Previous 1 2 Next 16 Replies Latest reply: Apr 16, 2013 6:41 AM by Tom Wolsky
MattiMattMatt Level 4 (2,420 points)



I'm using an AVCHD camera and iMovie, just starting out. I took some video in AVCHD and want to both preserve it, and make it "forward compatible" with Final Cut Pro which I don't yet have but plan to get.


iMovie gives me two import options - directly into iMovie (which changes things), and an "Archive From Camera" option which saves it in what looks like the same folders/files as what's on the camcorder.


If I perform an Archive From Camera, can I use the folder it generates to import the original video into FCP at a future date?


Is this the best way to take video, use it in iMovie, and save a copy of the original so that it's there if I want to step up the editing at a later date?



  • MattiMattMatt Level 4 (2,420 points)

    If it helps, the archived file looks just like the directory on the camera's memory card.

  • Studio X Level 7 (27,030 points)

    Or, with the camera connected via USB, create a folder on your media drive, give it a descriptive name (eg AVCHD_2012-Feb-11_card1) and copy the entire contents of the camera's card over. You want to bring in all files and in the same folder structure.


    You now have a duplicate of the card. Put this duplicate in a safe place and make it READ ONLY. Do this BEFORE you open up iMovie, FCX, Premiere, AVID or whatever you use to edit and try to import the material.



  • MattiMattMatt Level 4 (2,420 points)

    Thanks Studio X.


    If I'm doing this to develop a library of stored video files, and I want to open up, say, AVCHD_2012_Feb_11_card1 in FCX at a later date, is it then simple enough to have FCX do that?


    In other words, it will see that saved card copy on a hard drive, that folder, as a similar source as the original files on the camcorder, and open it w/o issues?


    This must be a common thing -


    I've taken video which is precious, I don't want to lose it, but I need to clear it out of the camcorder to make room for more video.


    Also, would you have any advice on the following:


    My camcorder has two cards. Normally, I think the video fills up on the 1st and continues onto the 2nd. Is there any trick for doing what you describe for 2 "continuous" cards?


    I'm a video newb so I really appreciate the help!

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 (27,415 points)

    You can open iMovie archives in FCPX.


    If you create the archive in FCPX, it will go in the Final Cut Pro Camera Archives folder. (either in the Movies Folder of your drive that contains your Home folder, or at the top level of any other drive.) If you archive is here, it is easily browsable from the FCPX Event Browser in the Camera Archives list.


    Your iMovie archives will be somewhere else, so FCPX will not know they are there. But you can FILE/IMPORT FROM CAMERA (Or click the Import from Camera icon) in FCPX and then click to  navigate to your iMovie archive file and import it.

  • MattiMattMatt Level 4 (2,420 points)


  • Reuben Feffer Level 2 (205 points)

    When iMovie makes an Archive of your camcorder's footage, is what it does the same as:


    1. Dragging and copying the CAM_SD volume on your Desktop to an external hard drive?




    2. Making a Disk Image of the CAM_SD volume?

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 (27,415 points)

    Creating a camera archive in iMovie will copy the contents of your camera to the folder that you specify. It is not a disk image.


    Back in iMovie 08 days, there was no camera archive feature in iMovie, so creating Disk Images was a workaround, because you could mount the Disk Image like a camera and import. As of iMovie 09, this was no longer necessary, and you can import from a folder on your hard drive as if it was a camera.


    The new way is better, because inevitably when you create a disk image, you end up wasting some space.


    However, you can still create disk images and import from them if you want to.

  • Reuben Feffer Level 2 (205 points)

    OK, thanks a lot for explaining that.


    So does creating a camera archive copy the entire root CAM_SD volume/folder, or does it dig down a bit in the folder structure and only copy one of the sub-folders?

  • Reuben Feffer Level 2 (205 points)

    I just copied the Private folder from one my AVCHD SDHC cards on to an external USB hard drive. It copied fine, but when I connect the external hard drive to the USB port on the front of my Sony BDP-S480 Blu-ray player, it can't play back the footage.


    On the Sony Blu-ray player I navigate to:


    Video > USB device (front) > CAM_SD > PRIVATE > AVCHD > and then it says "There is no playable file."


    This Sony Blu-ray player has no problem playing AVCHD files straight off an SDHC card inserted into a card reader that's then plugged into the USB port on the front. So, am I doing something wrong on the Mac when I'm copying the PRIVATE folder?

  • dinky2 Level 1 (10 points)

    In FCPX the option to reimport from camera/archive is greyed out.

  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 (115,500 points)

    This is a year old thread, many versions ago, what are you trying to do and what happens when you do it?

  • dinky2 Level 1 (10 points)

    Hi Tom,


    Thanks for your reaction. In FCPX (trial version) I was looking for an option to access the iMovie Camera Archive. What I found is, that I can go to the iMovie Camera Archive folder and select the archive folder I want to use. Unlike iMovie, however, I don't see the clips in the archive where I can select the ones I want to import. Importing a whole archive of many GB to import e.g. just one clip does not look like the way to go. Since FCPX looks like the successor of iMovie, I would expect it would be possible to access the Camera Archive much the same way as in iMovie.


    Maybe I am overlooking something ?

  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 (115,500 points)

    iMovie archives have to be imported entirely. Like importing an iMovie event. You have to bring in the whole thing, You can't pick and choose. This is not the case eith archives created in FCP.

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 (27,415 points)

    That has not been my experience, Tom. You can pick and choose just like you could from a camera card. Unfortunately, I can't test it right now. My Mac is in the shop.

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