12 Replies Latest reply: Oct 31, 2014 10:37 AM by jsheex
CPD57 Level 1 (0 points)

how do I transfer video from my camcorder and save it on an external drive?  In iMovie, what I use to tranfer video, it is not giving me the option to save it on an external drive.  The only options are Libraries and current projects, both of which resides in my laptop's hard drive.

MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Late 2012), Mac OS X (10.7.5), iMovie question
  • braden85 Community Specialists

    Hey CPD57!


    You may want to use a program in OS X called Image Capture to save these videos:


    Mac Basics: Connect your camera or camcorder


    Get images from your camera via Image Capture

    You can use Image Capture to copy images to anywhere on your hard drive.

    These steps will copy image files from your camera to wherever you wish on your hard drive, but not to iPhoto's library. You can later add them to iPhoto if you wish.

    1. Connect your camera to your Mac using the cable that came with your camera.

      Note: If your Mac has an SD card slot and your camera uses a compatible SD card, you can simply insert the card into your Mac instead of connecting the camera via a USB cable (then skip to step 3).
    2. Turn on your camera. If your camera needs to be set to a certain mode to transfer photos, do so now by simply checking your camera's manual. The camera or more precisely, its media card appears on the desktop as a mounted volume.
    3. Open Image Capture from Launchpad by typing Image Capture in the search field.

      Note: If iPhoto opens automatically, you can quit it.
    4. Select the media card or your camera from the devices list, if it is not already selected.
    5. At the bottom of the devices and shared list, you can choose to delete photos from your camera after importing them and you can choose which application opens when you reconnect your camera or card to your computer.
    6. From the import To pop-up menu, choose where you want Image Capture to download your files.
    7. If you want to import all the photos from your camera, click Import All. If you only want selected photos imported, choose the photos you want and then click Import. Tip: By pressing and holding down the Command key and clicking the photos you can select multiple photos. The photos you select will be highlighted (as shown in the figure above).
    8. All photos that you import will have a green checkmark indicating they have been imported.
    9. To disconnect the camera when finished, turn it off. To disconnect an SD card, click the Eject button to the right of the device. When the card disappears from the list, you can safely disconnect it.

    Thanks for coming to the Apple Support Communities!




  • CPD57 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Braden.  Thank you very much for your help with this.  Unfortunately, this does not resolve my issue.

    Sorry that I was'nt clear, but I need help downloading the VIDEO from my SONY Camcorder, not the PICTURES.  The pictures do work exactly as described above and I have successfully stored them on the external hard drive as well as moved them to iPhoto.  However, IMAGE CAPTURE does not give me the option of downloading VIDEO (am I missing something?).  Instead, iMovie pops up and only gives the option of downloading video onto an existing project or a Library in iMovie (MACbok Pro's hard drive).  I would like to move the video from my SONY Camcorder into my external drive (Macbook Pro does not have a great deal of hard drive memory) so that I can move it to iMovie later when I am ready to edit.  I hope this is a better explanation of the help I rneed.


    Thank you again.



  • babowa Level 7 (29,930 points)

    I'm on my iMac running 10.8.5 (may be slightly different with Mavericks, but worth a try)...


    A shot in the dark (actually two of them):


    Have you checked your Preference settings in iPhoto; in mine, I have it set to open no application when connecting a camera:


    Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 4.48.19 PM.png


    And, check System Preferences > Cds & DVDs - your Mac may interpret anything being plugged in as an external disk:


    Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 4.51.28 PM.png


    With these settings, I get the Canon (my camera) icon on my desktop; I can open that and do whatever I want the images/videos: drag them to a folder, an external hard drive, iMovie, or whatever.

  • Dr.Mac. Level 3 (580 points)

    how to transfer video from camcorder and save it on an external drive:


    • When importing video into iMovie use the Save/Import dialogue box and navigate to your external.To move existing Events/Projects to an external drive, plug in the external and open iMovie. The external drive icon should appear in both the Project and Event Libraries. Just drag Events/Projects and drop them on the icon. When moving a Project, you will be asked if you want to move the associated Events as well. Say Yes.


  • babowa Level 7 (29,930 points)

    Interesting - which version of iMovie are you referring to? Does iMovie not change the file format/quality and/or compress the clip? If it does, then why run it through there if that step can be avoided? The only iMovie version I know of that does not is the old iMovie HD 06 (which I still use because of its' near lossless conversion).

  • CPD57 Level 1 (0 points)

    It's the iMovie version 10.0.1 that came with the new OS X 10.9.1.  I just read through the instruction on the iMovie "help" for importing video and there's no option to import anywhere else other than to the iMovie projects/libraries.  I believe the previous version, the one you have, does give you that option.

  • CPD57 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you for this, but this looks nothing like what I see on my computer.  I cannot find CD & DVD in System Preferences anywhere.  The "General" in System Preferences in my version does not mention "camera" anywhere. Thanks!

  • babowa Level 7 (29,930 points)

    Well, from the way I understand it, what you want to do is essentially use iMovie as a "pass-through" for a video to go from the camera > iMovie > external hard drive. I do not know if that works; I still have both the older iMovie versions, but could not find anything about that. After searching for "import", it appears to mean (at least to me) that you will be importing into iMovie, not passing it through to another destination - there really is no need to involve iMovie for that.


    I don't know what media your camera uses, but if it is an SD card, I would just insert that (or use a USB card reader if necessary) and get the icon on the desktop. Once there, you can drag & drop onto the external.

  • CPD57 Level 1 (0 points)

    You understood correctly.  For some reason my SONY Camcorder is not generating an icon or anything I can use to access its contents.  By the way, the camcorder records the video in a hard drive (no tape) and not an SD card. So, I tried moving the video into iPHOTO instead of iMovie and it worked.  From there, I moved it to my exyernal drive and deleted it from iPhoto.  Not efficient, but it worked.  Do you know if there's a way to download an application for the SONY camcorder so I can bypass all that?  Thank you!

  • babowa Level 7 (29,930 points)

    Unfortunately, I do not and haven't heard of one either, but maybe someone else will chime in. Over the years, I've noticed (mostly from posts here and there) that Sony and Apple do not necessarily play well together - one of the reasons why I decided on Canons....


    In any case, not having an SD or other removable card makes it more difficult trying to get the footage onto the computer. The only other thought I had was: if you have a Windows machine and it can import Sony footage in a more efficient and lossless manner, you could do it there and transfer it to the external from there.

  • Dr.Mac. Level 3 (580 points)

    Try the steps below to copy the video from the camcorder:


    1. Turn on the camera.
    2. Connect the camera to the computer using the supplied USB cable.
    3. Set the camera to Mass Storage or USB MODE.
    4. After the computer recognizes the connection, it will list the camera drive or drives as NO NAME or UNTITLED on the computer desktop.
    5. Click the NO NAME or UNTITLED icon on the computer desktop.
    6. Locate the video files


    For AVCHD video

    Click the PRIVATE folder.

    Click the AVCHD folder.

    Click the BDMV folder.

    Click the STREAM folder.

    For Standard Definition (SD) video

    Click the MP_ROOT folder.

    Click the 101PNV01 folder.



    I would recomment to download Sony's Content Browser Version 2.2 (for Mac)





    Content Browser is an all-in-one clip management application that can be used with the latest portfolio of Sony camcorders.



    Content Browser allows you to work with clips created with XDCAM EX/XDCAM/NXCAM and other devices.  This software allows you to play back and confirm the content of clips and clip lists stored on media or hard disc, such as SxS memory cards and Professional Discs, while also allowing you to copy the clips between media, and move, delete, and otherwise organize these clips.

    This application supports the following clip formats.





    File format




    XDCAM EX format compatible clips






    DV-AVI Type2 a) b)




    XDCAM format clips






    NXCAM format clips




    MTS, M2TS


    MPEG-2 PS b) c)




    DV-AVI Type1 a) b)




    XAVC format clips