Sony A7S XAVC S and AVCHD import issue in iMovie

Summary: If you have Sony A7S XAVC S and AVCHD import issue in iMovie, you may come to the right place. This post explains how to make iMovie work with Sony A7S media by transcoding them to iMovie friendly Apple InterMediate Codec (AIC).

“Hi, guys, I have a question, would you please help. I have some 30p XAVC S and 60p AVCHD footage shot on a Sony A7S camera. I’m trying to edit them in iMovie on my iMac. The problem is that when I import the A7S files to iMovie, an error message pops up and say: file type not recognized. Why this happen? Does iMovie not come with native support for Sony A7S XAVC S and AVCHD recording format? If so, what can I do to make iMovie recognize my Sony A7S XAVC S and AVCHD videos? One more thing, the XAVC S files have .mp4 file extension while the AVCHD files have .m2ts file extension. Please help. Many thanks!”
a7s and imovie

If you are in the same situation as mentioned above, we would suggest that you convert Sony A7S XAVC S/AVCHD to AIC before you start post production in iMovie. This is necessary, because the Apple Intermediate Codec abbreviated AIC is designed to be an intermediate format in iMovie workflow, featuring high performance and quality, being less processor intensive to work with than other editing formats. To process format conversion, we would recommend HD Video Converter for Mac, which works great as a Sony A7S Video Converter for Apple.

Download a free trial of HD Video Converter for Mac
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How to convert Sony A7S XAVC S and AVCHD files to AIC for iMovie?

Followe these steps:
1. Install and run HD Video Converter for Mac as a Sony A7S video to iMovie Converter. The main interface appears as below:
sony a7s to imovie

2. Click on ‘Add File’ to add your A7S XAVC S MP4 or AVCHD M2TS footage to the program.

3. From the Format bar, choose ‘Apple InterMediateCodec (AIC) (*.mov) as output format from ‘iMovie and Final Cut Express’ column. Note that the AIC codec is also accepted by Final Cut Express and Final Cut Pro (HD 4.5 through 5), but rarely used in Final Cut Pro as of Version 6 since it now uses the ProRes codecs instead of the Apple Intermediate Codec.
sony a7s footage to aic mov conversion

4. Click ‘Settings’ button and go to ‘Profile Settings’ window to custom video and audio settings. (for advanced users)

5. When ready, click ‘Convert’ to start transcoding Sony A7S footage to AIC – the best suited editing format for using within Apple iMovie Version 11, 8, or 9.

6. When the conversion process is complete, click on ‘Open Folder’ button to get the generated AIC QuickTime files and open them in iMovie for further editing.

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