Premiere Pro CS5 aside, support for AVCHD has been poor to date on PCs and Macs. Are you tired of having to wait for media to transcode in Final Cut Pro? Can’t edit HX9v 1080/60p in Final Cut Pro X? Having trouble previewing AVCHD clips in Quicktime Player on a Mac? No thumbnail of AVCHD clips in the Finder?

Finally a solution is at hand.

Media Converter V1.2 is a really nice freeware app by Maarten Foukhar for the Mac. Click here to download. You simply drag files to it and it converts anything to pretty much anything. It’s simple, it’s fast and 64bit.

Key to the AVCHD conundrum though is an in-app downloadable preset called “Re-wrap AVCHD for Quicktime with uncompressed audio”.

This jailbreaks the H.264 video stream from the evil AVCHD prison, and releases it into the world of Quicktime with a .MOV extension and it’s far faster than converting or transcoding AVCHD to a different format like ProRes. You can then edit the files directly in your chosen NLE software.

It also makes HX9V AVCHD footage in 1080/60p compatible with Final Cut Pro and FCPX so it is perfect for a news shooter who has B-roll or documentary footage shot on the HX9v but needs a quick editing turn-around.

It also enables you to preview your media in Quicktime player and because they are now in Quicktime format instead of AVCHD, Mac Finder gives you a nice thumbnail preview whereas previously I was using VLC Player and a AVCHD thumbnail plugin which took ages to render in the Finder, to preview clips outside of the NLE.

For those without FCPX or Premiere Pro CS5 this little app will save a lot of time. Here is the step by step guide for using it…

  1. Download the app to your Mac and drag it to the Applications folder on the dock.
  2. Run the app then open Preferences and go to Presets
  3. Click Get More Presets, this takes you to a webpage with a download link for “Re-wrap AVCHD for Quicktime with uncompressed audio”
  4. Download that preset and open it. Media Converter will install the preset and it will appear in the Presets panel in Preferences
  5. Under the Drag Files Here window click the Covert To drop down box and select Re-Wrap AVCHD…
  6. Drag your files to the window and they will be unwrapped and saved in Quicktime format. The default directory where they’re saved to is Movies and you can change that in the Preferences.
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