HF10 / HF100 AVCHD & Mac Advice

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by bennyboi, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. bennyboi macrumors regular


    Jun 1, 2006
    West Coast
    Hi all,
    I found a way to archive Canon HF10 / HF100 AVCHD footage (without conversion) and at the same time view the footage anytime I want without the camera hooked up. Also, I can view multiple archives in the FCP Log & Transfer window at once again with no camera or card reader! Let's Read on!

    For those happy with the current workflow provided by iMovie & FCP, don't read on. It gets a tinge complicated, but no sweat for regulars here at macrumors!

    Ok- for tutorial's sake, let's pretend we took our AVCHD HF10 OR HF 100 cameras on a 3 day shoot for vacation, and we have a macbook with FCE / FCP / iMovie.
    Day 1: Monterey, CA.
    Day 2: San Fran, CA.
    Day 3: Napa, CA

    Day 1: Ok. You get to your hotel end of Day 1. You're with the lady, so you don't want a lengthy log and transfer process to occur. Create a folder on your desktop called Day 1. Simply plug in camera, and the "CANON" disk mounts on your hard drive. Open it, and drag the 1st folder (it should say AVCHD) into a folder on a desktop. It may take 20-30 minutes to copy, no sweat. Tend to the lady. Afterwards, unmount drive, erase camera contents for next day's shoot, and charge that ghastly 1 hr battery (i bought 2x 2hr batteries from B&H).

    Day 2: Repeat process. Camera contents dragged onto desktop folder "Day 2" no use for iMovie or FCP yet. Enjoy your vacation!

    Day 3: Shoot, Dump, Go home. Tell lady you're going to make the best video ever!

    Return to your sun-less lair. We're going to make "Disk Images" or dmg's of what we just shot. When these "disks" are mounted, FCP will "think" we have three HF10's mounted and allow us to view all three days simultaneously. We can log at will, not convert anything yet, and save our logging progress until next logging session!
    Additional advantages: You can be shooting or charging the camera's battery while footage is safe & sound, ready to be logged and tranferred.

    1) Open folder "Day 1." Get info on 1st AVCHD folder- note the SIZE of the data. Repeat for Day 2 & Day 3. We need to know the SIZE of the data. Let's pretend Day 1's size was 6.2 GB

    2) Now, open up Disk Utility (applications > Utilities > Disk Utility).
    Create a new disk image. When the dialogue pops up, offering you a 40 megabyte disk image, tell it you would like a "custom" size, and enter whatever Day 1's size was (6.2 GB, but actually, add about .1 GB for lame ghost data, please, so 6.3 GB). Also, name the disk image "Day 1." Depending on space, you may want to create the disk image on an external drive.

    3) The disk image will take a few minutes to create itself. Once it is created, it will mount itself like a disk on your desktop. Now, open the "Day 1" folder on your desktop and it will reveal the AVCHD folder. Drag that onto your "Day 1" disk image (wait for copy). Launch FCP or iMovie, then the log & transfer to test. I had problems with getting the right AVCHD folder at the 1st level of the disk image. For the HF10, the folder hierarchy should follow: AVCHD > (then 3 folders) AVCHDTN, BDMV, and CANON. Sometimes there was an annoying AVCHD folder at the 1st level that had the real AVCHD folder I needed, so I just moved it around. It's not as hard as I probably just made it out to be. If it doesn't make sense, Read it twice, it's very easy I promise.

    4) Repeat for Day 2, and Day 3. Remember: The folder hierarchy should go AVCHD > (3 Folders in here) AVCHDTN, BDMV, CANON. Drag Day 2's content into the Day 2 disk image, same for Day 3.

    Now you should have 3 disk images (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3).
    When I launch FCP, then launch Log & Transfer, it recognizes all 3 disk images, and as a bonus, assigns the disk name to each clip's reel. So now if I log and transfer something from Day 1, it knows automatically it's from "Day 1."

    You can now delete the footage off your desktop (but not the disk images you created!). If you unmount the disk images, just find the dmg you created earlier, double click, and mount right back up.

    So in this vacation video of which we shot 3 days of material, we're going to be responsible and go through our Log & Transfer window and select and properly label ONLY the clips we want. Then we transfer. We just saved a lot of space by not transferring EVERYTHING! If we want to go back later and look for a shot we didn't think we need, mount up the disk images and return to find them. Keep the camera in the closet :)

    Word of caution: Whether we have a camera hooked up or disk images, FCP crashes often when intensely viewing material in Log & Transfer. So after each clip we set in & out points for and label, SAVE ALL (or option/apple/s). If it crashes and comes back, It remembers our progress. I enjoy labeling, setting in and out points, and moving on, then mass transferring as I go to bed or leave for the market. Always creates a much more organized project this way too. :cool:

    To me, this process made sense. I've done tape for years and enjoyed it. But I'm loving the hard drive process / experience. And creating these DMG's as ways to archive + log & transfer have really sealed the deal in terms of cost/convenience/time.

    Hope this helps anyone out there with these cameras. The AVCHD format is new and wacky, but joyous! Good Luck!!!
  2. andy603 macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2007

    Clearly you've taken some time to think about this. everything in your post sounds logical. Unfortunately, I don't have FCP or I'd try it..I'm a lowly iMovie customer only but also have an HF10 and have been struggling with the native download/playback issues as well. My plight is a bit more, shall I say, complicated because I apparently am the only human on the planet interested in actually putting the downloaded footage back on to my HF10 for later playback on my HDTV. I'm apparently the only person that doesn't have the time to burn a DVD to view things and thinks that simply finding the clip I want and copying it back to the camera is the fastest fix to get my kids to stop screaming "I want to see a video of ME!!".

    That said, the ONLY way I've been able to put the clips back on and WORK (putting them back is the easy part) is to use the WIndow's ImageMixer program that came with the HF10 via my Windows VM running under Parallels. This actually does do the job. Cleary there is some secret sauce being used to encode/decode/re-encode the .MTS to Mt2S and back to .MTS as well as proper handing of the sub directories, etc being done inside ImageMixer that a normal human can't replicate. iMovie cant for sure.

    The problem with using this method is that I now have to copy down my clips twice. Once for being able to re-load them later via ImageMixer-and the second to save the raw .MTS for later playback/editing/burning with iMovie, Toast 9, etc. The 2 are seemingly incompatible with one another.

    I'd love for someone to educate me on how I can do this more easily and ONCE. Wouldn't it be cool if I simply plugged my camera in to my Mac and it automatically downloaded my new clips, allowed me to rename them as appropriate, store them in the same compressed format they are in on the camera, allow me to edit that compressed format, save, burn to BlueRay or put back onto the camera and view them...Maybe some day....

    Isn't it ironic that the camera the size of a coke can seemingly has more horsepower than my MacPro with 3Ghz and 4GB of memory?

    Sadly, my lady has already gone because I've spent WAY too much time on this project. The only thing I'll be mounting tonite is my AVCHD directory :(
  3. bennyboi thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 1, 2006
    West Coast
    Ha! Ok, well- have patience my friend. I've heard but have no links or resources about mac playing nicer with AVCHD sometime around March, hopefully sooner.

    After shooting, can you just drag the camera's directory onto an external drive, and when the kids want to see themselves, drop the directory back on the camera, and play in cam connected to tv? Or even better, follow my recent post and load it up in iMovie using my Disk Image trick? It will be playing the clips of them before the transcode ever takes place. They just have to watch on your mac, in a probably smaller window. I promise the Disk Image trick is really easy no matter how complicated I made it seem. I just tried to be detailed.
    Basically at the end of the day, you'll have archives of the AVCHD footage on a drive only to be viewed in iMovie. From iMovie, you can choose to transcode, then edit/burn at will. How does that sound? I'm pretty sure the disk image trick works with iMovie. :)
  4. andy603 macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2007
    Well, your trick worked fabulously in iMovie. After loading the disk image, I launched iMovie and it automatically launched the import window and I swithed to disk image and bingo.

    HOWEVER......I have already downloaded several .mts files to my hard drive over the past week prior to your excellent post and did NOT maintain the directory structure (just dropped the .mts files in my my movies folder). I CANNOT seem to be able to import these files into iMovie because they remain greyed-out. I posted this problem on Apple support forum but the one response I received didn't work. Is there a need to maintain this directory structure for some weird reason? Isn't an .mts file simply an .mts file, no matter where it is? Any clues?? fyi, here's the thread at the Apple forum: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=7544683
  5. andy603 macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2007
    moving AVCHD back to the camera wont work

    Forgot to add, I cannot put the AVCHD directory and its sub directories back on to the camera. I get an error "The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items."

    Any clue what the prob is? thx!
  6. andy603 macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2007
    got the transfer to work back to the cam!

    So instead of copying the entire AVCHD Dir and the 3 subs (AVCHDTN, BDMV and CANON) I went and tried each subd separately. The subd that caused the write error problem was the CANON one. So I experimented and by simply copying back the other 2 subd my clips were in tact back on the cam and played back as if they had never left in the first place!

    Word of caution, if you try this make sure you delete those scenes right after you view them before you record new footage since I expect that there could end up being some conflicts when you try to download the new footage to your computer.

    I still have the original problem as it relates to viewing existing .mts on my harddrive with iMovie import being greyed out....

    Hope this helps anyone trying to do this!
  7. peestandingup macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2006
    No offense, but this isnt an archive solution at all because you left the disk images on your desktop with no backup solution. Guess what happens when you have a hard drive failure?? Poof, goodbye memories.

    I use an 8GB SDHC card with my HF100. Best way of archiving I've found is when I fill up my card, mount it on the desktop & use Disk Utility>File>New>"Disk Image from" option to clone the image, then back that image up to a dual layer DVD, which is the perfect size for 8GB cards. It will mount the same way afterwards as the card does, readable from all the movie editing apps.

    Its also a good idea to back the image up to an external hard drive as well.
  8. andy603 macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2007
    I do use backup

    On the contrary, I use both Time Machine to an external HDD backup and SuperDuper to an internal secondary drive to mirror my entire disk image. Anyone who doesn't at least do one of these things is asking for trouble, I totally agree!
  9. peestandingup macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2006
    I was referring to the original post. :)
  10. muski macrumors newbie

    Jul 24, 2008
    Save a step

    First, thanks -- a very helpful post.

    One idea to save a step. Rather than copying the AVCHD Dir to the desktop first, after you have mounted the card/camera you can just do a get info on the CANON card and see how much data is on the card. Then you can immediately create the disk image with this size info and then copy the AVCHD Dir once, rather than twice. (Probably a good idea to round up a bit as the original post said).

    BTW, for anyone with a MacBook Pro, there is a really nice Delkin ExpressCard 34 reader that is a much, much faster way to get data off SD cards than using the USB cable. (It fits in that slot next to the headphone jack). It's $39.75 and worth every penny. See:


    I swear by mine (and use it for reading my Canon G9 SD card, too).

  11. edgley macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008

    New mac user here.
    I cannot get iMovie to import from either the camera nor the files off of a disk image.
    If I choose camera it says it cannot find it (even though both disk icons are on the desktop). And if I choose movie it wont select the directory, and doesnt import upon mounting.

    Any pointers please?

  12. Courtaj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2008
    Edinburgh, U.K.
    How very helpful.

    I'm assuming that since you're posting in this thread that you're a HF10 / HF100 user, but which version of iMovie are you using? If it's iMovie HD, then that's your problem (as iMovie HD won't import AVCHD over USB or from .dmg, IMHO FWIW SNAFU).

    On the other hand, if it's iMovie 08 it should work. Perhaps you could let us know.
  13. edgley macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    I would be more than glad to let you know :)

    I do have a HF10 and am running iMovie 08, 7.1.4

    As mentioned, the disks do get mounted, but only as USB, and I choose the PC option on the camera when it asks for the USB mode.

  14. edgley macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    I've just tried connecting the camera to my laptop; and it doesnt work there either. Just get the disk icons on the desktop; that too is running iMovie 08.

    Its almost like it needs a driver for it, but there isn't one for this camera.

    The camera is listed in System Profiler.
  15. saulatz macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2008
    just curious

    very nice write-up.. i just have a quick question. why use .dmg image file to hold the folders & files? why cant just backup directly the folder without any image file holder? My FCE can directly see the copied AVCHD folder....
  16. edgley macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    Did you install anything else to let it do that?
    The Canon software for example?

  17. saulatz macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2008
    nope. no additional software. i just copied the BDMV directory to the macbook & it can be seen directly in the FCE. I can then perform "log & transfer" & can transcode the clips, but of course the size increaes dramatically. I dont know of any native player for mac to play directly the mts files to be seen on my projector, without first transcoding them or opening them in FCE. I tried VLC player but somhow its crashing if I tried to play mts files.

  18. edgley macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    I've tried that and it wont let me.
    I gave up PC cos of problems like this, not that I ever had a problem playing clips on Windoze. Just added the COREav x264 decoder and off it worked.
  19. saulatz macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2008
    did u tried to have the same directorz structure... ? u can have the BDMV folder in any directory but it has to be name as BDMV. Just open FCE. Go to "log and transfer" & when opening the media, choose the BDMV folder you want... i hope it works for u

    COREAV is for windows only. i havent found any for mac...
  20. bobbleheadbob macrumors 6502a


    Feb 6, 2007
    Very interesting post from the OP. I'm going to try this later.

    But my bigger question is when are we going to get better support for the AVCHD format from :apple:?! :( Wasn't it over a year ago the Mr. Jobs was bragging about using his AVCHD camcorder with the then-new iMovie 08?! WUWT? :confused:

    Muski - thanks for the tip on the Delkin-express, too!
  21. edgley macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    If I point FCE to the BDMV directory I get:
    "BDMV contains unsupported media or has an invalid directory structure" error
  22. edgley macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2008
    I might be finding it iMpossible to get it to work nativity, but I do now have it working and with just the .mts files too.

    I found this software:

    Which converts into a .mov.
    Initial look at quality seems okay and file size went from 37mb to 168mb
  23. dandipaola macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2008
    HotArchiveSolution ...HowAboutDroppedFrames?

    I love the work around for the what do I do when I don't have enough Expensive memory chips to run wild here in Italy after spending 20k to get here. 10 points, thankyou for the great instructions ....

    My real concern is what the hell is going on with the frame rates out of the canon. Questions below.

    1)In the HF 10 is the 24p real?
    2)Can iMovie read a real 24p?
    3)What does degraded movie mean when I capture @ 1080 in iMovie?
    4)If this is all smoke blown up my skirt from canon's marketing team about Apple compliance does anyone know who I can seriously beat about the head and groin @ Canon?
    5)Please tell my this is all a bad dream, my wife will be killing me slowly for the investment in the Canon HF 10. I had to barter my Harley in the garage against a great video of our family Euorpean tour. I will miss my bike dearly...

    Dazed, Confused and really pissed off:eek::(:confused::mad:
  24. Mit59 macrumors newbie

    Aug 8, 2008

    Is there a reason you specifically need 24p?

    I'd think that 60i (the default) is ideal for fast-panning and scampering children which is most of what my holiday vids seem to show.
    Personally I like 30p for the combination of movement and low light.
    I still haven't messed with 24p.

    Who said "degraded movie" wrt importing into iMovie? Was this in respect to 24p or could it be the common misconception that iMovie (AIC specifically) doesn't support 1920x1080?


Share This Page