If am thinking about the canon hf11, but I can't seem to figure out the workflow. For example, I am on vacation and shoot 2 hours of hd video on both the built-in memory and sdhc card. From what I understand, in order to free up space on the camera, I then need to transfer the video I shot onto my computer. This is very slow, often slower than real time. If I take a five day vacation and shoot everyday, I need to do this every evening if I want to shoot the next day. Or, I need to purchase several sdhc cards. Can I just move the file from the camera to the computer and decode it at a later time? If so, will Imovie read this file? Will Toast 10 read this file? What is the file extension of the avchd? Is it not just easier to shoot on mini dv tape in hd? Tapes are cheap; you have an extra copy; and you can edit when you feel like it. Sorry if I missed a major point; I am new to this. Thanks.
I work with AVCHD from my Canon VIXIA HF10 more and more now. As a matter of fact the only time I use tape anymore is at the MacGroup meetings and that's only as a backup to the Firestore drives that we use to capture the footage.
My first advice to you is to forget about the internal memory. I would only use the internal memory in my camera as a last resort emergency type situation. The trick here is multiple SDHC cards. Just like you would have multiple mini-DV tapes on a long trip, you'd have multiple SDHC cards too. I'm using the Transcend 16GB Class 6 SDHC cards that I blogged about here. While they do cost more than mini-dv tapes, they are more direct when you're using an editing system that can edit natively in AVCHD. Unfortunately iMovie must transcode the footage first into Quicktime so that it can edit it. This is the longer than real-time wait you've been experiencing. These files will be larger than what's on the SDHC card/Camera. Also it gets worse as (at least the last time I checked) iMovie wouldn't recognize the files directly from the card and therefore I'm assuming it wouldn't see them on the hard drive either. So this would mean (and again, I've only tried this once), that simply copying the contents of the card to the hard drive first, so that you could free up the card would mean that iMovie wouldn't be able to see that footage. In my one test I found that the only way iMovie would see the AVCHD footage is if you plugged up the camera via USB. For some reason it will not see them via the file system/Finder (anyone can correct me if I'm wrong here. I don't claim to be an iMovie expert).
So your options are:
1) Buy more cards, shoot and swap cards. Transcode (Import into iMovie) at your leisure.
2) Shoot, and download each night into iMovie. Also be prepared to have plenty of hard drive space as the transcoded files will be much larger.
3) Buy Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 which can edit natively in AVCHD. This way you could either shoot to multiple cards OR simply copy the files each night to your drive in their native format and edit later.
Of course as much as I would love to welcome you to the world of Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, you could buy a LOT of SDHC cards cheaper than buying Premiere.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Terry White,
Have you checked iMovieHD (6.04) to see if it will import AVCHD? Somewhere I picked up the idea that it would.
Nope, I don't use iMovie. However, it was my impression that Apple didn't start supporting AVCHD until the re-write of iMovie '08.
Thank you for your detailed comment. With the same file, same computer, and same camera, how long does it take to transfer a native avchd as opposed to transcoding it? Also, does Adobe Premiere Elements transfer avchd?
Transferring is simply the same as copying. Transcoding requires expanding the file by about 10 times. The transcoding on my MacPro (dual quad core 3 Ghz) takes about the same time ss importing from tape - that is basically it is just like I shot everything on tape and have to do a real-time capture.
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same computer, same everything else, the transfer is really just a Finder copy. So it should be significantly faster copying a 8 or 16GB card as opposed to having to transcode it. Probably 10 to 1 faster at least.
Premiere Elements is Windows only and yes it also supports "NATIVE" AVCHD editing like it's big brother Premiere Pro CS4, which comes in Mac and Windows versions.
ADOBE PREMIERE ELEMENTS SUPPORTED IMPORT/EXPORT FORMATS INCLUDE:
ASF (import only), AVI, AVCHD (import only), SWF (import), Blu-ray Disc (export only), DV, DVD, Dolby® Digital Stereo, H.264, HDV, JPEG, PNG (import only), PSD (import only), MOD and TOD (JVC Everio, import only), MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MP3, WAV, QuickTime, Windows Media, WMA (import only), 3GP.
Again for the cost of the software, you could buy multiple cards. However, if you are serious/interested in Premiere, why not download the free 30 day trial of Premiere Pro CS4 and use it fully functional for 30 days and see if it's something you'd like.
Premiere Pro CS4 just got better with this 4.1 update. Not only can it do a better job with AVCHD, but now it can even edit footage right off a video DVD.