Looking for the VoltaicHD for PC FAQ ? Find it here

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
The computer that I want to run Voltaic on isn't on the Internet - how do I activate?
I've lost my activation key. What do I do?
Where can I find the last OSX 10.4 version of Voltaic?
Where can I find the last OSX 10.5 version of Voltaic?
I have a licence for VoltaicHD version 1. What can 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?
VoltaicHD only converts the first 10 seconds of my clips. What do I do?
VoltaicHD says I need to reinstall. Why ?
I'm not getting any audio in my converted movie.
I'm doing a standard conversion, but I'm not getting AIC output.
I updated to version 3.0.0 and I can't find converted files.
My 1440x1080 clips look 'squished' (4:3) after conversion.

General Information
System Requirements
What are the known technical issues?
What level of technical support available?
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 default 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?
How to I export to Apple ProRes422?
What is this ShedQTHelper process that runs when Voltaic is converting?

Activation

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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The computer that I want to run Voltaic on isn't on the Internet - how do I activate?

Open VoltaicHD for Mac, go to the Help/Activate menu, enter your activation code then press 'F5' which should then show a new window. This windows contains the activation details needed to activate your version of VoltaicHD for Mac. Copy and paste the contents of this window into a new email and send to the address provided. Once we receive the mail we will send you back the activation key, including further instructions on how to activate the product.

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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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Where can I find the last OSX 10.4 version of Voltaic?

The last version of Voltaic to support OSX 10.4 is version 2.5.1. It can be downloaded from here.

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Where can I find the last OSX 10.5 version of Voltaic?

The last version of Voltaic to support OSX 10.5 is version 3.0.0. It can be downloaded from here.

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I have a licence key for VoltaicHD version 1. What can I do?

VoltaicHD version 1 is no longer available for download or activation.

As a VoltaicHD version 1 user you are entitled to a 50% discount off the purchase of the current VoltaicHD release.

Purchase your discounted upgrade here.

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Troubleshooting

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
- scroll down to VoltaicHD.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 use a small preview window for playback which gets around any interlacing or audio synch issues.

Also check out this article which may fix some choppy video problems : Choppy Playback

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VoltaicHD appears to be hanging. What do I do?

Try updating to the latest version of VoltaicHD v1.8.*

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VoltaicHD only converts the first 10 seconds of my clips. What do I do?

When in demo mode, or if your copy is not activated, VoltaicHD will convert only the first 10 seconds of your clip. The full version will convert the full length.

If you have selected the WMV format as your output format in Advanced options then this utilities the third party Quicktime component called Flip4Mac, you will need to upgrade that component to have the clips convert the full movie. All other formats do not have this limit.

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VoltaicHD says I need to reinstall. Why ?

This normally happens when the clip resolutions don't match our predetermined resolutions or are non AVCHD. You will need to use the Advanced options and select the QuickTime movie.

If you need extra help defining the Advanced options let us know.

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I'm not getting any audio in my converted movie.

On PowerPC, having Perian installed will cause the audio conversion to fail.

Perian conflicts with QuickTime in a number of ways, so make sure you de-activate this as a first step to fixing any QuickTime or movie related problems on your Mac.

On PowerPC and on OSX 10.4, 5.1 channel sound will not be extracted. Most Sony cameras record 5.1 channel sound.

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I'm doing a standard conversion, but I'm not getting AIC output.

We have had reports that when you set up Custom conversion preferences, then do a standard conversion, that the Custom QuickTime preferences are being used.

We have not been able to reproduce this but a fix that works is to delete your Voltaic preferences file and try again.

The Voltaic preferences file can be found under your Home area, then ->Library->Preferences->com.shedworx.VoltaicHD.plist

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I updated to version 3.0.0 and I can't find converted files.

The default output location was changed in version 3.0.0 from the Desktop to (your home area)/Movies/VoltaicHD - so you should find any newly converted files there.

You can change the Output location at any time in the Preferences.

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My 1440x1080 clips look 'squished' (4:3) after conversion.

y 1440x1080 clips look 'squished' (4:3) after conversion.

QuickTime X has a bug where it does not display 1440x1080 video correctly. This only affects QuickTime. iMovie and Final Cut (all versions) are fine with 1440x1080 video.

The default conversion option for Voltaic is to provide converted movies at the same resolution as the source video.

If you have a 1440x1080 clip (as found on the early AVCHD cameras) Voltaic will create a 1440x1080 AIC movie, ready for editing in iMovie or Final Cut.

If you need your converted 1440x1080 for use other than in an editor, you will need to do a Custom Conversion in Voltaic. To do this, go to Preferences/Custom and set the output format you require. Make sure that you set the output size to 1920x1080 then Voltaic will create a 1920x1080 video that Quicktime will play correctly.

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General Information

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. HDV Output - VoltaicHD does not work for output direct to HDV, using the Custom conversion option. If you require this, we suggest converting to ProRes 422 first, then using Compressor to go to HDV.
  7. Toast Blu-ray Video disks and disk images - VoltaicHD does not currently support m2ts movies created as part of a Toast Blu-ray video disk. This is because these movies are Blu-ray format, rather than AVCHD which we support.

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What level of support is available?

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 are saved 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 default output codec for VoltaicHD is the Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC). AIC is the preferred video ceodec for editing in iMovie and Final Cut Express.

AIC is a non-compressed codec where every frame in the video stream stands on its own. Highly compressed video codecs (like H.264) use reference frames (also called I-frames) then only store changes from that reference frame for a number of following frames.

Since AIC is uncompressed, it can be edited on lower powered machines than would be required for native AVCHD editing.

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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.

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. Information on the Voltaic AppleScript API can be found here, including a sample script to get you started.

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

This is now fixed in v1.8.0.

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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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How do I export to Apple ProRes422?

You must have Final Cut Pro installed to export to Apple ProRes422. The ProRes422 codec is part of Final Cut Pro/Studio and is not available separately. Final Cut Pro is the only editor that can work with ProRes422. iMovie and Final Cut Express require Apple Intermediate Codec for optimal editing.

To export to ProRes (or any format other than AIC) you need to use the Custom preference setting in VoltaicHD.

Open the Preferences, click on 'Custom', set the Format to 'QuickTime Movie' then click on the Options button.

This displays the QuickTime export settings which allows you to manually control the export settings.

In the Movie Settings window click on the 'Settings...' button. In the Video Compression Settings window select Apple ProRes422 as the Compression Type.

You should also set the Size to be the size of your input video (usually HD 1920x1080 16:9).

You are now all set to export to Apple ProRes422.

NOTE: if you are a Final Cut Pro user, we recommend that you export to ProRes rather than use the default AIC conversion option.

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What is this ShedQTHelper process that runs when Voltaic is converting?

The ShedQTHelper helper process is run by Voltaic when conversions are running as a way to move processor intensive tasks off the main Voltaic app. This is a common practice on Mac apps and you may see other 'Helper' process running for other apps from time to time.

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