While I was at my parent’s house I was flipping through the USA Today and came across an article of much interest to me as an owner of an AVCHD (or tape-less) video camera. It compared editing software for both the Mac and the PC. Here it is!
My general impression is that the article is right on. Windows has terrible support for AVCHD (despite the fact that Vista is so new… odd how Microsoft is so lousy when it comes to support public standards like AVCHD yet they’re good at pushing their own proprietary standards (WMV HD anyone?). Mac support is better (who’s really surprised?). Like the article says I find the new version of iMovie to be simply too easy – and therefore useless. At the same time, the solution offered by the author is expensive and somewhat complicated. I own Final Cut Express and I love it – but I do more than the average home movie editor. The best Mac solution is to use iMovie ’08 to import your AVCHD content, and then use iMovie 6 (the older version) to do your editing. iMovie 6 supports both 1080i and 720p editing. iMovie 6 is the idea level of difficulty – powerful enough to do something, but simple enough for my wife to figure out in about a day (that’s not a slam on my wife – she’s pretty good on the computer.)
The only thing left out of the article on the Mac side was too other pretty good AVCHD tools. The first is VoltaicHD. This handy $35 program lets you convert AVCHD files into iMovie and Final Cut ready files at a very high quality. It’s ideal for those with PowerPC Macs that do not have native AVCHD support. The other program I’ve found super-handy at handling AVCHD files is Toast 9 Titanium. Although it’s $100 Toast 9 is a complete CD/DVD/AVCHD/Blu-ray/HD-DVD burning tool kit. It too can take the stand-alone AVCHD files and convert them into a host of formats (basically anything QuickTime will support plus a host of other formats and devices). It’s direct conversion into Apple Intermediate Codec Video and Linear PCM Audio does show significant quality loss over conversion through Final Cut Express or VoltaicHD.
Edit: One feature I didn’t realize at the time was that Toast 9 actually has the ability to natively edit AVCHD files without converting them for Final Cut/iMovie. If you add an avchd file to a Blu-ray project and click edit and then click edit again you can select portions of the file. You can then burn only those portions either as a disc image or to an actual disc. This is a big plus if you’re doing TV recordings and want to remove commercials, etc.
Andrew and His Chair – For his birthday is Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Bob got him a chair, and he’s really starting to like it.
Andrew and His Bear – Last night Andrew found a bear in his toy box that he hasn’t played with in a while. The reunion was quite cute.
After some hunting I discovered a Blu-ray drive that works with the Mac. The best part – it’s very affordable when compared to others on the market.
It reads Blu-ray, HD DVD, DVD, and CD, as well as writing Blu-ray, DVD, and CD. I was pleasant surprised when it worked out of the box with Toast 9 with the Blu-ray HD DVD plug-in. I picked it up on sale @ Circuit City.