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How to import Sony FS5 XAVC-L 4K footage to iMovie 11 Editing

We write this post to help those why are having issues importing Sony PXW-FS5 XAVC-L/AVCHD footage to iMovie for further editing.

The Sony FS5 has had a largely warm welcome from the video community but there has been one thing bugging a lot of owners and potential buyers alike – the quality of the internal codec.

I’m disappointed with the performance of the 4K XAVC-L codec in iMovie 11. The XAVC-S codec of the A7S II delivers the same quality in 8bit 4K 4:2:0 yet can be edited on a Macbook Pro without the need to transcode to AIC MOV in Edit Ready. The FS5’s XAVC-L codec seems to tax the CPU far more and I have had to resort to a transcoding step in Edit Ready to AIC MOV even on a high end system.

I know that Sony has an XDCAM Transfer tool but that only seems to transcode to a format supported by Final Cut Pro. So, we will need another tool to help us convert Sony PXW-FS5 XAVC to iMovie. Brorsoft Video Converter for Mac which was recommended here.

This program is better than Sony XDCAM Transfer. XDCAM Transfer will turn XDCAM files into QT MOV when it copies source files from the camera media to the computer. Well, this XDCAM Converter allows you to convert Sony XDCAM XAVC/AVCHD files to AIC .mov with zero quality loss. Plus, it also supporting transcoding Sony XDCAM, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX to ProRes for FCP, DNxHD for Avid Media Composer, MPEG-2 for Adobe Premiere Pro.

(Note: Click here for OS X 10.5)

Convert and Import Sony PXW-FS5 XAVC/AVCHD footage to iMovie

Step 1: Import Sony FS5 XAVC/AVCHD video clips

Install and run the Sony XDCAM to iMovie converter on Mac, and then click “Add files” icon to import your PXW-FS5 XAVC/AVCHD files directly from your camcorder or the copied folder on the desktop.

Step 2: Choose iMovie format

Hit the Format box to select the specially designed video codec for editing in iMovie: iMovie/FCE –> Apple InterMediate Codec(AIC) (*.mov).

Step 3: Advanced video/audio settings (Optional)

Adjust the video and parameters, including the Bitrate of Video and Audio, Audio, Video Size, Sample Rate, Frame Rate, Audio Channels, etc., by clicking the Settings buttion on the main interface.

Step 4: Start Sony FS5 footages to iMovie conversion

Click the arrow button to start transcoding Sony FS5 footage to AIC for iMovie immediately. After the conversion finished, you can directly transfer the AIC .MOV video to iMovie for further editing without any problem(Just launch iMovie, click Import File > Import > Movies to add your videos.).

P.S. Besides transcoding Sony FS5 video clips to iMovie, Brorsoft Video Converter for Mac can also convert Sony XDCAM, XDCAM HD, XDCAM EX files (from PMW-EX3, PMW-EX1R, PMW-EX1, PMW-320K, PMW-200, PMW-100, PDW-F800… )to FCP, FCE, Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere Pro, etc NLE systems on Mac(Mavericks included). Choose a proper format in the second step.

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