A lot of people have asked me if I use the HDR-TG1 with my mac. My answer is simply: YES.
The HDR-TG1 records HD video in the AVCHD compressed format. It is a highly compressed format, so one problem is that it produces a ‘“grainy” result when using the camera in low-light.
You need an Intel-based Mac because only a Mac with an Intel processer that use Leopard supports AVCHD.
To transfer and edit the video files, Sony offers with the camcorder a software: Picture Motion Browser Software; however, the sofware does not work with Mac OS X (Only on PC).
Don’t Worry though because Apple provides two great simple and easy applications with Mac OS X: iMovie’08 and iPhoto’08.
i iPhoto'08 will upload the pictures form the HDR-TG1 to your library exactly like it does with any other camera.
iMovie'08 will transfer the video and give you the tools needed for editing. The application converts the AVCHD format for editing in Quicktime format because Apple does not read AVCHD format.
iPhoto’08 and iMovie’08 come with every new Mac or you can purchase it as part of iLife’08.
You can also get Final Cut Express 4, which lets you mix AVHCD, HDV and SD video on the same timeline and save in whatever format you want. FCE4, a light version of Final Cut Pro is a good compromise for $199.
The camcorder comes with a small station. Placing the camcorder on the station provides a quick connection to the computer (Mac or PC) for editing or sharing video while the battery charges at the same time.
When you are “on the road”, there is no need to take the stand with you. Sony provides a USB cable (picture above) to connect the camcorder directly to your computer.
This allows you to transfer the movie directly from the camera to you computer without the camera being plugged into a AC power outlet. You can also transfer movies or pictures to your Mac using a memory stick reader.
Take note, the camcorder battery will not charge when pluged into the computer via the USB cable. To avoid not having enough battery when I travel, I take the travel-kit charger with a second battery.
Travel Kit: Charger+Batterie
When you connect the camcorder to your Mac, it acts like other USB devices.
iMovie’08 reconizes the file layouts, reads it, and converts it to Apple Intermediate Codec at 1920x1080.
When the HDR-TG1 is plug into your Mac the icon of the camcorder will appear on the desktop.
This allows you to have access to the root-directory of the card so you can copy it and keep it in the original compressed Sony format.
iMovie’08 offers the option to import movies at a slightly lower resolution (960x540) which takes up less space with very little drop in film quality. I have been making home videos and am very satisfyed by the result. The quality difference between the lower resolution and full HD isn't that big of a deal.
Above is some screen shots of the transfer process with iMovie’08.
When the camcorder is plugged into the computer you need to launch iMovie. Then the connection is automatic and a window pops-up showing the different movie sequences you shoot.
You can unchecked all the sequence and then check the ones you want to transfer. In this exemple, I only wanted to trasfer one sequence.
After clicking on “Import Checked” a new window will ask if you want to create a new event or add it to an existing one. You will also need to choose, which format you want to transfer the video in - Large (960x540) or Full (1920x1080). On my iMac I choose Full, on my MacBook Air I select Large to avoid quality loss during the transfer.
The transfer starts. (I find it a little long).
When the sequence is imported, iMovie generates Thumbnails.
Done. It is as simple as that!
You can now edit your video or upload it onto YouTube or MobileMe or export the file using Quick Time or to FCE4 for whatever divice or format you need it in.
It is really easy to transfer from the HDR-TG1. It is no different than with another camera for pictures or with a camcorder for video. iPhoto does not allow you to erase the pictures after transfering them to your computer. This is not a big problem, the HDR-TG1 has an “erase all” function that does it in two seconds.
I do not use Final Cut Express 4, but I will buy it soon. The research I have done so far shows that the transfer will work exactly like with iMovie. Final Cut Express 4 will import the “iMovie Events-Projects-Sharing” you already have already edited in iMovie’08.
I cannot wait to have Final Cut Express 4 and improve the quality of my video editing.
What application do you use to edit your movies? What Mac do you use?
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