After a few years of being available there are now many hard-disk based video cameras that use the AVCHD format for video, support for the format in video editing software is well supported now on both Mac OS X and Windows by apps like Final Cut Pro / Express, iMovie, Adobe Premiere, VoltaicHD and more. This all leads to a much simpler experience for users of AVCHD cameras than it was a couple of years ago.
AVCHD Lite – Throwing a spanner in the works?
More recent digital stills camera have started coming with the ability to shoot HD video, for many of the small compact cameras there became a need for high-quality efficient video format that could be used in small compact cameras with less capable hardware. The solution to this was a variant of the AVCHD format called AVCHD Lite.
The main differences between AVCHD Lite and the regular AVCHD: a maximum resolution of 1280 x 720p in AVCHD Lite compared to 1920 x 1080p in regular AVCHD and a less-intensive compression method – both of which make the format more suitable for less powerful camera hardware.
Why can’t I edit AVCHD Lite in iMovie or Final Cut?
AVCHD Lite throws a spanner in the works because many of the existing AVCHD editing packages are incapable of supporting it without an update to the software. At the time of writing none of Apple’s video editing applications such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro or Express support the AVCHD Lite format. Adobe’s Premiere and Premiere Elements applications also do not appear to support AVCHD Lite at this time.
The only solution for AVCHD Lite on Mac OS X at the moment is the one that saved many an early adopter like myself a couple of years or so ago when AVCHD cameras first came out – VoltaicHD by Shedworx. This is a $35 app that will convert your AVCHD Lite footage to the Apple Intermediate Codec format that can then be used in any of Apple’s video editing applications.
Some Handy Links / References…
Here’s a few links to some handy information about AVCHD Lite:
- AVCHD Lite and that 50p format – Shedworx.com
- AVCHD Lite – Shedworx.com
- Panasonic AVCHD Lite cameras
- Apple Support article re: AVCHD Lite / iMovie 09
- VoltaicHD for Mac / VoltaicHD for PC
As of 04/06/09 iMovie now supports editing of AVCHD Lite files with the iMovie 8.0.3 update!