AVCHD part II - still no editors?
By Seamus BYRNE
In my first look at AVCHD and its lack of editing support, I was sure that by January 2007, we'd have seen support appearing in many editing packages. One big assumption was the arrival of iLife '07, but Macworld Expo came and went and it was all about the iPhone. No iLife. No AVCHD support.
Put simply, you can do NOTHING with AVCHD video on a Mac until something changes. Let me join the chorus with a short, sharp ARGH!
I have been hands on with the SR1 and UX1 now, and have tried a bunch of conversion tricks and utilities, but no joy whatsoever.
What is even more dizzying is Sony, being the one vendor with AVCHD cameras on the market for more than two months now, still having no edit support in their own Vegas products. The 'good news'? They have announced AVCHD support will be arriving as a free update in 'Spring 2007' -- let's hope that means March and not May.
In all things, it seems March will become the Australian turning point for AVCHD. We get Playstation 3, which will playback HD discs created on the UX1. We get very close to OS X Leopard, which, to make a new dangerous assumption, is probably what the next iteration of iLife is waiting for. And we get our Vegas updates for PC users. Until then, enjoy watching your AVCHD videos on your TV plugged in directly, because that is all you can do!
Oh, no, wait. You can import using the (Windows only) software included with the camera. Which is, as usual, decidedly average software.
If you ARE committed to buying an AVCHD camera, your current solution is to shoot SD and work with this in the editor of your choice. I can't give 100% certainty of support in all editors, but the SD shooting mode shoots an MPEG-2 stream, a format supported by most major editing packages. Then you can 'upgrade' to HD when the support finally arrives.
Sony announced AVCHD very early, taking months to get the cameras to market. And now it seems they could have held out a few months more! Other partners in AVCHD are only now demoing their cameras overseas, with no announcements from Panasonic here about when their models will arrive. Hard to say which is the smarter play... I do like the Sony cameras, I just hate there being no way to edit what you shoot!
As an aside, while testing the options for AVCHD on Mac, I found this great piece of conversion software: MPEG Streamclip. It does all kinds of MPEG decoding, demuxing, and encoding. Except the one we wanted, sadly. But you may find it handy for all kinds of tasks, so it's well worth checking out.
(And I apologise for picking on Sony again. It isn't intentional. They're lovely people!)
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And as you say, these cameras capture such GORGEOUS images! They really dropped the ball by not having Vegas support back at launch. Or surely their software team should be releasing extension codecs for Quicktime and Windows Media -- and ensuring you can get the footage off the camera efficiently!!
Argh. Yes, I'm shirtly. So sorry to hear you're still struggling. Hopefully in not too long you'll be getting full value from your SR1.
Better than a kick in the teeth, but not exactly ideal. Still, thanks for the pointers for all those in desperate need.