My new camera takes video, but unlike my previous ones, the highest resolution video (1080p) only writes in the should-never-have-been-invented AVCHD specification.
AVCHD has weird support on Mac OS X. If you insert a card with it, iMovie will recognize it. However, Apple Aperture and iPhoto will not. Since the video and metadata for the clips are split over many files, you can’t do a straight import into any of the above.
While there is an excellent free tool for viewing AVCHD video streams, this means that in order to work with this video as a photographer, I need to transcode the video. This was not obviously done until I ran into this post on AVCHD on the Mac.
- Most other transcoders, re-encode the video. On the other hand QuickTime is a container format, not a codec. What ClipWrap can do is re-wrap the AVCHD in a quicktime container without changing the codec. This is much faster, but, more importantly, it preserves the original encoding with no loss.
- ClipWrap can also transcode the video like other converters.
- In both cases, ClipWrap can preserves the video creation date.
There are some caveats though:
- A rewrapped file may not be viewable on the computer without the free tool, Perian.
- A rewrapped file cannot be directly worked with in iMovie, instead you need to transcode into AIC. I think you are fine if you are a Final Cut Pro user, but I stopped using that product a long time ago since I’m not a videographer.
- Be aware of the funky file structure. Look for the videos in /PRIVATE/AVCHD/STREAM/*.MTS, not your camera’s media folder. You lose any of the other metadata also (pretty much worthless)
- Be aware that AIC files are uncompressed more than H.264 in a ClipWrap Quicktime/AVCHD . This means you want to store it in this format, only work with it this way.
- I don’t (yet) have a workflow for converting from rewrapped Quicktime to AIC.
This means that I store:
- In my archive originals folder, I keep the original *.MTS files.
- In Apple Aperture, I import re-wrapped quicktime MOVs.
- If I need to work on videos, I transcode the AVCHD MTS’s into AIC and then import into iMovie. I lose the Aperture integration this way.
I did get it to work this way. Here’s an example I edited from the Plantronics Launch Party last week:
If you don’t have video working, here are two photos I took with my other camera: