HDD camcorder question

in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Several makers have HDD camcorders out now but, most if not all, leave Mac OS X unrecommended. Here at Apple Japan's Store, no one knows why. I am looking forward to video recording stuff without the annoying tape/disc media...someday soon. Does anyone know why Sony and Victor support OS X for most other models, but specify only Windows for their HDD camcorders? \


  • Reply 1 of 5
    lundylundy Posts: 4,466member
    Does it have to do with some cheap "movie making" software they bundle?

    Sony has not been known to make very rational decisions in the compatibility area.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    wmfwmf Posts: 1,164member
    The problem is that these camcorders record in funky formats that iMovie and Final Cut cannot handle.
  • Reply 3 of 5
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,665member
    You might want to wait. The JVC cameras use an oddball file type (.MOD), while the newer Sonys use MPEG2. Well, actually .MOD is MPGE2 as well, but anyway....

    You can get MPEG2 files to play in iMovie and FCP but it requires buying the Apple MPEG-2 component and then using a file conversion utility like MPEG Streamclip. The conversion takes a while.

    The problem here is that MPEG2 uses a type of compression that generates only a relatively few actual "frames" of complete video, with the balance being partial frames that are "filled in" by the codecs predictive algorithm.

    That's fine for distribution formats like DVD, since the heavy lifting can be done during the relatively leisurely encoding process, but not so great for editing, which requires access to complete frames, out of sequence and on the fly.

    So Apple's MPEG2 component for Quicktime lets you do a linear play back of the files, feeding into a conversion program like MPEG Streamclip which turns those files into something an editing program can deal with, like the DV format. By contrast, DV video is full frame only, which makes it much easier to handle all down the line. And that doesn't even get into sound, which is "muxed" (multiplexed or commingled on one data stream), which engenders another set of problems for an editing program.

    Combine all that with the fact that the Sony camera doesn't have a firewire port, just USB 2, and the promise of rapid HDD to HDD transfer of video is completely negated.

    Tapeless camcorders are probably the future but right now the codecs they use are getting in the way of being a great solution.

    By the way, none of this is particularly a Mac problem, it's true for PCs as well. It's just that the camera makers have there own little PC conversion programs that the camera comes with. You still have the import and conversion issue and the USB2 limitations.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    Depending on how badly you want to record to hard-drive there are other options for recording full DV to hard drive. This is probably not a smart option for the typical consumer, but you could get an external hard drive that will record right from the camera.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    JVC and Sony use the DV signalling system over Firewire for their DV camcorders, and there's an industry standard for that. It doesn't require transcoders or drivers or anything like that, the OS and most editors handle it.

    I don't think there's a unified, non-proprietary industry standardized file-based camcorder video format except for AVCHD, and I'm not sure if any editors support that. It all has to be transcoded for editing, and I think that partly defeats the point due to the transcode time.

    The best I can say is maybe use a Firestore, which is expensive, or wait and see what tools come out for using AVCHD on a Mac.
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