This week on MacBreak Studio, Steve Martin from Ripple Training tells us all about how to work with AVCHD media in Final Cut Pro X.
The AVCHD format, developed jointly by Sony and Panasonic, is used in many of their camera models and has been a source of confusion because it is handled differently than other formats. In the video above, Steve takes us through three different import options to demonstrate these differences.
In the first example, he imports AVCHD media directly off of a camera’s SD card. Final Cut Pro X sees the clips on this card just like any other, so you can skim, play, and import clips. You can also import a specific range or ranges of a clip rather than the entire clip. What you cannot do is to leave the files on the card: you must copy them on import to a location of your choosing (either inside the Library or to any external location). As Final Cut copies these files, it is also re-wrapping them into a .MOV container. If you use this method of importing, we recommend also making a Camera Archive so that you have a bit-for-bit backup of your entire media card, including all the metadata.
In the second example, Steve has copied the AVCHD “file” to his internal drive. It looks like a single file, but it’s actually a packgage and Steve digs inside to reveal the individual .MTS video files (which cannot be viewed in the Finder).
Just as with the camera card example, inside Final Cut’s import window we can skim, play, and import clips, including clip ranges. And once again, we cannot leave clips in place, but are forced to copy them to a new location. This part can be confusing for folks – they’ve already copied the media from their card to their drive, why does FCP X have to copy it again? The answer is that the AVCHD clips still have to be rewrapped, so they need to be copied to do so.
In the third example, Steve uses an application called ClipWrap to do the re-wrapping before importing into Final Cut Pro X. The advantages to using ClipWrap are: first, you’ll be able to view clips in the Finder; second, you can optionally transcode the clips as well to a more edit-friendly format like ProRes; and third, when you import these re-wrapped clips into Final Cut, you will be able to leave them in place if you want. The only downside is that you won’t be able to select clip ranges – you will have to import entire clips. Check it all out above.