How to import AVCHD (.MTS/M2TS) clips to FCP7/X?

How can I import .MTS or M2TS clips copied from an AVCHD camera/camcorder to FCP 7/X for further editing? If for whatever reason you do not preserve the entire AVCHD folder structure, you will have issues importing AVCHD (.MTS/M2TS) video files to FCP for post production. Read this post to find a solution to your issue.
import .MTS or M2TS clips copied from an AVCHD camera to FCP 7/X
There are people who don’t understand how to work with AVCHD footage in FCP 7/X. Some of them try to dig into the AVCHD folder structure and import the .mts/.m2ts streams into FCP (or iMovie for that matter) and don’t realize these editors are not designed to work with the footage like that. It’s one of the most common problems that people have here even, but once it’s explained to not try to import the individual files, they are usually good to go.

As long as you leave it in the AVCHD structure, you can import it whether the SD card is in the camera, or if you plug the SD card into a reader. You can also backup your footage to another hard drive from the SD card as long as you transfer the entire AVCHD folder structure; then later FCP allows you to navigate to the folder location storing the AVCHD private folder and have it find the footage for you which is very convenient.

The biggest problem becomes people who move out the individual files from the folder structure – once out of there (and they usually delete the folder structure) they end up with un-useable files that need to be transcoded prior to importing into FCP 7/X. Read on to check a short tutorial on how to transcode AVCHD .MTS/M2TS clips to ProRes for use in FCP 7/X with optimum performance.

Here’s what you need
issues importing AVCHD (.MTS/M2TS) video files to FCP

[Guide] How to encode AVCHD (.MTS/M2TS) video files to ProRes for FCP editing?

Download, install and run HD Video Converter for Mac, then follow these steps:
Step 1: Run HD Video Converter for Mac as a professional MTS/M2TS to ProRes Converter. When its main interface comes up, click ‘Add File’ to load source video to it.
transcode AVCHD .MTS/M2TS clips to ProRes for use in FCP 7/X

Step 2: Select ‘Apple ProRes 422 (*.mov)’ as output format for opening with FCP 7/X
From the ‘Profile’ list, move to ‘Final Cut Pro’ catalogue, and select ‘Apple ProRes 422 (*.mov)’ as target format. Apple ProRes is the best suited editing codec for FCP 7 and its most recent version FCP X. When loading them into Final Cut, you needn’t wait for a long time for rendering.
work with AVCHD footage in FCP 7/X
Important: If you’ve loaded a number of video clips to do batch conversion, please do remember ticking off ‘Apply to All’ option before you start.

Step 3: Adjust video and audio settings (for advanced users)
If necessary, you can click ‘Settings’ button and go to ‘Profiles Settings’ panel to modify video and audio settings like video encoder, resolution, video bit rate, frame rate, aspect ratio, audio encoder, sample rate, audio bit rate, and audio channels. 3D settings are also available.

Step 4: Click ‘Convert’ to start AVCHD (.MTS/M2TS) video files to ProRes conversion.

Step 5: Click ‘Open Folder’ to get generated ProRes 422 QuickTime files for transferring and editing in Final Cut Pro 7/X with optimum performance.

To import the transcoded files into Final Cut Pro 7, simply navigate to File > Import > Files and select the converted clips. Alternately you can simply drag and drop the files into your “Bin.”

To import the transcoded files into Final Cut Pro X. navigate to File > Import > Media. In the window that comes up select your transcoded ProRes clips. DO NOT check “Create Optimized Media” OR “Create Proxy Media”. Both of these check boxes are unnecessary because we already converted the media to ProRes which means Final Cut Pro X can use the footage without “optimizing” it. Checking this box would create a redundant and time consuming second transcode of your footage.

You’re now ready to edit!

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