I'm a desperate owner of a Sony HDR-XR520V and an avid Mac user.

Sony + Mac users know that the supplied footage management software—Picture Motion Browser (PMB)—is only for Windows.

Sony's advice for importing footage into the Mac is via the transfer feature of iMovie or Final Cut's "log and transfer".

Both applications cost money, but more importantly, the footage is being transcoded, so the initial AVCHD video will not be transfered/stored into your computer.

My last attempt was to try to use PMB inside a Parallels virtual machine.

PMB may be bloated but it has a really nifty feature for footage syncing:

  • At first sync, it transfers all data into your machine.
  • Then you may organize the imported footage into folders, however you like via the software or even Finder.
  • On every following sync, it transfers only the new videos.

Unfortunately, those last versions are buggy and the program crashes every time I try to sync the camcorder. I've contacted their support but they said, "the camcorder was only tested with original OSs and they do not support virtual machines."

In conclusion: is there a tool or process that mimics PMB's sync?

I've looked into file management tools, and even rsync, but I cannot find a way to sync only the new videos, keeping in mind that the imported footage has been organized/moved into subdirectories.

I know that instead of copying I could move the videos out of the camera, so no syncing would be required but I need to keep the footage in the camera because it's being used as a playback device as well.


4 Answers 4


I am just brainstorming here, but I think that at this point you are probably going to write your own software, and since you said you are familiar with rysnc, lets try something that sits on top of rsync.

How about a script that remembers each file you transfer and filters for you each time you transfer information?

My idea works out fairly simply. A program is clicked, this program is a python script which called rsync on the directories specified(The target camera volume and whatever end directory), and then

  • rsync checks the filter list
  • rsync gets its commands from the python program and starts the transfer files are synchronized across the camera and folder
  • rsync's list of files to transfer are added to the filter list by the python program, or a log file is created/interpreted by python and then updates the filter file
  • files can now sit in the camera, and it will only transfer new files recorded that have new names, even if we move them out of their destination folder, rename them, or edit them.

I am going to work on this tonight since I am not that familiar with rsyncs log file parsing, but it would be a fairly trivial solution.

Check out the filter file rules on the rsync manpage to check out what I am talking about.


The new Final Cut Pro X natively supports AVCHD. The old Final Cut Pro Studio did not.

And the new Final Cut Pro X is much less expensive at only $300.

You really should evaluate if it will meet your needs, and if your system has the specifications to run it.


I realise this is quite an old question, but as per @WheatWilliams answer, the new iMovie also now natively supports AVCHD and resolves this problem (much cheaper!).

As best I can tell this started from iMovie 10.x and OS X 10.9 Mavericks (and up).

The H.264 stream from the ACCHD/MTS container is remuxed into a MOV container, the file size increases only minimally (maybe 2-5%?), and its very fast to import.


Try the free AVCHD to MOV Lite on the App Store.

(Hat tip to How can I convert .MTS file (AVCHD) to .mp4 by ffmpeg without re-encoding H264 video stream? ).

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