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AVCHD Format Discussion
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Old October 19th, 2007, 01:01 PM   #1
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Setup for editing AVCHD in FCP?

Posted this in the FCP forum, but no takers yet...
FCP users here, what sort of Mac are you using to edit AVCHD with? I have a MacBook (with 4GB RAM of which only 3 is usable) and am contemplating a 2.4GHz 4GB iMac. Budget can't stretch to a Mac Pro. Looking at the sys reqs for FCS2, it says that editing AVCHD requires a Mac Pro. Is this for real?
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Old October 20th, 2007, 11:05 AM   #2
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It is for real.

AVCHD is not an editable format, and FCS2 transcodes on the fly to AIC or ProRes formats.

That requires some heavy lifting. I've heard that some people are running iMovie 08 and AVCHD on a MacBook Pro.
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Old October 20th, 2007, 09:14 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. Makes sense that it transcodes and I can see why the CPU power is needed for on-the-fly transcoding. Do you know if it can transcode in non-realtime? I have tried iMovie 08 on my MacBook and it does import the AVCHD footage slowly because it is presumably transcoding while it imports. Once imported though, it is quite usable on the MB although this is with very limited testing on my part, so it could be that it would just choke with anything longer than what I threw at it.
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Old October 20th, 2007, 10:11 PM   #4
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AVCHD is H.264 base, so it takes a lot of CPU power.
Now when editing AVCHD using FCP, you would transfer them using "transfer" window and the clips will be converted to AIC, I believe. That will make less stress to the CPU, but the data will be a lot larger. The CPU requirements come from what David is talking about, the realtime or pseudo-realtime conversion to AIC (even on iMovie), I suppose.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 08:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaku Ito View Post
AVCHD is H.264 base, so it takes a lot of CPU power.
Now when editing AVCHD using FCP, you would transfer them using "transfer" window and the clips will be converted to AIC, I believe. That will make less stress to the CPU, but the data will be a lot larger. The CPU requirements come from what David is talking about, the realtime or pseudo-realtime conversion to AIC (even on iMovie), I suppose.
Thanks for the info everyone.
Last night, I dumped some MTS files (stream) from my HG10 to a flash drive and headed to my local Apple Store to see how FCS2 would react to them. I did this because I do not yet own FCS2 and am trying to see if I can get away with running on an iMac. I chose a 2.4GHz iMac for my tests.
I was not able to get the MTS stream recognised by FCS2 at all. I used the transfer and log menu option since this is the technique for importing AVCHD files. Basically the files just show up greyed out.
Today I tried copying the entire contents of the HG10's hard drive to the flash drive (it all lives under an AVCHD folder). Back at the Apple Store, with FCS2 running, I inserted the flash drive and immediately the transfer and log window came up and imported the footage.
As I was accompanied by my 3 year old and the store was teeming with people, I can't say anything further other than the footage (60i) was imported , transcoded and played back on the timeline. It certainly wasn't a real-time process but wasn't exceptionally slow either. So potentially this is a usable solution for me, though I will investigate a little further.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 07:48 PM   #6
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...or for $249 you can buy a Blackmagic Intensity card that will import the HDMI video into a MacPro in a variety of HD codecs for easy editing.....but it will require a MacPro.
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