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Movies and Video For people making movies and editing video with their Mac.

Will my macbook be able to handle AVCHD footage?


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jelin94

 
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I have a 2.4 GHz 2GB OSX macbook and I am deciding between a minidv and a flash/harddrive HD camera. I have heard that AVCHD footage is really hard for computers to handle, and I am wondering if it would be better to get minidv.
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HELIOPOLIS

 
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I'm struggling at the minute with AVCHD at the minute...I bought a jvc everio hd and so far VLC plays the files but cant find a free converter just yet...I may have to spend money...
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Kevriano

 
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Playing isn't an issue, converting, as mentioned, is another thing.
There are converters out there, but they cost (a fair bit too~).

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jelin94

 
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Well I would be using Final Cut Express which I think can process that, can't it?
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Nethfel

 
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Yes, you will have no problems. Final Cut Express doesn't actually edit AVCHD, it imports it and converts it to Apple Intermediate Codec, which is a much more editing friendly HD supporting codec.

Your biggest problem will be storage. For doing that type of work AIC takes a lot more space then AVCHD. figure a multiple of 3-7x the file storage size for a single video file, then multiply that by 3 or 4 to account for working space.

So, for example, let's say you have videos to import, the videos total about 6 gig on your camcorder, they will take 18 - 42 gigs of hard drive space just to import the footage.

Figuring 3 to 4x that for editing space, you're gonna need between 54 and 168 gig to edit the video.

Editing HD isn't for the feint of heart, nor for those that don't have plenty of available storage. Also, you'll want to use a drive separate from your internal boot drive of your MacBook, preferably a firewire drive (you can work with a USB drive, if its fast enough and the computer and external drive adapter will work well at usb 2.0 speeds. It's not always the most pleasant situation as you will spend a lot of time letting the system render, and you may have some jitters when initiating playback, but it will work (I know this because I have to edit on my macbook at times with a USB drive connected. I don't use a lot of simultaneous video tracks for many projects, so I usually don't have to worry about multiple simultaneous video streams that would require a rendering every time I changed something. I'm sure that BenB would like to crucify me for saying that, but I know what works and what won't for my setup - don't get me wrong, I'm not recommending using a USB drive for your scratch drive, I prefer to use my hoss Mac at home with multiple internal Sata drive and external firewire 800 drives, but I'm not always at home when I need to edit - I'm just saying you can if you have to, it just won't always be the best of experiences.)

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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lol mahmood

 
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Voltaic converts AVCHD to avi and I think it's only $30 or so. I'm currently using a Panasonic ZS3 (which records video in AVCHD Lite) and iMovie HD 06 on a 2.4 ghz MacBook. I drag the mts files off the SDHC card through a card reader, convert them to Mp4 with Handbrake (freeware) and then open iMovie and import.

I've just bought FCE 4 and a three year old 2.4 ghz, 15.4" MacBook Pro off Ebay, so I'll be experiencing the joys of AIC in due course!
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Nethfel

 
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The nice thing with FCE tho, vs using the voltaic method -

1) it converts straight to AIC
2) It's a LOT faster
3) There's no need to use Voltaic, which is good because if you don't have your setting right in voltaic for the output, FCE will have to transcode again to use the footage, which is not cool as you don't want to be continuously transcoding.

For using with iMovie 06 which may not support a given camera, yeah, using voltaic or something else is one of the only options, but with FCE or a newer version of iMovie, you shouldn't need to use Voltaic.

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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compura

 
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imovie is your answer.While importing it also converts to aic.Avchd is not really supported as native,but as converted yes,like imovie does it.Files are much bigger,but after editing you can export to any number of codecs,say .h264,mpeg4,and your movie again is smaller in size,and has the original quality.
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Trolle

 
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I have a Canon HD camera with AVCHD that works flawlessly in iMovie. I have had no problems importing video from the camera. However, the only major drawback to AVCHD is that previously recorded material that I have stored on my hard drive bypassing iMovie CANNOT be imported. That means that video that I have imported off of my SD card onto my hard drive (i.e. copied the file rather than imported) is no longer material that I can use. That is a major drawback of the software, and I have yet to find a solution.
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Nethfel

 
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The solution to your problem Trolle is to convert it to another format via software then import that video into iMovie. Take a look at one of these to convert your footage:

mpegstreamclip
handbrake
voltaicHD (costs money)

you can convert the .mts, .ts or .m2ts into .mov or .mp4 then import into iMovie. You'll need to tweak the settings to get the best results.

My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Debian as a server; Apple TV (1080p version)
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lol mahmood

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethfel View Post
The solution to your problem Trolle is to convert it to another format via software then import that video into iMovie. Take a look at one of these to convert your footage:

mpegstreamclip
handbrake
voltaicHD (costs money)

you can convert the .mts, .ts or .m2ts into .mov or .mp4 then import into iMovie. You'll need to tweak the settings to get the best results.
There's also a Windows only freeware called Free HD Converter, published by Koyote. I've been using that for converting AVCHD lite footage on on my Windows laptop (and Handbrake for converting it on my Mac) but I'm sure you could install it on Windows on a Mac.
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