How to mix HDV and AVCHD on the Same Final Cut Time line
Originally I planned to use Roxio’s Toast 10 to import AVCHD footage into HDV format video and then edit that, together with other actual HDV video, using Final Cut Pro version 5 (which does not support AVCHD).
However, the Toast 10 feature to import AVCHD and convert to other formats does not work – in fact, per Roxio support, the AVCHD import feature is broken and produces video that is not synchronized with the audio.
I have, however, found a work around that works well for me – and does not use Toast.
I am using iMovie to import the original AVCHD – this automatically transcodes to QuickTime movie files containing Apple Intermediate Code (AIC) encoding.
Then, run Final Cut Express HD (version 3.5.1). FCE HD supports HDV, it turns out, by converting HDV to AIC – so the clips are stored in AIC format. (Final Cut Pro, on the other hand, works with HDV encoding directly and so imports HDV as HDV.)
Next, import the video clips created by iMovie (in the Movies, Events folders – or other location if you chose a different location during import) into Final Cut Express HD. Once in your bin of clips, you can drag these clips directly to the FCE time line. Since the time line is set for AIC encoding, there is no need to render from one format to the other.
I am fortunate that I kept the older Final Cut Express HD on my computer after upgrading to Final Cut Pro. Combined with the new version of iMovie – which automatically handles AVCHD conversion to AIC – this works very slick.
I’m going to see about returning Toast 10 and getting a refund. Toast 10 is very buggy and some of the features claimed for the product on the Roxio web site do not actually work.
Separately, it is probably possible to import HDV and transcode to AIC in Final Cut Pro version 5. I haven’t tried that yet but I think of the option settings likely required to make that work. Then FCP could be used to do the same editing, all in AIC. (You can set the timeline codec to AIC so that you do not have to constantly render the video.)