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

How best to deal with AVCHD- "log and xfer" vs. Roxio Toast vs. other?

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Member Since: Apr 24, 2010
Posts: 18
john2in3 is on a distinguished road

john2in3 is offline
I've looked around a lot but not seen any answers to this question- what is the best way to deal with your AVCHD footage from a camcorder in FCP?? I mean the best way to create a library of AVCHD original footage that you can lookup and find stuff in later.

#1- On the HD camera the files are stored by date and time, in relevant subdirectories. If you import them into your PC (not mac) you can get M2ts (AVCHD) files sorted by date and time. So you have 1 directory of year, and sub of mont and sub of day and .m2ts files listed by date and time. Nothing else, no other directory structure.

#2 - On the Mac, I can do "log and transfer" from the camera (only the camera, not the disc with the files mentioned above) to get the AVCHD footage into Prores 422 for use with FCP, but if I do I loose the date in the filename and just get "Clip #1" and so on.

Using #1, I could use Roxio Toast with preserves the filename and will convert to Prores 422 and save in the destination of my choice. Roxio only needs the .m2ts file, does not require the whole directory structure like FCP. So if I "toast" #1, I get the files in sequential time order in Prores 422.

Using #2, I just get a list of files on the Mac in "clip #1" to "Clip #nn" and have to figure out where they are.

So my point is that working with AVCHD is kind of weird, what is the best way of maintaining your AVCHD libary? And associate prores editable library?
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Member Since: Feb 25, 2009
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Nethfel is a glorious beacon of lightNethfel is a glorious beacon of lightNethfel is a glorious beacon of lightNethfel is a glorious beacon of lightNethfel is a glorious beacon of lightNethfel is a glorious beacon of light
Mac Specs: Late 2013 rMBP, i7, 750m gpu, OSX versions 10.9.3, 10.10

Nethfel is offline
Everyone is different - it would seem to me - from the way you are describing, that you would prefer #1 using Toast.

I myself use a combination of methods. For one thing - all of my footage in a given AVCHD structure is related to a single event - ie: I don't have multiple separate unrelated clips prior to handling the footage. This gives me a few options which, depending on what exactly I plan to do, can be more flexible.

For me:

Option 1: Log and transfer my footage. Although it initially calls it "clip #1, clip #2, etc." it's no big deal to rename it in the log and transfer window and add any other relevant data prior to actually importing all of the clips. I almost NEVER leave it as a "clip #" naming structure of FCP (only time I do is when I'm experimenting with footage that I'm going to delete once I'm done with my experiment).

Option 2: If I don't need the footage in FCP immediately, I won't log and transfer for the main fact that the final file size in ProRES will be huge. There is one convenient fact about FCP - FCP will log and transfer AVCHD footage from any folder on your system AS LONG AS everything is left in the hierarchy. What I mean is - let's say I go and record the grand canyon. On my camcorders storage, there is a private folder that is the beginning of the AVCHD folder structure. On my long term storage drive, I can create a folder called "Grand Canyon 4-29-2010" and drag the top level folder from my camcorder into the folder I created. When I'm ready to use it, I can just fire up FCP, log and transfer - at the top there is a little icon that looks like a folder with a '+' on it, I click it and navigate to where my "Grand Canyon 4-29-2010" folder is and select it. FCP will then happily show me the footage and give me the option to import it into the current project. I don't know what kind of camcorder you have, but if you plan to try this method, take some test footage and try copying the folder over.

On the RARE occasion that I do end up with multiple, unrelated things in a single AVCHD hierarchy, and I don't want to log and transfer it, and naming a folder for everything would be awkward - I will take a few extra steps:

a) transfer the entire AVCHD folder to my HD into a temp folder.
b) On the camcorder, delete clips from all events but one
c) Transfer the new AVCHD folder into a folder specifically for that event
d) Copy the entire AVCHD folder from the temp folder back into the camera
e) Go back to B and repeat until all events are separate

This is just the way I do it and may not fit your mindset or methodologies. Everyone has a their own way of handling footage.

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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