AVCHD Workflow

Posted on by Larry

[This article was first published in the July, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.]


Steve Voisin asks:

I remember there was one newsletter where you explained tips & tricks of a good ‘workflow’ when logging AVCHD video from consumer HD cameras Sony/Canon to a MacBook.


I have 3 multi cameras Canon Vixia HG21 and about 8 hours of content for a conference for each camera (24 hours total), and there is no way I can allow my machine to render/import all that footage onto that laptop.


My concern is transcoding time from AVCHD to Appel ProRes 4.2.2 and also hard drive space (i have a 2TB hard drive, but frankly that may not be enough considering the amount of footage we need on there!)


Please shoot over the link or any advice you have as to how to handle all that AVCHD to ProRes on a semi-powerful MacBook Pro

Larry replies: Steve, my opinion on AVCHD has changed recently, as I was researching my recent webinar on Tapeless Media.

I am now completely a fan of using the Log & Transfer function to ingest AVCHD. Because, it handles the conversion to ProRes automatically, preserving timecode and loading it into the FCP Browser.

Also, for AVCHD media, I recommend using ProRes 422, not HQ or 4444. The reason is the AVCHD is so compressed in the camera, you won’t see a difference in quality by going to the higher ProRes formats, while your file sizes will balloon.

Storage space is 11 GB per hour for the native AVCHD media, and 66 GB per hour for the ProRes 422. Total space for 24 hours of material, assuming you capture all of it, would be 1.8 TB.

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One Response to AVCHD Workflow

  1. Anette says:

    In conncention to this thread, just a small question, as I have not suceeded in finding exactly the answer to that.

    I have shot AVCHD media an edited in Prores 422 (FCP X). I am supposed to deliver in Prores 422 (HQ), can I just export to that format or do I have to reimport/ingest everything in HQ (and how do I do that?).

    My camera Panasonic AG HMC151E and as it can only shoot 8-bit. But as I understand, Prores 422 (HQ) is a 10-bit codec?
    So does it make any sense to export in Prores HQ at all?

    Thanks for your great forum!

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