Using Sony mini-DVD camcorder with mac?
January 17, 2006 3:17 PM   Subscribe

How can I use my Sony mini-DVD camcorder with my mac (and iMovie or Final Cut)?

I have a sharp-looking Sony DVD-101 that appears to make great movies, but I switched over to mac a long time ago specifically so that I could use the mac movie-editing software, and my camcorder does not appear to be compatible at all: There is no mac software with the camcorder, the camcorder does not have a firewire port, and the USB 2.0 connection is not recognized by iMovie.

On the web, people have described the situation as hopeless. Does anyone on MeFi know a fix or a workaround, so that I do not have to keep buying these expensive Sony mini-DVDs?
posted by esquire to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Can't you just put the mini-DVD in your Mac's disc drive and copy your videos from there?

Does anyone on MeFi know a fix or a workaround, so that I do not have to keep buying these expensive Sony mini-DVDs?

How do you propose to stop buying mini-DVD's? Do you plan to keep the camera plugged into your computer all the time and record directly to your hard drive?
posted by designbot at 3:26 PM on January 17, 2006

I have a Pinnacle Movie Box that accepts any video in (S-video, RCA, fire, or plain RCA audio) and sends it via firewire to my Mac. You could run your camera (Cable/PS2/LP) through there.
posted by unixrat at 3:31 PM on January 17, 2006

Response by poster: Cannot put mini-DVDs into the mac's disc drive because the Sony format (VRO files) are not compatible with any mac software, and so far as my research has shown, there is no program that will convert Sony VRO files (as opposed to Hitachi VRO files) into a mac-usable format.

As for your second question, if I could download and edit footage on my mac, I would not need to keep the footage on the mini-DVDs, and could instead erase and reuse them.
posted by esquire at 3:39 PM on January 17, 2006

Best answer: There are numerous suggestions here.

It's doable, but basically, your camcorder sucks for doing any kind of post-production. It's already compressing the video in a lossy MPEG-2 format. You're going to have to transcode that into an editable format, work on it in iMovie, and then re-compress it again to burn a new DVD, losing picture quality at every step of the process.

The Pinnacle Movie Box would be even worse, because you'd introduce an analog-to-digital conversion into the process.

If you're planning to do this much at all, you'll get much better results by selling your camera and picking up a Mini-DV unit. It basically defeats the purpose of recording to DVD if you're going to edit it & burn it to another DVD anyway.
posted by designbot at 3:44 PM on January 17, 2006

Have you tried MPEG Streamclip for converting the VRO files?
posted by designbot at 3:48 PM on January 17, 2006

What designbot said; a quick review of eBay shows these cameras selling for around $235. I recommend getting rid of this gimmicky camera and picking up a miniDV camera. is good for miniDV reviews.
posted by jtron at 4:53 PM on January 17, 2006

I'm afraid designbot is right about the quality of your video. For what it's worth, VideoReDo is the best non-destructive (ie you won't lose any quality) MPEG2 editor out there. But you can only do very simple edits on MPEG2 files without losing quality.

If you need help getting the MPEG2 files off the DVD, try Mactheripper.
posted by ascullion at 9:55 PM on January 17, 2006

OBviously Mactheripper is not guaranteed to work on the Sony files.. but it's free, so worth a shot.
posted by ascullion at 9:56 PM on January 17, 2006

MPEG Streamclip...(as mentioned above)
and I found this:Great Video

Both handle .VRO files (not sure about the sony version.)

I'm a bit unclear - you have a $1k editing software and you don't want a decent (DV) camera?
posted by filmgeek at 5:14 AM on January 18, 2006

P.S. Make sure you rip to DV so you can actually edit.
posted by filmgeek at 5:14 AM on January 18, 2006

Response by poster: Complicated, filmgeek. The Final Cut (express) came bundled, and the camcorder was a gift from my better half. Thanks for your advice and suggestions, all.
posted by esquire at 6:30 AM on January 18, 2006

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