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Importing AVCHD Video into Final Cut Pro

Here is a great video tutorial showing you how to import your AVCHD video into Final Cut Pro.
AVCHD has become a popular format for both consumers as well as professionals. Since the media is compressed when it is recorded it has to be uncompressed to be used in Final Cut Pro.   The method for uncompressing AVCHD in Final Cut Pro is the Log and Transfer. Log and Transfer is different than Log and Capture; an easy way to remember the difference is that Log and Capture deals primarily with tape based ingest of media, and Log and Transfer deals with the tapeless forms of ingest.

When a camera is connected, it appears in the Finder just like a hard drive, and it acts like one too.  It is a great idea to transfer the contents of the camera to a folder on a hard drive, and then access the media from there.  This has a number of benefits; first of all it frees up space on your camera; second of all it creates a compressed archive of your media; this is nice because after you complete your project you can delete the uncompressed files and save considerable space on your hard drive.  Take for example this AVCHD archive; these are the files directly off the camera and they total 4.16 GB; when these clips are uncompressed as Apple Pro Res, they are a total of 29.99 GB, so you can see how storing in the AVCHD format will save significant space. If you keep the Final Cut Pro project file that you used to ingest the media, you will also be saving a log of what clips, and what portion of those clips you brought into your project.

After launching Log & Transfer if there is a camera connected, Log and Transfer will recognize that there is a camera connected and display the media on the camera within Log and Transfer.  More realistic is that you will click on the add volume button and point the Log & Transfer at a folder holding the files from the camera.  Once the media is loaded into the Log and Transfer you are able to select clips to be ingested, or if you prefer you can set in and out points in the clips, and only ingest the portions of the clips that you need. To import all clips, you would simply select all, and add all clips to the queue.

When an entire clip is imported the clip will be marked with a full dot, and if in and out points are selected there will be a half dot. As each clip is added to the queue it will wait behind the last clip added waiting it's turn to be imported. This is more efficient than the related process in Log and Capture, because you are able to do two things at once instead of having to wait until all clips were logged before they could all be captured.

An important decision to make is what format to import the media as. Under the Import Preferences you can choose what format that the media will import as. There are both Logging and Import Settings that make various naming and import options available.

Log & Transfer acts like Log & Capture in that it imports the clips into the file browser and stores the actual files in the Capture Scratch.  I hope this has helped you understand using AVCHD media in Final Cut Pro with Log & Transfer.

 For more on efficient Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Studio workflows check out our class schedule and look into receiving some formal training.
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