In the professional tapeless world, the general principle is to make a disk image of your original card, keeping its exact structure. Disk Utility will do this for you. As you say, the AVCHD files take up much less space than anything you can convert them to – but this is largely because of the massive interframe compression being used.
Interestingly, I recently hit one situation where I absolutely needed FCP’s import to look at the files as a whole card, and not file-by-file (as is being asked for here): for certain AVC cameras, if a shot exceeds a certain duration, a new file will be created using spanning. That new file may not have a consistent timecode or even proper sync, and must be referred to the previous file for correct continuation. Maybe not a situation that most iMovie users are likely to encounter.
I think they should make QuickTime be able to play .mts files. If free programs on the internet can do it, why can’t Apple? They could quietly update QuickTime with this feature, and millions of people would be happy.
I was almost shocked when I saw Windows Media Player (on Win7) plays .mts files literally beautifully. I had never known my AVCHD camcorder recorded HD videos of those high level of quality when I played and edited the files on my Mac.
Considering Apple seems focusing on the consumers who love to play with their photos and videos, I just wonder why Apple couldn’t (or didn’t) catch up Microsoft on this basic and important issue.
Try this for a test if you have a chance:
1. Export any mts to a wmv file using w7 basic moviemaker and play in Movist on mac.
2. Do the same in im (and fce and fcp) and export to aic medium (aic max and pr422)
Compare the 2 exports and draw your own conclusions.
Don’t play the wmv in qt as it may not play very well.
Quality and playback have been like this since mts came out.
mts exported to m2ts appears to be lossless using Vegas
AVCHD was developed by Pan and Sony, not Apple:
As we’ve noted, mac is great except for high quality stutter free mts exports.
So, will iMovie11 be able to import in AVCHD clips ?
iMovie 11 (same as 09) is able to import .mts files through a conversion into almost 10X larger AIC format. (only if .mts file is in the original camcorder/camera file structure) But it doesn’t support native AVCHD file editing.
“Despite the prevalence of camcorders that record in AVCHD format, iMovie ’11 does not offer the ability to edit AVCHD footage directly; the video is still transcoded into AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) for editing.”
iMovie 11 does support importing avchd files. I use sony hx5v digital camera which saves files in .mts format and imovie 11 recognized it, imported it and I made 35 second movie and I edited it and in the end it asks to save in 1080p for youtube upload, I have no idea what pcworld is talking about.
You are wrong. iMovie coverts the AVCHD file (i.e. .mts) to an AIC file. Go and look at the folder for the relevant event if you wish to confirm this. What they are talking about here is native editing of AVCHD files, which iMovie doesn’t do.
There is also no way to import single .mts files that you have previously transferred from the camera to your computer unless you have used the Archive method which saves the whole file structure of the camera onto your computer. This is quite cumbersome as it doesn’t allow you to organise the AVHCD files how you want to (eg by year or by event).