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Old March 10th, 2008, 01:46 AM   #1
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HDR-SR11/SR12 with Mac (FCS2 and iMovie'08)

Is it possible to successfully use the new SR-11 with a mac? My father is in the market to buy a camera within the next couple days, and we are trying to decide if it makes the most sense to buy the SR-11 or to go with our initial choice, the HV30.

Import, editing and export will all be done exclusively on macs, I myself will be using(aka learning) Final Cut Studio 2, and my folks will most likely be utilizing iMovie '08.

My dad was at bestbuy looking at cameras, and the young kid helping him out told him that Sony cameras will absolutely not work with a mac, and he would only be able to use Canon, JVC, and a couple Panasonic models. The catch was, while they had the HV30 there and in stock, he told him not to buy it because HDV would be dead by next year.

Personally I disagree with a statement like that, because plenty of people are still going to use HDV, its like when we all switched to digital cameras, it didn't kill off film one bit.

So I guess the million dollar question for me right now is: Will the SR11/12 cameras work with FCS and iMovie? And which would make more sense to buy, the HV30 or the SR11?

Thanks so much!

- Abram
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Old March 10th, 2008, 03:29 AM   #2
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There were rumours that you couldn't use the CX7 with Mac, but I've seen people saying they have it working. SO I'm going to say it may be possible.

Based on what I know of the AVCHD file system there are some potential issues with a 2GB file size (larger clips are split at that point, and must be "stitched" back together). This is where I would expect you might hit a snag w/ mac, as the Sony Picture Motion Browser software is I believe PC only - anyone with Mac that can confirm that? If you have access to a PC to transfer files, I don't see any issues with editing on a Mac.

Smaller clips should be drag and drop IF the computer can see the camera. There's a command line workaround that may work to join the clips, but not sure if there is a mac equivalent and haven't actually tested it with files from the CX7 - will have to try it sometime out of curiousity!

Not saying it's not possible, just saying it may take some research and creativity. Reports so far on the SR11 indicate it might be worth the effort.

I doubt tape will be "dead" next year, no matter how eager your blue shirted sales dude was...

While the HC9 is an "updated" HC7, it's got more under the hood than I expected with some good improvements in low light. I presume the HV30 is also a decent step up from the HV20. Sure AVCHD is where all the "excitement" is, but tape still has a place, The HC9 looks like it's selling well, and I'm sure the HV30 will be a mover - as long as there's a market, tape will be around.


You metioned in another thread "dual mode" recording - I believe you can assign stills and video to HDD or MS Duo, not sure you can assign to BOTH simultaneously - doesn't appear so from the manual, it's one or the other. Again from the manual it appears you can dub from the HDD to the MS Duo.

The SR11/12 has really just hit the street, so it's pretty early to know technical details with great certainty, but hopefully this will help you know what questions to ask. I suspect the SR11/12 is worth figuring out the answers before making the final decision.

Will BB give you return privleges? Get the SR and try it with your Mac?
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Old March 10th, 2008, 11:05 AM   #3
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I'll have to ask and try it out, but I can tell you one thing for sure. If it's going to be complicated my dad is not going to want it. He doesn't like complicated devices or setups, I know this for sure, I myself don't mind messing with settings and tweaking things here and there to get the results I want, it comes naturally from being a photographer.

I would love to hear from anyone using the SR11 with a mac to hear how it has been going for you.

ps- about my question with dual mode recording, I wasn't meaning it to be simultaneous recording, but merely having the option to record to memory sticks once the HDD is full and I've not had the chance to download the footage yet. I'm assuming that will work?
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Old March 10th, 2008, 01:08 PM   #4
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The SR11 will record to the HDD OR the memory Stick and has the ability to transfer from the HDD to memory Stick video or stills.. Setup operation are the menu for media.

Ron Evans
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Old March 10th, 2008, 04:41 PM   #5
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Hi Abram -
ALL technology is complicated... It's not complicated once you've got it working <wink>. I see someone using a Mac with the Canon AVCHD (HF10) cam - I don't think theres' going to be a problem with files under 2g in size (approx 15-17 minutes in highest quality, not an issue for 90%+ of the average shooting situation). If the Mac can "see" the cam, just drag the .MTS files, not a big deal.

Try conneccting the USB - if the cam is visible and you can see the files, you're good to go unless you NEED long clips, in which case you may have to find a way to stitch them together on a Mac (PMB software does it on the PC).

Other than event shooting, I'll venture to say 99.9% of users won't ever run over the 2G limit... it's just that the issue has come up here and elsewhere, so best to give you full information if possible.

I'll go out on a limb and surmise that mac has an equivalent command prompt method to stitch the files together correctly (which apparently is needed with Canon - the included software reportedly glitches the seam).

Losing tape is up to you - I've still got a pile of tapes, so have to have an HDV cam around, and the HC9 was a pleasant suprise, it's a very good cam with pretty good manual control. I'll still grab the CX7 most times though...
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Old March 10th, 2008, 06:24 PM   #6
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Hi there,
Quick question - - can you corroborate the fact that the SR12 has a mic input? One of the biggies for me is that I want to plug an external mic into one of these little cameras... and many of them no longer have the mic input to allow for this.
I'm posting this question on this Mac-related thread, because I use a Mac... That's my next big question: compatibility.
Cheers,
Malcolm
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Old March 10th, 2008, 07:50 PM   #7
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Malcolm, yes it does, both a mike input and headphone output on the SR12.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 08:49 AM   #8
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Thank you Ken... I'll now check into questions of compatibility. This little camera records onto an internal hard drive and a flash card, is that right? Would the file type be exactly the same on each? (both AVCHD, I guess, but are they identical file types?). I ask because I'm going to end up importing into Avid Xpress Pro (on a Mac), and I'd love to know what hoops I'm going to have to go through to do this, and what the end product will look like.
My big camera is going to be a Sony (EX1), and I've been having to wait quite a while for Sony and Avid work together (on a PC, it's fine, but not so on a Mac; updates are finally supposed to happen next month)... I don't want to get caught with a second camera that causes problems, if I can help it.
A fellow at the camera store is urging me to get a Canon HV-20 as my second camera, but I really want to dispense with tape! He says that AVCHD doesn't compare in quality, and he's especially harsh on the hard-drive models...
The fact that the SR12 also records onto flash cards might help, though.
Any thoughts on this?
Thanks,
Malcolm
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Old March 11th, 2008, 09:56 AM   #9
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Malcolm, I think there's still a lot of AVCHD negative bias out there...I was guilty of the same until just recently. But people really need to compare the picture quality of the latest AVCHD cams and come to their own conclusion. Things have changed dramatically and to say that AVCHD in the newest cams 'doesn't compare in quality' to HDV, is just plain wrong as far as I'm concerned. It was true in the past, but not today.

Since I own an HV20, it's easy for me to compare the two and the Sony does a fabulous job in this comparison. Color quality is a somewhat subjective thing and the Sony tends to be a bit warmer and the Canon a bit cooler. Noise is extremely low on the Sony and IMO, lower than the HV20. Sharpness and resolution appear to be very close to my eyes. In some scenes it seems the Sony is a bit sharper and in others the Canon. But they are really close and some of the observable differences may be partially the result of exposure.

Comparing the two, the Sony presents a different picture...almost a bit 'tighter' and a bit more professional looking to my eyes...kind of a more 'relaxed' picture if that makes any sense. The Canon, although still an incredible picture, is unquestionably brighter. So it may come down to individual preference.

But one thing is for sure IMO, nobody can any longer dismiss the AVCHD cams as 'inferior'.

To answer your question on files, yes, they are indentical whether recording to the hard drive or to the memory media.

Last edited by Ken Ross; March 11th, 2008 at 02:27 PM.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 02:22 PM   #10
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Don't Use Sony Consumer With A Mac!

Sorry to yell, just trust me on this. Do NOT buy any consumer product from Sony and expect it to work well on a mac. I am ripping my hair out trying to work with a client's HDR-SR7 and it is nothing short of a nightmare. Just get an HDV camera that records to tape. I know it's old school, but it works great and you'll always have the backup. This AVCHD format is NOT reliable enough to work well with a mac.

Canon HV30 all the way. I have the HV20. Never had a single problem with it.

david.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 02:28 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ken Ross View Post

But one thing is for sure IMO, nobody can any longer dismiss the AVCHD cams as 'inferior'.
HI, it's inferior. In a huge way. It's biggest problem is how it works with macs - i have no opinion about anything to do with these cameras and windows. You need an exact and precise directory structure for it to even 'see' the camera. The native file format it records to - ".mts" is totally useless on a mac and must be transcoded. The ONLY way to transcode them quickly is through FCP or iMovie, and that's only if these programs 'see' the camera (I am dealing with a client's HDR-SR7 right now, and it would NOT recognize the camera, even though it should have. I had to re-format the drive to get it to work). Now I'm stuck with hours of .mts files that i can NOT natively work with on a mac. The ONLY option is to use a program called Voltaic and that takes about 12X the original time of the clip. So, an hour worth of video takes 12 hours to transcode.

Who needs all this hassle?

AVCHD for mac is like just asking for an ulcer.

HDV, although it too has some issues, works extremely well and imports beautifully with Apple's HDV-ProRes 422 option. I work with it on a JVS HD100 camera and the Canon HV20 as well. It's awesome.

david.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 02:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by David Fernandes View Post
Sorry to yell, just trust me on this. Do NOT buy any consumer product from Sony and expect it to work well on a mac. I am ripping my hair out trying to work with a client's HDR-SR7 and it is nothing short of a nightmare. Just get an HDV camera that records to tape. I know it's old school, but it works great and you'll always have the backup. This AVCHD format is NOT reliable enough to work well with a mac.

Canon HV30 all the way. I have the HV20. Never had a single problem with it.

david.
No problem on a PC with the Sony Dave. Works fine in the PC environment and it's a superb camera. But the HV20 is also a great cam and I'm sure the HV30 is too.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 02:34 PM   #13
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HI, it's inferior. In a huge way. It's biggest problem is how it works with macs - i have no opinion about anything to do with these cameras and windows. You need an exact and precise directory structure for it to even 'see' the camera. The native file format it records to - ".mts" is totally useless on a mac and must be transcoded. The ONLY way to transcode them quickly is through FCP or iMovie, and that's only if these programs 'see' the camera (I am dealing with a client's HDR-SR7 right now, and it would NOT recognize the camera, even though it should have. I had to re-format the drive to get it to work). Now I'm stuck with hours of .mts files that i can NOT natively work with on a mac. The ONLY option is to use a program called Voltaic and that takes about 12X the original time of the clip. So, an hour worth of video takes 12 hours to transcode.

Who needs all this hassle?

AVCHD for mac is like just asking for an ulcer.

HDV, although it too has some issues, works extremely well and imports beautifully with Apple's HDV-ProRes 422 option. I work with it on a JVS HD100 camera and the Canon HV20 as well. It's awesome.

david.
Well then it appears the MAC needs to address its own shortcomings in not dealing with the newest technology. If the PC can, I'm sure with a little work Apple can address this. This technology, whether you like it or not Dave, WILL replace tape. It's happening in the professional world too. Based on what I'm seeing with the SR12 (and I'm sure the Canon HF10), I welcome this technology with open arms. Instant access, quick file downloads...nice stuff and a great picture.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 02:39 PM   #14
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Well then it appears the MAC needs to address its own shortcomings in not dealing with the newest technology. .
Hey friend, it's not up to Apple to make Sony's video cameras work with it. In fact, Apple already did add support. Sony does not make Mac compatible consumer products. Their pro-level video stuff is superb - i have nothing against sony or windows for that matter. I'm just saying, this post is about using AVCHD on a MAC, and the verdict is loud and clear for me: do not bother.
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Old March 11th, 2008, 02:47 PM   #15
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This technology, whether you like it or not Dave, WILL replace tape. It's happening in the professional world too.
Oh I agree, I'm not arguing we should all be using tape, I'm saying that AVCHD is a terrible format for working on a mac. That's all.

Didn't mean to offend you or your choice - as you say, it's a great camera for windows users. But this thread is about AVCHD and Mac.

Anyway HDV works great on a mac, and therefore, is the better format (even though it's tape-based). I have no opinion about any other HDD recording camera or format - my only experience is with Sony and AVCHD and it's just terrible.
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