AVCHD Import = Jerky Motion


OK this is doing my head in, not least because it should be one of the most common and therefore simplest / most reliable workflows Apple should have ensured would work with iMovie.
I have some m2ts files from a Panasonic HD camera. They are 1080i as that's all the camera will do, with an AC3 soundtrack.
To get these into a format that iMovie can import, I'm remuxing with ffmpeg, copying the video untouched and converting the audio to alac so there's no loss of quality. The resulting files play perfectly in both VLC and crucially in Quicktime.
However when I import into iMovie and they are converted to AIC the motion becomes jerky. Single-stepping frames you can see that iMovie has duplicated frames every half second or so which makes the resulting clip completely unusable.
To see if the issue was caused by incorrect video/audio sync from the ffmpeg remux I tried a version with no audio at all ie just AVCHD video copied across, and the result is exactly the same. iMovie is destroying the video on import.
So as it stands, iMovie is of no use to me and I have no way to edit movies on the Mac.
Surely loads of people must have imported AVCHD into iMovie without this issue, so can someone tell me where I'm going wrong please, or is this really a serious bug in iMovie? I'm on the latest version BTW - (9.0.8 - 1778).


Agree with your assessment of the issue Brad and no I haven't tried to convert to AIC but I agree that's the logical next step. Issue is the best way to do so, so that iMovie will not try and optimise further and thereby recompress a second time when rendering the movie. I notice from your original pitch about BlueXFree that I should be able to use that although I didn't see that option when I tried it.
Maybe I'll be a bit more patient with your program and see if I can get it to do the conversion
Will post back how that goes......
----- edit ------
Yep - perfect thanks! Using BlueXFree to convert to AIC first, then doing a non-optimised import into iMovie results in a perfectly working clip. It's a bit of a pain in terms of workflow, but this is only for my existing stuff as iMovie imports correctly from the camera directly so in future I'll use camera archives rather than the camera's own software which is what created these m2ts files in the first place.
Great catch Brad - much appreciated.

November 30, -0001

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