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How to get your Sony Handycam DCR-SR40 to work on OSX:

When you purchase the DCR-SR40 Sony Handycam, it has a link in the instruction book on where to go to purchase software to be able to use the camera with OSX. It is NOT free, and second of all, the software is absolutely horrible.

Do NOT for one second think that you can use firewire with this camera either. Nope. Also, do not assume that this camera will work with iMovie or iDVD, because it won't. Why? Well, first of all it's USB, (OSX needs firewire with Digital Video Cameras, even HDD based ones)

It won't work, it won't work, it won't work. Don't buy the crappy software suggested in the manual.

The problem is, the video that is stored on the camera is in Mpeg-2. Well. That sucks.

Steps to get it to work:

1. Plug the Camera's dock into the Mac.
2. Plug the Camera's dock into the electricty.
3. Record something
4. Plug the camera into the dock.
5. Turn the camera on, and put it in VCR mode (the bottom LCD light)
6. Press the "Burn to DVD" button on the Dock.

This will mount the Video Camera into OSX.

7. Open the "NO_NAME" drive, present on your desktop.
8. Navigate through the folders until you find the mp2 files that are named something like "M2U00001.MPG".
9. Drag and drop this file to your desktop (you can erase it off the camera if you want)

Quicktime will NOT play this file, you have to up convert it mp4

10. Download and install "ffmpegX", a free program, and all the tools that go with it. (You will need mplayer)
11. Drop "M2U00001.MPG" file into ffmpegX, and then select what file type to convert it to on the right (I suggest 2-pass option for H.264)
12. Click "Encode"
13. Whenever later (a long time if you have a slow puter...) it will spit out a file, that file you can do whatever you want with (into iMovie, iDVD whatever)


Return the camera, pay the restocking fee, and go buy the Panasonic PV-GS300.

I suggest the latter.


Eric said…
Joel - You are my new best friend! It is a long sad story, but the upshot is that I needed to import some Sony MPG files into Final Cut on a Mac Pro.

Your note is spot on. ffmpegX 0.0.9y is a gem and does the job very nicely.

I am glad I did not buy the Sony software
Joel Esler said…
i still recommend returning this camera and buying something with a true DV port.
John said…
This is great food for thought. I planned on purchasing a Mac Pro because I'm an illustrator and I'm fed up with PCs, especially with Vista. When it comes to Macs, one of the things everybody raves about is that "you plug something in and it just works."

Well, evidently not. I was looking forward to using iMovie for all my home video editing and burning, but it seems I need to think about this a bit more, and hope that Apple puts out some better support for HDD camcorders. Thank you for the work-around, though.
monty2 said…
Joel, much thanks. My wife and I got the sony dcr-sr40 as a wedding gift. We took lots of footage and pictures of our honeymoon. I have not been able to retrivie the footage till now. Million thanks, bodhisattvas come in all shapes and sizes.


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