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Benjamin Coonan
Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Apr 20, 2012 at 11:11:43 am

Hello,

Firstly, thank you to all that contribute to this forum, I've found it very beneficial in the past and I come cap in hand in an attempt to solve this problem.

I have just purchased a Sony HXR-NX5P and I'm trying to import into Final Cut Pro 7 using what I believe to be the correct settings and procedures but I'm having no joy.

I've followed all the forums that I've stumbled across as concisely as I can but I'm getting nowhere, ultimately I get the message when I get to the final stage:

"FOLDER" contains unsupported media or has an invalid directory structure. Please choose a folder whose directory structure matches supported media.

Any help would be HUGELY appreciated!

Best regards and thanks, Ben.


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Jonothan Whatley
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Apr 20, 2012 at 4:45:02 pm

How did you set up your Log and Transfer exactly?


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Benjamin Coonan
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Apr 20, 2012 at 9:22:09 pm

Thanks for your response Jonothan,

1. I insert the Memory Stick Pro Duo into my Soniq USB Hub & Cardreader.
2. The Cardreader appears on my desktop 'Untitled' containing the following folders/files:
AVCHD>BDMV>CLIPINF>00000.CPI
00001.CPI
00002.CPI
>PLAYLIST>00000.MPL
>STREAM>00002.MTS
INDEX.BDM
MOVIEOBJ.BDM
AVF_INFO>AVIN0001.BNP
AVIN0001.INP
AVIN0001.INT
MEMSTICK.IND
MSTK_PRO.IND
3. I highlight all of the root folders and copy them to a new folder on my desktop 'FOLDER'.
4. I open up Final Cut Pro 7>File>Log and Transfer...
5. I click the 'Add Volume' button.
6. I select the 'FOLDER' folder from the desktop.
7. I am shown this message:
"FOLDER" contains unsupported media or has an invalid directory structure. Please choose a folder whose directory structure matches supported media.

I've also tried selecting the 'Untitled' USB straight at the 'Add Volume' stage and either a) I select the USB as the root drive and nothing happens or b) I select the 'AVCHD' folder and I get the same message as above.

Thanks again for your help! Ben.


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Michael Gissing
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Apr 20, 2012 at 10:12:53 pm

Start with this thread
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/8/1089420#1125670

Although a year old it does talk about that camera. Also have a look at Shane Ross's excellent Tapeless workflow tutorial -

http://library.creativecow.net/ross_shane/tapeless-workflow_fcp-7/1

Although you may have specific problems with this card it maybe that you need to install software from Sony to make L&T work. I don't know as I haven't had to deal with that camera, but searching this and other forums may help.


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Benjamin Coonan
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Apr 20, 2012 at 10:26:39 pm

Thanks Michael,

The issue would seem that all the relevant software available from Sony is specific to Windows, unless any Mac users could advise me otherwise?

Regards, Ben.


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Shane Ross
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Apr 22, 2012 at 7:16:31 am

Your problem is that you went digging inside the folder structure and copied over only certain files you found in there. That was wrong. You need to copy EVERYTHING from the card, in the exact order it is on that card. Make a new folder, open the card...copy everything you see there...don't go digging. If you only see one folder, called AVCHD...copy only that. That gets everything, and in the proper order. FCP needs things in the proper order, or it won't work.

I say this in my tutorial.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Juha Västi
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Apr 22, 2012 at 9:11:37 am

You also
could try to ingest straight from the camera. Works for me.


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Shane Ross
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Apr 22, 2012 at 9:29:02 am

[Juha Västi] "could try to ingest straight from the camera. Works for me."

Yes...but then make sure you also back up the card or data from the camera. Those are your masters...your "tapes" if you will. They are far smaller than the imported ProRes, and are easier to archive. But I say archive first...back up the camera/card, THEN import. So FCP knows where the footage is in case you need to reimport.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Nick Baer
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jul 16, 2012 at 9:01:33 am

Thanks, Shane, for your continued dedication to mentoring of FCP.

I shoot with my brand new Panasonic TM900, in AVCHD. (I travel on the road, and need the factor of size and weight of camera gear on airplanes).

I'm trying to compare FCP 7 with Toast Titanium 11.0.6, for conversion for editing in FCP 7.

My final product is a DVD created with DVD Studio Pro SD 720x480. I am just not aware that I can (and should) create a SD DVD in DVD Studio Pro that uses a source file other than 720x480 (with or without letterbox). No 16:9 anamorphic etc.

I have used Toast for 3 years converting AVCHD to DV/DVCPRO NTSC 720x480 .mov, no sound (I use a music track instead of live sound) in FCP.

While there is degradation of quality of 720x480 vs 1920x1080, I just can't (don't know how to) use anything other than 720x480 to get me to my destination) in DVD Studio Pro.

The other thing, I don't need the full 16:9 frame of content. I'd be OK with a (4:3) center-cut that chopped off the sides to save file size. With or without Letterbox.

But FCP creates a 5GB .mov file for 5 minutes of AVCHD orig. Seems a bit of overkill, compared to the 13GB/hour Toast does, and FCP Log & Capture alway did from miniDV tape from my beloved Panasonic 100!. I can't turn off the sound, and I can't seem to adjust the frame size.

Where in this workflow and I going wrong from your experience?


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Shane Ross
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jul 16, 2012 at 5:05:37 pm

Why are you shooting in HD if you only plan on working in SD? Why not continue shooting SD if that is your ultimate goal?

You are working in the lowest format possible, so your DVD quality will not be as good as it can be. 720x480 DV is the lowest end SD format out there. LOW quality. You are losing a lot of quality encoding to that and working in that format. It is best to keep the best quality you can while you shoot and edit so that you can produce the best looking end product...even if that is SD DVD. Soon you might want to think about using Toast and a BluRay burner and making BluRay versions of your products. But even DVDs made from HD sources look TONS better than DVDs made from DV sources.

Yes, the HD files take up more space. Get bigger hard drives. They are cheap. And because the camera you chose to use shoots a frame rate that is non-standard in every way (1080p60....60fps at 1080), you need to use toast to convert. 1080 is a 30 frame format. No delivery method does 1080 60fps. That format exists so you can shoot great slow motion. Why a consumer level camera shoots that format is beyond me. 1080p 60fps takes up TWICE the space that 1080i60 (30fps) does. No wonder you run out of space fast. Unless you can shoot 1080i60 (30fps). SHoot that if you can.

Your workflow turns out lower quality DVDs than editing in HD and then encoding. What you do is edit in HD, export a QT reference movie...and then use Compressor and the DVD presets to make the DVD files you then take to DVD SP to encode. You can do a test if you want. Encode some footage as 4;3 DV for editing...then make a DVD with that. And then encode some as ProRes LT or ProRes 422 and make a DVD with that. See what looks better.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Nick Baer
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jul 16, 2012 at 5:37:15 pm

Since I am in the UK and have an 8 hour head start on the US west coast...

I was successful with FCP 7 Log & Transport to ProRes LT. FCP liked the converted files. The 720x480 .mov looks much better.

In DSP built DVD, there seems to be jagged edges - played thru DVD Player, not from a DVD in a DVD device.

What is the highest quality file FCP 7 can output that DSP won't choke on? The last conversation I had with a DVD expert on LAFCPUG was that DSP HD was a dead format.

The next MTS files I want to convert (ProRes LT) I'm doing in Toast so I can unselect Sound..


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Shane Ross
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jul 16, 2012 at 5:44:10 pm

[Nick Baer] "What is the highest quality file FCP 7 can output that DSP won't choke on? The last conversation I had with a DVD expert on LAFCPUG was that DSP HD was a dead format."

Don't export a file directly to DVD SP. Export a self contained QT file, or QT reference, then use COMPRESSOR to compress for DVD. There are presets. Use the BEST QUALITY ONES. Take the result of that into DVD SP.

As for FCPX...that's up to you. If it works for you...go for it. I cannot advise as I don't use it.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Nick Baer
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jul 16, 2012 at 5:39:28 pm

Also, is this a good time to go FCP X - or maybe switch to iMovie?


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Nick Baer
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jul 16, 2012 at 6:15:02 pm

I do not have the 1080/60p option selected. That is a separate hardware push button, separate from the on screen menu for Rec Setup > Record Mode, which brings up on-screen warnings.

I'm shooting HG1920. Perhaps it is 1080/60i rather than 30i, but FCP 7 L&T did convert it to ProRes(LT).

I am converting the next set of MTS files using Toast -> proves(LT). There is an option regarding Interlace, which I left as is because I didn't know better..

Back tot he original FCP L&T converted ProRes(LT) files, so far, the only thing I don't like in the DVD playback is jagged edges on people, when I pan the camera.

I never used Compressor on my G5 2005-2008, because Compressor never installed properly, and the machine was too heavy to haul down to, and through the parking lot of the Apple Store The Grove. DSP worked, and there were comments on LAFCPUG to let DSP do the whole job.

I now work on the road with my Mini (brand new March 2012, 2.5GHz with 8GB RAM).

I bought Compressor from the App Store, but in march was advised on LAFCPUG to not use it,

Google search on AVCHD is finding Premiere forums, and there people gasping for air there, too.


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Bob Matta
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Dec 18, 2012 at 4:50:19 am

Dear Shane,

Have had the Sony HD HC1 one camcorder for six years and am about to switch and get a new camera. Really want to understand AVC HD before I make the decision to eliminate the tape-based camera format.

I use Final Cut Pro 7 to edit high-definition video using the HDV or AIC codecs on my iMac. Then I convert to Pro Res 422 or 422 LT for editing.

It's my understanding that AVC HD is superior to tape-based recording in that it's MPEG-4 vice MPEG-2.

About to plunk down a couple of Gs for a new Sony high-definition camcorder but there's one big sticking point that Id like your help with please!

Looking for some real clarity given multiple forums that I found seem to state its very difficult to take AVCHD from a camcorder and put it into a MAC (and thus work with it on Final Cut Pro 7).

Correct me if I'm wrong, and I likely I am, but if I take a AVCHD disk and hook it up directly to my camcorder, your article seems to suggest it will work just fine- that there will be no finding file structure OS X issues. Noted you mention to back up a disk first (Let's face facts - tape is easier to archive!).

I trust Sony as a product, and I want to continue to film high-definition when I travel, but I really want is a postproduction experience where I come home from traveling abroad, plug my Sony into my MAC, with Mountain Lion, and be able to pull the video off my AVCHD disk(s) into Final Cut Pro, then have it transcode to ProRes and start flipping working (editing).

FINALLY: For people that have MACs, and Final Cut Pro, how do they (moi) get these two to play nice with AVCHD recordings/ TRANSFERRING/LOGGING, ETC, so that the consumer can get the hell away from tape-based importing.

Appreciate your patience. Trying to get my workflow to run a hell of a lot more efficiently.

Respectfully yours,
Bob

-Bob


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Shane Ross
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Dec 18, 2012 at 5:27:29 pm

Avoid AVCHD if you can. It just is the most difficult format to get working in any NLE. If you want to go Sony, look into a Sony XDCAM EX camera. Sure, AVCHD will work, but expecially for FCP 7...that is 4+ years old and will never be updated, but the AVCHD formats always are...it will be difficult. You end up using ClipWrap2 to convert things. Which is fine, that's a great app. There are just better camera formats out there. But if you want to go cheap...AVCHD it is.

[Bob Matta] "FINALLY: For people that have MACs, and Final Cut Pro, how do they (moi) get these two to play nice with AVCHD recordings/ TRANSFERRING/LOGGING, ETC, so that the consumer can get the hell away from tape-based importing."

THis is the workflow for all tapeless media in FCP.

http://library.creativecow.net/ross_shane/tapeless-workflow_fcp-7/1

Unless it doesn't work, then you need third party converters. When will you know it doesn't work? when it doesn't. AVCHD has no standard and newer formats might not work with the older FCP software.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bob Matta
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Dec 18, 2012 at 6:05:21 pm

Dear Shane,

Thanks for responding so quickly. I appreciate it.

Not sure the EX series is in my budget ($4,999), but I have 3 followup questions please:

- Having just looked up the EX series you suggested, is this HDV (MPEG2) but TAPELESS (Great to get rid of tape, but I thought MPEG-2 has a crap GOP structure)?

-Product help (though I don't hold you responsible ...lol): Can you pick out/suggest a Sony camera 'product' series (so many sony choices here) that fall under $5k?

-As you mention FCP7 is 4 years old.. does FCP X surpass FCP7 in editing choices/creative possibilities?

Thank you again,
Bob


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Bob Matta
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jun 6, 2013 at 5:28:14 am

Hi Shane,

Just returned from my first trip with an AVCHD camera (Sony PJ-790V). Using your tutorial, I was in the Log and Transfer window (FCP 7), and, when in Import Settings, I saw a message under Audio settings that said:

'Audio is mixed down to stereo'. Boo.

Can you tell me why? I shot in surround with the Sony's built in 5.1 mic.

Respectfully,
Bob

-Bob


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Shane Ross
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jun 6, 2013 at 7:25:15 pm

True 5.1 would require 5 microphones...as it plays audio from 5 directions. Your on board mic is, at best, stereo. Camera makers just like to put that stereo audio into all 5 channels and call it 5.1 audio. It really isn't. It's stereo. FCP knows this...thus why it only takes the stereo mix.

Even then, it really isn't stereo...the audio sources (the two small mics literally an inch apart) are too close together. Might as well be MONO, as both come from exactly the same source. True stereo is two microphones at least 4-5 feet apart.

It's all marketting. It sounds impressive to get a 5.1 audio signal from a camera. because it's better than stereo! But, it really isn't

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bob Matta
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jun 7, 2013 at 4:21:17 am

Thanks Shane, I have another question if you don't mind please...

I'm confused on AVC HD versus PRORES data rates:

I shot 75 mins (16GB SDHC card) at 1920x1080 60I with my Sony PJ-790V. The resulting footage, ingested as PRORES422 (not LT.. just 422), went onto my hard drive via Log and Transfer @ approximately 80 GB for the files.

That's about 1.06 GB per min, 17 MB per second. Now I'm sure this is the data rate at which the AVC media was recorded.

However when I ingested with PRORES422 which has a data rate of 147 MB per second, I expected my files to be about six times larger on my hard drive than they were.

What gives here?


I'm certain this confusion has made obvious the fact that this is my first experience with AVC HD. I have been working with HDV/mini tapes for the last seven years.


Also can you tell me why I don't have to do any kind of rendering to work? As soon as I ingested the footage into my sequence I was ready to work right away.

Pleasant surprise but I'm used to importing with FireWire and having to render to do editing.

This new way for me seems seamless- I just want understanding it!


Thanks for your patience.. appreciate it!
~Bob

-Bob


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David Eaks
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jun 7, 2013 at 11:03:24 am

Hi Bob,

I think AVCHD is great. Although it may be harder for computers to deal with, it hasn't ever given me a workflow problem. Picture quality (from Sony NX5Us) is practically visually indistinguishable to the same shot in Prores on the AJA Ki Pro (w/ HD-SDI input). With SDHC cards you get very long record times on inexpensive, widely available recording media. When I was still on FCP 7, AVCHD would L&T no problem (big thanks to Shane Ross for that tapeless workflow tutorial, it helped me figure this all out too!). While I mainly record AVCHD as an on location backup to the KiPro's recording, any time I need to cut in a clip of AVCHD, its almost too easy with FCPX. That said, if the edit is mainly AVCHD and is going to be any more involved than simple cuts and titles, I'll always convert to Prores.

The data rate confusion is due to the "little b or Big B"... bits or Bytes, 8 bits = 1 Byte. So, Prores is 147Mb/s which is also 17MB/s. See here-
http://web.njit.edu/~walsh/powers/bits.vs.bytes.html

You don't need to render when the clip and sequence settings match perfectly, which should generally be the case at the start of every project. At least until effects etc. are applied, I always preferred the "Unlimited RT" timeline setting rather than seeing that hideous "unrendered" screen (typing that literally made my stomach churn). Either way, I couldn't imagine going back after learning FCPX.


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Bob Matta
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jun 7, 2013 at 3:48:07 pm

Thanks David!

Got it. If you have a moment then can you expound on reasons for moving to Final Cut Pro X over 7Pro? You seem to enjoy it.
-Bob

-Bob


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David Eaks
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Jun 7, 2013 at 8:26:25 pm

Sure, I really do enjoy FCPX. For me the switch became 99.9% FCPX the day of the 10.0.6 release. I have to admit, after doing my first paid job in FCPX (three 7 hour days of multican lectures with powerpoint slides that needed to be added in), I wasn't sure if I'd ever use it again. It was miserable. But I continued to play with it and learn its ways.

Well, the obvious advantages of it being 64bit. The native/optimized/proxy workflow is awesome. Love the Multicam. Build your own templates in Motion and keep them in FCPX. Queue up multiple projects for export while also continuing to work. Third party plugin hysteria. Built-in Logic effects. I cant remember the last time I rendered anything in the timeline. "Expand audio components". Too many great things to think of at once.

IMO the magnetic timeline is superior to the traditional track based NLE. I remember reading comments like "The magnetic timeline is horrible, I can't have clips going crazy and flying around the timeline when I try to drag a clip into place". To me, that "crazy flying around" is expected, useful, structured and does precisely what I expect it to do.

There so many little things that just "let me do my work". I can quickly see and hear what needs to be done, then I do it.


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Lucie Martin
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Mar 7, 2015 at 6:21:26 pm

Hi Benjamin,

I'm facing the same problem. (It worked the first time but it doesn't since then).

Did you find a way to make it work?

(I didn't go digging into the card structure so that can not be the problem).

I have a sony alpha 6000, shoot in 25/i and edit in FCP7.

Many thanks for any reply.

(I'm a beginner, quite desperate!)


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Shane Ross
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Mar 7, 2015 at 9:58:47 pm

You will have to convert the footage that camera shoots with third party software, like EditReady by divergentmedia.com. Because that camera is new, and FCP 7 was not only discontinued 4 years ago, but the last update was 4.5 years ago. So it doesn't recognize the AVCHD format it shoots.

AVCHD is a standard, with many many different variations. And unless the edit software knows about those variations, it won't import it.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Lucie Martin
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Mar 10, 2015 at 3:07:12 pm

Thank you very much for your reply Shane.
Somebody helped me to convert the files into prores 422 via clipwrap.
It worked fine but the file size exploded (x6)!
Seems like the only good solution though.
Thanks again!


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Tim Matkosky
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Aug 12, 2015 at 3:00:12 pm

Hi Shane.

So....my issues with importing AVCHD in FCP7 have been time code related. I am shooting with a panasonic GH4, and am able to simply and easily injest my AVCHD files using log and transfer. My problem is, time code is not being transferred. Each clip starts at :00.

Will changing the preferenences while transferring fix this ?

Thank you

Tim


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Shane Ross
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Aug 12, 2015 at 4:58:31 pm

Look to the GH4...is it recording timecode? A lot of those cameras don't, and need a firmware update in order to work.

Also..every AVCHD format is a little different...there is no standard. And since the GH4 came out 4 years after FCP was discontinued...5 years after it's last update...it might not be able to read all the metadata properly.

FCP 7 is old....

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Tim Matkosky
Re: Importing AVCHD into Final Cut Pro 7
on Aug 13, 2015 at 1:25:16 pm

Good morning and thank you for taking the time to respond

Yes the GH4 is recording time code. I can see it on playback thru the camera. I'm also able to import TC into premiere

I appreciate your comment on FCP 7. I recently crossed over to premiere myself. My problem is I have 2
Clients who still edit in FCP 7.

I've seen a video tutorial on importing AVCHD into FCP 7. The ironic thing is that, in the tutorial, when AVCHD is imported thru log and transfer ...there is no time code in the log and transfer window either. At least initially. Once the presenter goes to a cut away of screen ...all of a sudden ...poof ...time code appears.


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