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Thread: Best AVCHD editing for Macbook Pro

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Default Best AVCHD editing for Macbook Pro

    I have a macbook pro that I travel with and an external drive. I have two panasonic ACVHD video cameras. Can someone tell me the best way/most compatible route for editing in AVCHD using a macbook pro (late 2011)

    Final Cut Pro X.... Adobe Premiere CS6...?

    Do I also have to re-encode the film with a software (proves...dnxhd...)? Please someone walk me through this cuz Im ignorant to this and need to know the exact programs I need that work with the equipment I have. Thank you.

  2. #2

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    If you get FCPX it will handle AVCHD just fine for basic editing and depending on your machine specs it can go a lot further. You also have the option to created optimised and/or proxy media on import. Creating optimised will give you ProRes 422 to work with this will mean larger file sizes for your source footage but it will be easier on your processor than the AVCHD. Creating Proxy will give you a lower image quality source footage which will be much easier on your system over all. You can work with that, then simply change the preference back to "original or optimised media for export.

    You don't even need to do it on import, you can import the AVCHD directly and work away, later if you find your machine is struggling you can create the optimised or proxy media at any time.

    Check out this site, they have many free tutorials and some excellent paid tutorials too.

    Ripple Training

    2 things to make sure of, you are using at the very east a firewire 800 external drive, and don't just copy the video file file from the camera/card before importing. Capture directly from the camera or copy the entire card folder structure to your external drive for import.

    David.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    2

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    Quote Originally Posted by david walsh View Post
    If you get FCPX it will handle AVCHD just fine for basic editing and depending on your machine specs it can go a lot further. You also have the option to created optimised and/or proxy media on import. Creating optimised will give you ProRes 422 to work with this will mean larger file sizes for your source footage but it will be easier on your processor than the AVCHD. Creating Proxy will give you a lower image quality source footage which will be much easier on your system over all. You can work with that, then simply change the preference back to "original or optimised media for export.

    You don't even need to do it on import, you can import the AVCHD directly and work away, later if you find your machine is struggling you can create the optimised or proxy media at any time.

    Check out this site, they have many free tutorials and some excellent paid tutorials too.

    Ripple Training

    2 things to make sure of, you are using at the very east a firewire 800 external drive, and don't just copy the video file file from the camera/card before importing. Capture directly from the camera or copy the entire card folder structure to your external drive for import.

    David.

    Thank you so much David. Have you personally used FCPX, I've heard mixed reviews about it crashing or having other issues

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    North Carolina, USA
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    Default

    May I enter this discussion? I work with FCPX, version 10.0.6, not the latest version, on an iMac. Yes, it has issues; it occasionally logs me off for no apparent reason, and sometimes refuses to do basic things such as export to 720p. However, on the whole I like FCP. I have been exploring Premiere CS6 also, which costs much more and does more. But I have to say I find Premiere cumbersome and awkward to use. Changing the subject, let me ask about AVCHD. One of my cameras, a Canon Vixia camcorder, shoots in AVCHD (1080x1920, interlaced I think). It plays back beautifully from the camcorder direct to a TV monitor. But when I import it into FCPX, which converts it to Quicktime, there is a loss of quality. The same loss happens with Premiere, although it converts to mpeg4. I've tried other conversion software too, like iMovie and non-Apple things, with the same loss of quality. All I'm able to do with my AVCHD data is to burn it on a Blu-ray disk (using Titanium Toast). I can't really edit it because of the inevitable loss of quality. My goal is to have a product in Quicktime that I can upload to Vimeo, etc., and display on a computer. Any comments? Should I give up on AVCHD?

  5. #5

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    I've used both Premiere Pro and FCPX extensively, both on desktops and on MacBookPros.

    I now use FCPX all the time for anything from short 1 or 2 minute web commercials all the way to 2 hour (or longer) long form multicam productions.

    If you're on a mac with a supported GPU then FCPX will run just fine, at least as well if not many times better than Premiere Pro because FCPX will leverage the GPU whereas Premiere Pro will be almost all CPU driven. Editing in FCPX can be using as little as 20% CPU while Premiere Pro will use 100% CPU and cause it to huff and puff and spin the fan up etc!

    So the first question is what MacBook do you have? CPU? GPU? RAM? Late 2011 should be fine but it's worth checking.

    FCPX is perfectly capable of playing AVCHD natively, even for two or three tracks of multicam. However, if you're in a long multicam situation I recommend using the built in proxy function (I do this all the time for multicam) which makes cutting trivial. Then, when you're ready to do final tweaks to the edit, add colour grading, titles or effects the flip the switch and you're back to full resolution. There will be no loss of quality.

    If you still don't want to edit / export form the native files then you could create optimised media and run that way.

    FCPX doesn't transcode when re-wrapping the AVCHD files to quicktime, so there should be zero loss of quality. If in doubt use a program called ClipWrap which will re-wrap the files for you (it even has an FCPX mode). Re-Wrapped files also work in Premiere Pro if you choose to go that route.

    Using FCPX saves me time on every single project. On longer projects (10-20 hours of footage, with multicam edits) it has saved me as much as 6 hours editing / export time. As an example, exporting a 1 hour show with colour corrections from Premiere Pro used to be a 2 or 3 hour task but with FCPX (with even more colour grading) it has typically been 20-25 minutes. 1 or 2 minute commercials have been exporting in less than a minute where Premiere Pro was taking 10 minutes. Any time you need to make a change then you have to repeat that process. Waiting 2 or 3 hours was proving to be really problematic!

    Don't let anyone with only superficial knowledge tell you FCPX isn't professional. It's been used professionally all around the world, including many TV production companies.
    Last edited by David Partington; 12-11-2014 at 11:30 AM.

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