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

138140 Views 105 Replies Latest reply: Jan 17, 2014 10:06 AM by Pieter_from_Ehv RSS
  • louis14360 Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2010 4:45 PM (in response to juneinny)
    High,
    Forget it, it does import 1080i/50 to apple intermediate codec, but the export in ANY format divide the resolution by two by doubling the odd lines and throw away the even lines.
    So no use for avchd or expect a maximum resolution of 1920*540p/50

    regards
    imAc, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • Steve Mullen Level 2 Level 2 (250 points)
    AVCHD is indeed a codec (h.264 with either Dolby or PCM audio). Both audio and video from the codecs are Elementary Streams. These streams are muxed into a MP4 or MTS structure. Any structure could be used.)

    This structure has NO impact on editing. The Elementary Streams are removed from the structure as an AVCHD file is read from the disk.

    In fact the Elementary Streams have no impact on editing. That's because blocks of data are passed through decoders -- one for h.264 and one for Dolby/PCM. From this point onward, one has 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 YUV digital video and PCM stereo digital audio. This is what you edit.

    The reason why Apple recompresses 4:2:2 YUV digital video and PCM stereo digital audio to AIC or ProRes is because they wanted most every Mac to be able to edit AVCHD without getting angry and confused.

    PC-based NLEs assume folks are smarter and will understand that the MINIMUM CPU for native AVCHD editing is a 2.6GHz I5. And, that just gets you a single stream playing at about 15fps. You need a true QUAD I7 to play at 30fps. To use two streams for dissolves that play at 30fps -- maybe 6 or 8 cores.

    So you have 2 choices -- get a big disk (a terabyte is under $200!) or buy a very powerful PC. Apple assumes you'll do research before you buy a camcorder.

    I'm not sure why after almost 5 years of AVCHD camcorder production and support by Apple -- this topic is relevant. There's nothing to add to the posts made years ago or to even debate.
    Cheers, author; The Ins and Outs of iMovie 09: Maximum Quality HD and DV
  • Casho3 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    I do agree that this is probably a dead topic, as Apple has made a decision to do it the way that it does, and those who are unhappy with this have other alternatives.

    However, I don't agree with you minimum specs for a PC to edit AVCHD. My PC is an aging Intel Core 2 Duo 3.00Ghz with 4 GB or RAM, and I have no problem with native AVCHD editing using the following packages: Premiere Elements 9, Pinnacle Studio 14, PowerDirector 8 and Windows Live Movie Maker. I assume that these packages have found ways to work around the CPU demands. You should try these packages for yourself if you doubt what I am saying. They all have trial versions.

    In relation to your comment about Apple assuming you'll do research before you buy a camcorder, it might be worth noting that Apple now lists the Canon Legria HF20 as a supported camera for iMovie 11, despite the compatibility issues with this camera. Therefore, I don't think things are always so black and white.
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • Casho3 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2010 6:21 PM (in response to Casho3)
    Just to add to my previous post, I think that one way the editing programs I mentioned allow for native AVCHD editing on relatively modestly spec'ed PC's is that they create a smaller shadow copy that you work with while editing. Here is a description of how it works with PowerDirector 8, which I have taken from TrustedReviews:

    "The Shadow Editing system creates proxy files when you import high definition footage. It's an optional feature, and you're prompted to turn it on when you import the files. When enabled, Shadow Editing mirrors your HD with standard definition MPEG-2 files, which are substituted during the editing process. The files are rendered in the background, and take a little while to create. But you can start editing straight away. When the Shadow Editing proxies are ready, the workflow becomes a lot smoother. Even when we layered multiple clips and added effects to each, a real-time preview remained available, albeit not without dropped frames, although the use of lower-resolution proxies was obvious. Still, editing the HD directly would have made the preview far too sluggish. The full resolution files are then used again for final rendering, so this is performed at the best possible quality."

    I suspect that the other packages use similar approaches. I know that Sony Vegas Studio doesn't use this approach, which explains why it is too sluggish to use on my PC.
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • Steve Mullen Level 2 Level 2 (250 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 1, 2010 10:38 PM (in response to Casho3)
    I agree completely. Vegas runs slow while the others I stopped considering because when the music stops Adobe, Apple, and Sony will still be around. For some reason Premiere Elements really slow in general use.

    By research I mean come and read a few days of posts.

    I wonder if Apple has figured out a way to handle Canon 50i?
    Cheers, author; The Ins and Outs of iMovie 09: Maximum Quality HD and DV
  • Casho3 Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    I can confirm that Apple haven't worked out a way to handle Canon 50i in iMovie 11 - at least in relation to the HF20/200. It is still incorrectly tagged as progressive.

    I am in contact with Apple Australia to raise this issue, and to suggest that the Legria HF20/200 should be removed from Apple supported Camcorder list. I suspect that it wasn't properly tested in the first place.

    So far I have been hitting my head against the wall as they are saying that while the HF20 is listed under the PAL camcorders, the Legria HF20 isn't, as the term Legria isn't mentioned. I am trying to explain that the Legria HF20 is the HF20, and that there is no other PAL version of the camcorder, but so far I am getting no where fast. However, I will continue to persevere, as I would hate other people to go through all the hassles I have gone through with this.
    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.1)
  • Isaac Bardin Level 2 Level 2 (175 points)
    If I import my Canon Vixia HF M30's .mts files into iMovie, taken at highest quality, will they still be 1080p after they are imported? Can I retain 1080p all through editing and exporting? I know that I can export in 1080p, but if it's not in Full HD by the time it's exported, what will iMovie do to the video footage to make it HD?
    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)
  • shadow Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    PC-based NLEs assume folks are smarter and will understand that the MINIMUM CPU for native AVCHD editing is a 2.6GHz I5. And, that just gets you a single stream playing at about 15fps. You need a true QUAD I7 to play at 30fps. To use two streams for dissolves that play at 30fps -- maybe 6 or 8 cores.


    As Casio says it does indeed work on a slower pc. I use my 3 year old AMD together with several programs like AVS and it works great. Tested Vega also but it was to much for my simple editing.

    I'm not sure why after almost 5 years of AVCHD camcorder production and support by Apple -- this topic is relevant. There's nothing to add to the posts made years ago or to even debate.


    Maybe we users who pay for the products like to see a change on a 5 year old (stupid)decision which makes no sense. I mean its not like camcorders are still using vhs tapes
    MBP 15" i7, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • ultraice Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 2, 2010 2:33 PM (in response to juneinny)
    I would like to explain my experience about AVCHD files.
    When I create a video in imovie 11 and the same video in vegas pro 10 (new one), In imovie 11 i lost quality. I don't know why, and I'm a little upset because i think imovie is a great program.
    IMAC I3, Mac OS X (10.6.4), MACBOOK PRO 13" 2.4
  • bouzoukikid Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 7, 2010 8:05 AM (in response to juneinny)
    I have a HD Panasonic camcorder, and I have a Mac. Simple.  
    I am using final cut express to import my AVCHD files and works great. Why not so in iMovie. Doesn't make sense to me. 

    Would like to dabble with iMovie, but because of the lack of AVCHD support, I have given up trying.  I refuse to import and convert in third party programs, scattering files all over the place.  

    If iMovie did support AVCHD I guess I would not have needed to buy final cut express. Could that be the reason for the lack of AVCHD in imovie.    
    Macbook Pro 15" 2.8, G5 Powermac, RME fireface 800, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (104,640 points)
    Not sure what you're doing in FCE, but it doesn't import native AVCHD media either. It converts it to QuickTime using the Apple Intermediate Codec just like iMovie.
    15" 2.4G MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • bouzoukikid Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    Hi Tom.
    Not sure if it's supported natively but if I press cmd-shift-8, the log and transfer window opens and I can see the 1080 avchd videos on my sd card ready for capture. If I can also do this in imove this would be just great.

    Thanks.
    Costa.
    Macbook Pro 15" 2.8, G5 Powermac, RME fireface 800, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (104,640 points)
    No, but the end result is the same. I presume you're using FCE to edit.
    15" 2.4G MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • bouzoukikid Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)
    That's right. I'm using fce for import and editing.

    No? So if someone has not got fce, how would you import the files from your camcorder using iMovie.

    Thanks.
    Macbook Pro 15" 2.8, G5 Powermac, RME fireface 800, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (104,640 points)
    Plug in the camera or the card. The application senses it. Displays the clips very much as it does on the camera. You can play the clip and select which clips you want to ingest. AFAIK there is no way to select portions of a clip, or to break up a clip into individual clips.
    15" 2.4G MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
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