How to remedy the very slow import of AVCHD media into Final Cut Pro 10.4

I've been testing and prepping my camera gear to take on my Overlanding excursions this coming spring. In my testing I've encountered a very annoying and head scratching error that would cause any imports of AVCHD video files to hang at 0% while importing and then finally make Final Cut Pro X crash. Luckily I found the cause to my troubles and hopefully it will help you out as well.

Old Software Cruft

I'm not a big fan of starting from scratch when getting a new Mac system and as such I usually import all of my settings and applications from my previous system. This time, however, I was bitten by this practice. My issue was the presence of the open source software "Perian".

Perian was a software bundle that allowed earlier versions of QuickTime on macOS to play video formats not directly supported by the OS. Perian has not been maintained since 2012, so as you can see, my applications can go way back.

Perian was competing with my Final Cut Pro X install (since QuickTime and FCP on macOS are very tightly integrated) while importing my AVCHD files. Prior to this I was using MP4 files and as such I never encounter the error.

Removing Perian

Luckily, even though Perian hooked deeply into macOS, removing it was very simple.

  1. Shut down Final Cut Pro.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click for Perian. (It looks like a Swiss army knife)
  4. Select the General tab.
  5. Under the Installation header, click Remove Perian.

  1. Click the < to go back to the main System Preferences panel.
  2. Option-click or two finger click the Perian icon.
  3. Select Remove "Perian" Preferences Pane.

  1. Done! Once completed, I started up Final Cut Pro X and tested an AVCHD import and it functioned quickly and without issue. Problem solved!


When I first encountered this issue I googled my usual tech haunts for a solution but I was met with a variety of suggestions from downgrading Final Cut Pro X to wiping my macOS completely! Thankfully, I didn't have to go that route. Do you have a fix or a solution to a Mac related problem? let us know in the comments on how you solved it!

Anthony Casella