I work at a public access station and we're just now starting to switch over to FCP because of financial reasons (we can't keep paying for Premiere) and I've never had issues with it before but I'm starting to see a trend of some major problems.
We shoot Sony NX cams that record 1080p in AVCHD. We just did a concert with 4 cameras that I'm gonna need to multicam edit.
I know when i import the footage directly into FCP and save it to the library, it has to convert the .MTS files into one large .mov file. The concert footage on each camera was about two and a half hours long. This is taking almost real time to ingest. I tried importing the entire SD card onto the hard drive and then import from there, but it's still taking forever. Transferring the card only takes 10-15 minutes maybe, but when i import into FCP, i can't choose to leave in place, because it's a bunch of .MTS files in an AVCHD format, so FCP has to convert it into a .mov file. and that's taking a lifetime to do. I only work 8 hours today, but out of my 4 SDHC cards that all have a little less than 32GB's on them, i've transferred all 4 cards onto the computer, and i'm only about 47% done importing the first card into FCP and i've been at work for 3 hours.
Is there a better way to handle long AVCHD footage with FCP? should I just be importing the .MTS files instead of bringing it in the proper way? At this rate i need about a 5-8 hour day just to import footage from a shoot.
I'm not transcoding anything into Optimized Media or Proxy Media. I'm using FCP 10.5.3 on a new Mac Mini M1 macOS Big Sur 11.4, with 16GB RAM. I'm importing the SD cards with a USB 3.0 dongle one at a time, and at the moment i'm just saving the cards and the library on the internal drive of the computer.
May not help your exact situation but posting this as an idea to help others with other less compliant files.
Run the files into an Atomos and capture in a ProRes variant. AVHCD is such a pain in the ass I don't even bother importing it as it can take 2-3x longer than the actual run time of the file itself. Ninety minute file captures in 90 minutes without expending the time to copy to disc then start import that'll take who knows how long. This Atomos approach also works with tape based cameras. Then there's always EditReady...
EditReady is great and rewraps very quickly. That said. So does FCP. I have no idea what the problem is with importing AVCHD. It's the first format I worked with FCPX 10.0, and it worked seamlessly. Do NOT rip the .mts files out of the camera card folder structure. Just use the folder structure. For most cameras you plug in the card, and the files appear in the Import window. Select and import. Done. Some cameras need the user to find the AVCHD bundle. Select the bundle. The files load. Import. If your camera isn't doing that it's crap and shouldn't be sold or bought.
I am just placing the card in and importing it. I'm also copying the entire card onto the computer, and yes, i'm not disrupting the file structure in any way. fcp isn't having a hard time bringing it in or finding it, it's just the fact that it's taking an incredibly long time to import.
If i import a .mp4 h.264 file, it's great, because i can easily edit that. i can leave it in place, or just copy it to the library. BUT, AVCHD is a whole bunch of .MTS files that need to be brought together. FCP handles this by automatically converting it into a ProRes .mov file. I don't have Transcode to Optimized or Proxy files selected, but since it's AVCHD, by default, it's converting it into ProRes so I can work with it. And because of that, it's taking forever for me to edit. If I shoot a lot of shorter clips in AVCHD, it doesn't seem to have a problem importing them fairly quick and converting them to Apple ProRes (if you import AVCHD, it does not give you an option to leave in place, because it can't edit with AVCHD. It doesn't support it. It has to convert it to ProRes). BUT if you import a single take large 2 and a half long clip of AVCHD, it takes forever. FCP can convert a ton of 2-4 minute AVCHD clips in a heartbeat. But if it's 1 long single take from the camera, somethign happens to FCP and it takes a lifetime to import.
I've determined that FCP is lying when they say the support AVCHD. They don't. they're forcing it to Transcode to Optimized Media without you even selecting it. That's all the developers did, and they said 'there, done, just tell people we support avchd now so they get off our backs'.
My only other option on these Sony NX cams are to record AVCHD or XAVC, which ultimately records to a .mp4 file. So that would be a lot easier to import. However, it does record that at almost double the bitrate. Better quality image, but much larger storage needed, and longer imports. It's either that or see if any of these other programs people on here have mentioned convert faster than FCP. I can't even find an option in Compressor to convert an SD card with AVCHD footage onto it into a ProRes. I can grab individual .MTS files and make them all ProRes files probably, but that's not what i want to do, because sometimes i need all those .MTS files to line up perfectly.
And i can import .MTS files into FCP and use them right away, but the issue is audio sync. If you line up a bunch of .MTS files next to each other on the timeline and play them, they skip a frame or two and freeze in between clips. It's choppy, and it makes syncing for multicam a nightmare.
bradywurtz wrote: ... AVCHD is a whole bunch of .MTS files that need to be brought together. FCP handles this by automatically converting it into a ProRes .mov file. I don't have Transcode to Optimized or Proxy files selected, but since it's AVCHD, by default, it's converting it into ProRes so I can work with it...
I don't think that is correct. It re-wraps the files -- does not transcode them. You can easily tell the difference, since AVCHD uses H.264, and ProRes files are 6x larger. If the cumulative size of the ingested files is 6x larger, it is ProRes. If the cumulative size is about the same size, it is re-wrapped. The file suffix does not make a difference.
I suggest externally re-wrapping the AVCHD files with EditReady2. It can transcode them, but you don't do that -- you tell it re-wrap the files. EditReady's re-wrap algorithm is very fast and also concatenates the split files. Then FCP can rapidly import those using "leave files in place". There is a native Apple Silicon version: www.divergentmedia.com/editready
We have a pair of Sony FS-700s that shoot AVCHD and I always use EditReady2 to first re-wrap the tiles before importing into FCP. Takes anywhere from 30 minute to an hour to rewrap the couple to several hours of footage we typically shoot. The benefit of rewrapping allows you to leave the in place, keeping your library size small. I believe EditReady2 has a demo to test if it will work for your workflow.
One issue I have is the rewrapped files gain new modification dates which mess up the sort order in FCP for me with our SMB-based NAS. I wrote a tiny shell script fmusetmod.sh to set the modification date/time the same as the creation. This only take a second or two to process hundreds of rewrapped files.
for i in *.mov
created=`/usr/bin/GetFileInfo -d "$i"`;
/usr/bin/SetFile -m "$created" "$i";