Activation
I've just bought an activation key but haven't received it
I've received my activation key, but Voltaic won't accept it
I've lost my activation key. What do I do?

Troubleshooting
VoltaicHD is crashing. What do I do?
VoltaicHD is not converting clips properly. What do I do?
VoltaicHD failing with message 'Apple Intermediate Codec not found. Exiting'
My converted clips look terrible in Quicktime
VoltaicHD appears to be hanging. What do I do?

General Information
System Requirements
What are the known technical issues?
What level of support is offered for VoltaicHD users?
What is this experimental Fast Mode?
How long does the conversion take?
How big are the output files?
Where do the output files go?
Why does my main hard drive get used during the conversion?
What is the output format?
Is there any quality loss in the conversion?
Should I keep my raw AVCHD files?
Does Apple support AVCHD?
What versions of Final Cut are supported?
Why does Quicktime show my clip at 1888x1062?
Why does the % complete reset during conversion?
VoltaicHD supports scripting but is there any sample AppleScript ?
Why does it crash when I try to add clips from my JVC Everio GZ-HD30E.?
Does VoltaicHD fully support all Sanyo, Samsung and JVC models?

I've just bought an activation key but haven't received it

Your activation key is emailed to you as soon as your payment clears. Some of the free email services (such as Yahoo, GMail and Hotmail) have very aggressive SPAM policies which result in the activation key email being filed in your SPAM folder.

If you paid via eCheck at PayPal, your payment will not clear for a few days (usually 4). As soon as your payment clears, your activation key will be sent to you automatically.

Also if you have not heard back from us within 4 days, it is likely your ISP is blocking our responses. Try sending us an e-mail from an alternate account.

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I've received my activation key, but Voltaic won't accept it

Also ensure that you are connected to the internet and are not behind a firewall when attempting to activate VoltaicHD. If your activation key is not accepted please send your VoltaicHD log file to support, along with any error messages that were displayed.

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I've lost my activation key. What do I do?

If you've successfully registered Voltaic you don't need your activation key anymore.

If you want to get a copy of your key for backup purposes, click here to have your activation key re-sent to you.

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VoltaicHD is crashing. What do I do?

If Voltaic is crashing, please send the crash log:
- Open the Console application (Applications/Utilities/Console)
- Click the 'Show Log List' button in the toolbar
- In the now visible left hand list, open LOG FILES
- open (your home area)/Library/Logs
- open CrashReporter
- scroll down to VoltaicHD.crash.log
- copy and paste the log text to an email

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VoltaicHD is not converting clips properly. What do I do?

We use a log file located at (your home area)/Library/Logs/VoltaicHD.log. If you are having trouble with VoltaicHD, send us the log file of your failed session and we'll have a look.

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VoltaicHD failing with message 'Apple Intermediate Codec not found. Exiting'

This problem is encountered with machines that have 'broken' AIC support in QuickTime. There appears to be numerous causes of this problem. AIC is a standard part of iMovie, so should be operational on all Mac computers.

When this problem exists it is not possible to export a movie to AIC on the affected machine. This is what Voltaic does, as AIC is the format used for editing in iMovie and Final Cut (although Final Cut also supports Apple ProRes442).

The only solution to this is to fix the affected machine. Try the Apple support areas and forums for a solution. In our experience so far, every instance of this problem has had a different cause. We cannot troubleshoot every machine that is broken, so unfortunately this has to be solved by the user before Voltaic can run.

Having said that, the most common reported fix for this is to re-install iMovie or Final Cut (depending on what edit suite you use). This has been successful for many users.

Here is a link to an Apple discussion thread about this issue.

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My converted clips look terrible in QuickTime

There are two main causes of poor video playback of Full HD videos under QuickTime - interlacing and system performance.

Interlacing shows up as lots of lines through your video. This is caused by playing an interlaced video on a progressive scan display. All LCD computer monitors use progressive scan. Click here for more information on Interlacing.

If your system cannot playback the Full HD video properly, you will see the audio and video being out of sync. Click here for more information on audio/video sync.

The short answer is don't worry. When you preview those converted clips in iMovie or Final Cut, the edit suite will deinterlace them as required, and use a small preview window for playback so that the system can keep up.

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VoltaicHD appears to be hanging. What do I do?

If you are running on a PowerPC 10.4 or Intel 10.4 machine then yes VoltaicHD will appear to hang due to the Quicktime export process it is performing. On those machines Quicktime doesn't handle multi-threading that well. This export phase generally takes as long as the duration of the video (however that can vary on older machines). Note that if you choose any of the Advanced Export options then VoltaicHD will appear to hang as well due to similar multi-threading reasons. In all cases just leave VoltaicHD doing the conversion and it should be finished soon.

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System Requirements

- OSX 10.4 or 10.5 (Intel and PowerPC)
- QuickTime (current release)
- Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC)
- iMovie (HD or 08) or Final Cut Express/Pro
- At least 1GB RAM
- Known technical issues

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What are the known technical issues?

We have the following known issues. Ongoing fixes are being investigated:

  1. There is a minor issue in regards to the Fast mode on 10.4 Intel and 10.5 PowerPC machines and it outputting files to only 1920x1080 but normal mode should work ok.
  2. Conversion of very large files requires large amounts of RAM. As a minimum, 2GB files require 1Gb of RAM, 4GB files require 2Gb of RAM and so on.
  3. Some older Macs may not be able to convert large AVCHD files. We have verified conversions up to 6Gb on Intel Macs.
  4. In some cases, VoltaicHD will not use an external storage device, such as USB or AFP. Try changing your Scratch or Output directory to a local drive.
  5. On Intel Macs, VoltaicHD (and a few other applications) conflict with a utility called MagicMenuEnabler. This seems to be included in Smith Micro Software products, formerly Aladdin, for PowerPC computers. Removal instructions can be found here.
  6. While not an issue with VoltaicHD, mini-DVD cameras cannot copy their files direct to the Mac. ReadDVD! from Software Architects fixes this for you. Note that you will still have to make sure you can load the small disks into your DVD drive.

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What level of support is offered for VoltaicHD users?

ShedWorx offers email support 9am to 5pm weekdays (Perth, Australia timezone, which is GMT+8). We are a regular business and work 9-5, like most people. We respond to almost all support requests within 24hrs on weekdays.

Our systems all run 24x7, but we only provide support while we are at work.

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What is this experimental Fast Mode?

The Fast Mode relates to that part of the conversion where we use FFmpeg. FFmpeg has recently improved its level of support for AVCHD conversions, so that it can convert some clip types from some cameras. It also does this conversion much faster than previously.

The main limitation of Fast Mode is that it does not convert interlaced clips properly. In this situation it drops frames, so that the output appears 'jumpy'. Since Interlaced is the default (and preferred) mode for all cameras, this is a fairly significant issue for this conversion approach. We have found that progressive scan clips do convert OK.

So, if you are using interlaced clips, stay away from the experimental Fast Mode.

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How long does the conversion take?

This depends on your machine, but as a guide, on a 2.0 GHz MacBookPro with 2Gb of RAM, a 10 second AVCHD clip takes about 2 minutes to convert. In other words, it takes about 12 times as long as the original footage to convert the clip.

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How big are the output files?

AVCHD files are about 120Mb per minute of footage.

The converted output file will be up to 10 times the size of the input. This is because AVCHD is a highly compressed HD format and we are de-compressing it into a QuickTime-friendly high definition format (AIC). Our example 1 minute AVCHD clip becomes about 1Gb in size, after conversion.

The final size of a converted clip has a lot to do with the amount of movement in the clip. A lot of movement will mean a larger file. Action clips can be as high as 11 times the size of the raw clips, while scenes with little movement can be as small as 4 times the size of the AVCHD file.

When dealing with large files, check that the drive you are converting the videos on is not FAT32 formatted which is limited to a maximum of 2GB files. If you have say a 1.5GB video clip then the converted output file could be as large as 15Gb in size.

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Where do the output files go?

By default, the converted files will be converted to your Desktop. You can specify where the output files are placed in the Preferences.

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Why does my main hard drive get used during the conversion?

During the conversion process temporary files are written to /tmp on your main hard drive, by default. These files are deleted once the conversion is completed. You need to make sure you have enough space on your main hard drive to hold the largest converted file you produce.

You can specify any location for placement of temporary (or scratch) files using your Preferences.

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What is the output format?

The final format is a HDV 1080i formatted Quicktime movie, encoded using the Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC). This is the format used by Apple when dealing with Sony's older HDV format.

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Is there any quality loss in the conversion?

No. We have compared out output to Apple's and both look great.

There is a loss in the audio formats though. AVCHD records 5.1 Dolby Digital (6 channels). We have had to drop back to 2 channels (stereo) on the conversion. Be aware that Apple also does this in their AVCHD import.

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Should I keep my raw AVCHD files?

Yes. Keep a backup. They are a lot smaller than the converted files. We recommend burning the raw AVCHD files to DVD. Assuming that you have a dual-layer DVD burner, you will be able to fit about an hour's footage onto each DVD. Also try FlamingoHD which helps you manage your AVCHD files.

Keep in mind that the conversion process drops the 5.1 channel audio back to 2 channel stereo. This is another reason to keep the original AVCHD files.

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Does Apple support AVCHD?

Yes. Apple supports AVCHD in iLife08 and Final Cut Pro version 6.0.1 but only for Intel machines.

Voltaic is a Universal binary and we have a large number of PowerPC users. DVD-based cameras are a hassle, but one of our users has confirmed a solution. See the Mini-DVDs and Macs link.

The Apple transcoder also requires you to copy all the AVCHD support files from your camera (or leave your camera plugged in), not just the clips. Voltaic only needs the clips.

Due to the limitations and requirements of the Apple solution, we have a number of Final Cut Pro 6 and iMovie'08 users on Intel.

iLife08

Apple released iLife08 on 7 August 07. iLife08 supports AVCHD video clips on Intel only. As of the launch date, no mini-DVD cameras are supported. The listed cameras supported are the Sony HDR-SR1 and SR7 and the Panasonic HDC-SD1.

iMovie'08 is very different to iMovieHD so Apple continue to make it available for iLife'08 users here.

Final Cut Pro/Studio

Here are the release notes for Final Cut Pro v6.01

As of 27 June 2007, Final Cut Pro comes with a 'transcoder' (or converter for the rest of us) to convert AVCHD into Apple ProRes 442 or AIC formats.

Quoting Apple's system requirements for Final Cut Studio:
- AVCHD support is supported only with a Mac Pro with an Intel Xeon processor.
- DVD-based AVCHD camcorders are not supported in Mac OS X v10.4 or earlier.

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What versions of Final Cut are supported?

Final Cut Express HD
Voltaic works fine with Final Cut Express HD 3.5.1 (Intel and PowerPC) and higher. It may also work with other versions, so give the demo a try if you have an older version.
Final Cut Pro
Voltaic has been reported to work well with Final Cut Pro version 5 and 6. You should make sure the Voltaic demo works for you in any case.

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Why does Quicktime show my clip at 1888x1062?

VoltaicHD exports to the Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC). AIC has internal scaling that reports the 1888x1062 size. As far as we can tell, the 1888x1062 size is so that you can view the movie on a 1920x1080
screen with the window's title bar and quicktime controls for editing purposes. If you open a converted movie in Quicktime, and then get the movie properties (Apple+i), you should see something like this under the Format field:
Apple Intermediate Codec, 1440 x 1080 (1888x1062), Millions

So, your movie really is the right size. The Apple Intermediate Codec just decides to scale it a bit for viewing and editing.

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Why does the % complete reset during conversion?

In some cases you may see the % complete counter reset. In these cases its more than likely that the Mac might be in Energy saving mode and actually sleeping after a few hours. This can be checked by going to System Preferences (normally available in your dock) and then clicking on "Energy Saver". If you are converting overnight then ensure that these settinsg are set to either "Never" or a suitable time so that the machine doesnt try to sleep during that time. Also ensure that the "Put hard disk(s) to sleep" option is not set during conversion times.

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VoltaicHD supports scripting but is there any sample AppleScript ?

Yes a sample AppleScript for VoltaicHD, can be found here : VoltaicHD Applescript

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Why does it crash when I try to add clips from my JVC Everio GZ-HD30E ?

At this stage the thumbnail preview doesn't work for clips from the JVC Everio GZ-HD30E. So if you open VoltaicHD and then untick the 'Generate Thumbnail' box, you should then be able to add and convert your clips successfully.

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Does VoltaicHD fully support all Sanyo, Samsung and JVC models?

At this stage since the Sanyo (i.e. HD1000), Samsung (SC-HMX10) and earlier JVC Everio models (i.e. GZ-HD7) support Mpeg4/AVC H.264 they arn't fully supported by VoltaicHD meaning some of the details and preview mode are not available. However you should still be able to add them to the list and convert successfully. If your camera model isn't on our list then give it a try. If it works let us know so we can add it for other users.

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