Sony DCR-SR100 Hard Drive Camcorder

Last June, I noted JVC’s Everio line of hard drive-based camcorders. Now, Sony has introduced the DCR-SR100 ($1,100) (link via Gizmodo), a nifty camcorder with a 30 GB hard drive built in. They claim it can record up to 7 hours of DVD-quality video, but I want to know if it will record DV-quality (I’m not seeing it at Sony’s web site yet).

“DVD-quality” sounds impressive, but it’s not when you’re talking about capturing and encoding on the fly. A really good-looking DVD looks that way because encoding software has taken multiple scanning passes through the material and determined the best amount of MPEG-2 compression to apply. That’s also why I’m not interested in DVD-based camcorders such as the (also-new) Sony DCR-DVD505 and DCR-DVD405.

But the promise of a hard drive-based camcorder is appealing, because it means that you could simply mount the camera on your computer’s desktop and copy the files over, versus the long importing step to take footage from tape.

  1. Hello all:
    I’ve been following this thread for quite some time, trying to figure out what route to take with my Sony DCR-SR100 (using it with my MacBook). After exhaustive trial and error, the best solution that I have found is VisualHub, the upgrade from iSquint.
    Not only can you control quality (and therefore size of the output file), but a simple feature to ‘de-interlace’ the file removes all those small lines that plague home videos from quick movements.
    It’s as user friendly as can be. Anyone can use it, and the program isn’t too expensive ($30). I don’t know why everyone is so hung up on finding a free program to convert to MPEG4 or DV when you have already spent a thousand dollars on the camera. My iMovies are better than ever now!

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  2. If you want to buy a Sony DCR-SR80 go download iSquint from VersionTracker- it is free. The usability of this app beyond simple and works like a charm. Otherwise you have to wait till QT 9 comes out before you see support for the camera natively… thats from Sony tech support.
    Back to making it work- download iSquint, drag your clips off your camera, press start. Put the new clips in iMovie (or anything else) and it is off to the races. This camera is very, very, very cool. iSquint makes it that way. Don’t be scared of the download- it is beyond easy. FYI to get your Sony to show up on your desktop put it in the play button mode, click through the clock set up and then choose HDD. It will take about five seconds and you will see the drive on your desk top. Then just navigate over to the MP Root folder and there are your clips.
    You have one other Hard Drive Camera option, it is unusual but I have been using it with my Mac for about 2 years now. It is Samsung’s SC-X105L, it spits out MPEG-4 and they go right into iMovie for editing. One cavet… you only have about 20 minutes of recording time but you can buy more memory sticks and bigger batteries. The thing is as big as a deck of cards. There is nothing “great” about it except the fact that it works and takes one hell of a beating. You can even wear it on your head for some pretty cool shots. Great thread BTW. I hope this post might of cured some headaches.

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  3. I downloaded the mpeg2 program and I have finally figured out how to download my video clips from my Sony DCR SR100 into iMovie but I still can’t figure out how to get the sound working. I downloaded the mpeg streamclip progam but I don’t think that I am using it properly. Can someone please tell me step by step how to do it. Thank you

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  4. Thanks to everyone’s comments above i have been able to convert my files from the Sony to Imovie. The only thing i am struggling with is how to open multiple files in MPEG Streamclip. When I choose multiples it stillopens only the first file. Thisi s the case when i use the “Open Files” from the File menu. Anyone have a solution to this? Thanks again for bailing me out of the Sony nightmare!

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  5. Thanks Daniel. I purchased VisualHub for about $23, and it works as described. I copied the files from my Sony DCR-SR100, converted them to DV format, and now I can open them with Quicktime and import them into iMovie for editing.
    There is one major annoyance with this approach. Anytime you want to view the video on your MAC, you have this multi-step process, and it takes a long time to both copy and then convert the files.
    I did some more searching and found a free video player called VLC at http://www.videolan.org that lets you view the video without converting it. The player is similar to Quicktime. It also will convert the video to MPEG-4, but the quality is very poor after it has been converted. (The quality is fine in the MPEG-2 format.)
    So I’m planning to use VLC to view the video on my MAC and use VisualHub to convert any video I want to edit in iMovie.
    I love the camera, but it has been a hassle to figure out how to get this video on the MAC. Thanks again, Daniel for posting a great solution.

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  6. Good information from everyone.
    I just received DCR-SR100 for Christmas, and I am a diehard Mac person (PPC Mac). I made short movie in 16:9 mode. I downloaded VisualHub and converted my DSR-SR100 MPEG-2 file to a MPEG file, and to a DV file. I have not been able to open (import) either file in iMovie. The MPEG file opens and plays great in QuickTime Player. DV file opens in QuickTime Player, but image is distorted (top to bottom compressed).
    Any thoughts/guidance??? Thanks in advance.

    Reply

  7. Robert, I copy the files to my laptop, convert them to MP4 files in VisualHub and they can then be opened in Imovie and the quality is good. Be sure you set the Quality to “Go Nuts” in the VisualHub window.
    Definitely a bit cumbersome but it does work well.

    Reply

  8. Does downloading any of these solutions assume that the camera is already recognized on my MacBook Pro? If it isn’t showing up at all now, how will I be able to select the files and convert them once I get iSquint? Please help! Thanks.

    Reply

  9. I have the same problem as Robert, my 16:9 footage is distorted when imported to iMovie. I have used the Capty MPEG Edit EX software recommended by Sony (very expensive and I only use it for converting to an understandable format for iMovie, for what I can also use iSquint). Any suggestions on how to get to edit my 16:9 footage in iMovie?
    Thanks a lot for the great thread, if I had found it before buying my SR-60 I might have thought of buying a MiniDV taped camcorder instead…

    Reply

  10. Thanks for a very informative thread. Despite having already used VisualHub a couple of times for other projects, I think I have enough information here to put me off forking out for a hard disk camera.
    The main attraction of hard disk over MiniDV for me was that it would speed up the transfer from camera to iMovie, but that’s just not the case! At least I can leave a tape playing for an hour and do something else with my time, but the multi-step process involved with a hard disk camcorder means I would probably waste more time than ever.
    I’m off to purchase a MiniDV camera now. Hell, I might even buy two with the budget I’d put aside for a HDD model!

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  11. Just bought a sony SR1 and a mac pro with Final Cut express… can someone dumb it down for me and let me know what I need to do to make these two things work together? I am comfortable with final cut… but it seems like an issue with getting these two items to talk to each other without a mac based sony software.
    Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!

    Reply

  12. Have a sony DCR-SR100. When i burn a dvd on my Dell PC, i get a 2 second delay at the end of each window i have recorded. Can i connect these windows before i burn dvd?

    Reply

  13. Hello all again:
    I have received a few emails regarding my comment on the Visualhub program. I recommend that (if you are running a Mac) you download the trial version here: http://www.techspansion.com/visualhub/tryit.php
    You can try out the program, and convert files that are no longer than 2 minutes. If you are satisfied, you can register and lift the program limitations. I also use this program to convert avi files – clips from movies and TV shows – in iMovie. I usually convert to MP4 to use in iMovie, not DV, but either should work. I haven’t had any problems with the program, so unfortunately I can’t help those who posted earlier about that.
    Finally — a ‘last word’ about the that elusive ideal of 1-touch problem-free video editing and importing: maybe it’s not perfect, but it’s not that hard either! Visualhub is not the only solution, but it is one that works. If you are interested in a harddrive camera, try out this program or others like it. Don’t get scared off because you are new to this. I am by no means a pro – but I learn one thing at a time! There is no reason to buy a DV camera because you aren’t willing to experiment. Any dealer will give you 30 days to trial a product.
    Sorry for the long comment. There seems to be two types of people writing here – those starting out and a little unsure, and those using the product, and having technical difficulties. This was more for the former.

    Reply

  14. Visual Hub is the way to go, guys. I just spent about four straight hours weighing all the options for easily importing my JVC Evirio clips into iMovie, and although it costs 23 bucks, Visual Hub is the simplest option with the least amount of workaround involved. You just drag your files from the camera into the batch and click to convert to whatever format you choose- in this case DV- and set your location. There are no ridiculous QT plug-ins involved. They have a free trial available. Check it out:
    http://www.techspansion.com/visualhub/tryit.php
    And shame on Sony, JVC, Apple, and all the others for carrying on this silly format war.

    Reply

  15. Hi there, I have recently purchased an SR200 camcorder and I am running an intel Imac. I did the whole steamclip thing on the best quality converting to Mpeg4 and then edited in imovie. I then took it all to IDVD and burned away. My problem is the quality. It’s terrible! All the sound was fine but the video is pixelated and “liney” looking. Is this because I recorded on the SR200 in 16:9 widescreen? Please help. I am desperate and very new to all of this.

    Reply

  16. Almost bought a sony hard disk drive camcorder !! Will stick to mini – DV. Tks for the thread !!

    Reply

  17. “Recognising a mounted USB mass storage device and importing the Mpeg 2 files should be a no brainer, iMovie’s at fault here.”
    If you weren’t a hotshot pc weenie with a hard on for dissing Apple, you might have actually read people’s posts and found that the issue is with Sony and their use of outdated MPEG-2 compression for video when everyone else uses MPEG-4. Fall off your high horse, you arrogant wanker.

    Reply

  18. I’ve been following this thread for sometime looking for a simple elegant solution for using my Sony DCR-SR100 with a mac.
    iLife’ 08 was released this week and it appears that it finally natively supports hard disk camcorders including the Sony DCR-SR100.
    I tried some of the solutions posted here previously but none of them worked really well or as elegantly as the formats supported natively by previous versions of iMovie. (or as streamlined as the tmpgenc series for the PC for example)
    Has anyone used iLife 08 with the sony DCR-SR100? I’d appreciate some real user feedback/comments/ experiences.
    Also to previous posters, it’s helpful to keep the thread useful by making constructive comments.
    Mean or insulting posts do not contribute to finding a good solution for using the DCR-SR100 with a mac.
    Example: A user posted about his experience with a PC and suggested that iMovie is at fault.
    As things turned out iMovie was at fault. Because they eventually announced support for this camcorder. They were just too cheap to release a patch for previous versions of the iLife suite. This is a practice that Apple has been enforcing more often. They are essentially making us spend more $$ to get the new version. (need examples? wireless n upgrade on brand new macbooks?) Support for widely used hardware should not require an upgrade but an update. Supporting new hardware is not a new feature. A new video library, skimming and playing, superfast moviemaking, add polish quickly (taken from iMovie08 website) may be new features that justify a new software upgrade. Supporting hard drive camcorders should not.
    Comments like “Fall off your high horse, you arrogant wanker.” do not contribute to the discussion of the topic of this thread.
    Off topic:
    Small rant about Apple. They may have a minority of the market share, but as recent statistics suggest this trend is definitely changing and I don’t think Apple needs public defenders. Apple is just another major corporation and in my opinion should be held to the same scrutiny as Microsoft.
    Sorry for getting off topic but had to get that off my chest…

    Reply

  19. I just purchased iLife ’08 (primarily for iPhoto’s new features) but also in the hopes that it would save a few steps for converting the original files from my DCR-SR80. Unfortunately the files sitting in my /Users/…/Movies/Originals folder are still grayed out when I try to select them.
    Owners of the DCR-SR82 or DCR-SR100 may have more luck than me as this Apple Support Page specifically says that iLife ’08 supports those models:
    http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=306171

    Reply

  20. i have the DCR-SR300, which i purchased in May of this year, and haven’t been able to get sound either.
    i am quite new to computers and have been overwhelmed by the whole process of figuring this out. i spent the last half hour reading this thread and although somewhat relieved to see i’m not alone, am still overwhelmed. i will purchase the new ilife in a heartbeat if it is the easiest way for me. Please let me know if anyone can help. Thanks.

    Reply

  21. I went to a Sony Style store yesterday to see how iMovie ’08 actually performs with hard-drive based camcorders. After convincing the staff there that I was legitimate, and agreeing that I would delete any footage of the store that I shot with their camera (wtf?), I captured a few minutes of video using a HDR-SR5 model.
    It took a bit for them to find a dock to plug the camera into (apparently putting a USB port on the camera itself is too much work, which means you need to cart the dock around wherever you go if you want to offload your video to a computer; again, wtf?). But once it was connected to my MacBook Pro, I put the camera into its Computer mode, launched iMovie ’08, and the clips showed up in the Import window as advertised.
    The HDR-SR5 stores video in the AVCHD format, and iMovie just imported it to a new “event” in the library. I located the files on disk and saw that iMovie also transcoded the clips into AIC (Apple Intermediate Codec) for editing, just as iMovie does with HDV footage.
    So, iMovie ’08 does finally support importing footage from these HDD and DVD cameras. Now, whether you want to edit it in iMovie ’08 is another story; it really is a different program than what we’re used to. But I suspect (and forgot to test before I left the store) that you could take those AIC-formatted .mov files and import them into iMovie HD 6 if you wanted.

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  22. Sony SR-100 and Mac

    Well, I’ve been using the hard disk based Sony SR-100 for a while now but never with the Mac. iMovie bundled on the Mac understands DV and also the high definition DV format called cleverly HDV out of the box. Just plug your camcorder in with firewire …

    Reply

  23. Pixela (who wrote the Windows software that Sony included with the camcorder) also has software for OS X. Cost is $99, but it’s smooth as silk to convert the MPEG2 files to DV files, which can then be played via QuickTime (without needing any add-ons) and imported to iMovie. Pixela’s software is called Capty MPEG Edit.

    Reply

  24. HEy All,
    I need help!! I bought a JVC Evrio (3CCD!) And… to my dissapointment isn’t comatible with my MAC. Anyone seen the Canopus device( ADVC55) with it all hooked up in action??

    Reply

  25. I have recently purchased the Sony Hard Disk Drive Camcorder with 40 g of space on it. With my Vaio laptop and Adobe Prem Pro 2.0 it will import however an error message comes up saying that it has not worked and the footage needs to be rendered in the timeline where as Mini dv footage does not. On my friends computer she is running adobe prem pro 1.5 and the footage cannot be imported into the clip at all. Aside from the obvious lunacy of Sony bringing out a camcorder which is not compatable with the rest of the world what can be done to import into the Adobe editing suite. Surly it is just an AVI file which should be easily imported and edited. Thanks in advance to any techie who can help me. Paul

    Reply

  26. Is a solution to use the DCR-SR100 with a Mac?
    thanks

    Reply

  27. I’ve just bought the Sony DCR-SR72 camcorder with 60Gig hard drive. I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t work with a Mac after reading various comments here and elsewhere but it is working just fine with iMovie v7 and the A52Codec mentioned above. It is not recognised in my Final Cut Express so I have to import the movies through iMovie and import from the iMovie Events folder. I also got the supplied Sony software running under Parallels, but it really is rubbish.

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  28. any new news since september? how is ilife 08 handling the conversions?

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  29. How do i download my videos from my sony hdr-sr5 to my macbook?

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  30. Rob, you’ll need iMovie ’08 (ie, iMovie 7.1) to import the footage directly (iMovie transcodes the AVCHD format to AIC for editing). Or, copy the media files to your hard drive and use Voltaic (see my recent post about it) to do the conversion before importing into iMovie HD 6.

    Reply

  31. Sony DCR SR 100 is not compatable with Leopard (OS X 10.5). This is what I was told by mac support as well as the Sony support. If anyone has a solution for me I would appreciate it.
    I have iLife 08, but it does not recognize any .mpg files as being video files, and neither does quicktime in the new Leopard.

    Reply

  32. Mac OS X: use MPEG streamclip and/or VLC (both are free).
    to play in imovie (i’ve adapted this bit from here: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=174623) -thank you to the original poster.
    it’s a method to enable you to preserve 16:9 aspect ratio and 5.1 sound in iMovie.
    this may not be the best way to do this, so hopefully someone can comment?
    open the MPEG-2 file in Streamclip and Demux the audio track to AC3.
    then export the same file to MPEG-4 format.
    Download the A52 codec to allow QT to handle AC3 audio decoding.
    (http://trac.cod3r.com/a52codec)
    Open the AC3 file in QTPro and under edit, select all and copy, then open the mpeg2 file and under edit, add to selection and scale. Then goto Window
    and Show Movie Properties. Click on the Video Track and goto the visual settings tab, uncheck Preserve Aspect Ratio and change the scaled size to 853×480. Check Deinterlace and High Quality. delete the AAC audio track.
    Save (as .mov file) and then import into iMovie.
    That will give you 16:9 and 5.1 in iMovie HD 6, and the video only gets converted twice, once into DV in iMovie HD 6, and again in iDVD 6 back out to mpeg2.
    lastly, there’s no need to pay for the QT MPEG-2 codec, nor for the upgrade to QT Pro. i can tell you how to do it for free; PM me if you want to know.
    i posted it here but it was not accepted.
    bubastis_72@hotmail.com

    Reply

  33. Hey all,
    Just came across this post via a random Google search. As the owner of a Sony DCR-SR300, I just wanted to tell anybody who may still be reading that iMovie ’08 natively talks with these Sony HDD camcorders! Hooray!
    So far it’s been working great for me on my Macbook Pro.
    See this article for details: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=306171

    Reply

  34. jasmine shepherd April 19, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    We also have the Sony DCR-SR300 and the new iMovie 08 however when we download we are finding the quality is poor. Is there something we are not doing that we should be?, any advice would be appreciated. Spent a fortune on this camera and feel really disappointed at all the trouble we have had trying to download to our Macbook pro.

    Reply

  35. Hello
    I am hoping that someone can assist me! I have been struggling with this for 7 months now!
    I specifically asked both Mac and Sony if the SR5 Sony HD cam is capatable with the macbook and they both assured me it was. I can not get to view the footage from my cam on the macbook!! Therefore, Im unable to edit and utilise imovie08. I have tried everything but only just read Mark’s comment, talking about a dock. What kind of dock? Each person I speak to simply say ‘I dont know’. Any advice I get I will try… please help!???
    I will be forever grateful!
    Kind regards Jo

    Reply

  36. Sorry I forgot to mention to email me if you have any info that may assist at: josephine.ciuffetelli@gmail.com
    Cheers
    Jo

    Reply

  37. Jo, how exactly are you trying to view the footage on the MacBook? Do you mean you can’t transfer video to your computer’s hard disk? You can’t get iMovie ’08 to import the footage?
    You should be able to connect the camcorder to the Mac via USB. (The dock/cradle that you mention should have come with the camera; it’s the USB 2.0 port, if I’m reading the camera’s specifications correctly on the Web.) Then, in iMovie 08, open the Import window to view the clips on the camera’s hard drive and import them.
    Jeff

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  38. I have an Intel-based MacBook (OS X Leopard 10.5.4) and a Sony DCR-SR100 and had the same problems – not only did the camera not show up when I plugged it in, but once I figured out how to open up files in the camera’s hard drive, QuickTime didn’t recognize them as movies. Here’s what I did (to get my movies from my camera to iMovie), and it worked:
    1) Download iSquint from Apple’s website (you can do a search for it) – it’s free and does everything you need (I didn’t download/buy any Quicktime updates, the MPEG StreamClip, etc.)
    2) Plug the SR100 USB cable into your Mac and turn it on (open the LCD screen)
    3) The LCD screen should go blue – (with your finger) select ‘HDD’ … this will make the camera hard disk show up in your finder window. Open it, and then open the ‘MP Root folder’ – you will find all of your movie files there
    4) (Open iSquint, or leave it open after you download it.) In iSquint, select ‘Go Nuts’ for the quality level and ‘Optimize for TV’ – unless you want the video for your iPod.
    5) Drag a movie file from your SR100 hard drive (in the finder window) over to iSquint. Click ‘Change…’ to select where to save the converted file, and then click ‘Start’ to convert files. Once files are converted, they will be where you specified (I recommend saving new files in ‘Movies’ folder)
    6) Open iMovie. Drag converted file (will look like a QuickTime icon) into iMovie.
    Voila!
    All of my sound was there (I didn’t mess with the sound – I believe it was the Dolby 5.1, I didn’t change it to stereo) and the picture looks excellent. Hope this helps.

    Reply

  39. Oh, and just an FYI, I got my MacBook in December of 2006, so I have the older version of iMovie (not the iLife ’08 version) – I just updated to the Leopard OS.

    Reply

  40. iSquint worked fine. Thanks for the hint!

    Reply

  41. Has been anybody able to fix the comtability of the DCR-100 with Mac’s
    Thanks

    Reply

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