Sony camcorder & Mac OS X: not happy together?

Yesterday I bought a new camcorder – the Sony DCR-SR82 with a 60 GB hard drive. Today I shot some video, and tonight I tried to hook it up to my Mac and play in iMovie HD.

No such luck.

  1. Sony wants you to use their proprietary software … which is Windows only
  2. Sony provides a sort of a dock for this camera, which you are then supposed to connect to your computer – there’s no real USB output on this camera
  3. iMovie HD doesn’t recognize that a camcorder is attached, and won’t import any video from it
  4. The Mac finder can see the camera via disk mode, and I can see my movie clips in QuickTime format … but I can’t open them. They’re “muxed,” meaning that the audio and video are mixed together and QuickTime can’t open them
  5. Well, actually QuickTime can open them … if I spring for a $20 plug-in to QuickTime. Hrm … do I look stupid? Shouldn’t QuickTime just come with this needed component in the first time? Isn’t this the zen of Mac we’re talking about here … stuff just works?
  6. But even if QuickTime can open them after I pay extortion, iMovie HD will still not like me very much … iMovie HD won’t import, play, or edit muxed files

This is just wrong. OK, there’s only one course of action:

  1. Return crappy camcorder
  2. Buy new camcorder with better outputs and Mac compatibility
  3. Write nasty blog post about this hassle (check!)

To be completely frank, being on a Mac should mean that I never have to think of or even hear something so esoteric as “muxed video.” That’s what Apple engineers are paid for.

To be completely george, Sony is smoking something powerful if they think I’m going to change my computer to work with their camera. Not bloody likely.

They just lost a customer.

[tags] apple, mac os x, mac, sony, DCR-SR82, incompatible, muxed, iMovie, john koetsier [/tags]

122 CommentsLeave a comment

  • i havent seen anything decent coming from sony in the past severaI years, they are pretty much ignoring everything, most of their software has bugs even on operating systems that they support its getting pretty bad i think sony is going to continue on being a shitty company.

  • I think their recent line-up of digital cameras is really interesting … credit-card-sized (or slightly larger) with something like 8 MP and 5X optical zoom. I have a Sony digital camera right now (DSC-W1) and it’s been good.

    Just don’t like the muxed data on their new HDD camcorders, unfortunately.

  • marketing something properIy can be a chaIIange onIy because peopIe put in charge do not reaIIy know what they are doing, however it is basicIy training and education reIated issues, or maybe even experience reIated, for exampIe the way appIe promotes ipod, it may feeI simpIe Iook simpIe but it is weII thought of, the idea of using simpIe shapes and abstract coIors or being direct or using words and phrases that wont raise the bIood presure of the audience can be a method to Iook into aII aspects of understanding one’s method of marketing, because there is so much competition, the methods peopIe choose are in effort to be something “different” which is exactIy why some marketing is so Iight and so boring to watch, in certain marketing types they are boring on purpose depending on which age group they are advertising their stuff to, they know exactIy which words to use to connect with the mindsets of those who are IikeIy to purchase their products but thanks to new companies such as googIe now there is targetted marketing which brings totaI reIevancy into the content and suddenIy what was a commerciaI becomes part of the concent seemIessIy i have to admit googIe has it aII figured out better than anyone eIse when it comes to marketing to consumers as weII as marketing to marketers themseIves.

  • sony has been trying for a Iong time to come up with ways to become profitabIe, they seem to be happy with their ways however consumers just are no Ionger interested in their products, however when it comes to advanced technoIogy sometimes you have no choice but to go with sony because they seem to be more advanced than anyone eIse in the market, but they definetIy Iack on every other topic.

  • I think you have to set the camera to “computer”, (read that somewhere about the sr80) transfer the video to your disk, and yes, convert it to dv stream.

    maybe ffmpegX will convert it, if not you have to plunk down 20$ for MPEG2 and use Streamclip. (I think they don’t include it in QT because of a licensing issue)

    I just want to know… How’s the image quality?

  • Desperado: I don’t think you can set the camcorder to output anything different.

    Image quality was great if you’re watching it on an standard def TV, sucked on our HDTV.

  • really that bad?

    I have a 46″ Samsung HDTV. I would expect the camera to output at least as good as standard def cable, no?

  • yeah, I know what you mean…. I only watch 8 channels out of 90…. the HD ones.

    I just want that camera because of the drive (they also have the 82C with 100Gb) and the fact I won’t be able to edit HD on my lowly used-to-be-top-of-the-line powerbook.

  • I went round and round with Sony today: I have an Intel processor on my MacBook, and run Parallels with Windows XP; tried to install Sony’s camcorder software, and ground to a halt because the software was unable to recognize the camcorder. Sony finally said it was because the Mac, even though running Windows, couldn’t do USB streaming. Over on the Mac side, iMovie insists on using a firewire connection, and the Sony’s is only USB. Sony was polite, but twice suggested I try this on a “regular” (i.e. PC) computer. Boy, was that telling!

  • what sony does is compIeteIy unknown and unpredictabIe anymore, which is actuaIIy not a reaIIy good thing because sure they put new technoIogy that is bareIy invented into aII of their stuff but the thing is, such technoIogies are IikeIy to go through a Iot of changes before they become wideIy popuIar in aII devices in other words by the time your sony product’s secret and cutting edge features can become practicaI to use, your sony device wiII aIready be 8 years oId and you probabIy need another sony due to changes in technoIogies. ( such as upgrades )

  • Sony Camcorders are really easy to use, but yes i know about the problem with Apple Mac, i have a Sony Vaio, a imac G5, and a Powerbook, the actual problem is that Apple do not include drivers for certain manufacturers, Sony is one of them, Panasonic is another, so as you all seem to think its Sony’s fault, why dont u consider it a Apple Problem?
    and to the comments about consumers not wanting Sony products?
    can i remind you they are one of the biggest consumer sales companies around the world? and the PS3 = Sony, fastest selling games console ever?

  • Yes, sony assumes there is no such thing as “appIe” brand in the existence of the universe, to them AppIe is onIy a propaganda company designed to diss microsoft due to jeaIousy of microsoft’s success.

    sony does not see appIe as a rising star.

    to sony, appIe is onIy a “wannabe” company and shouId not be paid much attention to.

    is sony aware that such thinking is nothing but wishfuI thinking?

    i think sony’s ceo’s simpIy disregard america as a whoIe because of their own poIiticaI views and even if most of their profits come from america, they stiII wiII think of america as a ” a fucked up pIace that shouId not be regarded “

  • for one Sony’s main income is america and Japan, not just America,
    And Sony do not see apple as a little company that will go away
    they are very aware of how big Apple are, but then not every person has a Apple computer, Microsoft are a huge company (all tho shit!!)
    but sony do not change there products any more than any other company!!
    cameras, laptops, camcorders change as frequent as other manufacturers, i dont know why there are so many forums against Sony.
    there are so many other comapanies out there that do the same.
    ie microsoft are just as bad!!

    why not shut up about it just because Sony’s software is microsoft based

  • isn’t it just company loyalty? Is sony partnered with Microsoft? if they are, then thats why sony doesnt work with Apple. They make their product to fit only one frame, and that seems to be microsoft. it’s frustraiting though. i switched to Apple cause Microsoft pc’s are SLOW. (also, my pc was OLD). but i already like my Mac better than i ever liked a pc.

  • i prefer not to believe that the moves sony is making has anything to do with company loyalty or partnership with microsoft solely based on the reason that sony has no choice simply because apple’s operating system is not to be sold seperately on other hardware thus sony cant really make a deal with apple to begin with, apple wants to sell it’s own hardware and apple is well aware of the fact that if they were to let the operating system out of their hardware, it could stop functioning badly and it couldd ruin it’s own reputation because of this i see no chance for sony to get a hold of apple, all sony can do at this point is to be a hater and hate apple as much as they can and probably try everything they can to stop apple from becoming a dominant force that eliminates microsoft windows operating system completely, tho right now the case is 90% microsoft, 10% apple world wide, this is likely to reverse which would be a nightmare scnerio for microsoft ( of course ) but most importantly the people who are struggling the most: Sony.

  • by the way, you cant really expect an asshole company like microsoft to change and come near or go above the apple’s standards

  • Hey i have the same problem with the sony-imovie thing. the thing is that when buying it from sony at an all sony shop we asked whether it was easily compatible with imacs and they said yes! this is simply a lie! we have then gone to apple and they have sorted it out partly but i am stil not able to edit it in imovie!!! mac a tagalong…my arse.


  • i would just like to say….have sony ever said YES or NO to their products workin with Mac’s ummm NO!!! it is store staff you are listening to, and i know that even Sony centres and sony style are franchises, they only buy the name, so why hate sony??? they really are not the only company that have this problem with mac.
    i work in the electrial business, any mini dv camcorder with either firewire or usb.2 will work with imovie, any harddrive or HD camcorder wont currently work due to drivers available written by APPLE.

    plus Sony obv make VAIO computers, so in there eyes they only have microsoft untill apple make there software more available.
    so you buy a vaio a sony camcorder and it will work!!!

    Canon are generally the only company that will work with apple, but even there new HD camcorders will not work with imovie

    so how about everyone have a moan at apple for once and not Sony.

    but as i seem to be the only one on here that thinks this way im guessing it wont happen

  • I am having all this problem as well and I just need to know, which camera I hould buy because at this pint I am going back to the store to exchange my sony handycam dcr-dvd108.

  • Thank you John, I just get out of the phone with Sony support and the only solution was to exchange the model to a sony hi-def or buy a external Hard disk drive.
    I will exchnage it for a canon.

  • The only sensible thing said in this discussion is that Sony wants you to buy their PC so they designed their new, and from what I have heard, mostly great DVD and HDD camcorders to only work with Windows, which is what their machines run.

    If they wanted mass appeal, they would lower their pricing and people wouldn’t have to spend $1000 more for a Sony over a Samsung LCD TV that uses the same panel.

    I have bought many Sony products over the years and without fail they have all been bullet-proof, but loyalty only goes so far.

    Looking for a good Canon I can connect with.

  • Well, one thing I should add, maccodger, is that Sony’s lower-end HDD models encode video in MPEG-2 … which is lower quality than MPEG-4 … and is, as mentioned above, muxed so that editing is more difficult.

  • Just before we did leave for Hungary, where we live now, I ordered a 30GB and had to wait a little for as it was so populair and so in back-order. Now I do have it and can do not more than transmit the JPG images and nothing else. Even Final Cut express does not recognize the HD images. I feel badly manipulated by Sony for the fact that nowhere there’s an indication that one can not use it with a Mac. And changing to Microsoft? No way. Thanks very much mister Sony marketing executive, for fooling a lot of customers and to join John Koetsier….. you lost yourself again a very unsatisfied customer.
    And I quote my wife who always says: “If I get screwed I like to get kissed” but this kiss from Sony smells very bad.

  • Hi Jonh, I am having the same problem with a Samsung camcorder! Its not only Sony that cant see Mac as a rising star (as said before)
    The only software avaiable is Windows only. Ive just bought a intel based mac to work with video editing among other things and found out that i can’t import videos with the camera and the computer together! so disappointing….
    well.. if u ever find a solution to this pleas tell us!

  • nothing from sony is designed to work for appIe, infact i am betting that sony purposeIy makes sure nothing made by sony works on appIe because they do not want appIe to gain popuIarity and dominate the worId , besides, sony has been wantin to be the technoIogy of quaIity, which is exactIy what appIe wants to become too, so in a sense appIe is sony’s #1 enemy and sony is unIikeIy to do anything that works for appIe, quiet possibIy do everything to make sure appIe does not become popuIar which however wont succeed because what sony does has faiIed miserabIy most of the time especiaIIy in the recent decade, since the 9/11 terrorist attacks aImost no effort made by sony has succeeded, they just Iost and it’s appIe’s turn to kick major ass right now

  • There is quite a bit of misinformation here. I’m here because a coworker bought a new Mac and a Sony HD camcorder and I was doing some research for him and found this.

    Hard drive based camcorders will not work with iMovie because they are already encoded in MPEG2 (or MPEG4). MPEG2/4 are horrible formats for editing. They are designed for playback.

    DV is an industry standard codec/format. ( iMovie and Final Cut Pro were designed for use with this codec because it makes non-linear editing very easy. With MPEG2/4 you have to deal with key, I, P, and B frames.

    Sony (and all other HD camera manufacturers) did not do this to spite Apple or talk you into buying Microsoft. Tiny hard drives are not that big. You are not going to fit more than a few minutes of DV onto a hard drive. So all the manufactures that want to sell you the “oo cool” factor of a HD based camcorder made the decision to encode the video.

    Do you want a tiny HD based Camcorder? Do you want more than 20 minutes of video recorded? Then you’re going to get encoded video. There is no conspiracy theory it’s plain engineering.

  • Interesting discssion. I just DUMPED my DVD 403 Sony Camcorder for the very same reasons all of you have found out. Sony makes as much as they can proprietary (just look at their stubborness with memory sticks…Blu Ray is competing with HD DVD…and causing the HD format to languish, just like Beta VS VHS). The mini-DVD’s the 403 camera produced wouldn’t even play on my Pioneer DVD player hooked up to my TV. Forget about editing on a MAC. All those mini-DVDs had to be trasfered and re-burned in a compatible format to get them to play, at all, on anything other than a Sony product.

    Where I do disagree is that Sony may very well consider Apple a threat. Look at the industries where Apple is encroaching on Sony’s turf…..PCs and laptops, soon the iPhone will be competing against the phones from Sony.

    Over the last 2 years, I’ve replaced a Sony LCD TV big screen with a Samsung DLP big screen. My VAIO laptop was replaced with a Mac Book Pro. And, that merely two year old DVD 403 camcorder (which was highly rated when I bought it) was just replaced with a Canon HV 20. Granted, the HV 20 is 100X the camcorder the DVD 403 ever was, compatibility was a key factor in my decision, given that Sony makes HD camcorders, too.

    Talk all you want about Sony not recognizing Apple as a company. The consumers set the market. For one, I was a Sony person for many years. They’ve totally lost me as a customer. My guess, with Sony phones not meeting sales targets, and Sony LCD TVs losing ground against DLP TVs, they can’t be happy with their lot in the consumer electronics field that they once dominated.

    We all knew that one day that stubboness would one day “bite” Sony. I believe that day has come.

  • I agree with all of the people that think this to be a Sony problem. They are just trying to get people to buy their computers, which sucks because they suck.

  • Ummm guys…while its nice to bash Sony and Windows, might I point out there is a nice free solution to this problem? I have a Sony HDD camera (DCR-SR40) and when I first purchased it, I ran into all the same problems you are describing. However, I poked around on the web for a bit, and found a free program called MPEG Streamclip, available from the Apple website:

    This code imports the Sony muxed file and demuxes it and outputs it to whatever format you pretty much want. I export MOV files and read them directly into iMovie.
    As of today, I have recorded, converted and edited maybe 100G of clips, and created a handful of DVD’s using iDVD, and it all works.

    So, you CAN use your Sony camcorder with your Mac, contrary to what Sony says.

  • Thanks for the tip, noproblemSony, but that software is a piece of crap.

    It doesn’t convert anything unless you’ve already paid for the extra QuickTime plugin from Apple. I just downloaded it and tried to export some muxed clips about 20 different ways: no luck.

    I can get audio … but no video out of this app.

    PS: having to stick a conversion step in between shooting video actually using it is a PITA, as well.

  • Glad I stumbled on this tonight. Went to look at some camcorders today and was going down the SR82 road. Thought I’d check on mac compatibility first as I got burnt once before with a camera and Apple. All I want is something that will take video and let me dump it in to iMovie to play around with before burning it to DVD. Not too bothered about whose fault it is, Apple or Sony, they’re all in business after all, I just want something that works out of the box without needing to download any software.

    Sorry you got stiffed John. Any recommendations for non Sony camcorders ? Looks like Canon might be the one ?

  • Canon *does* look like the one, Jeremy.

    My only problem there is that aesthetics are important, and their camcorders are ugly! (But I am starting to think they are at or near the best quality available.)

  • I agree with that. The camera shop I was in only has Sony and Canon cameras and on the look, feel and general design of the things there is a clear winner whilst the Canon cameras sit in the ugly corner of the cabinet. Shame the one I liked won’t work as it should on a mac.

    Have since found that the Apple site used to have a list of iMovie compatible cameras but I can’t find that now. Either way, it looks like it has to be DV or HDV rather than HDD. This discussion might be interesting to some of your readers –

  • I am glad to have found this discussion. Although there seems not to be a solution to this problem. I agree that both Sony and Apple are in business and therefore will do a lot to try and cross sell. I have experience of this in another area.

    Recording a band rehearsal onto a Sony minidisc player then attempting to upload to even a PC means using Sony products and even then it doesn’t make it possible to manipulate it. I think Sony generally operates a guarded, jealous and paranoid policy with regard to DRM. If me and my band MADE the music which we recorded onto that MD, why should Sony then be acting as if we’re stealing it from them if we then want to edit it?

    I have in the past mistakenly felt some kind of loyalty to Sony products. No more, to anyone. They get involved in their DRM paranoias with everything from DV to cameras to phones. I really can’t stand it. No wonder they are a record label too.

    That said, I did buy this mac recently because I thought that these kinds of issues would be gone.

    So I am going to have to edit these movies on a PC is the answer really is it not?

  • I just learned we will be shooting a graduation video to be editing with Final Cut Studio 2 with a Sony DCR-SR82. One option I have not seen discussed here is that I had the Sony owner send me a .pdf of the manual, and there is one option where the cam can dump the disk to a DVD ala so-called “….One touch Disc Burn function. It is a simple operation to save images to a DVD.” Granted, that needs to be done on a Windows machine, but why can’t that DVD be used? I realize this is an annoying aspect, but is there any technical obstacles to doing this? I guess the real question when I say “doing this” is, will the MacBook pro and Final Cut Studio be able to read and use the DVD?

    On Page 77 of the DCR-SR82 manual is says “….When saving data on a DVD RW, the data is recorded in VIDEO format…” I’m not sure why they only mentioning DVD RW and not the other formats, but what do they mean “VIDEO format”? Do they mean it creates a playable DVD ala VIDEO_TS directry and such?

    It mentions “You cannot edit the images on the created DVD with a computer.” Huh? What do you use then? It continues “When you want to edit the images with a computer, import the images onto the computer first”. Hmm, though you just said it was not possible. So you throw it on a DVD, which you can’t use, and still need to download it to your PC? Anyway, this still leads me to believe it’s got .vob’s and such in a VIDEO_TS dir, etc. on the DVD it creates. Does anybody know for certain?

  • I think you’re right about the .vobs and VIDEO_TS directories. You can conceivably use those if you can find software to rip DVDs to your computer …

    Not cool.

    We all really need un-muxed video and preferably MPEG-4 files.

  • Ok, I guess I will have to have the DCR-SR82 guy burn me a disk from a toy video or something, and play from this (this is my first time to use Final Cut, but I’ve been able to pull stuff off DVD structure in the past and be able to use it with Pinnacle Studion 9 ).

    Also, I see on the internet in maybe two places (including earlier in this thread) that Streamclip *can* be used. I’m a little unclear what this is though. Am I understanding that it may not be a problem if some sort of special USB cable is purchased? (I don’t see how that alleviates needing Sony’s Windows only software), but perhaps via this cable or device OS X can see the files on the cam?)

  • I splurged on the quicktime download to change my videos i took from my old PC to DV format, but the audio didn’t work…

    Now i’m trying to get my video straight from my SR40 but my macbook only recognizes the stills!

  • Just bought Sony DCR-SR82 60GB and found out it does not work with MAC’s after reading many blogs like this one. I finally did get mine working only because I was fortunate to have a windows machine. I will include high level steps to how I got it to work. I understand that people may or may not have both MAC and Windows machines but for those who do hopefully these steps will help.

    1. Buy Nero 7 Ultra Edition ($99)
    2. Install on windows machine
    3. Put video clips on windows machine
    4. File extension will be mpg
    5. Start Nero and pick Nero Recode
    6. Add file, click next
    7. There is a icon to see settings
    8. Put check mark for expert mode
    9. One of the options will have a place to put a checkmark for QuickTime compatibility
    10. Click Burn
    11. Now take this mp4 file to the MAC machine
    12. Import into IMovie

    Again these are high level steps and are not step by step directions.

  • i figured mine out. and i definately didnt spend $99 on Nero. im just trying to figure everything out on imovie

  • That seems like a general policy of Sony not to support Apple. When I got a replacement for my then-top-of-the-Line Sony(Ericsson) phone, it turned out that I could not sync it with Mac OSX. Now Sony puts the blame on Apple, and Apple puts it on Sony. Bottom line for me is that it should really be up to the manufacturer of a device to ensure that it works with a Mac. Image a $600 printer not shipping with a driver for windows, and the company claiming that it should be up to Microsoft to make the two compatible?

    Having said all that, there is a cool programme for the Mac, VisualHub, that eats and converts to most formats. Again, not totally free, but nice piece of software if you work more with video.

  • Thanks for the comment and idea Desperado. I just plopped $20 on Apple’s QuickTime Mpeg2 Plug-in. That didn’t work worth crap (I could view the video but got no audio). The free and simple ffmpegX couldn’t have worked better! Easiest conversion tool I’ve ever used for video (and I’ve tried many from my *shudder* Windows days). I know VLC can play all the files I have; however, I wanted to be able to convert them to work with AppleTV (what’s the point of family videos if you can’t watch them on the big screen with family?!)

    Anyway, for anyone who’s wondering, ffmpegX is definitely worth looking into and very simple to install. Make sure to give them the measly $15 registration donation they ask for – it’s a killer application and well worth the funding!

  • I did the ffmpegx thing, but still did not end up with any audio. Am I doing something wrong here? The video is converting fine, just no sound. Thanks for any input!

  • When I had that problem it was cause i was doing mpeg2 to .avi but when i tried converting it to .dv it worked fine. Dunno if your problem is similar

  • I’ve been in camcorder/imovie limbo for weeks. Finally got a sony HDR-ux5 on someone’s professional recommendation and, you guessed it. Doesn’t work with Mac. I called Canon to ask which digital camcorders of theirs works with Mac and they said, “none.” I was surprised, but at least they’re honest. I cannot find out if there’s a digital camcorder (that records on the little dvd’s – I don’t want tapes) that works with mac. VERY frustrating!

  • AFAIK your Canon rep is wrong on that … I’ve heard they do work and Apple lists them as working here.


    Make sure it’s either a DV or MPEG-4 model. MPEG-2 will NOT work.

  • Checking the Canon website, they say the camcorders (like the DC50) are compatible for “downloading stills only.” Not exactly what anyone’s looking for in a video camera. I’ve gone to that Apple site and you still have to navigate all the individual manufacturer’s sites yourself. It’s not helpful at all. For someone like me, who just wants to shoot video and play with it in iMovie…even the Apple site is of little assistance. I think I’ll give up for a while and hope someone recognizes all the MAC people out there who like to make movies!

  • I have a Sony DCR- SR82 and have the same problem re. Cam to mac.

    However, I also have a Canon Mini DV camera and capture directly from it into my Macbook pro via firewire into Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer. I assume it’s the same with iMovie.

    If the camera has a DV out there is no reason you can’t capture into a Mac.

  • The Canon MD range (ZR range in some countries) plugs straight in to a mac via firewire and downloads into iMovie without any trouble at all – plug and play at its simplest. It is DV, I didn’t find anything HDD or DVD that would work as simply as that.

    Quality seems great for something that was half the price of a Sony. It’s still an ugly piece of kit though.

  • I’ve found this blog about 24 hours too late. Just bought a Sony DCR-SR72 and spent the past four hours struggling to download some footage onto my G5. I tried everything, but nothing doing Then two seconds worth of googling brought me an avalanche of material all saying that Macs and Sony Camcorders don’t communicate.

    As for downloading various odds and ends.. fergeddit!! Why do you think I use Macs?
    A: Because I appreciate their elegance and simplicity – and B: because I’m technically inept.

    Tomorrow I’m taking the camcorder back. But first I need to find the box!!!

  • I helped a friend with a camcorder problem and we ended getting a Sony tape on to work wit his MacBoook.

    The person who served us said that no modern camcorder ( we had struggled with a JVC one would work due to the digital protection requirements.

    The tape drive Sony ( firwire i/o ) worked out of the box with iMovie HD , just as a mac should.

    I hope this helps

  • I sent the following email to Sony.

    I own a Sony HDD handycam camcorder. I also own a Macintosh computer. Unfortunately the camcorder is not compatible with Macintosh. My camcorder operating guide tells me that to use the camcorder connecting with a Macintosh I have to apply the compliant software on, which I have done at the cost of $127.

    This software informs me that
    “Pixela’s Capty MPEG Edit EX (Dolby Digital 5.1) can convert files from MPEG-2 format to Digital Video (DV) format so that you can easily import your files into Apple’s iMovie and iDVD applications. 

To transfer your files to DVD using iMovie and iDVD, you need to take the following steps: 

    0. Transfer your files from the HDD camcorder to your MAC. “”
    It then goes on to give other instructions but unfortunately it gives no instructions that I can see as to how to transfer my files from the HDD camcorder to my MAC. When I rang Apple technical support they informed me that I would have to transfer the files by running the software.

    Given that Sony advertises this software to enable owners to use their product I turn to you for your assistance. Surely there must be a simple way of explaining how to transfer your files from the HDD camcorder to my MAC.

    I cant be the only person out there with the misfortune of owning a Sony HDD camcorder and a Mac! I would be enormously grateful if you could assist me. It is very frustrating having treasured footage of my daughter on camcorder and not being able to use it

    Will see if this does any good.

  • I would be vey interested in seeing the reply Alan as I am in the same boat.

    I’ve been a Sony fan for over 20 years and an Apple fan for last 3 years and just assumed my new HDD would connect to the Mac as I owned a Sony camcorder (tape) previously and has experienced seamless connection.
    Especially when I was recently sold a USB connector from Sony to do just that..

  • Thanks for all the information here.
    I picked up a DCR-SR42 at the camera shop on Friday, and without asking for more specifics, I took the recommendation of the salesperson which said just use the USB with the mac, it will work just fine. Not.

    I’ve finally made the switch back to mac after 10 years and just dont want to have to use my Windows box for anything anymore.

    So, the hunt is on for a different camcorder…

  • I talked to the people @ B&H Photo. They are VERY knowledgeable. They confirmed that there’s no HD camcorder, or any that records on a DVD, that works with Mac. None. Seems bizarre to me, but that’s how it is. So I returned my fancy shmancy camcorder and bought a bottom of the line, “FLIP VIDEO.” $118 for 60 mins. recording time. It’s tiny, about the size of an iPod, and I’m told it works with Apple. Check it out for something fun. I’ll get a high end camcorder when someone decides to make one for a mac.

  • I have been trying for months to solve this problem, and after reading your post, I downloaded the software and, yes, I paid $20 for the quicktime plug-in, and it all works fine. Yeah, I don’t understand why apple doesn’t include the plug-in, but I personally would rather pay the $20 and stop worrying about finding another way to get my footage off for free. $20 is better than Sony’s $100 software. Thanks again!!!!

  • After reading all of this thread I have to say how impressed I am with the loyalty to APPLE, and total disregard for the proprietary nature of any APPLE products or software. I guess I am the only person who may have noticed that ALL software written for an APPLE is sold strictly BY APPLE?? All products used with APPLE are SOLD by APPLE?? Not many APPLE clones?? Ever wonder why they cost more than most other brands?? So, for you why is so hard to believe that APPLE won’t release information that would ALLOW the SONY, PANASONIC, JVC, or CANON camcorders (that are current) to be compatible??

  • Dear Impressed,

    > I guess I am the only person who may have noticed
    > that ALL software written for an APPLE is sold strictly
    > BY APPLE??

    Errr … while Apple produces a great deal of software (including a key piece in this discussion thread, iMovie) the vast majority of software available on the Mac is written by third-party developers.

    Just like on Windows.

  • So Quicktime with the plug in for $20 will allow me to download from my Sony SR-42 without any problems? Just want to clarify before I try to find this download and buy it.


  • So I just bought the Sony Handycam hdr-cx7 yesterday. LOVE IT! My mac hates it and after reading this entire post it looks like i’m returning it….. Anyone know which (if any) HD cam I can get to work with my mac? I don’t wanna lug my old Gl1 around greece for 2 weeks!

    What if I put an HDMI port in my mac? I use Final Cut 5 (will upgrade if I have to) but would like to use imovie…it still won’t work will it?

  • Gina,
    My best advice would be to call the video people at B and H photo in New York. They seem to know everything about what works with what. I was impressed with their knowledge (and wish I’d talked to them before ordering my Sony, which I had to return.

  • Okay so it looks like I’m going to put the Black Magic Intensity port into the back of my Mac Pro which solves the usb 2 streaming problem. And then upgrade to Final Cut Studio 2 which works with avchd. Problem solved….hopefully. Won’t work in imovie but at this point i’m too in love with the camera to care. 🙂

  • Jamie,
    The $20 quicktime plug-in and the free MPEG streamclip, which you can get from Apple’s website, or noproblemsony has a link in this thread. I hope it works for you too. I have the Sony SR-40.

  • I just bought a Sony HDD SR8 100GB handycam. The picture and sound quality are stunning. Same problem about extracting the video…

    A different solution is to connect to a (UK-designed) MigliaTVMax box.

    Apple until recently sold it online in their store but not any more. This box lets you transfer the camera’s stored video, playing in a window, and record what you want and save in various formats on the Mac (great for iPod versions in a hurry, for example). MigliaTVMax is a great companion to Apple TV box too!

    Cost (to work not to me) = 150 quid in Blighty. That probably translates into 150 dollars (although it should be more than 300 dollars if you believe in that concept of exchange rates).

    Great box for doing all sorts of conversions the easy way and no I didn’t invent it.

    Interesting to note that MacUser do rave reviews on Sony HDD cameras (which is where I saw the SR8) but decline to tell you they don’t connect to a Mac. Do I detect a MacUser/Sony/Micro$oft conspiracy theory developing? It’s OK though because I first saw the MigliaTVMax in MacUser too so that balances things up again.

  • To be fair to MacUser it was one product news item not a full review and they didn’t actually say the SR8 could be connected to a Mac – but they didn’t say it couldn’t either… I just assumed a Mac mag would include things that work with a Mac!

  • So i didnt’ have to put an HDMI port into my computer. I just bought a card reader…download my video into a folder and the log and transfer in FCP. It works and it’s quick.

    Make sure that you have the update from Final Cut Pro 6 which is 6.0.1 This is the version that will support the avchd format

  • Handycam hdr-cx7 and Mac Works for me. I’m new to all this stuff, but this is how I have got it to work. Download the clips from your HDR-CX7 into Picture Motion Browser (the software that came with the CX7) on your PC and save it (I have a PC labtop).

    Move the new folder with a menory stik (Sandisk cruzer) into your Mac. (Mac Pro)

    Use a software called Voltaic ($30 US) Google that to find the website, hit the Mac1080HD – home of the HD converter for MAC link.

    Now you can use the clips in imove and Final Cut Express HD and the clips look real good. I also did the MPEG streamclip thing and I think the clips look way better with Voltaic.

    If you want to try it out, download Voltaic and it will give you 10 free clip conversions so you can see if it works on your system before you pay.

    Hope it works for you.

  • I downloaded Voltaic a few days ago (demo) and just using the mac pro via memory stick got the footage into imovie but the quality was bad. Real skippy (tech term?) Also desaturated a bit. Plus it made the clips into QT movies which take forever to render in FCP5. But now that I”m using FPC6 everything works amazingly fast!

    Val do you think the extra step of downloading to the pc first would improve qual? I would like to use imovie for quick projects without the quality lose. Thanks!


  • Has anyone played with the SR7/SR8 with a Mac yet. The people at the Mac Store seemed oblivious of AVCHD. I had to tell them that iMovie now supports the format. While looking at the SR5, the people at the Best Buy said that Apple does not support the format. I tried to convince them that Apple just started to support AVCHD with no success.

    “What’s the difference between a car salesmen and a technology salesmen? Car salesmen know when they’re lying!”

    Just purchased the SR8, and still waiting for the shipping. Have not purchased a computer for editing thus far. Just really simple editing of family vacations and such. On the edge of a quad core for speed or the new Macs that just came out for software reasons. Any comments would be appreciated!

  • Final Cut 6.0.1 works with AVCHD. I already have finished projects.

    ilife 08 does support avchd but I’ll be getting tomorrow and i’ll let you know!

  • iLife 08 really really cool stuff, but my avchd hdr-cx7 makes imovie crash. In the import window I can see the video play, but when I try to import it, 10 sec. into the import it’s good bye to imovie.

    Can anyone help? Is it just a setting?

    Hope Apple updates it soon!

  • You are completely utterly right 100%.

    I just recieved the same handycam from a friend asking me to put it onto dvd for him. I was like sure, piece of cake, connect it, copy the mpeg files, put it into iDVD and burn. Uhh Uhh…after 1 hour trying to figure out why the f*** the mpegs didn’t play i came upon you post and this is bullshit, muxed, what the hell. These handycams are shit, i say stick to old trustworthy tape.

    Thanks for the help.


  • I have just connected my DCR-SR40 (had to dust it off since doing anything with the videos has been so problematic) I have an Intel Macbook Pro and iLife’08. The re-vamped iMovie saw the camcorder and is in the process of importing the movies directly to the program.

    Just an FYI, but it seems to be fixed. I upgraded to the new iLife and it seems to be a nice step forward for the program and only $99 bucks for the family pack.

    Hope this helps.

  • So thus far, it seems buying a Apple may work. (Just to recap, I just purchased my SR7 and should be here in 2 more days, but I still have not decided on a computer for editing)

    Has anyone played with any Window AVCHD editor? The only reason I’m undecided on the Apple vs. PC decision is based on speed. I do know PC has the Quad Cores available vs. Apple’s Dual Cores. Any advice?

  • Well while looking at the DCR-SR40 on the web, it seems it’s not a HD Camcorder and does not record in AVCHD. So really I’m back to my original question, has any one played with and of Sony’s HD Camcorder that record in AVCHD with an Apple? (Since AVCHD was Supported less then 2 weeks ago? )

  • Alex,

    Do you mean HD as in Hard Drive or HD as in High Def?
    I have an HDR-CX7 it records in AVCHD onto a media card and it works fine with Apple and Final Cut 6.0.1

    I cannot Import onto the computer via the camera because macs don’t support USB II streaming. So I throw the memory card into a reader and import it that way. Works fine.

  • I meant High Definition, sorry about that.

    You mentioned that Apple’s doesn’t support USB streaming, I wonder how much of a problem that may be? When I thought of Hard Disk Camcorders, I assumed you would just “drag & drop” the file(s) over to the computer, like any other external hard drive. Are you saying this is not so?

    This may be a silly question but when you edit AVCHD formated files on an Apple, is the output file still in AVCHD? If you were to burn the file onto DVD, would it also be in AVCHD? To my understanding, Blu-Ray player will be able to read this formats, no?

  • I purchased a Sony Handycam Camcorder (DCR-SR82) and have a MacBook. I had recorded several videos and was anxious to transfer them on to my computer and then burn DVDs. I opened the camera box to find that the software provided with the Sony Handycam is for PCs only—there is no Mac installation disk. So, I began doing research and with some major help from a Mac genius, was able to get it all ironed out. My mission is to spread the word so that no one feels the need to return their Sony Handycam just because they are Mac owners! The first step is to make sure that the processor on your Mac is Intel, as I believe that is one of the requirements for all of this to work. Second is to buy iLife ’08, which is around $80. Next, you can import your videos into iMovie without any difficulty and enjoy all of the editing features that iMovie provides. Once you have imported your movies, you can open iDVD and burn DVDs without difficulty. If you have an external DVD burner, which I do, you need to download one program which is free and is called Patchburn. This program will enable iDVD to recognize an external DVD burner. Then, you are all set to enjoy your Sony Handycam all of the joy of editing movies with your Mac. Have fun!

  • Thanks for your website. I feel like I was just ripped off. If I had to choose between a Sony appliance (sw hw) and Apple appliance (sw hw)- sorry to say Apple wins. I use my Mac for everything.

    Now I have to go and buy myself a new intel MAC and then buy iLife –whatever happened to loosely coupled….ug

    –From an appliance perspective I see my Mac way more open than windows.
    –maybe i need to go back to twiddling the bits on my pc with a magnet and spend more time on Linux

    I get the compression thing to save space on those memory sticks, however at time of transfer the sony as a blackbox should:
    1. act like a hard disk and just let me copy my data
    2. and bonus: should just export to multiple open formats (is that too difficult)

    Anyways nothing more to whine about but as I said if I had to choose between Apple and Sony – sony will loose. I hope sony reads this message and realizes that Apple is not the enemy just stay loosely coupled and interoperate – consumers will love you and your sales will increase. I was going to get blu-ray but now I am am having second thoughts.

    okay blogs are therapy …..

  • At first I had problems with my Sony avchd hdr-cx7 and iMovie but after the last iLife 08 update it’s perfect now. Thank you Apple you are the best!!


  • Will sony HDD camcorders work with G5 imac (not intel) and ilife 08 upgrade or is it just the intel imacs?

  • I just installed iLife 08 yesterday on my powermac G5 and no Intel.
    Result? A message that it works only with a Intel inside computer. I can, never the less, import Standard definiton, but that’s not what I bought the Sony-cam for. Hope this is the right answer, Ian?

  • Thanks all…if i’m using a non HD HDD camcorder with a G5 plus ilife 08, will this work. Sorry for the questions but i need to know before i buy the sony!

  • So Ian that is a very hard question to answer, the facts are:

    * iMovie 08 will only accept AVCHD content on an intel mac.

    * The only HDD Sony’s that seem to work with Mac are the AVCHD ones.

    * But, if you want a Sony HD camera you could get a HDV tape one – It will work fine and experts will tell you that tape is better quality than HDD anyway. But of course you have to “play” into your mac and can take time.

    I have just bought an SR7 (bloody nice camera) and it works flawlesly on a mac running imovie08 , i am led to believe that imovie actually converts the AVCHD to another format for editing in imovie 08, but someone correct me if i am wrong.

    But the transfer is nice and fast and full HD looks wonderfull on my Mac Book Pro, even if it is just footage of my wive cutting her toenails.

  • great thread…while I was reading all the problems with using my recently purchased Sony HandyCam (DCR-HC28) and Mac (I have a MacBook) I decided to open up iMovieHD, selected DV-VCR and my SonyHC was recognized and started to ‘import’ the video clips. Plan on using video clips in iDVD. No issues, no additional software required…just worked

  • Thanks Gary…are you running a G5 or an intel mac? Also any other HDD brands that work with the older macs?

  • just about every HDD consumer camera out there uses MPEG2(muxed) as an encoding format. Older (PPC) macs don’t have the codecs for that, (neither does Quicktime, PPC or Intel, by default; I believe this is a licensing issue.) and you won’t get the full power of iMovie08 unless you have an Intel Mac apparently.

    you can still use the HDDs, or MiniDV, or DVD-R cameras. You will just have more hoops to jump through.

    SD MiniDV is the least complicated to import.

    I think XLR8 has a capture cable that will let you capture your footage through direct playback if that seems simpler. it only captures 640×480, but it will work with every camera out there.

  • great thread. this discussion is extremely useful to someone who (was) about to buy a an HDR SR8. I have one quick question. I can understand the camcorder works with imovie 08/fcp 6 and intel macs, but how do you connect in to the mac, if it has no firewire port, and the mac cannot usb stream. do you have to but a card reader/add an HDMI port to do this

  • I think if the camera has data that your Mac can read, USBb 2.0 will work. At least, when I plugged in my camcorder, it connected, and I could see it on my Mac. It was just that the video was muxed, and therefore not usable by iMove or an out-of-the-box QuickTime.

  • Just bought a Sony DCR-SR62 Handycam, and I also own a Macbook (Intel). Same problem as most, I am just trying to import my clips to the computer. Will the new Ilife 08′ recognize my HDD camera? I am not sure If I read right but Ilife 08′ only recognizes a few HDD cameras (only if they are AVCHD/ not sure if my HDD camera is) Please help I love my new cam and I LOVE my MacBook.

  • Hey guys after searching many forums and getting no answer I just played with my Sony SR-82. All you have to do is go to the Home menu, click the format button (the luggage tag looking i-con) then press the format button on the left for the hard drive and the one on the right for flash memory. Let it do what it has to do and then hook the camera to the macbook and open imovie 08. VOILA!!!

  • I have just bought the 60GB version, and intend to use it with the Mac (G4, OSX 10.4.9). the free utility ffmpegX can in deed convert the files, so that they can be used in iMovie or Final Cut. It works fine, but this is very time consuming.

    The best approach is to make Quicktime understand these Sony-produced files. This would make it possible to use the video files the way they come from the camera, without the need for transcoding.

    Using the command line utility ffmpeg (on Ubuntu Linux), I found the following information:

    Input #0, mpeg, from ‘M2U00001.MPG’:
    Stream #0.0[0x80]: Audio: ac3, 48000 Hz, stereo, 256 kb/s
    Stream #0.1[0x1e0], 25.00 fps(r): Video: mpeg2video, yuv420p, 720×576, 9100 kb/s

    In English, this means that the media container format is “mpg”. The video format is “mpeg2video”, and the audio codec is “ac3”.

    The container format is supported by Quicktime out of the box; so no problem there. The audio codec can be found on the net, e.g.:

    Unfortunately I am stuck with the video codec. Does anybody know a free mpeg2video codec? There are plenty of open source projects for such codecs, but I did not find any which works with Quicktime.

    The closest I got was this one:

    I hope that these leads help you guys with your search for a free solution. Any help is appreciated.

  • that is the most stupid idiotic shit i have heard about, who gives a shit about quicktime or sony, they are all going to be outdated and people who use them are pathetic losers and retards.

  • I downloaded ffmpegx for free and converted the files to mp4. Then dragged my files into imovie to edit them. It worked a treat.

  • Okay – now that I’ve read through 112 comments – can someone enlighten me – with the Sony SR-82, an imac and ilife 08 – can I use the two together – just plug in and off I go? as some say – or will I be forever trying and failing to use the two together? I would like a camcorder – and have to say the Sonys are the nicest looking and very easy to use – so what way do I go – and btw it is not an option to move away from Apple.

  • Man, I feel your pain. But you can always buy parallels for your mac and then run the supplied software that ships with the camera to quickly convert the files. Then just alt tab over to your editing software on your mac. And you ready to go 79.00 and you can run every PC software not just Sony Software.

    I love the camera it works fine for me. You bought a Mac with a Intel processor Sony knows this. Thats why they don’t have to spend the money right off to develop it to work for the Mac. It already does. If you can afford to fork out the $$ for a Mac and the quality of the HDR-SR1 camera you should be able to spend $79.00, hell thats the price of an extra battery.

  • Hello, I just received a sony DCR-SR62 for Christmas… And… Well… It’s a little bit shi… with apple… But It works finally. It’s a gift, so I could not return the camera;) So I found this excellent website:)))

    My opinion about apple vs sony:

    It’s just a codec problem. To put the same images than a dv camcorder in a HD, you have to use a codec. So maybe sony is not the best friend of apple, but what can I do? Write a letter to Mr. Sony organizing a meeting with Steve;) And who have to make the first step? Apple puting an application on his iLife suite or changing I movie, or sony have to put a driver for apple? No matter. I wanted a solution now.

    So. I connect my Powerbook G4 1.2 with my camera using USB. A “no name” icone mount on my desktop. I open and I see my 3 clip, each during about 8 seconds. I take one, open on quicktime (7.3.1) ( if you haven’t QTpro, download it and download the serial box…). So. I open one clip: images but no sound… So I open on vlc (freeware not difficult to find), and all is ok. I open on finalcut 5.0.1… No sound too. Ok… I open safari and I find my solution;)

    I download the freeware recommended by noproblemsony. It’s the 32th post here. Go to

    It’s seem complicated, I didn’t test all the program. First I ve tried with “export to quicktime” . 8 seconds encoding in 2 minutes!!! F..k. Then I open in QT. The images are completly f..ked, but there’s sound! So I open Finalcut, import my new clip with sound and the first I have imported. It’s work. But still the bad quality… I breath and;)

    I try to make a “export to dv”! And then! Smile. About 4 second for a clip of 8;) I open the new clip in Final cut, it works. I open on QT, it works just changing the scale size in “window/show movie properties”, I put 1024/576 and all is ok.

    It’s clear, It’s not the best quality I ve seen. But with good light, it’s ok for family video or souvenir. If I shoot a movie, I use not compressing cameras. My favourite: the P2 by Panasonic:))

    So. Thanks noproblemsony. Sorry for my english! I never write post in english;)

    Enjoy your cam;

    Blake Eduardo


    Download a FREE software called isquint…. its one before VisualHub, but absolutly FREE.
    Then, when you have your “problem” files of clips from you Sony Handycam pass it to your desktop and then drag ir to isquint. Choose the best qualitie and TV option. (not itunes nor ipod,this time) you choose the destination, its better in desktop….. AND TATATATATATATAN you have it, just like that FREE, EASY, you dra it to the precious imovie and start to edit.

    –if notifications of error apear, dont go nuts and stop averything, just put accept and continue, continue, continue.

    Oh, by the way, YOU WELCOME.

  • I couldn’t understand some parts of this article camcorder & Mac OS X: not happy together? : sparkplug 9, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  • I couldn’t understand some parts of this article Mac OS X: not happy together? : sparkplug 9, but I guess I just need to check some more resources regarding this, because it sounds interesting.

  • I’m so frustrated with the Sony cam my work got. I used to use professional Sony cams with DVCs, and it played perfectly with my Mac and FCP… Probably iMovie, too if I’d have tried it. Will never purchase another Sony product again. I did, however, convert my video to MPEG4 by using Handbrake, and although I can’t use FCP, it seems to be working well in After Effects, but a PITA to edit as the file sizes are gigantic now. As far as iMovie…. Just waiting for a clip to import.

    Will not switch to PC to use the cam, either. Sony clearly doesn’t realize that the Mac following is growing every day. They lost me, too.

  • Guys, just don’t buy Sony. This brand has so many compatibility issues and still ignore the market demand.