The latest iMovie`11 (version 9.0.4) will not import 1080 60p AVCHD 2 videos directly from my Sony NEX-5N camera. The easy workaround is to copy the video files to the hard drive (best done with BootCamp Sony Picture Motion Browser) and then rewrap the 1080 60p (.mts and .m2ts) videos into QuickTime (.mov) movies, using either ClipWrap or Media Converter. Rewrapping AVCHD 2 video also avoids the time-consuming transcoding into Apple Intermediate Codec, which can quadruple the video file size and cause slight IQ loss.
- iMovie`11 will import, display, and render ClipWrap and Media Converter rewrapped videos without problem.
- During importing, iMovie`11 will transcode ClipWrap videos even if the "Optimize video" is unchecked unless a Hidden Function is activated in the Terminal, on the other hand, iMovie won't transcode Media Converter files if the "Optimize video" is unchecked.
- ClipWrap and Media Converter rewrapped videos appear pretty much identical to the source; HOWEVER...
- Export using QuickTime to Apple Intermediate Codec: ClipWrap file produces a more contrasty image with shadow areas appear less blotchy than Media Converter.
- Export using QT to H.264: ClipWrap file also produces a more contrasty image with shadow areas appear noticeably less blotchy than Media Converter.
Somehow ClipWrap rewrapping method makes a noticeable difference in the export qualities so I'll be using ClipWrap instead of the Media Converter!
To export edited 1080 60p videos from iMovie, go to "Share / Export using QuickTime... / Options / Video" and make sure "Size / Dimensions" is set to 1920X1080 and "Settings / Frame Rate" is set to 59.94. Despite the fact that iMovie`11 "File / Project Properties..." show "30fps - NTSC", 1080 60p video can be exported and will play smoothly on Macs fast enough to handle the format.
Here are some samples showing the differences in export image qualities.