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How to Transfer Sony Handycam Video to Computer

Updated on March 17, 2017
Max Dalton profile image

Max holds a BS in Mass Communications from SIU and an MA in Communication from U of I, and is pursuing an MBA from Webster University.

1. Download and Install Picture Motion Browser

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Navigate to the Sony Drivers and Support Web page. Select "Digital Camcorders" as your product category.Select your Sony Handycam series and then select your Sony Handycam model.Select the Driver's and Software tab, then select your operating system.Download and install the basic PMB software for your OS, then come back and download and install any updates.
Navigate to the Sony Drivers and Support Web page. Select "Digital Camcorders" as your product category.
Navigate to the Sony Drivers and Support Web page. Select "Digital Camcorders" as your product category. | Source
Select your Sony Handycam series and then select your Sony Handycam model.
Select your Sony Handycam series and then select your Sony Handycam model. | Source
Select the Driver's and Software tab, then select your operating system.
Select the Driver's and Software tab, then select your operating system. | Source
Download and install the basic PMB software for your OS, then come back and download and install any updates.
Download and install the basic PMB software for your OS, then come back and download and install any updates. | Source

The Sony Handycam series of camcorders makes it easy for the average person to record high-quality video on the go. However, pulling that footage off of the portable camcorder is a completely different endeavor that can be terribly confusing. This article will show you how to download the prerequisite software—Picture Motion Browser—from the Sony support website, and how to use it to transfer files to your computer.

Before you can transfer video files from the Handycam to your computer, you need to install Sony's Picture Motion Browser (PMB). Click through the thumbnails above to follow these steps:

  1. Click here to open the Sony Drivers and Software Downloads Web page.
  2. Select "Digital Camcorders" beneath "Select a Product Category."

  3. Select your series of Handycam digital camcorder beneath "Select Series." For example, I have a high definition digital camcorder.

  4. Select the model of your camcorder beneath "Select Model." The Support page for your specific camcorder opens.

  5. Click the Drivers and Software tab midway down the Web page. The "Select an Operating System" drop-down box appears beneath the tab. If a message appears saying that there are no updates at this time, select a different model of camera to get the Picture Motion Browser software that you need, as it doesn't matter what type of camcorder you actually have, it just matters that you have the PMB software. For example, as of February 2012, you could download the PMB software by selecting the HDR-TG1 model Handycam digital camcorder.

  6. Click the drop-down arrow beneath "Select an Operating System" to view a broad list of operating systems.

  7. Select your operating system. The "Filter Files by Category" drop-down list appears.

  8. Click the drop-down arrow beneath "Filter Files by Category." A file list appears beneath the drop-down options that includes options for the PMB software.

  9. Download and install the file you can use to install the program if you lost your original disc.

  10. Download and install any available PMB updates for your operating system. The PMB software you need is now installed on your computer.

Transfer Files from Sony Handycam Using PMB

Transfer Files from Sony Handycam to Computer

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Connect the smaller USB connector on the camera's USB cable to the USB port located along the camera's inner wall.Select "USB Connect."The Connected screen appears after your device is successfully recognized by the computer.
Connect the smaller USB connector on the camera's USB cable to the USB port located along the camera's inner wall.
Connect the smaller USB connector on the camera's USB cable to the USB port located along the camera's inner wall. | Source
Select "USB Connect."
Select "USB Connect." | Source
The Connected screen appears after your device is successfully recognized by the computer.
The Connected screen appears after your device is successfully recognized by the computer. | Source

Now that you've downloaded the software you need, you can start transferring:

  1. Turn on your computer if it isn't turned on already.
  2. Plug the large USB connector on one end of the USB cable that came with the Sony Handycam into an available USB port on your computer.
  3. Swing out the display of the Sony Handycam. Open the small cover along the bottom of the inside wall of the camcorder to reveal a mini-HDMI output and a mini-USB output.
  4. Plug the other end of the USB cable, which should be a mini-USB connector, into the mini-USB connector in the camcorder. A set of USB options will appear on the Sony Handycam's display.
  5. Select "USB Connect." The Connected screen will appear, instructing you not to turn off the Sony Handycam, close the LCD panel, or disconnect the USB cable. A PMB Import dialog box may also appear on your computer screen. As you become a more advanced importer, you can use this option, but this time we'll launch the import from within the program.
  6. Launch the PMB program on your computer.
  7. Click "File" in the PMB program's Menu bar that appears in the upper-left corner of the program and then click "Import Media Files." An "Import Media Files to PMB" dialog box will appear. This is the same box you may see after connecting your Sony Handycam to your computer and selecting USB Connect on the camcorder. This dialog box will list your Sony Handycam, storage drives on your computer, and potentially other connected devices.
  8. Select the name of your Sony Handycam and then click "Next." A new screen appears within the dialog box that lets you designate what files you are pulling off of your Sony Handycam, how to pull those files, and where those files are being transferred to on your computer.
  9. Click "Change" to open the Media Files Import Settings dialog box. Beneath the Import Method option you can elect to import all of the files from the Handycam to the computer, import only files that haven't already been transferred from the camcorder, or select the files you want to pull from the Handycam to your computer. Also, you can click to check a box that will automatically delete any files from your camcorder after they've been transferred to your computer. Click "OK" when you're done making changes in this dialog box to return to the "Import Media Files to PMB" dialog box.
  10. Click "Browse" beneath "Import Media Files" to designate a specific folder where you want to place the files you're transferring from the Sony Handycam. You can also select a check box to instantly place the files being pulled from the Handycam in a new folder and also give that folder a name.
  11. Click "Import" after making all of the changes you want to make in the "Import Media Files to PMB" dialog box. The "Import Media Files to PMB" dialog box will shrink and turn into a progress bar, displaying a few frames of the content you're transferring in a small box on its right side. The "Media File Import Completed" dialog box will appear after the files have been successfully moved from the Handycam to your computer.
  12. Select "Open Imported Folder" to view the folder containing the content you transferred from the Sony Handycam to the computer that was indexed automatically by PMB.
  13. Double-click the content to display or play it in PMB, or close PMB, navigate to where you saved the file to your computer and then play it from there. After verifying the content has been successfully transferred from the Handycam to your computer, it's safe to both close PMB and eject your camcorder from the computer. You can safely eject the camcorder from the computer by pressing the "End" button on the Handycam's display. Disconnect the USB cable from the camcorder after a message appears on the camcorder's display saying it's safe to do so.

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© 2012 Max Dalton

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    • profile image

      kalika 4 years ago

      if i use the handycam while charging is on will the charging light be on or off

    • Max Dalton profile image
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      Max Dalton 4 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Adam,

      What version of Windows do you have? PMB doesn't play nice with the newer versions of Windows and you need to install the most recent version of the program.

      Best,

      Max.

    • profile image

      Adam 4 years ago

      My Sony camcorder keeps saying "preparing" when I try to plug it into my computer. I also get messages that say Some files are not compatible!" Really... WTF?

      Any suggestions or advice?

    • Max Dalton profile image
      Author

      Max Dalton 5 years ago from Greater St. Louis, Missouri

      Hi Sherien,

      When do you get this message?

      Best,

      Max.

    • profile image

      sherien 5 years ago

      it tells me that i dont have any data in my disc when i do. what should i do?

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