Working with Nikon D810A video on Mac iMovie, FCE, FCPX

This post is written for people who are looking for a faster and smoother workflow for editing Nikon D810A video on Mac iMovie, FCE and FCP X.

The D810A is designed exclusively for astrophotography – a first for Nikon models. More than taking stills, it also features high-definition video mode and enables you to record up to 20 minutes of stunning MOV footage (H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding) with up to 1080p (1920 x 1080) at 60 fps with clear stereo sound in linear PCM format. The D810A also supports 1920 x 1080 resolution at 50, 30, 25 and 24 fps and 1280 x 720 resolution at 60 and 50 fps.
editing Nikon D810A video on Mac iMovie, FCE and FCP X
For a much faster and smoother Nikon D810A workflow on Mac, users are highly recommend transcoding D810A H.264 footage to a Mac friendly format. For instance, if you intend to edit Nikon D810A MOV in iMovie and FCE, we would recommend encoding D810A H.264 MOV to Apple InterMediate Codec, iMovie/FCE’s favorite editing codec, which iMovie/FCE will recognize and handle well. And if you attempt to work with D810A files in FCP X, we would recommend rewrapping D810A MOV to ProRes before editing.

To process format conversion, third party converter is required. If your concerns are ease of use and pristine quality, you can give HD Video Converter for Mac a shot. This app comes with optimal format presets for iMovie, FCE and FCPX, which ensures a quick, stable and smooth workflow. In addition to iMovie, FCE and FCP X, it is able to create editable files for Avid Media Composer, Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, etc. You can download a demo to see if it works as advertised. It is not free, but it is totally worth it.
Nikon D810A workflow on Mac

How to convert Nikon D810A H.264 MOV files for editing in iMovie, FCE and FCP X?

Before we start, you may want to know more about the video recording capability of the D810A.
Nikon D810A Video Recording Capability
Movie format
MOV: Image: H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding;
Audio: Linear PCM (Stereo)

Video Recording Modes
Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 60 fps
Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 50 fps
Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 30 fps
Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 25 fps
Full HD 1,920×1,080 / 24 fps
HD 1,280×720 / 60 fps
HD 1,280×720 / 50 fps

Working as a D810A H.264 Converter for Mac, this app is able to convert D810A MOV files to AIC and ProRes encoded MOV files for use in iMovie, FCE and FCP X fluidly with lossless quality. You can follow the step-by-step guide below to process format conversion.

Step 1: Open up HD Video Converter for Mac as a Nikon D810A Video Converter for Mac. When its main interface comes up, click ‘Add File’ to load your source media.
transcoding D810A H.264 footage to a Mac friendly format

Step 2: Select output format for your editing program
To convert Nikon D810A video for iMovie/FCE, from ‘Profile’ list, choose ‘Apple InterMediate Codec (AIC) (*.mov)’ as output format under ‘iMovie and Final Cut Express’ column.
edit Nikon D810A MOV in iMovie and FCE

To transcode D810A MOV files for FCP X, select ‘Apple ProRes 422 (*.mov)’ as output format under ‘Final Cut Pro’ column. The ProRes codec is also workable in its former version FCP 6 and FCP 7.
encoding D810A H.264 MOV to Apple InterMediate Codec
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: Custom video and audio settings (optional)
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: Begin Nikon D810A H.264 to MOV Conversion on Mac
When ready, click ‘Convert’ to start format conversion. Once the conversion process is complete, you can click ‘Open Folder’ button to get the generated AIC MOV files or ProRes MOV files for editing in iMovie, Final Cut Express or FCP X with optimum performance.

If you don’t want to wait for the entire conversion process, you can tick off ‘Showdown computer when conversion completed’ and go away to do other things.

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