AVCHD editing for the everyman

We recently had the opportunity to test out a Panasonic HDC-HS100 high-def video camera for our 2008 Holiday Gift Guide. The camera shot beautiful looking video, but the native AVCHD format was not fun to extract or try to edit. Our regular production systems run on Mini-DV tape or we record to a FireStor hard drive in AVI format. This makes editing in Adobe Premiere CS2 easy. But the AVCHD format spit out by the Panasonic camera was not editable. A major pain. Now, there's a new $129 editing tool from CineForm that can help consumers and the like get the most out of the AVCHD format videos. Neo Scene for the Mac (out today) and Windows (available since January), can convert native AVCHD format to a more usable QuickTime MOV format for edting. Now those family trips and holiday videos can be quickly edited down from two hours of mind-numbing footage to a more entertaining 5 to 10 minute video. As a plus, Neo Scene also supports the new Canon 5D Mark II DSLR camera that can shoot video as well, making the software a must for the photographer who uses their 5D for quick video clips. To be fair, Neo Scene is not the only product on the market to support the AVCHD format. The latest version of Adobe Premiere supports it, as does Pinnacle Studio Plus 11 or greater, Sony Vegas 8 and others. But at $129, Neo Scene is one of the cheaper alternatives. There's a fully-functional trial download available from CineForm for those that want to try before they buy (always recommended). Update 2:20p: Changed the details on how Neo Scene handles the AVCHD files. It does convert them before editing.

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