Editing AVCHD video on Mac
AVCHD camcorder is becoming more and more popular. The cameras had been out since mid 2006 the first fully capable software for editing the footage only became available with the recent release of Sony's Vegas 9 editing software for Windows.
Ok, so you can edit AVCHD on Windows, but how do you edit AVCHD on Mac?
AVCHD support has been inconsistent for both Mac and Windows users. The format varies slightly depending on whether your camera is from Sony, Panasonic, or Canon. So things were looking up at least for the Windows using owners of AVCHD capable camcorders, things weren't looking nearly so bright for those of us wanting to edit AVCHD footage on Apple Mac OSX. Fortunately there are at least a couple of options now for Mac OS systems.
Editing AVCHD with iMovie
If your budget or personal preference make iMovie your chosen solution for video editing, there are two core requirements. First, you need to make sure you have iMovie '09 or newer software. The other limiting factor to using iMovie is hardware. You need a Mac with an Intel-based Core Duo processor or better to edit AVCHD in iMovie '09. Power PC G5 Macs or older will not work for editing high definition AVCHD with iMovie.
Editing AVCHD with Final Cut Express
To edit AVCHD files with Final Cut Express, be sure you have Final Cut Express 4 (or later) installed. Also, when you go to capture footage from your AVCHD camcorder, use the HDV - Apple Intermediate Codec Easy Setup to ingest AVCHD.
Editing AVCHD with Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Pro is the premium choice for any Mac video editing. Because of the tricky implementations of AVCHD mentioned above, Apple has been issuing updates to address some of the bigger complications. Final Cut Pro 7 is the most up-to-date support for AVCHD available, with 6.0.1 being the first version of FCP with AVCHD support. Making sure you have Final Cut Pro 7 installed is your best bet to making sure you have a great editing experience with AVCHD and FCP.
Edit AVCHD with Adobe Premiere Pro CS4
Although Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 has now returned to the Mac platform neither the Mac or Windows versions supports the AVCHD format. There were quite a few rumours indicated AVCHD smooth playback and video editing totally depends on your systems performance. Most Laptops will work just fine with AVCHD editing but don’t have as smooth a playback as a highend desktop.
Edit AVCHD with iFunia HD Video Converter
Final Cut, iMovie, Adobe Premiere are great and powerful solutions for editing AVCHD footage on Mac OS X. However, they're very expensive and if you can't afford them, or if you just want to trim, crop AVCHD video, or just make simple then there is an alternative - iFunia HD Video Converter. This app mainly helps you convert between HD video formats and convert AVCHD (M2TS, MTS) video to other HD or SD video. It also includes simple video-editing features such as video cropping, trimming, merging multiple video clips and adding special effects. The price is $32, and a free trial version is available from iFunia.com.
So which is best, Final Cut Pro, iMovie, Adobe Premiere?
Well, at the moment I can't say, I haven't tried either of these options at the time of writing. I have just purchased Final Cut Studio so I am now in a position to do a bit of a comparision between these applications, I've had a fair bit of footage sitting waiting for the time that I would be able to edit it without having to resort to a Windows PC running Vegas Pro 9! ;)
I'll hopefully post a bit of a comparison once I get a chance to try these applications out.