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No matter you are using Final Cut Pro X or Final Cut Pro 7, you may more or less face some problems when trying to import and edit AVCHD files in the Apple professional editing software. Some may be related to the importing clips, editing like effects and transitions, and rendering, etc. Here we focus on importing AVCHD to FCP, and rendering.
You can import AVCHD files with camcorder connected to your Mac, or the camera archive on your computer hard disk to Final Cut Studio (including Final Cut Pro X/7/6). The camera archive is the folder you copied with all the files from your camcorder. That means you should keep the BDMV folder within the AVCHD folder. The files shall include .cpi, .mpl, .mts or .m2ts. Below is the folder structure of the AVCHD videos on camcorder memory card.
To import AVCHD files into Final Cut Pro 7/6, just go to File > Log and Transfer…, and you will get the clips listed on the Log & Transfer window if you have AVCHD camcorder connected. For camera archive with AVCHD folder structure, you can click the folder icon on L&T window to browse the AVCHD folder.
While trying to import AVCHD files to Final Cut Pro X, you may find that the Log & Transfer option is eliminated. But you can still import AVCHD videos by going to File > Import From Camera, and get videos immediately with camcorder connected. To import AVCHD folder on hard drive, right click on the blank under CAMERA ARCHIVE or the camera archive on the bottom line to get the AVCHD files from folder.
Even though the above methods work for AVCHD videos, you may find some videos are not recognized/imported to FCP. Here are the problems and possible reasons for importing and editing AVCHD in Final Cut Pro.
Symptoms: There are a lot of .mts or .m2ts videos on camcorder or AVCHD folder, but only some videos are imported to FCP.
Reasons: Some related files like .cpi, .mpl for particular videos might be deleted by accident, or not copied from the camcorder. Another possible reason is that some videos are recorded in 1080/60p AVCHD or 1080/50p, which is not supported by FCP yet.
Solution: With only parts of the videos imported, it would be difficult to edit your masterpiece. You can batch convert the .mts or .m2ts files to FCP supported format like ProRes .MOV. Save your time converting lots of files. To make FCP compatible with 1080/60p AVCHD videos, a third party converting tool is needed. Aunsoft AVCHD Video Converter for Mac is the good choice for you to convert 1080 60p and 50p AVCHD file, for AVCHD videos from Panasonic, Sony, Canon, JVC, Leica camcorders.
Symptoms: FCP X quits/crashes unexpectedly, or does not respond.
Reasons: Final Cut Pro X would rewrap AVCHD to MOV, but the editing for the rewrapped MOV would demand high CPU usages, and high computer configurations.
Solution: If your Mac is not equipped with powerful CPU like quad-core Intel processor, you may take the chance to convert mts/m2ts files into Apple ProRes 422 for Final Cut Pro.
Symptoms: It takes a long time for transcoding/rendering for importing AVCHD to FCP 7.
Reasons: With Log & Transfer, the process to transcode AVCHD is necessary for FCP 7 to edit the videos.
Solution: If you would like to enjoy straightforward editing in FCP 7/6 for the AVCHD videos, convert AVCHD files to ProRes MOV before importing to FCP. Aunsoft AVCHD Video Converter for Mac would do the batch conversion for you, and then you can import bunches of videos to FCP without transcoding/rendering in Final Cut.
Symptoms: The MTS files without AVCHD folder structure could not be imported to FCP.
Reasons: FCP does not support .mts or .m2ts as direct import yet. MTS or M2TS files without the .cpi files in CLIPINF folder, .mpl files in PLAYLIST folder under the BDMV folder would not be recognized.
Solution: The direct importing in FCP requires videos in .mov, .mp4, etc. formats. You can convert standalone MTS/M2TS files to ProRes for FCP X/7/6.
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Can Final Cut Pro ingest 1080 60p 50p AVCHD videos?
With the latest version of Final Cut Pro X (v10.0.4) released in April 2012, some users indicated that it is possible to import 1080p60 AVCHD videos to FCP X. Yes, the latest FCP X (10.0.4) can import the AVCHD clips, if you have the sd card inserted to iMac sdhc slot, or connected to Mac via card reader.
But there are still some reports about not getting 60p 50p AVCHD videos to FCP X 10.0.4 yet. The major issues occur when camcorder is connected to computer.
1. FCP X does not import 60p or 50p AVCHD videos from camcorder internal memory.
2. If the sd card is inserted to camcorder, FCP X does not read the 60p, 50p AVCHD videos.
However, there is no such good news for Final Cut Pro 7 users. FCP 7 still does not ingest 1080 60p 50p AVCHD video. If you face problem importing AVCHD clips to FCP, AVCHD to FCP converter will help you through.
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Is there any way to avoid rendering in Final Cut Pro?
You may find rendering throughout the editing in Final Cut Pro. For example, when you add transition, effects or add color correction to the videos in timeline, the video would be displayed as Unrendered in FCP 7/6, while the rendering will be processed as background task in FCP X. It is because FCP shall analyze and show you the final result for the editing.
However, the rendering when importing video clips to timeline/sequence, or the transcoding in FCP for AVCHD videos could be omitted if you prepare your videos before editing. Use Aunsoft AVCHD Video Converter for Mac to convert AVCHD to FCP native ProRes format, make the videos into the same format with the same settings like frame rate, frame size and compression.
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How to convert AVCHD from MTS/M2TS to FCP native ProRes?
Aunsoft Panasonic AVCHD Converter for Mac is the recommended AVCHD to ProRes converter for you. It supports not only the AVCHD and 720p AVCHD Lit videos from Panasonic, but also the MTS/M2TS files from camcorders like Sony, Canon, JVC, Leica.
Apple ProRes is the compression designed for Final Cut Pro X/7/6, with less compress and high quality. And the file size for Apple ProRes would be quite large to keep the original data. Converting AVCHD to Apple ProRes could be easy as the following 4 steps.
1. Click the first button to import AVCHD files, or directly drag and drop from Finder to the application.
2. Click the Format option and choose Final Cut Pro > Apple ProRes 422 (HQ)(*.mov) as output.
3. Click the Settings button to choose the frame size to 1920x1080, frame rate according to the source like 29.97 or 60. This step is to get best quality for FCP.
4. Click the button under preview window to export Apple ProRes MOV files for Final Cut.
1. If you converted AVCHD to ProRes for FCP X and got files with sounds only, but no video, you may try to download Apple ProRes codec and convert the videos again.
2. If you are using FCP 5 or below on Mac, you can convert AVCHD files to MOV with Apple InterMediate Codec for high quality editing with AVCHD Video Converter.