Summary: The easy workaround to get iMovie work with Panasonic DMC-FZ40/FZ38 footage is to Convert AVCHD Lite to Apple InterMediate Codec(AIC) MOV which ensures the best result when using in iMovie 08/09/11.
"Is the auto sense and clip display just for iMovie 11? I have 09 and a Panasonic DMC-FZ40, iPhoto senses the camera and imports photos, but iMovie doesn't do anything. I try to import the movies in the directory on the camera and they are all grayed out. Is there another way to import and have iMovie convert them?"
Slotting in where the FZ38/35 left off, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ40 (FZ45 in Europe) features the same 25-600mm equiv. lens as the FZ100, but with a 14.1MP CCD sensor and simpler 230K dot 3.0 inch fixed LCD (as opposed to the FZ100's CMOS sensor and high-res screen). The FZ40 also offers AVCHD Lite 720p HD video recording, manual shooting modes and 'Sonic Speed' auto-focus system that the company says offers the industry's fastest focus times. After showing off your Full HD videos, you will be disappointed when you want to import Panasonic DMC-FZ40/FZ38 AVCHD Lite to iMovie for further editing and find all MTS files are greyed out. Fortunately, there is an easy way to solve the issue. Find it out here.
After googling, I was recommended to update to iMovie 9 or iMovie 11, and another solution is to transcode Lumix AVCHD Lite videos to AIC MOV for iMovie 8 since Apple InterMediate Codec(AIC) is the the most compatible codec introduced by App which ensures maximum editing quality and efficiency when working with iMovie. And the common practise for Panasonic DMC-FZ40/FZ38 workflow with iMovie 08 is, get a Mac AVCHD to AIC Converter and transcode Canon Lumix AVCHD Lite to AIC MOV, which will save you both time and trouble, and all you need is to drag the result videos for prompt editing. For this purpose, this article will show you how to transcode Panasonic DMC-FZ40/FZ38 AVCHD Lite to iMovie AIC MOV in detail.
How to Convert Panasonic DMC-FZ40/FZ38 AVCHD Lite for Editing in iMovie 08 smoothly
Step 1: Download, install and run Brorsoft AVCHD Converter for Mac, and then click the "Add" button to load the .mts videos. You can also use the drag-and-drop method to load the AVCHD Lite files to the application UI.
The program is an easy-to-use yet professional app which can be used as a Panasonic Lumix video converter under Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, 10.8 Mountain Lion, 10.7 Lion, Snow Leopard 10.6, Leopard 10.5. It is free, clean and safe to install and use. With it, you can effortlessly transcode AVCHD Lite/AVCHD to AIC MOV for iMovie 08/09/11, Apple ProRes MOV for Final Cut Pro X/7/6, DNxHD for Avid MC, etc. and it works well and converts flawlessly.
Step 2: Click the Format box and select iMovie --> Apple InterMediate Codec(AIC) (*.mov) as output format.
Step 3: Click the “Convert” icon under the preview window, and the Mac iMovie AIC Converter will start transcode Panasonic DMC-FZ40/FZ38 AVCHD Lite to AIC MOV for iMovie 08 on Mac.
After the conversion, click "Open" to locate the result videos and then launch iMovie,choose File > Import > Movies..., to import the converted AVCHD Lite footage into iMovie 08; prepare for editing. You will find that it's just a piece of cake to edit Panasonic DMC-FZ40/FZ38 video files in iMovie 08.
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Source:Import Panasonic DMC-FZ40/FZ38 AVCHD Lite to iMovie 08