Working with AVCHD on the Mac

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4 Responses

  1. Gyro says:

    You didn’t mention that once imported to iMovie, an AVCHD file becomes an AIC file and there is loss. If going at 60i, there will be a lot of loss as it will be converted and split scan by scan to half the original resolution. The only real solution is to use another program (as much as I like using iMovie as well).

  2. Yes, there is going to be some small amount of loss – while AIC is not a lossless codec, it is pretty good. That is, in part, because it throws a lot of bits at the transcoding and why AIC files are typically 3 to 5x larger than the original input files.

    The only other “best” alternatives that I know of are to buy the newest versions of Final Cut Pro (pricey) which includes their ProRes 422 codec, which is supposedly one of the best. The new versions of FCP can import the AVCHD file and transcode to ProRes.

    The other is to edit on Windows and use Sony Vegas – either the consumer version or the professional version. Sony Vegas edits AVCHD files directly and does not transcode, I believe, except for where it does transitions you add during editing.

    I get very good results going from AVCHD to either AIC or Photo JPEG compression. The 24p inverse telecine operation does add a 2nd transcode operation, however. Still, I am very pleased with my results when compared to an XH A1 shot and edited in native HDV/24p and both output to a large screen HDTV. If pause and examine the frames very carefully I can detect a tiny bit more sharpness in the XH A1 images – I can’t say, though, whether that is due to the sharper, larger lens of the XH A1 or because of the AVCHD transcoding process.

    There are two ways to avoid interlaced video with the HG10 – and this may work for other cameras too. The HG10 has only one progressive mode – 24p. It lacks 30p. However, if your subject is appropriate, you can manually set the shutter speed to 1/30th of a second and you will get real 30p due to how the camera operates.

    I virtually never shoot 60i anymore. Either 30p or 24p. I like using 24p especially for indoor, night and any other low light situation as we can lengthen the shutter to 1/24th of a second.

    Ed

  3. Yes, there is going to be some small amount of loss – while AIC is not a lossless codec, it is pretty good. That is, in part, because it throws a lot of bits at the transcoding and why AIC files are typically 3 to 5x larger than the original input files.

    The only other “best” alternatives that I know of are to buy the newest versions of Final Cut Pro (pricey) which includes their ProRes 422 codec, which is supposedly one of the best. The new versions of FCP can import the AVCHD file and transcode to ProRes.

    The other is to edit on Windows and use Sony Vegas – either the consumer version or the professional version. Sony Vegas edits AVCHD files directly and does not transcode, I believe, except for where it does transitions you add during editing.

    I get very good results going from AVCHD to either AIC or Photo JPEG compression. The 24p inverse telecine operation does add a 2nd transcode operation, however. Still, I am very pleased with my results when compared to an XH A1 shot and edited in native HDV/24p and both output to a large screen HDTV. If pause and examine the frames very carefully I can detect a tiny bit more sharpness in the XH A1 images – I can’t say, though, whether that is due to the sharper, larger lens of the XH A1 or because of the AVCHD transcoding process.

    There are two ways to avoid interlaced video with the HG10 – and this may work for other cameras too. The HG10 has only one progressive mode – 24p. It lacks 30p. However, if your subject is appropriate, you can manually set the shutter speed to 1/30th of a second and you will get real 30p due to how the camera operates.

    I virtually never shoot 60i anymore. Either 30p or 24p. I like using 24p especially for indoor, night and any other low light situation as we can lengthen the shutter to 1/24th of a second.

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