I recently experienced a shock when I discovered one of the clips in my Premiere Pro project was missing ~90% of its audio. This was a clip I had shot myself, so I knew the audio had been recorded properly. But for some reason, a few minutes into the clip, it just disappeared. This is a camera, SDHC card, and transcoding workflow I have used 100’s of times; I have never had a problem like this.
Panicked googling led nowhere, largely because the search results were dominated by an old bug in Premiere CS6 that refused to import audio from any AVCHD footage ever. (I used to use Apple Compressor to import my AVCHD footage before moving it over to Premiere Pro for exactly this reason.)
I tried opening the card in MPEG Streamclip, but for all its Swiss Army-like beauty, MPEG Streamclip won’t read AVCHD files. Then on a whim I tried VLC, and sure enough, VLC could read it. And the audio was all there. But VLC is just a player, not a transcoder…
Still, I was much relieved knowing the audio was there; now it was just a matter of getting to it. I long ago ditched Final Cut Studio, so Compressor is no longer on my machine. And with MPEG Streamclip dead in the water, I had to begin looking for alternatives.
Free AVCHD to Mov
And that’s when I came across Free AVCHD to Mov on the App Store. I hate installing junk I don’t trust – especially ad-supported junk – but I needed a solution. So I gave it a shot, and it performed beautifully. With a simple interface that I probably could have figured out if I didn’t happen to be a professional editor, it grabbed the clip and transcoded it to ProRes 422LT with perfect audio.
I still don’t know what caused Adobe Media Encoder to choke on that file – all the other files from the same card shot on the same day were fine. (I have a theory about it being a bug triggered by the fact that the SD card was previously nearly 100% full, before being erased for this project – but I haven’t found anyone else to corroborate it.)
In any case, consider this my love letter to Free AVCHD to Mov. Thanks, bro!