Why can't Premiere Pro and Final Cut Express import my AVCHD files?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Taustin Powers, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. Taustin Powers macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2005
    I tried using Premiere Pro CS4, and now Final Cut Express 4. Both programs pride themselves with their ability to process the AVCHD format, but I can't for the life of me get them to import these files. I have tried with .mts format video clips from a Panasonic camcorder and a Sony Camera. All files are on my hard drive, VLC can play them.

    What am I missing?? Is OSX missing a codec that I need to install or something? Running Snow Leopard, fully updated.

    Please help, I need to make a DVD as a christmas present! :(
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    You normally import the files directly from the camera, not after you copied it to your HDD and import them from there.
    You may need to use some third party software to import the .mts files, maybe Advanced Search can help you, as this is a regular topic:

  3. sunderland2011 macrumors newbie

    Sep 15, 2011
    Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    Download a AIC codec

    All Mac OS X software which makes use of the QuickTime codec libraries - primarily Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Express, and iMovie use the Apple Intermediate codec(AIC), just download such a codec and then have a try again.
  4. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    That is rubbish. iMovie and Final Cut Express use the Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC), thus it should already be installed. Final Cut Pro, coming with Final Cut Studio, uses the Pro Res codecs primarily.
    And even if AIC is missing, that wouldn't help either, as AVCHD footage uses MPEG-4 codecs, like H.264 for example, to compress its footage.
    But as AVCHD camcorders use a specific file/folder structure to store the video on whatever storage device is used (SD card, ...), it gets complicated if one just copies the .mts files off the card and just wants to import the .mts files, as FCE and Premiere Pro want their AVCHD footage coming directly from the camcorder.
  5. mkjj macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2003
    Use iMovie!

    Works great with my video and digital cameras with .mts files.

    Try them straight from the camera if you cant import them from you HD
  6. mBox macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Im sure this has been mentioned before, can MPEG StreamClip convert this?
    Ive done MTS conversions using MainConcept but not with MPEG.
  7. Taustin Powers thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2005
    Thanks for the feedback. That is a major pain that the programs want the clips directly from the camera. I copied some clips from my sister's video camera's sd card, and now I can't use them since I don't have the camera on hand?? :mad:

    I ended up using the Adobe Media Encoder to convert them to .mov files. In turn, these can be used in both programs...but really, this is annoying. These are expensive programs. Why can't they read those files when taken out of their original folder structure? VLC sure can, and Media Encoder seemed to have everything it needed to make functional .mov files. :confused:
  8. martinX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 11, 2009
    Yep. The whole "digital video" thing has been royally screwed up if you ask me. What could be simple (digital file on disc simply plays back and can be pulled off equally easily) is way too hard.

    If I had a dollar for each time I have explained to someone that the VOB files they see on the disc don't exactly correspond to a discrete video file ... oh, wait, I do have a dollar for each time I explained that. This complexity gives me a job :D

    Take a look at what Shed Worx has to offer if you are going to be doing this on a regular basis.
  9. JKNorth, Dec 24, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2011

    JKNorth macrumors member

    Dec 31, 2010
    FCE can absolutely import AVCHD from media outside of the camera. I do it all the time. Because extracting to AIC increases the file size enormously, I keep my raw video files in the AVCHD format to save storage space.

    The trick, as someone alluded to earlier, is that the entire file structure has to remain intact. You can't import just a .mts file. Make a copy of the entire SD card leaving the file structure intact. Put that copy in a folder wherever you like and point Log and Transfer to that folder when you import. Voila, you should see all the clips.

    Hope that helps.

    Edit: I should add that your manufacturer might help you with the file structure. I learned from a Panasonic white paper that, at least for their cameras, the "PRIVATE" folder is the top level of the AVCHD structure, and that folder plus contents of all sub-folders is all you need for the video. I only mention this because at the root of the SD card is a DCIM folder which is where the camera stores still pictures. If you have a lot, you probably don't want to store a duplicate of those files in your video archives.

    So in my particular case, using a Panasonic TM700 I copy the "PRIVATE" folder to my 2TB external drive. When I'm ready to use the video, I point FCE's Log and Transfer to that folder and all my clips are there. On that drive I have them organized by date as to when I copied the SD card, so it looks like Video Storage>24-Dec-11>Private.

    You can actually re-name "PRIVATE" to something else that makes sense to you, just don't change anything within that folder.
  10. Kevin Monahan macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2011
  11. simsaladimbamba, Jan 16, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2012


    Nov 28, 2010
    Yeah, I was just posting a link to the guide for Final Cut users or people, who did find this thread via searching. But thanks for the link. I even tried Premiere Pro yesterday, but since it became Pro I can't get into it somehow, even after getting to know AE over the past year.
    And I actually started editing with premiere, with version 5 if I remember correctly, but since moving to Avid, it is hard for me to get back to Premiere or even FCP (X and older).

    A bit off-topic, but concerning Premiere:
    As I installed the trial yesterday (CS 5, of which I still had the installer somewhere, thus no need to download 5.5), Adobe Updater informed me about an update to 11.04 or something similar. It also informed me a bit, what the update is good for, but before getting to the part, where actual and useful information is listed, I get the LEARN MORE weblink, which does not have any info about Premiere Pro, only Premiere Elements and many other Adobe applications. I gather Adobe is still an upcoming company, which can't afford that much webspace and people to create webpages, but having a dedicated update information page per application would be nice, and not some generic UPDATES page.
    Yeah, that is my rant.
  12. Kevin Monahan macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2011
    Premiere Pro CS5/CS5.5 and After Effects CS5/CS5.5 are 64bit applications and can only be used with Snow Leopard (MacOS) and Windows 7 (Windows). Perhaps this is the trouble you had?

    I understand. You might find it like riding a bike, though.

    CS5.5 would be better, as it includes all the codecs you'd need. With CS5, that is not the case. CS5.5 is a better experience for the customer.

    There is a menu at the top of the page to get to the Premiere Pro downloads.

    Sorry that wasn't a good experience for you. You can voice your complaint here: http://www.adobe.com/go/wish

    Next time, try going to the Help menu for Premiere Pro and simply select: "Update".
  13. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Thanks for the detailed response.
    I haven't had any trouble, configuration wise. I use 10.6.8 and the application was running okay. It was just the new interface (which hasn't changed that much since 5) and its handling of editing and tracks I found discomforting.
    I guess I am just too used to Avid MC now, where I can edit quite quickly (though there are a lot of people who can even do it faster) and know all the shortcuts I defined. I don't even need an Avid keyboard anymore, though it helps to have one sometimes with standard user settings.
    It was just for testing purposes, nothing else. But if I ever try to seriously get to know Premiere again, I will use the latest version.
    Didn't see that, thanks.
    It was more a PEBKAC issue, as I understand it now.

    That is how I started the Application Manager again, which isn't shown via Alfred nor Spotlight.

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