How to Edit Sony Handycam FDR-AX1 XAVC-S Home Movie in iMovie

Although 4K video has been popular for quite a while, there still aren’t many options for common people who want to shoot 4K Ultra HD footage of their own. To lead the change, Sony plans to begin selling a new Handycam model (in October, 2013) — the FDR-AX1 that will make 4K simple, manageable, and most of all (relatively) affordable.

The FDR-AX1 is a $4,500 small, ready-to-shoot and non-interchangeable lens camera, aimed at casual shooters, wedding, and corporate videographers alike. Though it won’t provide the kind of image that most modern filmmakers seek, it surely is the best choice for consumers who want advanced features in shooting 4K home movies, isn’t it?


Well, not really. I mean, shortcomings exist — the FDR-AX1 footage is encoded with Sony’s XAVC-S codec, which is basically what makes this camera possible. The downside of this codec, beyond the super-high compression, is that you will only be able to edit it on Sony Vegas software. That means, for common people who want to edit FDR-AX1 in iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to make it fancier, there will be format incompatibility problem.

Luckily, importing XAVC-S to iMovie is not a mission impossible. To do this, you just need a third-party video converting app (which supports XAVC-S format) to help converting the file to iMovie-accepted file format. Here, I will use the Doremisoft Mac XAVC Converter to show you how to convert FDR-AX1 XAVC-S to iMovie losslessly.

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How to Edit FDR-AX1 in iMovie

Preparation: first and foremost, you need to click the download button above to download the converter, install and launch it. If you want to edit FDR-AX1 XAVC-S in Windows Movie Maker, you should download the XAVC Video Converter for Windows. Note that the conversion step on Windows is the same as that on Mac.

Step 1: Load FDR-AX1 XAVC-S to the converter

Transfer the XAVC-S file to your Mac, then run the Mac XAVC-S Converter and import the file to it. To do so, you can either click the “Add Files” button on the upper left to locate the files, or directly drag and drop the files onto the main panel. Keep in mind that you can add and convert more than one file at a time.

add xavc-s files

Step 2: Pick out iMovie ProRes as the output format

Optimized output presets for iMovie are provided by the powerful converter. If you want to preserve the original 4K video quality after the conversion, you should follow “Convert to” > “iMovie” > “iMovie ProRes(*.mov)” to set the output format.

set output format

If you need to downscale 4K to 1080P for more smoothly playback/edit on your Mac, you can press the “Settings” button to adjust the video resolution.


Step 3: Edit Handycam FDR-AX1 XAVC-S Home Movie in iMovie

Last but not least, press the big blue button on the lower right to begin to convert FDR-AX1 XAVC-S to iMovie. Since 4K video is always large in file size, the conversion may last for a while. Just be more patient. After the conversion, you can freely import the converted XAVC-S to iMovie to edit without any problem. Now enjoy!

convert video

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