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MAC Users Watch Out For The Sony HDR-SR1 Camcorder

December 5th, 2006 · 47 Comments

SonyHDRSR1small.jpgI was over at Doc Searls site earlier and he’s considering buying the SR1. This is a breakthrough consumer camcorder. A 1080i HDV camcorder that has a 30Gb hard drive, is really pushing where digital camcorders need to go. Especially for us Indie filmmakers. There is one huge problem for me and other MAC users, it records AVCHD format to its hard drive. At the moment there is no third party software to allow the Apple creative community to use this forward thinking technology.

We found the process of working with AVCHD footage to be extremely frustrating. Macs are simply incompatible with AVCHD, as Sony only provides Windows software. While we were able to import SR1 footage using our office PCs, the bundled software just doesn?t provide anything like the functionality of more robust editing programs.

We hope this problem will be addressed soon because, although many software manufacturers have pledged support for AVCHD, including Adobe, Avid, InterVideo, Nero, and Ulead, none have yet updated their products for AVCHD compatibility. They have also not yet provided a timeline for when that software will be released. Even Sony?s professional NLE, Vegas, can?t play AVCHD yet, though Vegas 7, due out soon should address the gap. Without a credible workflow solution in place, your AVCHD footage will be stuck in limbo unless you resort to the SR1?s mediocre bundled software.

We know solutions to this sorry state of affairs are in the works, but unless you?re in a real hurry to jump on board the AVCHD bandwagon, our best advice is wait for someone ? anyone ? to release a better editing solution

385368.jpgThis would be the camcorder for me to purchase if and when they figure out the AVCHD compatibility issue. Till then I will continue to use the Sony HDR-HC1. The only reason I will use this camcorder over the others, is the fact that it has a mic port so you can add a shotgun, lavaliere or even a handheld mic to improve the audio quality. The HDR-SR1 has that function and has many potential independent filmmakers drooling…until they edit it.

But professionally, I would have to get the Panasonic HVX200.

Tags: Apple · Filmmaker · Final Cut Pro · Software

47 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jill Foster // Dec 15, 2006 at 5:02 pm

    Hey – That Panasonic was a big hit at the tech/video expo last week; your bits on equipment are useful too – quick post here:

    Have a good one … JMF

  • 2 Andy Coon // Dec 15, 2006 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks for the pointer…that lighting kit that you mention looks easy to use and fairly inexpensive.

  • 3 Marc Lindeman // Jan 4, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Yeah, it’s a b***h, but… I bought it anyway. Why? Because I purchased all the competitors and ended up returning them for this one. JVC, Panasonic, none of them performed like this one under all circumstances. Indorrs… outdoors … low lighting … you name it, this was the superior camera to the others so I bought it.

    The problem of getting usable footage from it into the Mac is a long drawn out process, but I did not lose any of the quality. On your PC, using the Sony software you convert the footage to Mpeg2. From there you can convert it to quicktime dv , very usable on your Mac. Using an external hard drive that is formatted for both yo ur PC and Mac, the transfer is simple. Basically…. you set up the conversions, go to bed, and in the morning, do the second conversion, go to work, then come home and play. If this is your work, you’re going to get a hell of a caffine buzz waiting for the conversions, I did.

    The end result… streamable HD that looks so good on OUR website, that I think it’s worth the hassle until they find a solution to this f*in problem. Kind of feels like years ago when we had to wait for our 286 to do something, but I’m confident all will be good in no time.

    That’s one solution, maybe there are more.

  • 4 Andy Coon // Jan 4, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    I can wait until I can just download it to the MAC and begin to edit. Until then, I’ll take the VX200.(In My Dreams)

    Thanks for putting up that solution, any and all solutions to get those files onto our MACs are helpful…Good luck with it.

    Hey, have you used the slowmotion effect on that sucker? How is it? That is the main feature that I’m drooling over.

  • 5 Yuriy // Feb 13, 2007 at 2:17 am

    I bought this camera a few days ago. I am deciding to either give it up or keep it. The looks of it , and the regular SD format are very impressive, while the AVCHD format adds a few shades of grey to the overall picture. Yes it has good potential, but so does HIV research. Truth is , there is NOTHING out there to make this camera use-full, and probably won’t be for a while. I think a wise thing to do is stick with DV for another couple of years and let this new technology establish itself. I think the 1500$ deserves a better take given the nessesity of video edit, unless of course you want to sit on this camera like a henn on an egg and keep it warm, untill competitors will come up with a better rival.

    Bottom line, too soon, no support, defeats the purpose for buying. Besides if you wait , it may even go down in price some.

  • 6 TechWizard // Mar 27, 2007 at 10:51 am

    Yes. Works with Mac and FCP! – But its a long proces:
    1. Capture AVC-HD footage
    2. Drag to your old PC and use Elecard Studio Pro. (Free Demo works but PC only)
    to convert from AVC-HD to HDV2 – using preset
    (careful, it is not working correctly in Parallels on mac. Really need a PC to do this part)
    3. Copy files to Mac
    4. Use Streamclip (free) to Demux the Audio to AIFF.
    (drop one clip at a time – so far) – you then have the exported AIFF sound for each clip.
    5. Drop the video and audio files into Final Cut Pro, start editing.
    Looks like 100% 1080i quality with excellent sound.

    See my podcast coming soon.
    Tech Wizard

  • 7 TechWizard // Apr 3, 2007 at 9:08 am

    First Footage from HDR-SR1 (Medium Quality setting)
    using above Windows to Mac conversion process.

    520mb download!

  • 8 Ceekay // Apr 16, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Is the new Final Cut Studio 2 able to work with the AVCHD Format?

  • 9 Andy Coon // Apr 16, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    This is really frustrating… As far as I can tell, reading the tech specs there is nothing about AVCHD. I inquired about it to them, let’s see if they respond.

  • 10 TechWizard // Apr 20, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Just got back from NAB in Vegas. FC Suite 2 was launched. Spoke to several Apple engineers – their official comment was – “we are aware of the codec but have not yet included compatability.” Off the record, it appears that they got caught with their pants down and did not get engineers working on the codec fast enough to make the release date – but will have it soon. Also talked to the “Compressor engineer and actually tried to open a MTS file in Final Cut 6 Compressor – no go.
    I told at least 5 engineers that this is a huge problem for us that needs an immediate resolution!

    Secondly, talked with the Elecard people (Mentioned in my post above) about the fact that they had one of the ONLY working solutions for this camera – and they seemed dumbfounded. They are from Russia but – geeze. They could not grasp the market opportunity I tried to get across. I just left the booth shaking my head.

    Sony VEGAS was present and got the un-official word that they will have it included with full support by May. (or sooner)

    Also, I talked to the NERO guys, we tried to drag in MTS files in NERO’s latest products.. All I can say is – dont waste your time. It does not yet work correctly.

    Finally – I have an update to the export process above. Replace Step 4 with this:

    4. Use Streamclip (free) to CONVERT HDV files to Quicktime with Apple Intermediate Codec(lossless) – Use the Batch List function to rip all our files at once! This new format will contain the Video and Audio in one file that is perfect for Final Cut Editing.


  • 11 Andy Coon // Apr 20, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    TechWizard you are the man.

    Thanks for keeping us updated about this. Unbelievable, you know I’m kind of changing my opinion about Apple on this. Sony thought of a product that the market wanted but it seems like they didn’t go out and get feedback from the software companies about their new format, AVCHD. So they get the community geeked up about this new product that will save you time because you can download the footage as apposed to capturing it. And we bite, buy the camcorder and are frustrated at Apple, and all the other editing software companies. Hell, as you said Sony’s Vegas editing software won’t be ready until May. Just another example by the people at Sony that they cannot execute their smart ideas. I’ll be posting that soon.

  • 12 Chad // Apr 24, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Alright…either I’m an idiot, or I’m f*$ked…I tried the above steps to get the files from PC to Mac, and the demo version of Elecard either crashes or fails to convert the m2ts files. Tried using the batch function and it fails. Trying to open up a AVCHD file directly cause the app. to crash. Anyone else having problems using the Elecard demo?

  • 13 Andy Coon // Apr 24, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    I can’t help you out on this one Chad, sorry about that. I hope someone can help you.

  • 14 Tech Wizard // Apr 29, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Here is a detailed step by step How-To podcast.

    P.S. If Elecard crashes, its probably somthing conflicting on your PC.

  • 15 kuka // May 1, 2007 at 5:47 am

    Elecard Converter Studio AVCHD Edition for just $75

  • 16 Andy Coon // May 1, 2007 at 7:16 am

    Hey Peeps, it seems that there is a solution to download AVCHD for the PC. I can’t endorse this since I can not use it. Please do some research before purchasing the product. Good luck.


  • 17 Tech Wizard // May 2, 2007 at 10:31 am

    One More Thing. All Final Cut Suite users go here:

    This provides direct feedback to the development team. Lets make our voices heard at Apple Loud and Clear! – Spread the link to all you know.

  • 18 Greg // May 2, 2007 at 11:37 am

    I’m having a problem with Elecard too. Whenever I try to convert an AVCHD to HDV2, it always comes up “failed.”

  • 19 Chad // May 4, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Would the processor have anything to do with why Elecard would have problems? My PC has an old 1.34 Athlon (not XP or 64). Yeah, I know…it’s old, but it still works great for me (I would have updated, but I ended up buying a MacBook Pro).

  • 20 DeKam // Jun 9, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    One alternative to getting AVCHD onto the Mac, which possibly is superior anyway, is to use the HDMI output port, since most of this new breed also includes this option. HDMI is digital & uncompressed(!) — offers an inexpensive card called the “intensity” for $250 which lets you capture HDMI uncompressed, now you’re talking full quality/no GOP frames editing, which elimenates all needs for any kind of transcoding for capture. You lose the ability to just drag files into FCP from the camera.. but so what? You’ll also need a pretty strong RAID on your Mac to handle the huge datarate, so that’s a heavy expense.


  • 21 Matthew Garrison // Jun 28, 2007 at 8:48 am

    It seems as if Apple has finally caught up with the AVCHD format with their latest Pro Applications update…

    I’m not 100% sure since I don’t currently own one of Sony’s hard disc camcorders nor the latest version of Final Cut Studio but if this is the case I hope other folks write about their experiences with the two products asap.

  • 22 Alain Pelchat // Jun 28, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    The only problem is that support for AVCHD only comes if you have an Intel-Mac! Guess I’m screwed with my PowerPC…

  • 23 FoxMac // Jul 2, 2007 at 12:42 pm

    Final Cut Studio 2 (FCP 6.0.1) supports now the Sony hard disk camcorders with AVCHD format. It’s really great!
    I have the HDR-SR1 and the import looks very simple. Just plug in the camera and choose “Log and transfer” … then you can view the small thumbnails of the videos on the camera. You see a screenshot here:

  • 24 Steve // Jul 10, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Fox Mac…WOW! Thanks so much for the info about capturing these
    clips to FCP 6. IT was as easty as mentioned. I was about to get into what would have been a potential disaster trying to get these clips into my Mac! Seems SONY has once again developed new technology that no other programs can use….until now. Thanks again!

  • 25 wintermute // Aug 8, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Apple’s iLife ’08, just released Aug 7th, 2007, now includes support for AVCHD.

    Also, try this if you can’t/don’t want to upgrade:

  • 26 ozfrog // Aug 22, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    For Wintermute
    The iLife publicity seem to indicate that iMovie08 will handle the .mtr files from a SONY HDR-SR5E Handycam which is comparable to the SR7E I guess, but I have read a lot of conflicting reports to the contrary – awaiting more confirmation before shelling out ? 80 odd.

    For FoxMac – same comments – hard to find firm confirmation that the .mtr files will be looked at by FCP 6 – did I buy this baby too soon? The investment in FCP6 warrants even more scrupulous examination of it’s professed capabilities πŸ™‚

    “Voltaic” convert the .mtr files to .mov which can then be viewed and I suppose treated with iMovie HD but at the trade-off expense of much longer conversion times and humungous disk space useage – the demo version is good for 10 tryouts on

  • 27 Atilla // Nov 29, 2007 at 8:01 am

    (Final Cut Studio 2 (FCP 6.0.1) supports now the Sony hard disk camcorders with AVCHD format. It?s really great!
    I have the HDR-SR1 and the import looks very simple. Just plug in the camera and choose ?Log and transfer? ? then you can view the small thumbnails of the videos on the camera. You see a screenshot here:)

    Hi! I connect my Sony HDR-SR1 camcoder to macbook pro with usb cable than I choose from sony connect to computer. After this in the mac I can see that sony is connected. Afterwards I did what you said but does not work.
    After “Log and transfer” I can not import my files to final cut pro 6 what should I do?

  • 28 Christos // Dec 10, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    I’m having problems, “capturing” from SONY HDR-HC1 to my MacOS10.4.11/G5 in HDV format (During the transfert, there is no realtime sound. After the transfert, the sound is there, but some clips have got sloweddown!) Any suggestions?

  • 29 Kelly Smithe // Jan 17, 2008 at 12:18 am


    This Sony / Mac thing is bloody frustrating!

    I managed to get a load of ACHDV footage converted to quicktime using this service – – files came back next day and they were perfect.

    Hope it helps!


  • 30 Heilan Yvette Grims // Feb 1, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    I bought a Panasonic AG-HSC1U to use with my Mac. I use Voltaic ($30) to convert the mts files to .mov files. Conversion takes a long time (4-6 hjours for a 4 gig card) on my iMac (the new big one). But, the converted files are fantastic.

  • 31 Matt // Feb 26, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    This is the biggest joke ever. This has to be the dumbest mistake the video industry made EVER. Who, in there right minds, after all the history of video up to this point, would possibly decide in board rooms that making a video camera with footage you can’t edit or import without going through a myriad of “maybe it’ll work” steps is a good idea ~ is an absolute moron. I get home today with a camera i hired form art school, thinking sweet, new HD, cool cool etc, till i wasted 4 hours of my life trying to figure out how to connect it to the computer, hunting the manual for clues, searching online, reading blogs like this, only to discover, no, this camera is bollocks. Waste of time.

  • 32 Heilan Yvette Grimes // Mar 9, 2008 at 4:21 am

    Also, the new iMovie 8 imports the files into iMovie at high-res. But, again, the conversion process takes a looooooong time.

  • 33 nirvana81 // Mar 14, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Bought a Sony HDR-SR5 on the basis that it was too good to miss because the new HD models are coming out soon and they’re clearing stock… I didn’t foresee the file conversion issue as I’m running iMovie 6 HD and assumed it would import fine. So where do I go from here? Voltaic trial works well but sooooo slooooowww! hate to try and convert my full 40Gb! I am considering buying Final Cut Express or iMovie 8 but am I understanding that you can upgrade iMovie 6?? The file conversion being so space hungry when you convert to QT puts me off but the drag and drop feature (rather than real time download and loads of tapes/dvd’s) is definitely the way to go if you take your laptop on holiday etc and dump the clips to an attached HDD… just need to simplify the editing process. I agree with other comments this is typical of large corp like Sony to not meet with the required needs of the consumer and fill us all full of hype… To Sony: Great idea, nice camera… sort this sh*t out or I’ll never forgive you πŸ™

  • 34 Derek Clark // Mar 30, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Hi i have just got myself the Sony HDR-5RS is there any new software on the Mac ? many thanks Derek

  • 35 William // Apr 1, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    this is a no sense. Ibought this camcorder one year ago, spend a lot of time to try to use it. And, still I can’t use normally this soft (FCE)!!!
    I’m really fed up.
    Anyway, I’m now looking for wire from hdmi to usb…
    We’ll see…

  • 36 nirvana81 // Apr 2, 2008 at 3:14 am

    Just got back from a road trip around Seattle and Vancouver, on which I took my SR5 and iBook G4 with WD passport 80Gb HDD.

    Ok so shooting with the camcorder was good (not great) and the eventual quality of clips IS superb but the necessary use of Voltaic to convert the clips is VERY ANNOYING πŸ™ and very time consuming.

    Voltaic is a good intermediary but could be better if it were provided by say Apple who could afford to develop it to a more user friendly piece of software.

    You will have to rename every file if you want to keep them chronological (if you follow the wisdom of formatting the cam memory after import rather than just deleting) because duplication of file numbers will re-order your clips! It’s too much like hard work deleting all the temporary files too! I just want to plug-n-play!! Looks like an upgrade to iMovie 08 for me.

  • 37 Naturally Digital // Apr 2, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I have a new Sony SR8 which i use in an underwater housing. Forgive me for being dense, but what lead do i use to connect my SR8 to my intel mac book or my G5 quad power mac?

    I have ordered a copy of final cut express will this get the footage of the hard disk on the SR8?

    I need to get stills from the video footage how do i do that?

  • 38 AP // Apr 2, 2008 at 9:55 am

    I have several .m2ts files that I have moved from my camera into my Mac. Now I can not use the Log/Transfer function with FCP 6. Any suggestion would be appreciated.

  • 39 hdbuddy // Apr 15, 2008 at 12:34 am

    AP, once you import the video files from an AVCHD camcorder, the video and audio files are muxed into the m2ts format. That is why FCP can’t recognize it. You need to import the footage raw, or setup a directory like in your camera.

  • 40 charles // May 6, 2008 at 9:38 am

    i have a feeling that i mucked up the directory folders in my hdr sr1 – because i used to be able to transfer my files from my camera to fcp but now it doesn’t recognize it.

    can some one please provide me with an example of a working directory structure

  • 41 Jeeve // Jun 7, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    This is absolutely scandalous.

    The Voltaic think works, but takes forever.

    This seems like a conspiracy against the Mac platform, added to total ignorance on Steve jobs’ part I guess?

    Why did I spend money on a tapeless camera if I can’t edit the raw files on my Mac? It’s been over a year, and I think Apple is going to lose the battle if they don’t bow-down to this format which looks great and is very small!


  • 42 Andy Coon // Jun 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm


    I can’t agree with you more. Not only have they dropped the ball on this one but they still don’t have a solution for blu-ray DVD creation which is killing them in post production houses everywhere.

    If Apple truly embraces the professional world with their products it needs to recognize the technology that editors are forced to work with or else they will lose their flock.

  • 43 Tom // Aug 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Well, it looks like I am screwed! I just purchased a Sony hdr-cx7 to shoot video for the web to compliment my still photography and now, while I’m down in Chile, I’m reading forums like this and discovering that Sony and Apple are completely incompatible. Why in the world I can’t just plug and play the camera or drop files into final cut pro is beyond me (my Nikon D200 integrates flawlessly with the Mac, by the way) Fortunately, the retail outlet where I did the purchase has a 30 day return policy. This camera is going directly back to them as soon as I return to Colorado. I’ll wait to buy a new one when Sony or Canon gets their shit together and includes mac software support with the cameras. What a waste of time and money.

  • 44 Yvette // Aug 15, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Here is the MAC solution. You can use Roxio Toast 9. Just drag your mts files into it and have it set to make a DVD. It will then make a DVD, at whatever quality setting you choose, of your MTS files. Once the DVD is made, you can then use the same program to extract the MPeg files (whatever quality you chose) out of the DVD and then edited them using whatever MAC editing programs you want. And, it’s fast. Much faster than Voltaic, which I had been using. Also, Voltaic had a major flaw in that files above about 4 gig would not completely translate. The last part would have sound but just a white screen. Roxio converts the entire file. If anyone needs any help with this I’m going to be putting up a youtube video showing how to do the conversions ( You can PM there if you have any questions. I’m finally ecstatic with my camera, because I can actually easily use the files. The camera has always been phenomenal. It’s the files that have been a problem. Now, that’s solved.

  • 45 Heilan Yvette Grimes // Jul 2, 2009 at 2:06 am

    There are several solutions now to using the AVCHD format. And, it is worth it. The results with that format are spectacular. You can convert smaller files with a program called Voltaic (which will also popout the 5 speaker surround sound as a separate audio file for high-end editing of all the tracks). If the file is over a certain gigabite in size Voltaic loses the video of the last part. Toast from Roxio has a built in AVCHD format converter. iMovie can import and convert it directly from the camera or a file if you include the entire hierarchy of the file structure. Final Cut Pro will import the files. If you have any problems or questions don’t hesitate to contact me: Believe me, you’ll love the quality from this format.

  • 46 boyd // May 11, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Amazing how fast technology changes.

  • 47 snowgirl // Aug 2, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Sony HDR Video Converter for Mac is the best HDR video converter for mac software for sony users, it can help you convert all sony HDR Camcorders HD video files to avi, wmv, mov on Mac OS X for editing.

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