Tag Archives: Final Cut Pro

Widely reported problems with Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.2 update

Apple just introduced updates to Final Cut Pro X,  Compressor and Motion. Many who have installed the updates report that Final Cut Pro X is no longer working with AVCHD files created by at least some Panasonic cameras, and reports that some Red Epic files are not working either. There are some indications this impacts 1080p 30 fps files only; however, that is probably the most popular video format for AVCHD!

Read through the Apple Support Community discussion thread for more info:

after 10.2 update- imported clips displaying black | Apple Support Communities.

I updated a Macbook Pro to OS X 10.10.3, and installed the FCPX, Compressor and Motion updates. My 1080p60 and 3840p30 (Ultra HD) clips, all shot on a Lumix GH-4 (Panasonic camera) are all working okay, so far. I have not tested 1080p30 files.


Converting individual .MTS AVCHD files on Mac OS X

I have deleted much of this original post since it was not that useful.

Until Final Cut Pro X, Apple did not support AVCHD file formats well. Importing an AVCHD file involved a time consuming and file expanding conversion from AVCHD to either Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) or ProRes codec.  The files are often 3 to 5x larger than their originals. The only benefit was the editing was faster than if the files were still in AVCHD format. And you had to import from the original camera folders – the whole package – you could not import individual .mts files.

Since FCP cannot import individual MTS files (not part of the original file folder layout), I came up with some alternatives.


If you have a very fast Internet connection, just drag the .mts file directly from the camera and upload to Youtube.  When the upload is finished and processing at Youtube is finished, you can use Youtube’s new editing tools to trim your video.


  • Your files are going be encoded (in the camera) at data rates of 17 to 24 Mbps, which means they will be large. If you have a long video or a slow Internet connection, this may not be the preferred method.

Option 2 – Converting to MP4

Use SmartConverter (free version is okay for this) to extract the MP4 video stream that is hidden inside the AVCHD stream.  The conversion will take seconds or tens of seconds – its fast! – and the file will appear in Movies\SmartConverter.  No transcode has taken place – what you have in your MP4 file is the original bits hidden in the AVCHD file. You can edit the MP4 file but rendering is really slow.

Option 3 – Use FCP7 to Log and Transfer

Standard feature of FCP. Requires the original full camera folder layout. Does not work with individual .mts files.

Option 3A – Use iMovie 8 or newer

Import the files and convert them to huge AIC files. Does not work with individual MTS files.

Option 4 – NEED to convert a single MTS file

Use VoltaicHD from Shedworx.com if you need to convert individual MTS files.

Option 4 A:

Use SmartConverter to convert the .mts to a .mp4 or mov file containing h.264.

Open clip in QT7 Pro (doesn’t seem to work in QT X). Trim as needed. Export to ProRes 422 (LT).

Import clip into FCP and add titles, transitions, overlays, etc, as needed.

Export to Elgato Turbo.264 HD device for fastest conversion to an mp4 file for upload.

Option 4B – Use Turbo.264 HD

You can now use the Turbo.264 HD software to import directly from the camera (AVCHD), and you can mark some editing/trim locations. Turbo.264 HD will import, cut as desired, then re-assemble the pieces into your desired .mp4 output file. See the instruction manual for details.

If you do not have a quad core processor and you do a lot of conversions of video to 720p (in particular) or 1080p, Turbo.264 HD is a great product. It really does speed up the conversion process quite a bit. You can also batch up a whole set of files to convert, then walk away while it does all the work. Keep in mind that the maximum mp4 output bit rate is limited 10 Mbps. That’s fine for 720p but not so good for much 1080p video.

Why not use the famous MPEG Streamclip? Every time I tried to output through the Turbo 264 device, the file ended up with the wrong dimensions.

Bottom line – its possible to work with individual .MTS files. Would be nice of Apple and others had direct AVCHD support without doing file conversions or FCP X, which was late to the game. I do not have FCP X and do not plan to install on my notebook as it is not compatible with my FCP7 projects.

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Digital still photography

Until now, most of my still photography was mostly family and vacation snapshots with only a bit being serious still photography. Most of my photography has been at 30 frames per second.

As a very happy owner of a Panasonic Lumix GH-2 – which I bought for video work, of course – I am now getting interested in still photography once again. I say “once again” since I had (and still have) a darkroom that has not been used much in recent years. In other words, I used to do lots of still photography.

This week I joined the 21st century and begin working with RAW images. Having not been shooting and editing RAW images until now makes me feel like, well, a dork.

I downloaded the trial versions of Adobe Lightroom and Apple’s Aperture. I like both of them and especially like the electronic download price for Aperture ($80 at the Mac App store).

Unfortunately, after I imported an iPhoto library the program began crashing and bogged down to unbelievably slow, even after applying a number of tricks that do improve the speed. But the crashes, and Apple’s creating confusion about its professional products with the release of FCP X have some thinking that Apple may not continue on with Aperture. Since the release of version 3 – which was buggy and suffered from slow performance – their sales plummeted. Most of those problems have been fixed in 3.1 and it seems the new $80 price point might be an attempt to win back market share – or at least test if there is a market for Apple at that price. Who knows?

Regarding Final Cut Pro X – its billed as a successor, and therefore, presumably upgrade, to Final Cut Pro 7. But they left out sufficient features that many think it is a downgrade and are not happy with FCPX. Thousands of professionals have signed a petition to Apple asking them to re-instate FCP 7. They have good reasons to complain. FCP X drops features from FCP and is not compatible with FCP 7. That means, say, if your team is adding new editing workstations to work on existing projects, your team is stuck – FCP 7 has been discontinued and FCP X cannot edit your current FCP 7 projects. Quite a mess.

In fact, FCP X is an upgrade to Final Cut Express. Apple discontinued Final Cut Express upon introducing FCP X. They also added in features like importing from iMovie, something that professional editors have about zero likelihood of using. The key idea that seems missed so far is that FCP X is a upgrade to FCE. And while FCE was officially discontinued, it kind of looks like FCP was itself discontinued. It’s Final Cut Express – may be that is where the “X” comes from, “Express”?

Is Apple abandoning the professional market? That market always was small – but was influential in terms of respected individuals and teams buying Apple and encouraging others to do so. The bigger market is the pro-sumer market, not professionals. With the success of iPhone, iPod, and iPad, does Apple need those influencers still? Probably not.

Which gets us back to Aperture. Many now think Aperture may go the same way as FCP – which means, end of life.  It was a professional product – perhaps with the price drop, Apple is trying to re-position it as a pro-sumer product and out of the crosshairs of Adobe’s better products.

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