AVCHD post production

Posted on 16 November 2012

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My FCP 7 does not work natively with the AVCHD extension and/or codec. There are two ways to work around that: choosing an NLE that is AVCHD friendly or converting the files.

Conversion tools

That’s why you might want to convert the mts files to something that your system can edit. These are the options:

  • Free Panasonic AVCAM importer plugin for OsX. The great thing about this plugin is that it lets you play the mts files with quicktime and any program that supports quicktime. This plugin is actually used by FCP for ingesting .mts video.
  • Free HD Toolshed Cinematics batch converter and renamer for windows. I just discovered this one, not tested yet.
  • $ 50 Clipwrap for mac. Can rewrap to .mov or convert to prores (and other formats). The free version only converts the first minute of each file. You can set it to preserve file creation date and timecode in preferences. This means that the ‘creation date’ is preserved which is nice, but unfortunately the ‘modified date’ – which is shown in FCP – is not preserved so it’s useless to me. Timecode and reelnumber are not added for GH2 clips: still 00:00:00:00. So not so perfect. It also does not handle the PsF material from GH2 right which results in CUE, which is really not perfect. I guess it uses the quicktime engine for the conversions;
  • $ 50 5DtoRGB for mac. This is said to do great with chroma upsampling, noise and gamma. It has a free lite version but you really want to have the $50 for batch version. Timecode is read from the THM files that are generated by Canon camera’s. So: no timecode for my GH2. See my seperate post for a quick test.
  • GoPro Cineform for mac and windows. Is said to be as good as 5DtoRGB and my tests are very positive. It should have timecode support based on Time of Day stamp of the camera. But in my initial test the timecode didn’t really work so I will need to do some more testing. See my seperate post.

AVCHD NLE’s

See my tests for the Z10000.

AVCHD cutters

What I like to do as first step is just selecting the usable material and cutting it clean in the original codec. This will be the best way to preserve all raw footage in original and smallest form. After that, it could be converted to a working codec with any of the above programs, or edited natively. I know it’s possible as it is a standard feature in the ‘play’ menu of the GH2.

This means that I have to be sure that I can re-do the conversion at any time without relink problems. Main features here are that they need to preserve file creation date, write timecode based on this time/date, support of spanning.

  • $ 40 Voltaichd for mac. crashes on my 10.5.8 system.
  • $ 50 Aunsoft Final Mate for win or mac. The trial version should be enough for trimming. It does work (max 5 minutes per clip) but does not preserve the file creation date and also doesn’t play well with Panasonics MTSviewer. For my Z10000, Aunsoft also has 3D effect options (anaglyph) and depth correction but on my mac this results in slow and very off-sync playback in the software. I’ll have to test the output file of a ‘lossless’ movie, to see if it really is 3D;
  • free TSmuxer for win and mac. There is no graphical interface, so you will be writing down timecodes and inputing them into tsMuxeR. Not ideal!
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Posted in: Editing, GH2