Thanks for giving me the opportunity to help you, and hopefully turn around your poor experience.
Yes you must install Voltaic on your Mac. When you connect the camera, the camera's storage mounts, the same way connecting a USB Flash drive would. Using Finder, you will open the disk image that is the camera's storage. You will drag and drop them from the Finder window, onto your Desktop. You could create a folder in your Movies folder called AVCHD, and transfer the clips from the camera into the AVCHD folder, ready for conversion by Voltaic.
Next you will open Voltaic. The preferences are already set for converting for QuickTime, and you can convert without changing these, and the converted clips will be compatible. You will be putting the converted clips on your iPad, so you will need to add them to iTunes. Therefore you should go to preferences and set Voltaic to automatically add the converted clips to iTunes. Then all you will need to do is connect the iPad and set Movie sync options in the Movies tab when you click the iPad, and sync.
You can compress resolution during conversion, to save space. These options are set in preferences. There are a lot of settings, and custom conversion options if you want them. They are described in the user guide:http://www.shedworx.com/voltaichd-user-guide-mac
I will be online tomorrow so you can get back to me at any stage for any questions or clarification of steps.