits the majority here, but I can see the motivation for Apple to do it this way.
  14. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    As I'm sure it will, eventually. And your point is very valid if we're talking about 3-year old machines, sure. But when someone buys a brand-new Mac, like say one of the Core-i7 iMacs just to find out they STILL have to transcode AVCHD in an Apple NLE, they would be at least a bit annoyed. If anything, I think there should be an option: edit natively (fast machine required) or convert to AIC/ProRes (slower machines, more disk space required). But we can fantasize all we want about it. :)

    I guess I'm just speaking from the standpoint that even basic machines of today have dual-core CPUs and a reasonable amount of RAM. I see Windows users editing AVCHD with Vegas on no-frills C2D machines just fine. And by now, the C2D certainly isn't what I would consider an enthusiast's CPU. It's mainstream.
  15. KeithPratt macrumors 6502a

    Mar 6, 2007
    That would be the sensible thing. And I think people would have a right to grumble if this wasn't present in some for in the next FCE.
  16. peestandingup macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2006
    I agree. Apple is full of sh*t on this one. I mean, if they dont wanna support native AVCHD on iMovie because its "consumer based" then thats fine.

    But when they dont support it on their PRO software, we have a problem. Most people that use FCP Im pretty sure are gonna have machines that can EASILY edit AVCHD, even in 1080p. Hell, my year old iMac plays raw MTS files using VLC with no problem & doesnt hardly take up any resources at all. And that machine is considered pretty low-end on the iMac chain. And we're not even talking about Mac Pros & MacBook Pros.

    And if, and thats a big IF, someone out there uses FCP with an older, slower machine. Well, then guess what? They could make it an option in the settings to have your footage imported in to AIC or ProRes.

    So whats the problem?? Apple is, thats what. They've turned into freakin Microsoft & want you to use all their own proprietary crap with everything you do now on a Mac.

    P.S. For those who dont see a problem with this, you must not do a lot of editing. Imagine having to transcode hours & hours of footage to another format simply because Apple wont let me edit in its native format, when my machine is damn capable of doing so. Think about the wasted hours & energy.
  17. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    While I can't speak for all consumers, I've only managed to fill up my 1080p hard drive (just 120gb) once in quite a long time (and a pretty good number of family events/trips). What I did was back that 120gb up to another hard drive, then to another (double backup). Then, I reformatted the camcorder hard drive and am working on filling it up again. After shooting any new footage of significance, I use Chronosync to back up just the new footage (without having to do full backups from scratch).

    The negative in this (relative to this thread) is that I'm getting the raw footage backed up- not edited/processed footage. For the latter, I basically keep the edits in iMovie format on big external hard drives, awaiting the day when Apple finally rolls out a 1080p next-gen :apple:TV at which point I'll re-render all of my polished footage at the highest, most optimized 1080p resolution, then probably delete the iMovie files, and maybe the original AVC backups too. Basically, those 1080p edited files will become my new master files, and I'll maintain multi-backups of those files. I realize I could do this (render 1080p masters) now, but I am choosing to wait (for now) because I have the storage, and just in case a next-gen :apple:TV utilized some funky bit of compression advantage, I would rather render with that in place rather than hope a current render would be nearly optimized for whatever eventually shows up. In addition, my camcorder has 5.1 audio surround recording, but no easy way to get that into my "masters" if I created them now. More simply, I don't want to render a "master", then find I have to re-render again to take advantage of some tweak in the optimal settings for the next-gen :apple:TV, nor lose the 5.1 surround.
  18. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
    1. Entry-level Macs have been able to edit HD in a free consumer app since 2006 thanks to AIC transcoding. Year-old PCs with quad core CPUs have trouble doing a whole lot in native AVCHD. I frequent the boards, I read the complaints. FWIW, Sony's Vegas does seem ahead of the curve. Some others get by by using low res proxies to edit, but that's pretty ratty.

    2. AVCHD (MPEG4 etc) is not an editing codec. It is a delivery codec. It gets a pass as a capture codec, but professionals do not edit in it.

    3. The whole thing is a game of leapfrog. The only thing constant is change.
  19. Sharangad macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008
    A low end consumer video editing app called Super Loiloscope HD allows for real time renderless editing of AVC-HD and other forms of H.264 on any machine with a GPU with dedicated video decode acceleration (DXVA). I've tested this on a geforce 8800 GT based PC and it really does work well.

    It also has CUDA (i.e. OpenCL like ) GPU based encoding to H.264.
  20. Kallel00 macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2009
    Home Amateur Workflow with a Sony HDR-SR11 that films 1080i60 , using all free software :

    1)I import AVCHD in IMovie 09, do my project, then export uncompressed MOV file

    2)Use JES Deinterlacer to de-interlace video and convert it into a 720p60 file (very very smooth movement @ 60 frames per sec)

    3)Use MPEG Streamclip to convert into h.264 mp4 file

    Finished videos look just as good as the native AVCHD files played on my PS3. I lose surround sound however ;(
  21. bki122689 macrumors 6502


    Sep 18, 2008
    Listen just do this. AVCHD files work fine. Use log + transfer and then edit it by using a Proress codec.

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