Browsing on my DCR-IP7 Video Camera through Hirata's Docomo PHS 663S via bluetooth
Went looking for a small video camera for my continuing pursuit of stealth disco excellence. I found a Sony DCR-IP7. It uses the tiny micro Cassette Memory, has IP, a browser, bluetooth and a bunch of other stuff you'd never need for a stealth disco camera, but it was released in 2001 and I got it at a discount. It was the smallest video camera I could find.

I haven't used it yet to take video, but we were able to connect it via bluetooth to Hirata's PHS mobile phone and connect to the Net and browse the web. Very cool, but almost completely useless. ;-)

38 Comments

UP FRONT NOTE: MicroMV is NOT Mac compatible.

My main beef with any of the MicroMV cameras is that you have to manipulate the video with the Sony Movie Shaker or Pinnacle Studio 8 software on a PC as it is not an industry-standard format. MicroMV gets my hackles up like MemoryStick and MiniDisc.

Some user comments:
http://www.dvdoctor.net/cgi-bin/ubb/Forum8/HTML/001259.html

also:
"Although the camcorder uses Firewire, it's not compatible with existing Firewire. The camcorder can connect to computers using existing Firewire ports, but only Sony's Movieshaker software can recognize the software. Existing video capture programs are not able to record the special MicroMV Firewire. The MicroMV Firewire also can not transfer video to and from existing Firewire camcorders and decks. "
http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/sony_dcrip7bt_camcorder_review.htm

Yikes! Really? I didn't try it yet with the Mac. This would truly suck.

Holy smokes! You're right. I connected the camera to my Mac with a firewire cable and "no camera attached". This totally sucks.

This is the SECOND Sony device that I've bought thinking it would connect to my Mac which hasn't. The other one was my bluetooth enabled digital camera which doesn't talk to my bluetooth enable Mac.

Reminder to self: Don't be fooled by the shape of the ports. Software can always screw you.

Does anyone know the cheapest device to convert this MicroMV thingie to normal DV?

none standard stuff are uncool. I wish everything was a mp3 file (with good set a meta tags)

Yeah, I looked at that camera, but went with the DCR-PC120BT instead. It is a little bit bigger, but it works with my mac, has a pop-up flash, and a hot shoe.

I love Sony equipment, I love the look of it, I love the quality; I'm not so fond of the price, but that's really a non-issue.

I just won't buy it.

They love proprietary lock-in - they seem to willfully avoid open standards, and that's simply not something I want to submit myself to. I'll stick to one of the veritable plethora of products that make good use of more standard products and protocols, so I can make good personal use of my investment over time.

You can always down convert to analog and the up convert again I think. But then again thats a pain in the #ss process...

Kentaro wrote:
> You can always down convert to analog and the up convert again I think.

Sony sells an optional Windows video editing software for its MicroMV range of camcorders. The DPCK-IL20 Windows software suite includes Ulead DVD MovieWriter v1.5.

By dumping the MicroMV files to a proper DVD using a PC, and then reading that DVD on a Mac, you'll stay in the digital domain end-to-end and thus avoid an analog conversion stage.

My understanding is that MicroMV is basically MPEG2 at about 10Mbps, and that its data format is thus almost identical to a DVD's video files.
A QuickTime-based app will then be able to access these DVD MPEG2 files without any problems on a Mac.

For frame-accurate editing, a -- CPU-intensive -- digital conversion of that highly compressed MPEG2 to a frame and field-based and easily editable DV format *might* be worthwhile.
For casual cut and splice editing while staying in the MPEG2 format, QuickTime 6 Pro *might* suffice (I'm willing to be corrected here).

Furthermore, QuickTime 6 Pro should be able to perform a MPEG2->DV format conversion too if you really insists, but if you are a perfectionist you might want to invest in a format converter like Discreet Software's "Cleaner 6" and a snappy G4 or G5 Mac with oodles of RAM and fast disks :-)

I forgot to add that Apple's iDVD application, which I understand is bundled with all recent Macs with built-in SuperDrive DVD writers, might also be able to easily edit the contents of a DVD authored on a Windows PC from MicroMV MPEG files.
You'd then simply feed the files to the usual (Quicktime-based?) application used to compress the video files streamed from ito.com :-)

The people criticizing Sony's "proprietary" format on

http://www.dvdoctor.net/cgi-bin/ubb/Forum8/HTML/001259.html

are missing the point:

- MPEG2 compression allows for much lower data rates than field/frame-based DV, paving the way for much smaller tape cartridges
- the smaller form factor enables truly pocketable cameras. Few people would ever consider going about their daily lives carrying a DV-format camcorder. The MPEG2-based MicroMV format makes a truly pocketable and "everyday" camera like the new Sony DCR-IP1K possible:

http://www.watch.impress.co.jp/av/docs/20030903/sony4.jpg
http://www.watch.impress.co.jp/av/docs/20030903/sony3.jpg

I personally use DV, but fully realize that the best camera in the world will *not* deliver any pictures if you don't have it with you when something interesting happens.

The intermediary step requiring the use of a Windows PC to copy the MicroMV MPEG2 files to a DVD is annoying for a Mac user, but as digital quality is preserved, I suspect most people could live with it.

hey joi!

need an accessory kit for this thing? extra battery, micro mv tape, mem stick, cleaner, etc? drop me a line.

Hey, I suddenly find myself more interested in these MicroMV thingies. I just Googled up this:

From http://www.dansdata.com/dcrip7.htm

=====
You can grab video files quickly from MovieShaker, by going to its temp directory and copying the .MMV files that represent each clip to somewhere else. But those files only seem to be playable by QuickTime. Windows Media Player is apparently meant to understand MMV files, but it doesn't seem to understand these ones.
=====

Cool. If, as the article above indicates, the ".MMV" files captured on a PC from the camera can be played directly with QuickTime, then life is easy for Mac users. Just copy these ".MMV" files from the PC to the Mac, and either work with them directly with a QuickTime-aware video edit app, or digitally transcode them first from MMV's MPEG2 "transport stream" format to more easily editable DV format .

Anyway, it appears that MicroMV's MPEG2 files' data rate is 12Mbps, not 10Mbps as I erroneously commented above.
Transcoding from this native 12Mbps mmv MPEG2 to DVD-compliant ~8Mbps MPEG2 might explain the "very slow conversion to MEPG2" complaint that some users of Sony's bundled PC software have been voicing.

If you want to edit the files on a Mac, it's likely that QuickTime-aware programs would be able to directly accept the higher-quality 12Mbps MPEG2 ".mmv" file as input, e.g. to (slowly) transcode it to editable DV format.

MostlyVowels:
I believe you're MostlyRight. ;-p

There exists a utility called MMV2MPG which takes the MovieShaker files and converts them to an Mpeg 2 format that most programs can understand. Get it at:
http://www.geocities.com/jrowe88/
Its existence leads me to believe that there might be incompatabilities.

As you said before, Sony's new format allows for smaller media sizes - yes, this is a good thing, as devices shrink.
The problem I have with Sony's practice here and elsewhere is that it attempts a consumer lock-in, which I think they will find, is effectively a lock-out.

I've invested in Mac equipment. I was truly ready to buy one of these cameras when Joi showed it to me the other day, but as I can't use it, they lose a sale.

It's not as if they have to even write the Mac software, they could announce to the open source community that they have a new standard and that they would like to release some specs to make alternate OS software possible. Other companies do this and do well because of it.

Sony is being foolish and shortsighted to ignore the Mac-using community when it comes to video equipment.

hey, thanks for the compliment jim!

there's a myth behind open-source that people just take it as fact. if you announce open hardware, programmers will come. yah, right. even on pure software projects, without *1* good programmer that is motivated to do most of the work, the project will never go anywhere. just look on sourcefourge.net there's just so many dead projects, it's really embarassing.

imagine what would happen if you left it open for someone else to do the software for you... you put out a piece of _consumer_ equipment, the user is downloading support software from an open source project, it doesn't work 100%... then the hardware company is getting tech calls on the software which the hardware company didn't even know about, etc. ... user complaints on his "blog", loss of more sales. it can spiral downwards pretty bad and you don't have ANY control over it. forget damage control, the whole project has to be killed.

don't think that we're "ignoring" the mac community... all our pro stuff has mac support and we're doing stuff that is based on a standard... MPEG2 is an ISO standard. if Sony really wanted lock-in, you wouldn't even be able to playback the file outside of the designated Sony software.

>There exists a utility called MMV2MPG which takes the MovieShaker files [..]
> Its existence leads me to believe that there might be incompatabilities.

Hey, as long as the native MMV files are QuickTime-compatible, who cares :-)
My understanding is that MMV2MPG just converts between the MPEG2 Transport Stream format to MPEG2 Program Stream used e.g. with DVDs.

I suspect MMV2MPG is thus only useful for Windows users who haven't seen the light yet and haveen't installed QuickTime onn their machines :-)

MPEG2-TS is far from proprietary to Sony. It's e.g. the de facto standard for MPEG2 digital TV, be it terrestrial or satellite, in Japan, the US and Europe where robustness against error bursts is required.

My understanding is that JVC's consumer HDTV camcorder also records in MPEG2-TS, though at a, er, higher, resolution than the pocketable MicroMV cameras.

For Mac users, thanks to Apple's QuickTime technology, it doesn't really matter whether the source material is in MPEG-TS or MPEG-PS containing HDTV or SDTV material. QT's codecs and format abstraction layer will take care of these details and give access to the contents.

Thanks for the offer Andrew. They threw in an accessory kit. I think they felt sorry for me. ;-)

A very good video cam for SD will come out in November from Sanyo. It is an MPEG-4 cam recording into SD Memory with 30fps. It can be switched to a 3M pixel still digital cam. I blogged this cam at my blog in Japanese. I also pinged this permalink, but Joi.ito.com never accepts my ping. Does this site have spam trackback filter from your friends? ;-p

I have bought IP5E since my daughter was born. It's more or less a nightmare for me whenever trying to prepare a VCD for my family. I am a Mac user and having a PC , AMD base, for my wife as well.
I'd creat movie for web browsing on PC but it is just let me uncomfortable to work with - Window. Last week I download file from the micromv tape again and found that QuickTime Player v.5 on the PC can play the .mmv file directly while WMP cannot!!!
I'm now wondering OuickTime MPEG2 component would works for original .mmv file on my Mac therefore iMovie or FCP will accept them too.
Did anyone got both IP5/7 and QT MPEG2 component pack and show us the answer. or I can provide a .mmv movie for testing.
(or MPEG2 component for me to test before I pay HK$140 to Apple.)

The only reason quicktime can run mmv in windows is because when movieshaker is installed it adds a plug in. Quicktime will not play mmv on a mac even with the mpeg2 component. See comments on mac website about mmv!

The only reason quicktime can run mmv in windows is because when movieshaker is installed it adds a plug in. Quicktime will not play mmv on a mac even with the mpeg2 component. See comments on mac website about mmv!

The only reason quicktime can run mmv in windows is because when movieshaker is installed it adds a plug in. Quicktime will not play mmv on a mac even with the mpeg2 component. See comments on mac website about mmv!

I would like to pitch in adime on the issues related to Sony microMV camcorders/devices use with Mac (and I mean Mac OS X not classic as to OS). I have also learned the hard way (after buying a Sony IP model) that I could not use FCP etc. to video capture from the camera with firewire. recently a post I started at videolan.org has moved things forward a bit in which the use of DVHSCap (a program bundled in Apple latest firewire SDK package) has allowed me to capture from the camcorder.
The issue is that the m2t file format is not compatible with QT, FCP, DVDpro and the like (ALTHOUGH ONE CAN VIEW IT USING VLC). At this point one has to use several free apps to first demux (I am using mpgtxwrap) the m2t in a video file (m2v that unfortunately is not recognized by QT even after I added the MPEG2 playback component) and an MP3 audio file. At this stage I still need to convert the m2v to a .mov file (I am using DiVA) and the mp3 audio to AIFF ( I am using iTunes) to obtain FCp compatible file formats and do the editing I need.
Since this generated a lor of rather large files and a lot of extra work I have contacted some of the developers of the above mentioned software to see if any of them can succed in coding an app that can take the m2t capture to a QT compliant mpeg2 (or m2v plus AIFF) without requiring so many steps!.
Do not hesitate to contact me if you desire to try the software I mentioned or even better if you may already know of a better solution!
Truly,


Stefano

Hi there,

I bought a DCRIP1 The new smallest and lightest and boy its cool! Its my first cam corder thou so I have nothing to compare it too! It fits in your pocket and you forget its there!

But anyway! I only have 5 tapes Because they cost so much money I want to store them somehow on DVD's as they are cheaper! What is the Best format to store them?? is it *.MMV??

Also if I download from tape to MMV and then MMV back up to Tape do I lose quality??

thanks!

Hi there,

I bought a DCRIP1 The new smallest and lightest and boy its cool! Its my first cam corder thou so I have nothing to compare it too! It fits in your pocket and you forget its there!

But anyway! I only have 5 tapes Because they cost so much money I want to store them somehow on DVD's as they are cheaper! What is the Best format to store them?? is it *.MMV??

Also if I download from tape to MMV and then MMV back up to Tape do I lose quality??

thanks!

Not sure if this is still going, but I've stupidly agreed to create some DVD's from my father-in-laws DCR-IP1E... and i have a mac!

I've got it to 3 steps now. Use the DVHSCap util in the apple Firewire SDK to grab the data from the camera. A full tape is about 7Gb and is in m2t format. I then drop it on a util called DropDV to convert it to a DV stream. This takes ages (like 2 hours!) but creates a DV file for use with iDVD. It also saves out an iMovie project file and splits the DV stream into 2Gb chunks to get round the iMovie file size problem.

However, there's a bug in DropDV at the moment (V1.1.4) that causes the audio to be out of sync by a second or so. Which essentially makes it useless for people speaking or similar! You can separate the two channels in iMovie and re-sync them, but it aint pretty.

So in short... DVHSCap, dropDV then iDVD and a good 5 hours to do all the steps!

BTW. I contacted Sony about their poor mac support and got a flat 'You should have known. Do more research next time'. Nice. I didn't have a problem at all with Sony before, but I'll not be buying anything else from them after my recent experience. And it's not even my camera! :o)

Dino Burbridge wrote:


I've got it to 3 steps now. Use the DVHSCap util in the Apple Firewire SDK to grab the data from the camera. A full tape is about 7Gb and is in m2t format. I then drop it on a util called DropDV to convert it to a DV stream.

Let me state from the outset that I have no experience whatsoever with Sony’s IP-series MPEG2 camcorders and the files they produce.
That said, you might want to experiment with the “Project X” utility, whose Java source code is downloadable from Lucike’s forum.

You can easily compile the utility with the javac compiler, part of the JDK included with OS X.
See this site for Project X compilation and usage tips.

I routinely use “Project X” to convert MPEG2 Transport Stream files to MPEG2 Program Stream format, which is supported by the Quicktime MPEG2 Playback Component that you can purchase from Apple’s site.

Try using Project X to convert your .m2t files (which are probably MPEG2-TS) to MPEG2-PS format, and give the resulting files e.g. a “.m2v” or “.mpg” extension. The TS -> PS conversion is really just a re-packetization of the original digital video data, without any re-encoding involved. There’s thus no generational loss caused by that format conversion.

In principle, iDVD should allow you to use as source material any file that is readable by Quicktime. Installing Apple’s MPEG2 Playback Component Quicktime module might thus allow you to directly use these PS-format files in iDVD as source material, and thus allow you to skip the time-consuming DV-format conversion and its accompanying generational loss. Your sound synchronization problems — caused by DropDV ? — might also go away.

iDVD will probably insist on re-compressing your original source material, as the MPEG2 files produced by the Sony IP-series camcorders have a bitrate (12Mbps) that is higher than the practical maximum allowed by the DVD standard (around 9Mbps or something).
iDVD’s MPEG2(12Mbps) -> MPEG2(9Mbps) re-encoding process will obviously result in some generational loss, but will still be an improvement upon your current MPEG2->DV->MPEG2 process which requires TWO inter-format conversions and generational losses.

Oh, one more thing. Toast might allow you to directly author a fairly primitive, but working, DVD using the 12Mbps MPEG2 files. I understand a large number of recent DVD players can quite happily digest these non-standard bitrate DVDs.

YMMV

Apologies to Joi for using his blog as a repository of Sony MMV camcorder-related links, but it seems that Google gives this blog entry some significant juice... ;-)

Popular video gear like HDTV DVHS decks, DVB satellite TV receivers, JVC’s GR-HD1 and GR-PD1 HDTV camcorders and Sony’s IP-series MMV camcorders produce MPEG2 Transport Stream (TS) files.

The preferred MPEG2 packetization/stream format on a Mac is MPEG2 Program Stream (PS). MPEG2-PS is the format used e.g. on off-the-shelf DVDs, and by Apple’s Quicktime MPEG2 Playback Component.

MPEG Streamclip is a native OS X app that converts digital video files between the TS and PS formats. This utility might thus be worth investigating for Mac users who want to author DVDs using Sony MMV-format .m2t footage as source material.

Just found an open source program that claims to capture MicroMV streams from the Sony IP5.

http://grabmv.port5.com/index.html

Daniel

This is Apples secret little app-collection to get those stupid streams onto the disc. Apparently its possible to put it back on tape aswell. Haven´t tried it though.
ftp://ftp.apple.com/developer/Development_Kits/XFireWireSDK19e.dmg.bin

i've been reading all these posts and i've been trying to find a solution to this problem i have.

i have a sony camcorder that requires the use of teh MovieShaker software to upload videos i have. However, I got this camcorder from someone else and do not have the software CD to upload these clips to my computer.

is there anything i can download off the internet that can let me upload these important video clips? thank you so much. i appreciate your help.

I wonder if the micromv cams work with the newest final cut pro as the supported HD cams also use meg2 transport streams. If it was the case, not having to worry about the interframe compression and being able to edit mpeg2 directly would be quite a thing.

Hi Shaan,

Which platform are you using?

For Linux, I hear GrabMV works.

For Windows, there's MovieShaker, Pinnacle Studio DV, Ulead, PowerDirector. There may be others.

For Mac, I'm not sure.

If you bought and paid for your Sony, then you deserve to have the software that came with it. Let me know if you still need it.

Daniel

I AM HAVING PROBLEMS WITH the capture on my sony ip-5 micromv. My computer used to capture the whole tape just fine but now it captures for only a few seconds and then quits. Using movieshaker. The dub and batch capture no longer works. It was steadily getting worse on this. The problem lies in the computer as I tried a laptop and it works okay. I have a hp pavilion a 430n

There is actually a pretty easy work around for capturing and editing streamed video from the SONY MMV format video cameras on Mac OS X. All you have to do is connect the camera by firewire and then open up a program called dvCAP. dvCap is included in the developers tools folder. Although you can't see the stream on your monitor as you are capturing, you can set it to start capturing automatically at the point you start playback. After capturing the video into a file, you can use a freeware utility called Streamclip to edit the clip and export in various formats. E-mail me if you have any questions....Tom

Correction...the program is DVHScap . Somebody mentioned it in an earlier post.

TC

one more thing about doing capture of MMV. In order to view and do any editing on Streamclip, you'll have to go to Apple and download and install the mpg-2 playback available at http://www.apple.com/quicktime/mpeg2/ . I think it costs about twenty bucks, but it's well worth it. Capturing and editing from MMV is really simple with DVHScap and Streamclip. I am working on making a clip that I will post on a server so you can see the quality that's possible.

TC

following on from T.Chase (May 23 2006) You will have the apple mpeg codec installed if you have Final Cut Studio (mac users)
Then you'll find Apples Firewire SDK23 free on apple.com/developer within that is a program called DVHSCAP that'll capture your RAW MicroMV or HDV streams which you can open up and export with the free MPEG STREAMCLIP.
MicroMV was the biggest mistake I made in 2003, but the IP7 has been quite handy for me, I happend to have it with me in my pocket in London the morning of 7/7 I sold footage to Reuters who syndicated it I got my money back for that bad 2003 MicroMV investment and enough to buy a Z1 Sony HDV cam a new car and a boat. Horrible what happend that day but that little stealth camera did and does come in handy.

Leave a comment

4 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Armed for further stealth disco with a DCR-IP7.

TrackBack URL for this entry: http://joi.ito.com/MT-4.35-en/mt-tb.cgi/1034

Tell you what, I’m not turning my back on Joi this weekend. . . .... Read More

[Remark for English speakers] This entry is written in Japanese about Stealth Disco and the video cam best for Stealth Disco... Japanese excerpt follows. 今日、日経新聞でも見開き広告が出ていた三洋電機のデジタル・ムービ Read More

[Remark for English speakers] This entry is written in Japanese about Stealth Disco and the video cam best for Stealth Disco... Japanese excerpt follows. 今日、日経新聞でも見開き広告が出ていた三洋電機のデジタル・ムービ Read More

[Remark for English speakers] This entry is written in Japanese about Stealth Disco and the video cam best for Stealth Disco... Japanese excerpt follows. 今日、日経新聞でも見開き広告が出ていた三洋電機のデジタル・ムービ Read More

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Business and the Economy category.

Books is the previous category.

Computer and Network Risks is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index.

Monthly Archives