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  Streamclip is amazingly outdated.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.


  • RossTrowbridgeRossTrowbridge Website User Posts: 423 Enthusiast

    I've used Freemake for a number of years now. I've mentioned it a time or  two in these forums, so you obviously didn't dig deep enough in your research... *grin*

    Seriously, though, once you get past their installer that wants to install things you really don't want to have on your computer, it works great. Their Video Downloader is nice for saving those tutorials you always want to have on hand, too.

  • BobDiMarzioBobDiMarzio Website User Posts: 632 Just Starting Out
    edited May 2015

    My Virus Software would not let me run the Freemake Installer.    I've Noticed that Video to Video will transcode to MPEG2.    I agree about the file size increase  I was using ClipToolz  for the DNxHD conversion and I had to rethink my hard drive budget.


  • emma24xiaemma24xia Website User Posts: 85

    Sam problem happened to me like BobDiMarzio, the firewall on my Win 7 refused the installation as well. What happened?

  • Aladdin4dAladdin4d Moderator Website User, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,509 Enthusiast

    @emma24xia The Freemake installer wants to install a bunch of adware along with Freemake. All the extra stuff you don't want is why the firewall blocks the installation. For anybody that still really wants to install Freemake make sure you select the Custom Install option EVERY time the installer gives you the option which will be several times. Selecting Custom every time will bring up options to not install a particular piece of adware.

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