AVCHD conversion to Hitfilm friendly codecs
There are SO many cams out there that record in the highly compressed, native AVCHD H264 codec. Trouble is, the compression of these files makes it nigh impossible to smoothly edit them in Hitfilm. My journey was fraught with frustration and danger, but I've returned to tell the tale and I hope to spare others the same greif.
After download and testing 16 different applications I have found one that stands above the rest in simplicity and effectiveness and I found it astoundingly hard to locate it (2 weeks of feverish searching and downloading). Its called Freemake Video Converter (not very impressive sounding, I know) available at freemake.com. I poured through Hitfilm and video conversion forums and read spammy blog after blog on the subject and noone mentioned this one. All the greats were mentioned. Streamclip is amazingly outdated. Mediacoder is amazingly complicated. The rest are a minefield of spyware and demo restrictions.
First off, the recommended codec for Hitfilm is DNXHD and for good reason. But I'm betting that many who are reading this have been there and said, "Holy @#$%. My hard drive will be full in minutes!" If you have a struggling computer of if you dont mind settling for merely 1080 or even 720 HD, then this codec is irresponsibly massive for your editing needs.
My results are, of course, personal and I'm sure do not apply to all productions and all machines. Im running a HP Z400 with a quad-core Intel Xeon at 3 Ghz. I've got an 2gb Nvidia Geforce 670 GPU with 8gb of RAM. Not stellar, but sufficient. I have found that the MPG2 codec works fine for Hitfilm and that I can scrub the timeline almost flawlessly without being overwhelmed by loss of memory.
So heres the trick: You gotta find something that will see and understand AVCHD and then convert to MPG2. Not too tough, but Freemake made it possible as a batch processor quickly and simpy. Set up your conversion profile once and never do it again! Not even the immortal Format Factory was able to handle that. My editing workflow is at last free. Thought I'de pass on what I learned.