Editing AVCHD on Mac OS X with iMovie or Final Cut
"I have a Sony AVCHD camcorder. iMovie doesn't recognize the camcorder files. How can I edit the files on my AVCHD camcorder with my Mac?"
AVCHD support has been inconsistent for both Mac and Windows users. The format varies slightly depending on whether your camera is from Sony, Panasonic, or Canon. For Mac users, software support varies depending on which versions of iMovie, Final Cut Express, or Final Cut Pro you happen to be running. I personally prefer Final Cut Express to iMovie for editing on a Mac, but the correct version of either will work.
Editing AVCHD with iMovie
If your budget or personal preference make iMovie your chosen solution for video editing, there are two core requirements. First, you need to make sure you have iMovie '08 or newer software. The other limiting factor to using iMovie is hardware. You need an Intel-based Mac to edit AVCHD in iMovie '08. Power PC G5 Macs or older will not work for editing high definition AVCHD with iMovie.
Editing AVCHD with Final Cut Express
To edit AVCHD files with Final Cut Express, be sure you have Final Cut Express 4 (or later) installed. Also, when you go to capture footage from your AVCHD camcorder, use the HDV - Apple Intermediate Codec Easy Setup to ingest AVCHD.
Editing AVCHD with Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Pro is the premium choice for any Mac video editing. Because of the tricky implementations of AVCHD mentioned above, Apple has been issuing updates to address some of the bigger complications. Final Cut Pro 6.0.3 (or later) is the most up-to-date support for AVCHD available, with 6.0.1 being the first version of FCP with AVCHD support. Making sure you have Final Cut Pro 6.0.3 or newer installed is your best bet to making sure you have a great editing experience with AVCHD and FCP.