G5 not compatible with AVCHD?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by willbrink, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. willbrink macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2008
    After great success with my old Sony DCR-HC28 cam in SD, I decided it was time to step up to a better cam in HD. Got a Sony HDR-SR10.

    When I attempt t download the vid, I get this prompt:

    "An Intel-based Core Duo Macintosh is required to capture AVCHD video; try changing your camcorder settings to standard definition."

    Now this is not exactly an old Mac. I have:

    Machine Name: Power Mac G5
    Machine Model: PowerMac11,2
    CPU Type: PowerPC G5 (1.1)
    Number Of CPUs: 2
    CPU Speed: 2 GHz
    L2 Cache (per CPU): 1 MB
    Memory: 3 GB
    Bus Speed: 1 GHz

    Running OSX 10.4.11 using IMovie 08.

    Now, I have no reason to set it to SD and own an HD cam. Might as well just get another SD cam and save the $$$.

    Can't believe a dual CPU G5 can't deal with AVCHD vid. And if not, why do I have Imovie HD on my machine??!!

    Am I screwed here? If I am, what high quality SD cam (say in the $400-$500 range) have you all had good experiences with on Mac and IMovie?

  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    AVCHD is a brand new, super compressed, super CPU intensive codec. Although disappointing it's not a big surprise that a 3 year old computer would choke on it. Grab yourself an HDV based camera and you won't have to give up HD or your G5.

  3. Courtaj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2008
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    Have you tried using Voltaic to get the HD vid into your machine? Converts AVCHD to AIC and you're good to go.
  4. willbrink thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2008
    Have not tried that. Big PITA? Does work on my Mac lap top, but I find the screen way to small for vid editing/production work to be useful. Need the bigger screen on my desk top.
  5. LukeG macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2008
    Sydney, Australia
    Because the codec is so processor-intensive, it requires an intel mac.

    One solution is to capture on your mac laptop and convert the files to another format (AIC, PhotoJPEG, ProRes) for editing on your G5.
  6. willbrink thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2008
    Too much work to be worth it. I'm going to grab another HDV and live with that for now I guess. Thanx for the help gang.
  7. -DH macrumors 65816

    Nov 28, 2006
    Nashville Tennessee
    And I can't believe that my DVDs won't play in my old VHS VCR. I mean it was built to play video so why won't it play it from the discs? ;-)

    My point being that technology keeps moving on and our older gear won't always be compatible with newer technology. If you haven't come to grips with that yet, you're in for a frustrating ride.

  8. turtlebud macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2002
    G5 owner should just wait for now?

    We were ready to upgrade our sony trv-25 (miniDV) and go to the canon HF100. My main computer is currently a dual core 2.0 G5. Thus on doing my research, I found that the AVCHD files were not easily readible (or easy to work with - ie, it takes a long time) with my G5.

    Our main reason for upgrading are size and weight. The sony is just too heavy and big which makes it tiring to hold when we are trying to capture all our family moments. The fact that it records in HD is an added perk, but not a deal maker.

    I've seen a number of debates on miniDV vs AVCHD and it seems to be split down the middle in terms of preference. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to buy a miniDV HD camcorder like the canon HV30 just so that I can record in HD since it seems like miniDV is probably on it's last legs (correct me if I'm wrong) and I don't want to invest in a technology that's going to be outdated soon.

    On the other hand, it seems like widespread support for AVCHD isn't really there yet. Yes, iMovie & FCE can handle it by transcoding it first, but it's rather processor/memory intensive (which is my understanding of why it doesn't work with the G5). I'm inclined to stick with the sony for now and maybe upgrade the camcorder when I upgrade my G5 with the hope that AVCHD will be more ubiquitous by then and the media (SDHC & hard drives for backup) will be cheaper by then.

    I wanted to get some opinions on what people though on the whole thing.

  9. Courtaj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2008
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    The sleeping issue here is that once you've converted AVCHD into an editable format (AIC for example) it's no more or less of a job to handle than converted HDV. C2D Intel Macs are recommended as "bare minimum" for handling HD, but there are third-party applications which perform the AVCHD -> AIC conversion on PPC Macs. The main side-effect though is how slow applications like Voltaic are (approximately 12x clip time!!!).

    My advice would be to at least buy a cheap SD card and fire off some sample clips on a demo camcorder in a store, import the clips into your G5, download a trial version of Voltaic or equivalent, run the conversion and see how you get on in iMovie.

    The other points you raise (ubiquity of AVCHD, cost of media) are, of course, unrelated to the compatibility issue (e.g., AVCHD is supported by Apple, though not "natively" - only PC editing packages give you the native option for now, but you need a demon processor to make it happen), and you'll have to decide whether these are deal-breakers for you or not.

    Personally, it was the right time for me to get into AVCHD, and I made the same call as you, i.e. not to get into HD with an HDV camera. But the format is still developing, and there's no harm in waiting to see what's around the corner.


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