Editing Sony HDR-SR7 videos on a Mac

Well… no instructional “how to” in this blog update.

Just FRUSTRATION!!!

I thought that Mac’s were meant to be an easy platform to import and edit videos on.  Well, not if you have an AVCHD (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AVCHD) camcorder it seems.

So I was there last night, wanting to get some footage off my Sony HDR-SR7 video camera, do some quick editing, then make a DVD.

I thought I could just start iMovie with the camera attached and all would work right?  Hmm nope.  iMovie just did not detect the camera.  The Mac OSX did as it saw it as a USB device and it mounted its hard drive.  I even followed some other people’s instructions on the web which suggested a sequence of starting iMovie, turning on the camera, plugging in the USB cable but to no success.

How can it be this hard?

So I imported the videos onto the computer using the camera supplied software in a Windows VM, which meant I ended up with .m2ts files.

Tried to import these into iMovie.   Nope – doesn’t work. 

Googling shows a stack of results for 3rd party applications to convert the video into an iMovie supported format.  And so I downloaded a trial of iSkySoft’s Video Converter for Mac and converted my videos to mpeg2 format (or I could have used the camera’s supplied software to convert to mpeg2 too).  I’m not too happy about having to transcode it into mpeg2 and then editing it after this.  It defeats the whole purpose of having a high definition digital camera in the first place!  Plus if I do non linear edits, the video will have to be re-encoded into mpeg2 again!

I need to find a way to edit in high definition resolution with quality as close to the source footage as possible.   And then only convert to mpeg2 for DVD as the last step.   Maybe I should try Sony Vegas or Adobe Premiere (http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/291160-Editing-AVCHD-(M2TS)-with-Adobe-Premier)?  Or maybe I should be converting the AVCHD to Apple Intermediate Format using MPEG Streamclip or VoltaicHD.

A few useful links I found in case anyone else is having the same problems:

http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1412182&start=0&tstart=0
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=545597

Anyone have problems editing AVCHD footage?  I really wonder how the average Mum and Dad deals with their AVCHD footage once their camera runs out of space??

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2 thoughts on “Editing Sony HDR-SR7 videos on a Mac”

    1. Mike – thanks for the suggestion. I tried Voltaic and it seems like just what I need. I think it converts to Apple Intermediate codec by default, which is what I need (I think). Now to figure out what to do about all my videos – maybe I convert all my footage for editing and then archive the m2ts files away?

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