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Does iMovie 11 support native AVCHD (.mts) files?

138246 Views 106 Replies Latest reply: Apr 20, 2014 5:17 AM by johnapple1966 RSS
  • Matt Clifton Level 7 Level 7 (26,945 points)
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    Oct 22, 2010 9:46 AM (in response to vegany)
    In the professional tapeless world, the general principle is to make a disk image of your original card, keeping its exact structure. Disk Utility will do this for you. As you say, the AVCHD files take up much less space than anything you can convert them to - but this is largely because of the massive interframe compression being used.

    Interestingly, I recently hit one situation where I absolutely needed FCP's import to look at the files as a whole card, and not file-by-file (as is being asked for here): for certain AVC cameras, if a shot exceeds a certain duration, a new file will be created using spanning. That new file may not have a consistent timecode or even proper sync, and must be referred to the previous file for correct continuation. Maybe not a situation that most iMovie users are likely to encounter.

    MacBook (Early 2008), Mac Pro (Early 2008), iPhone 3G, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • Isaac Bardin Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)
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    Oct 22, 2010 2:07 PM (in response to vegany)
    I think they should make QuickTime be able to play .mts files. If free programs on the internet can do it, why can't Apple? They could quietly update QuickTime with this feature, and millions of people would be happy.
    MacBook 2.13GHz (mid 2009), Seagate Freeagent Desk 500GB, Hitachi 320GB,, Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPod Touch 8GB, iPod Nano 16GB (and other assorted gadgets)
  • E27 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 23, 2010 9:24 AM (in response to juneinny)
    Try this for a test if you have a chance:

    1. Export any mts to a wmv file using w7 basic moviemaker and play in Movist on mac.
    2. Do the same in im (and fce and fcp) and export to aic medium (aic max and pr422)

    Compare the 2 exports and draw your own conclusions.
    Don't play the wmv in qt as it may not play very well.
    Quality and playback have been like this since mts came out.
    mts exported to m2ts appears to be lossless using Vegas
    AVCHD was developed by Pan and Sony, not Apple:

    As we've noted, mac is great except for high quality stutter free mts exports
    Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • RyanManUtd Level 1 Level 1 (85 points)
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    Oct 23, 2010 11:49 AM (in response to juneinny)
    So, will iMovie11 be able to import in AVCHD clips ?

    15.4" Macbook Pro - 2.53 GHz, 500GB HDD, Mac OS X (10.5.8), 27" iMac - 4GB RAM, 1TB HDD, 1GB ATI Radeon HD, i5 QuadCore
  • Apple007 Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 23, 2010 2:15 PM (in response to juneinny)
    imovie 11 does support importing avchd files. I use sony hx5v digital camera which saves files in .mts format and imovie 11 recognized it, imported it and I made 35 second movie and I edited it and in the end it asks to save in 1080p for youtube upload, I have no idea what pcworld is talking about.
    Mac mini, Mac OS X (10.6.4), mac mini 2010
  • Casho3 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
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    Oct 23, 2010 3:12 PM (in response to Apple007)
    Apple 07,

    You are wrong. iMovie coverts the AVCHD file (i.e. .mts) to an AIC file. Go and look at the folder for the relevant event if you wish to confirm this. What they are talking about here is native editing of AVCHD files, which iMovie doesn't do.

    There is also no way to import single .mts files that you have previously transferred from the camera to your computer unless you have used the Archive method which saves the whole file structure of the camera onto your computer. This is quite cumbersome as it doesn't allow you to organise the AVHCD files how you want to (eg by year or by event).
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • Casho3 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
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    Oct 23, 2010 3:54 PM (in response to Casho3)
    What really concerns me about this issue, is the typical iMovie user will assume when they import into iMovie that this will create a copy of their original .mts files. Therefore, they are likely to assume that it is OK to just delete the original files from their camera.

    What they will actually have is a transcoded file that is 10 times larger than the original file, which makes it impractical for archive purposes, and which is only compatible with a small number of media players.

    There should be a warning when importing into iMovie that the import process won't lead to a copy of the original file being created on the computer, and that the user should use the import Archive method before deleting the footage from their camera if they wish to retain the original files.

    What a mess!!!
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • shadow Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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    Oct 23, 2010 5:43 PM (in response to juneinny)
    I got so excited when i saw the news about iMovie 11 but as you all pointed out it still does not support NATIVE AVCHD (.mts). Its beyond me that Apple who claims they make products to make things easy still dont support a basic feature, behh what a joke.

    Today i wanted to empty my camera's content (i own an Sony HDR CX520).
    I had to access the camera using finder to copy the mts files. My result for original files versus converted files just blow me away. Here is the result
    Original MTS files size: 7,7Gig
    iMovie Converted to Small Size (960x540): 26,66Gig
    iMovie Keep Original Size: 90.33Gig

    This is just outrageous! Its not like the format or the cameras are new anymore. They have been on the market for a very long time now and considering the "new features" added to iMovie 11 are just laughable to me.

    It would be really awsome if we could simply import .mts files from any location into iMovie and play around with it. OR why not using the Quicktime and trim? that is also a very nice and easy way to quickly edit your movie.

    As it is now i have to save my .mts files (i dont want to loose them) on my backup HD and then use "Handbrake" to convert them to .mp4 and afterwards import them into iMovie for editing or just QT. Voltaic seems like a good option as well so i might give it a try later on.

    One more thing that bothers me about iMovie in general is that Apple takes away my freedom to decide where i want my projects saved. I bought a expensive Drobo FS to be able to use it for my movies but guess what i am not allowed to choose this location. I can understand that certain location (over the network) can be slow and make the editing slow but this should me my choice i think.

    I just hope Apple reads these forums once in a while (well if they did then we would not get iMovie 11 with the lousy so called features). Here's one hoping for iMovie 12.

    Message was edited by: shadow

    Message was edited by: shadow
    MBP 15" i7, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)
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    Oct 23, 2010 5:44 PM (in response to shadow)
    There is really no reason to edit native AVCHD. It is like saying you want to take notes in shorthand and you insist that your word processor be able to edit in shorthand rather than English.
    iMac 24 2.8Ghz, iPhone, TV, Mac OS X (10.6.4), Panasonic HDC-SD5 iMovie 11
  • babowa Level 7 Level 7 (22,095 points)
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    Oct 23, 2010 5:45 PM (in response to shadow)
    The best way for you to tell Apple your ideas is to post them here:

    (that link will get you to the general page; you can choose where you want to post your idea: iMovie or whatever). Apple employees generally to not participate in these user to user forums.
    27" 3.2 GHz iMac i3, 4 GB RAM, 13" white early '09 MB,, Mac OS X (10.6.4), LaCie d2 DVDRW, 2 LaCie d2 Quadra ext HD , Wacom tablet, Epson Artisan 810
  • John Cogdell Level 5 Level 5 (4,595 points)
    There is really no reason to edit native AVCHD. It is like saying you want to take notes in shorthand and you insist that your word processor be able to edit in shorthand rather than English.

    Good point AppleMan, and excellent analogy!

    MacBook Pro 15" (early '09) 2.66 GHz, 4 GB RAM, 320 GB HD, Mac OS X (10.6.4), LaCie 120GB; Maxtor 250GB, 300GB and 1TB FW drives; Sony DCR-TRV20E and HDR-SR7
  • shadow Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 23, 2010 7:36 PM (in response to babowa)
    Thanks for the link, i will send them my thoughts. Would be good if everyone else did the same

    Not sure what shortnote means but to me its more like taking my word document and convert it to powerpoint. Or if i want to edit my avi file i first convert to MPEG-2 and work with it and then back to avi.
    But anyway if we forget the analogy for a minute,
    1) why wouldn't i want to use the original file to work with?
    2) And why would i want to make my files 10 times bigger and at the same time maybe loose quality?
    3)And how come Voltaic is able to do it and not Apple?

    Sorry but your analogy seems like a poor excuse to me. I'm not an expert on video codecs (far from it) so perhaps you are right and i have to eat my words (in which case i apologies) but from what i seen it is perfectly possible to do this so unless there is a strong reason to why Apple hasn't done this already i'm still thinking they are being lazy and ignorant.

    ps. As you can see there are many other people wanting this as well.
    MBP 15" i7, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • Casho3 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    I don't agree with the short hand analogy. It is interesting that every video editing program except iMovie and Final Cut Express allows for native AVCHD editing, so I think that not many people would agree with you.

    For me, being able to edit natively:
    1) Avoids significant wasted time from having to transcode to AIC.
    2) Avoids having to store duplicate files that are 10 times larger than the original content.
    3) Avoids the particular issue that I have with my Legria HF20 Camera where during the transcoding process interlaced footage is incorrectly tagged as progressive, and progressive content is tagged as interlaced. I understand that this issue is unique to my camera.

    Even if you don't agree with me, surely you can't argue that iMovie should at least be able to import single .mts files, and Quicktime should be able to at least play .mts files.

    It is almost like Apple is in denial that the majority of new camcorders are AVCHD.
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
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