Importing Video from Sony Handycam Camcorder

Importing video from camcorder seems easy, but sometimes it can be quite trouble.

My brother shot some videos with Sony DCR-HC32 MiniDV Handycam Camcorder. He imports the video through USB cable to his notebook, but the video quality is very bad. The video is fine if viewed from camcorder itself and TV (connected via video input).

This is weird. We tried different video editing softwares but still getting the same bad quality. :(

Beside USB, the Sony Handycam Camcorder also supports video export via i.LINK (also known as Firewire, or IEEE1394). However, Sony does not include firewire cable in the package. It is an optional item, which you have to buy it by yourselves.

Import video by using i.LINK ( IEEE1394 / Firewire) port

Since import via USB gets bad quality video, we decided to import from i.LINK port, which is better than USB in video data transferring. We connected the Sony Handycam Camcorder with notebook by a i.LINK cable, but Microsoft Windows XP did not detect the videocam!

It was the time when Google search is useful.

I found a forum thread about camcorder can’t be detected problem. The solution is very simple — “Make sure you use the camcorder power supply, not just the camcorder battery“. Hey, it works!

Finally, my brother can import video from camcorder in its original quality. :)

My two cents

I still don’t understand why import video from USB port will affect the video quality. Also, why don’t Sony include a Firewire cable with the package?

By the way, camcorder is getting much affordable now. With about RM2000 plus, you can get a branded camcorder. Maybe I should skip digital camera and get camcorder instead? :roll:

Bonus: What is FireWire?

FireWire (also known as i.Link or IEEE 1394) is a personal computer (and digital audio/video) serial bus interface standard, offering high-speed communications and isochronous real-time data services. FireWire has replaced SCSI in many applications due to lower implementation costs and a simplified and more adaptable cabling system.

Almost all modern digital camcorders have included this connection since 1995. Many computers intended for home or professional audio/video use have built-in FireWire ports including all Macintosh and Sony computers currently produced. FireWire was also an attractive feature on the Apple iPod for several years, permitting new tracks to be uploaded in a few seconds and also for the battery to be recharged concurrently with one cable.

[ Read FireWire by Wikipedia ]

camcorder, dcr-hc32, handycam, minidv, sony, videocam

Share this:

70 thoughts on “Importing Video from Sony Handycam Camcorder”

  1. Whether to get a digital camera or camcorder, is depending on your prefered dominant usage. If you will be a seasonal video shooter, then stick to a camcorder, digital camera simply can’t deliver fine video at satisfying production quality.

    On the other hand, if you will be using the device more for capturing pictures than taking videos, then you must get a digital camera. The resolution and features delivered by camcorder is not satisfying to give you high quality pictures as well.

    Wonder if there was something that can perform both functions at its best hahah. Even if there was, I guess the price tag would not be ‘attractive’ to casual consumers hehe

  2. I’ve got a Sony camcorder as well and I read the manual before about using USB and Firewire to transfer the video to computer.
    If use USB, the sound will be mono and Firewire, it will be Stereo(better sound).
    As for quality, I used both before and it’s the same.
    I agree with ll, maybe using USB 1.1 will decrease the quality?

  3. I’ve got the same videocam as your brother’s. I think it should come with a docking station that is connected to both the power supply and the USB. I transferred the video without losing quality. I’m using Windows Movie Maker to do that by the way.

    Sony didn’t even provide sufficient software to import videos, resulting in me utilizing the window’s one. I wrote e-mails to Sony Malaysia and end up, they asked me to get the software on my own, at my own expense, from their partner company. It’s sad when you’re paying 2k+ for something that isn’t even complete.

    Well, it’s totally up to your preference whether you’re to get a digicam or a camcorder. Cause you know camcorder can’t capture photos as well as digicam does. In fact, I don’t bring that bulky camcorder everywhere I go, but my digicam is always with me.

  4. From my exp, the camcorder avoid to shutdown by itself because of low battery power in video transfer (time-consuming to download video into pc/laptop), thats why it was not work in battery mode.

    FireWire got the better architecture design of “bandwidth” for data transfer (speeding and conserving quality) while USB cutting down the quality (frame-rate) of video resolution/audio.

    Firewire VS USB

  5. I have a question. How do i import video from my handycam to my Windows Movie Maker? I’ve tried everything and nothing’s working. USB cord, nothing. How could I do this?

  6. Well, I hooked up my USB cord and attempted to download it through Window’s Movie Maker import. It didn’t work. I then put it onto the computer via the ImageMixer Ver.1.5. it worked, but it wouldn’t work in Windows Movie Maker. I’m now pretty well lost.

  7. Chris, you have to put the camcorder in VCR mode and in USB streaming mode. Then play the video and start capturing in windows movie maker.

  8. Hi! I have a TR-45E Sony Handy Cam. Recently I sent it to Sony Malaysia for repair and was told that they are unable to service it due to unavailable of part. Anyone can help me by letting me know if there is any other repair cantre beside Sony themselves. I know it is a damn old unit, but I needed it to transfer my tape to a CD. I have too many tapes for someone to do the transfering and would be too costly.

  9. I have a Sony Hi8 CCD-TRV25 Handycam Camcorder. What do I need to be able to transfer my videos to the computer for editing and writing to DVDs? Any advice and tech would be appreciated. I have never put video from a camcorder on a computer before. Money is an issue, so buying a new camcorder isn’t an option right now… :o)

  10. Folks,

    I am more unhappy with the size of transferred video from my handycam (HC32) to PC.

    It chops the downloads in 10 min clips and each clip is of 4GB but the quality is good.

    But when I try to cut a VCD out of it then video quality deteriorates.

    I am also using USB streaming.

    Any help here to retain video quality will be highly appreciated.

  11. hi i have a Sony DCRHC26 HANDYCAM when i connected to the computer it shows that a new hardware is found thats about it i use usb cable and the program that it brought was picture package 1.5.1 i cannot even use windows movei maker because nothings happens when i connected it the camera has usb mode on so yeah pleaseeee someone help me out

  12. hey my laptop doesnot detect my (4 pin to 4 pin) cable which is connected to the Sony dv camera. Someone help me please1 I beg u!!! i’m dying here!!!

  13. Can somebody advise on the camcorder periodic maintenance as well?

    I have been using my camcorder (Sony DCR-HC-32) for couple of years without servicing/head-cleaning. Now it says ‘Head dirty…’

    Please do elaborate on servicing aspect


  14. I have the same problem with my camcorder.My laptop can’t detect my Sony DCR-hc20e when connecting thrue firewire. I have tried with the camcorders power source but nothing happens. In the manual for my camera it says that it only works with Sony’s VAIO laptop with a program called “click to DVD ver. 1.2” HELP me!!! I don’t have an Sony VAIO pc….

  15. @HBL: just a wild guess, did you connect power adapter as power source for your laptop? What was the video editing software you used? Did the software support Firewire input?

  16. I have power adapter on both devices (pc and camera). I have tried “ms movie maker” and something called “Sonic Digital media LE”. In movie maker a popup says “a video capture advice was not detected”. This is my first time to try to import video from my camcorder, so I’m not sure what to do…..

  17. i have sony digital 8 handycam (DCR TRV340E PAL). i tried capturing video from it onto the computer using both sonic and windows movie maker(USB 2.0 ).the video quality is quite bad ,what can be done to improve the quality.please tell me

  18. I to am having the same issues, I have invested in a ilink cable (firewire) and my computer is not detecting the camera at all. This too is my first time Trying to import video onto my pc.
    I could import it via the usb cable what has been supplied but the quality is too bad.

    Any help would be appreciated.
    1394 port and adapter is listed in davman and it is ohcp compliant before any asks.
    Also the docking station is plugged into the mains.


  19. My XP unable to detect my HC15E, but the screen on my camcorder does shows “DV IN”. Weird. Anyone has any idea on this ?

  20. i have a vaio and a sony camera and i also have the program Click to DVD, but my computer still wont detect my sony camera!!!! im hooking it up with the usb cable it brought

  21. @ah: you mean camera or camcorder? if digital camera, a temporary solution is taking out the memory stick and read it using a memory card reader. Try to test on the other computer. Perhaps your USB port is not working?

  22. USB 1.1 will transfer the same exact data to your PC as USB 2.0 only USB 2.0 will do it much fast 480MB per second. But the data is unchanged in either format. Anyway it is not the USB or firewire that changes the video quality. I would expect it to be your software or an incorrect setting. Also you cannot compare analogue TV to digital PC video.

  23. I am using Sony TRV 22 camcorder. I got the Image mixer software along with it. The problem is while capturing the video thru USB I get only the image and not the Audio. Can anybody suggest what could be the problem.

    I am able to hear the audio in the camcorder speaker while capturing the video.

    Thanks for help

  24. AHHH i have a dcr-hc32 sony handycam and the quality playback really stinks. I used movie maker and sony vegas movie platinum 7.0 and they both come out the same…crappy. how can i make it look better????!!?

  25. I have Sony DCR-HC90E and the video quality seems bad. I use USB to transfer the video to PC. I will try Firewire. I use ULead software to edit and make the DVD. Can anyone help to suggest best Software to provide hight video quality output?

  26. i have a sony handycam. I want to record good programmee from television by can i do it? camera model no dcr-hc 26. what is the specific cable required for this purpose?what is the price & from where i can get it?

  27. I am having the same problem as Chris and that link is like reading Chinese to me.

    I can import the video in the lame ass imagemixer 1.5 but not into microsoft movie maker. Imagemixer sucks balls because my video editing lags like 3 seconds from where I tell it to.

    They say to save to your videos to your hard drive but the only thing getting hard is my f*cking ulcer because I can’t even find where to save and I don’t know a .jpeg from a .wav from a f*cking iphone.

    I can’t work on computers because I’m about to throw this god d*mned $1000 camcorder against the wall.

    Sony, your software sucks. Your instructions suck. And if you had them, I’d punch you right in the balls.

  28. I use the iLink 1394 port and I can capture the video and audio from my Sony Handycam but it has a lot of broken short horizontal lines running through it and has static. Anyone experience this too?

  29. I have bought DCR DVD 201E camcorder (MiniDVD)
    I could not import the video into Windows movie maker or PIXELA for editing.
    Nero express also doesn’t iaccept this format.
    Any advice?
    I want to edit my movie clips easily and write on to a DVD that’s it.

  30. Am trying to download videos from the sony handycam dcr-hc35e. Have no problem getting it to download onto either windows movie editor or the sony picture package using a usb cable, but its in realtime, is there anyway to just dump it onto the computer ( in a similar way to videos from digital cameras) and so speed up the process? Help!!! xx

  31. Here’s Some Conversation from SonyIndia with me. Check it out. Isn’t Not Enough to burning sensation or just burn in Hell.
    my email to Sony.
    1. 12th Aguest
    My Beloved —-> SONY INDIA
    I bought an Sony handy cam Model DCR-HC38E, first time I didn’t any said accessories (where’s it supplied with every pack). Why ? No accessories with that pack ? Not even USB Cable too.
    Whenever It Clearly mentioned : Accessories supplied with DCR-HC38E – AC adaptor, mains lead, AV Cable, USB cable, Rechargeable Battery – NP-FH30, Software CD, Operating Instructions.
    plz help me out. deeply awaiting your response.

    @(Sony’s Replied)”SonyCare”
    Sat, 18 Aug 2007
    Dear Sir,
    Greetings from Sony India Customer Care Center.
    This is in reference to your mail. We would like to inform you the following as required-
    1. Accessories supplied with DCR-HC38E – AC adaptor, mains lead, AV Cable, USB cable, Rechargeable Battery – NP-FH30, Software CD, Operating Instructions.
    For any further assistance you may require, please do not hesitate to write us.
    Note: We invite you to participate in a short survey that has five multiple-choice questions. Your valuable feedback will help us identify your needs and to serve you better. Kindly click on the following link.
    2) My 2nd mail 2 SonyIndia

    Dear sir
    Thanks a lot
    Finaly my beloved Dealer ( Sony’s recommended Authorized Dealer) gave me an usb cable with software cd and picture motion browser for instal.l USB cable driver and other necessary application For windows) I Prefer to use ( windows Xp service pack 2.) and My Pc’s configaration is more&less enough to Transfering Capturing video data to my hard drive.
    But That Ware didn’t perform ! No Driver Found! No Link Discover ! (I’ve bought a ilink cable also) . No New Hard Ware Found! What I’ll Do with that spastic Handy Cam?If Supplied ware with that HandyCam doesn’t work better to say corrupt . Then what I can do with it? with that Spastic Cam.!?One person spend 16,999.(Rs) for net Conference? Live Chat? It’s sounds Funny . Plz need your Help.
    @2 Reply From Sony
    Dear Sir,
    Greetings from Sony India Customer Care Center.
    You Need a FireWire and it may helps you for said issue.
    For any further assistance you may require, please do not hesitate to write us.
    Thanks & Regards,
    For Sony India Pvt. Ltd.
    Pooja Dhuppar
    Technical Specialist
    Sony India CCC

    3) Ny Last email . 12th Sep 07
    Dear Mam.
    Ok , it’s cool 4 ur kind attention on me , But could u plz give me or let me clear one thing i.e. If FireWire is a Most essential factor 4 transferring my capturing data to my PC. Then why isn’t not mention in the Manual ? One time U suggest me following Manual Booklet even you marked out that particular Page no ( 46) ,However it’s not mentioned any FireWire , Your Company didn’t supply any i-link with the Pack and those Wire not even USB cable too, Why ?Ok Fine ,
    Now My asking point If A Person Can Spend 16,999/ he’s suppose to be able spend another Rs.2000,or 3000/ But where / Why your company don’t supply or produce those necessary things (As Excluding item charge Not with Your Delivery pack Value)
    Ok ,
    From anywhere (’cause don’t know where I can get it ?) I may find and buy other mentioned links (Fire Wire) whatever else from another spear+part shop then
    R U Confirm It ‘will Work perfectly
    Is’ it a universal parts where most of all Handy Cam receive or access?
    Ok(One Time More),
    If It’s works and one day my cam stops performing or any disturbances arise with in the Warranty Period time limitation Then Could You or Your Company Give me the assurance i.e Your company never ask Why I’ve attached a foreign body?(Which’s Not Your Company’s Product)
    Now It’s being a Hide & see Game!!!!!!!! The rest of my life I’ll busy for these and that………….>
    1st — Change /Modify Your Manual Booklet Like Particular Model with Particular Manual.
    2nd ly —>One Manual Book represents at least 3 handy cam’s manual , according to your own Categorically Choice. Which enough to Confused.
    3rd ly — Everything Must be clear What One Customer can get and What Not. With each particular Model.
    4th ly—> Small Letter Big Letters Micro mini Alphabet ………..enough ………
    Same AD Childish obnoxious same
    hide&see game
    5th ly —> Expected moderated Your Distributors, dealers….. It’s quiet distinguish and scramble with a bunch of confusing complicated . enough to miserable for any person . Not less than Bugs.

    And Sony never response My asking point My answers is as like as Just Blow’n the wind?
    Anybody help me? Need your Help?What I’ll do? And dealer is ready to return my cam.
    Be Alert Next comming Buyer, Sony makes ur life Miserable.

  32. Now My asking point If A Person Can Spend 16,999/ he’s suppose to be able spend another Rs.2000,or 3000/ But where / Why your company don’t supply or produce those necessary things (As Excluding item charge Not with Your Delivery pack Value)
    When I Wrote I allready purchsed i-ilink cable for better result. but My pc didn’t located any link and finnally failed to woks no new divice found, Then They Suggested FireWire. (Which is as same as i-ilink). whenever they suggesting Always open their mouth with Shut-up their Eyes.

    Why sony din’t produce these items like firewire iilink etc
    If one day my cam stops performing or any disturbances arise with in the Warranty Period time limitation Then the Company Give me any assurance i.e never ask Why I’ve attached a foreign body?(Which’s Not Your Company’s Product)
    THEIR WEBSIDE like (Made for Asia basis) one page is like Compare with other model ,It’s another shit things.
    WHAT’S THE DIFFERENT BETWEEN DCR-HC-38 and 38E / 32 and 32E
    If it’s Catalogary differenceiat then totally distinguish and enough to confused .
    Any way My Dealer is ready to refund my money back! What does it Proves ?
    If they were not in wrong side they never be so kind on their customer whenever it already sold .
    Now My Life Life is just Burn in hell.
    Isn’t the right time 4 saying!

  33. hey joe,

    please send my some solution which really helps you and finally ‘ve 2 say SORRY SONY .
    Please Give a Chance to Say ” SORRY SONY” like you . :)

  34. I recently had to buy a new laptop, now running Vistas :(
    I have a three year old Sony HC20E, and want to continue downloading my footage into Windows Movie Maker. The cam has a firewire connector, as did my old laptop, but the new PC doesn’t so I bought a firewire/usb wire to make the connection. Problem is, the HC20E isn’t recognied by VISTA, with no available driver downloads. Unless anyone here can recommend anything.

  35. Hi

    I have sony handycam mini DV DCR HC48. When I download into laptop, each shot it is downloading into single file. How to merge all the files? Is there any free software available for this like windows movie maker?

    Please suggest.


  36. i hav sony dcr hc 28e. i hav the firewire port in my compaq laptop..i hav connected my cam to the laptop. but it doesn’t recognize it at all….the power supply is on for both the handycam as well as the laptop…wht shud i do…sumbody plzzz helpp

  37. I’ve been using my Sony Handycam DCR-HC21 for a few years. I’ve imported my footage using Windows Movie Maker. Since upgrading to Windows Vista, it doesn’t recognize my camcorder. Can any one help me out on this one? PLEASE!!! Check out my other videos on my website…

  38. Ya..Sory Sucks!!!i have a DCR705E, the additional battery costs around rm200++, phew tis is too expensive. Well, what irritated me was the poor Pixela software….damn poor…Producer 2 and Producer Viewer…wat distinguish them is just a button to BURN To DVD, confusing people on what application to launch.

    It failed me when i tried to Burn to dVd…I got the files in my hdd (shud b mpeg2,copied from the sony DVD-R that did the recording) and i wanted to burn it back to another DVD after some editing but it failed.The OEM Nero 7 essential software oso do me nothing, transcoding error made me hv to do it via Pixela.

  39. Hi,

    I have a DCR-HC90E camcoder. When I use the USB cable I am able to download still photos from my memory card. But I cannot download the movies from my DV tape. I have image mixer 1.5 installed in my PC. Also I tried windowd movie maker and got the message ” A video capture device was not detected”. Please help…

  40. I have a Sony DCR HC32 make. I am utterly confused how to transfer the video cpatured in the video tape to a recordable CD. When i connect my laptop which has CD/DVD RW to the camcorder and use USB cable to transfer and burn VCD option and at last TOUCH EXEC, an error message displays saying there is no blank CD in the CD drive. However i have also tried using IEEE1394 cable, but somehow my laptop does not recognise my camcorder.

    Please note:
    1. I have kept the power supply to Sony Camcorder station on
    2. I have selected USB Stream mode on both ocassion

    Please help.

  41. sir,

    when i connected my handycam with computer,i am not able to import the videos using the software given by SONY .the message gives that “Cannot find the Handycam (Tape).Check the i.LINK connection to the Handycam.”

    i checked all the connection which is alright & the power was ON too. A new hardwire was detected but i cant import.

    sir plz help me??

  42. Hi I purchased the sony DCR-DVD708E handycam model. I’m able to shoot from the handycam but I’m not able to install the Picture motion browser on my PC having Windows XP. At Confirm camera action screen of Sony Picture utility, when at step 3 I connect the camera using USB cable and select computer connection mode in handycam, it displayes “Preparing…” continuesly. I observed this for 30 minutes and then turned off the handycam as the battery was going to exhaust. This is the 3rd time I’m trying and getting the same result. The installation does not go beyond the Preparing… message in handycam. Can anybody let me know where is the problem.

    Regards Kamal

  43. Man, this topic has helped me so much!!! i had the exact same problem, but i have to buy the I.Link port and i have to look for it somewhere in a store… sooo thanks for this topic! now i understand why my videos transfered to my pc was like 140 MB / Sec. and that bad video quality… but i got a question

    when you transfer the videos from the camera to the PC using FireWire cable… how does those archives weights?

    i got a Sony HCR-36 Camcorder THANKS!

  44. I have a dcr-dvd203e, and i plug it into my mbp and it asks me if i want to open imovie or dvd player. i select imovie, and import the videos. for some reason each video apperars twice, but i just import one version. you don’t even need to finalise the disc. in fact, when you do finalise the disc the camcorder creates a 3 minute video of each photo, so your probably best off not finalising. And, by the way, the quality of the imported videos is crystal clear. to import the photos, go into iphoto, go to import to library and go onto the only folder on the dvd. inside there should be another folder. go into it. inside here are your photos. put them wherever you want, not just in iphoto. i;’m pretty this should work in windows (?). i don’t know how u people on PCs should do for video, though.

  45. Hi,

    I am trying to transfer a video from SONY DC HCR 38E to my laptop using a firewire cable through the software provided by SONY.
    The size of the file being transferred is around 1 GB for 5 minutes. Man, thats too high.
    Which software do I need to use to convert a video of 1 hour duration whose size can be upto 4 gb so that I can write it on a dvd.

    I tried to use windows movie maker but even the best quality of that is not good at all.
    Please suggest me.


  46. I am about ready to throw my Sony Handycam against the wall and smash it into little bits and pieces. I have been to multiple forums trying to figure out how to transfer video from my camera to my PC with ZERO success. I have tried all kinds of different software as well as installed various drivers. No matter what I do, nothing works and I am NOT computer illiterate. Sony should be ashamed at their products and support. This is sickening to me.

  47. Hello All,

    I have this Sony handycam dcr-hc26, I used to be able to connect it to my PC via a USB, I had to go through the camcorders settings menu and switch it to USB streaming. I recently Smashed the screen on it and when i shut the screen nothing happens, i can not see anything through the viewfinder, any one know how i can stop the cam displaying via the smashed screen and make it permananly come out of thje view finder?


    Big Dave

  48. I have a SONY Handycam Video 8 CCD-TTR490 NTSC and am trying to download to the my PC (SONY VAIO Pentium D) via red, white, & yellow jacks from the camcorder to the back of the PC with the same jacks. I can not down load the image. Any assistance is much appreciated!

  49. If your computer doesn’t recognize the camcorder, go into the camcorders MENU SETUP and select USB Streaming, select ON. You will probably still need USB drivers. I have Vista and it can’t find the drivers. Anyone know where I can get the USB drivers?

  50. Please HELP! My Sony DVD106E importer program was running fine until a little while ago – i hadn’t used it for ages and went to upload some footage and it crashed. It recognises the footage but when it starts to import I get the message “SPUDiscImporter.exe has encountered a problem and needs to close”. Sony are refusing to admit there is a problem. I am running XP. I have tried VR mode, Video mode, finalized, unfinalized, USB import, direct into drive access, nothing makes any diff. Please help!! My baby is getting older and I missing out on important milestone footage! Thanks Donna.

  51. I use a Sony mini dvd handycam. The footage is recorded onto a mini dvd. Does any one know what the problem is when you record film footage on a mini dvd and then transfer it to a regular dvd-r, the date does not show up on the recorded dvd-r. The date is displayed on the mini dvd on playback and this option on the handycam is enabled.

    Can anyone please help?


  52. Sony software is not good …I never buy any product from sony again..even the software for edit music is very limit song to im/export


  54. help! i think i will be able to find out the answer here. I have dcr-hc48e, same as the one who posted in this blog. my camcorder won’t be detected in windows xp when connected using firewire cable. my firewire cable and pci card is working, the programs i use for capturing movies from the tape works fine with the USB mode but no in firewire.

    I’m just bothered. with the other units (hcr-32) and the likes, i found out that there are swithes like UBS on/off which can deactivate or activate the Firewire function. in the docking station of hcr-48e, there are no switch like that. only 4 ports are there. by the way, the docking station in dcra-c155. i’m still wondering if this problem could still be resolved. i hope i can transfer movies using my firewire. help please. thanks!

  55. Can anyone out there that can help me? Where can I purchase a firewire cable from for my Sony DCR-SR45 to my iMac? The USB cable that comes with my camera can’t be used in my iMac.

  56. Please help me on this one, i have successfully installed sony picture package for me to transfer my videos and burn it on a VCD, my problem was upon clicking the BURN VCD button on my camcorder, it does not detect my CD/DVD writer, why is this so?

  57. I just got Sony DCR-TRV280 Camcorder as gift. It carries great power with the stamina battery power-management system, which allows you to continuously record for up to 12 hours on a single full charge. I really like to use it.



Leave a Comment