Can iMovie/FCE natively handle Sony F55/F5 XAVC footage?

If you have XAVC 2K/XAVC 4K/XAVC HD footage shot with a Sony F55/F5 camera, you may want to know the workflow on how to import and edit XAVC files with iMovie or FCE.

“Hey guys. I have an issue that needs immediate attention. I recently shot a clip using Sony F55 2K XAVC 422 High Intra. I borrowed the camera from a friend, and now I’m attempting to import this footage to iMovie’11. I was told that iMovie wouldn’t handle the edit as iMovie doesn’t work with that XAVC codec. Can anyone give me some advice on this problem? I can’t find a solution anywhere on the net. Please help!”

sony f55 and f5

As a matter of fact, many of the NLE platforms are able to recognize XAVC footage taken with Sony F55 and F5 cameras, like Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro X, Avid applications, and Sony Vegas Pro. You may need a specific plug-in for ingesting this XAVC footage similar to how you need the XF Plugin for Canon C300 footage. But for iMovie, there is no go, because Sony didn’t even provide such a XAVC plugin for iMovie. In this situation, you may consider converting Sony F55/F5 XAVC files to AIC, the native format for iMovie and Final Cut Express. If you decided to transcode XAVC footage, we would recommend third party software HD Video Converter for Mac. This Mac converter tool works well as a Sony XAVC Converter, featuring optimal format settings for using in different NLEs, such as iMovie, FCE, Avid MC, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas and more, therefore, you can easily convert XAVC footage to whatever file types you need with crisp image and sound quality as that in the original.

Download a free trial of Sony XAVC to iMovie/FCE Converter
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How to transcode Sony F55/F5 XAVC 2K/XAVC 4K video to AIC for iMovie/FCE?

Follow these steps:
Step 1: Start up HD Video Converter for Mac (In this guide, we use it as a Sony XAVC to iMovie/FCE Converter). Click ‘Add File’ button to import XAVC shootings captured by your SonyPMW-F55/F5 camera. You are allowed to load directly from a camera or from a card reader, or from a folder on your HDD that contains your XAVC data.

Step 2: Select output format for iMovie/FCE
In order to edit Sony F55/F5 XAVC shootings in iMovie or FCE, do as below:
From the Format bar, choose ‘Apple InterMediateCodec (AIC) (*.mov) as output format from ‘iMovie and Final Cut Express’ catalogue.

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 you want to adjust video and audio settings in your own way, you can click ‘Setting’ button and go to ‘Profile Settings’ panel to do so, if not, simply skip this step.

Step 4: Finally, click the ‘Convert’ button to start converting Sony XAVC clips to AIC for using within iMovie 8’ 9 or the later version iMovie’11.

Tips: You can tick off ‘Shut down computer after conversion’ checkbox, and go away to do other things instead of waiting around in front of the computer for the entire conversion process.

Step 5: When the conversion finished, click ‘Open’ button to find the exported AIC .MOV files for using in iMovie or Final Cut Express. The AIC file can be accepted by FCP as well.

Also read
How to edit and import Olympus E-PL3 AVCHD video to iMovie?
How can I import Canon Rebel T3i / EOS 600D MOV clips into iMovie?
60fps video in iMovie – does iMovie’11 properly handle 60fps video now?