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Old August 19th, 2010, 04:13 AM   #1
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Fcp 6.6 avchd

Hello all,
I use FCP 6.6 for editing, and I'm looking at buying a new camera, a Sony HXR-MC50E, which uses AVCHD.
but of course, FCP 6 doesn't recognise AVCHD.

I've been recommended two solutions. one, the Matrox Mx02mini - but, my little Macbook doesn't have an express card slot (don't laugh), so that's not an option. (and if you include the conversion excellerator hardware, its $800! may as well by a new NLE)

the second possibility is videopier software for converting files (80 - do-able). so my question is, if i'm converting but not compressing, how long is this going to take per minute of footage - has anyone tried this? and how big are my resulting files going to be?
(did I mention my little Macbook is only 2Ghz, with 2GB Ram? - seriously, stop laughing).

and which is the best codec to convert to?
I make HD TV docs (1080i/50).

So, please advise - would it be better to just buy a different camera using (outdated?) HDV , and if so, which is a good alternative to the MC50 in the same 1200 market?
or, should I just limp through the next couple of months, so that have the more up-to-date camera?

any advice is welcome. cheers,
wendy
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Old August 19th, 2010, 06:57 AM   #2
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Are you on Intel? My understanding was that FCP 6 (latest update) could transcode AVCHD but only on Intel. Am I wrong? I can't go back and check now because all my systems are upgraded to 7 (which I recommend BTW!).

Another option is to use ClipWrap to re-wrap the files or (preferably) transcode to ProRes for you. I've used ClipWrap several times and it's never failed.

I would transcode to ProRes422 every time (or LT for 720p if you upgrade to FCP7).

In terms of how long it takes - that depends on your computer. My MacBookPro (2.83Gz Core 2 Duo) takes about 1.5x real time - so one minute of video takes about 90 seconds. By comparison the i7 Quad iMac takes less than a minute and the MacPro (8 core) takes about 35 seconds.

What to convert to? If you shot in progressive then convert to progressive. If you shot interlace convert to interlace. Simples.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 01:29 PM   #3
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hullo Dave,
I am on intel. i don't know if that means the machine is capable, but the problem will be software based - as in, there's no 'easy setup' in preferences that are for avchd. until now, i'be been using xdcam files, that are just copied from camera, converted by sony software that came with the camera, and then plonked right into the FCP timeline...
thanks
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Old August 19th, 2010, 03:29 PM   #4
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AVCHD is not going to be in the easy setup. You import AVCHD via the log & transfer dialog. FCP will transcode the footage to ProRes422 making it much easier to edit.

Put the memory card in a card reader then point FCP at the card, or the folder you have copied the contents of the card to. You will need the entire folder structure (e.g. the PRIVATE folder and everything in it) for FCP to see the clips.

Other than this - use ClipWrap to transcode the files then use the File/Import function to bring the new files in to FCP.
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Old August 19th, 2010, 07:46 PM   #5
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FCP 6.0.6 does actually support AVCHD. You just have to transcode it to ProRes422 using File > Log and Transfer.
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 01:47 PM   #6
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FCP does NOT currently support editing of native AVCHD files.
You can edit the files by transcoding them to another editable codec, like ProRes.

But unfortunately, FCP can't edit native AVCHD files in it current state.

Hopefully the next update of FCP wil give us the ability to do this if desired.
The latest rendition of Adobe Premiere Pro, can do this and so it well. As their Mercury engine is something wonderful to behold. Oh, and on the PC side, Sony Vegas, Edius can edit native AVCHD as well. Some of these better than others.

FCP is one of the few that can't. =(

Personally, I transcode to ProResLT, and have been very happy with it. The visual results aren't too different from ProRes422. But the file sizes are much smaller than the native ProRes422 files. Yes they are larger than native AVCHD files but only 3x as large and not 5x like ProRes422.
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 04:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Liebergot View Post
But unfortunately, FCP can't edit native AVCHD files in it current state.
True, but Clipwrap does allow to you drop them into FCP by disguising them as Quicktime files. I'm assuming it just rewrites the video header to change the container type, as it doesn't transcode or change the file size for this option.

It just isn't a viable way to edit them. I tested out a Clipwrapped AVCHD file in FCP 6.0.1, and I couldn't even scrub the playhead over the clip without crashing FCP. And I have a brand new 2 x 2.4 Quad Core Intel with 8GB of 1066 MHz DDR RAM, and an ATI Radeon HD 5870 card, so lack of processing power is not the problem. The compression on these files is intense!

I just wish AVCHD worked better natively in FCP. I also have Premiere CS5 on my box, and it seems to have no problem with playing or editing AVCHD video -- but rendering even a simple crossfade takes a while.

In general, have you guys found the conversion workflow for FCP to be a satisfactory workaround, an acceptable "price of doing business" when using camcorders? I'm torn between the obviously superior Canon Vixia series and the very solid Panasonics on the one side (all AVCHD cameras), and on the other side, Sanyo or Samsung cameras -- of lesser quality -- which use a standard MPEG-4 format that requires no conversion to use in FCP.

Also, what do you all think of this forum post in which the author contends that DVCPRO-HD is a better conversion format than ProRes?

Cutting AVCHD on FCP? Stop using ProRes!
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Old October 22nd, 2010, 04:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendy Andersen View Post
hullo Dave,
I am on intel. i don't know if that means the machine is capable, but the problem will be software based - as in, there's no 'easy setup' in preferences that are for avchd. until now, i'be been using xdcam files, that are just copied from camera, converted by sony software that came with the camera, and then plonked right into the FCP timeline...
thanks
I used 6.0.6 for a long time on Intel for AVCHD. All you have to do is import it via the log & transfer window and you are good to go. Clearly there is some transcoding time but depending on your machine it may be quicker than real time. Having upgraded to 7, there is no workflow difference at all.
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