It all started with a camcorder…
It was 2008, I believe, when I wanted to buy a Full HD camera to work on some projects/ideas, and happened to buy a Sony Camcorder HDR-SR5.
I always wondered what the framerate of the recorded videos is, since I’d also like to play a bit with the videos in slow motion, but that depends on the fps of course.
I slightly recall writing to the Sony support a few years ago, around 2011/2012 if memory serves, asking with how many frames per second the camcorder records, and they eventually refused to give any information if I wouldn’t register the device. Frankly, I do not care if you immediately believe I have something to hide. No means no. What would they do with my info anyway? The same bullshit as Google, Facebook & Co. I registered my PSP once, only because they said everyone who would register his or her PSP would get a free game or UMD movie – I didn’t get anything yet.
So today, I happened to check out my camcorder once again, which I didn’t really use yet, and was still wondering about the technical details, i.e. the framerate. I wrote to the support again, but after I did, I thought I’d rather call them and settle this right away.
A nice woman was on the phone. I explained her that I have a Sony camcorder, Model HDR-SR5, that I’d like to know with how many frames per second it records videos on best quality, and that I can’t seem to find this info in the manual (because you can’t find it in the manual – I even searched for “frame” in the online PDF manual). She looked for a while into the technical details and ended up telling me that the highest quality was AVC HD 15M (XP), and that the values like 15M or 9M was the bitrate – M stands for Mbps. I said thanks, and that I’ll see if I can do anything with that. And that’s where the usual online research started.
I did try to find out the framerate online before, but Sony doesn’t seem to give out those details, so I had to research differently, and deeper for sure..
After a while of searching I figured the easiest way to find out the framerate was to record something, import the video to my PC and check out the specs with another program. I shortly recorded some random things, plugged the camcorder on my computer and wanted to copy the files – and I had a “Ah, right” moment. I had this before: It records in different files, video and audio seperately, and the only way to actually import, play and edit the recorded video properly is with Sony’s software called “PlayMemories Home”. I’m sure I had the CD with it once, maybe I even still have it somewhere, but living in the digital age, I just thought I’d download the software online, as per usual.
So I downloaded the newest version of PlayMemories Home – they offer a Windows and a Mac version, but none for Linux… So I tried to install it on Windows XP, my second partition, because I’m fed up with Windows and Microsoft’s Spy Updates and moved to Linux, but that’s for another time and another blog post…
It wasn’t even an installer, it was a downloader. God, I hate those. Why am I on the internet downloading a file which downloads another file for installation? Can’t I just download the installation file to begin with?
However, during the installation it told me that this version would not support Windows XP, only Windows Vista and above. No deal, so I went looking for older versions which still would work on XP.
Researching again, many useful links were found. The most useful ones were a site which offered the downloader of an older version which works on XP, several forum threads (on Sony’s forum) of people talking about this very issue (older version of PlayMemories Home which would work on XP), and a guide/tutorial (also on Sony’s website) explaining how to install PlayMemories Home on XP, on Vista, and on 7.
I downloaded the downloader of the older version which supposedly would work on XP, but during installation the downloader could not download anything and complained about some “network error”. What’s probably the case is that the downloader could not find the specific version on Sony’s servers and thus failed to download anything. I kept searching an older version (installer though, no downloader), but the only useful link I was able to find then was on Dropbox, which unfortunately was removed already. So I called Sony’s support again, right…
A guy took my call. I explained him that I was searching now online since over an hour (actually it was over 2, but that wasn’t the point) for an older version of PlayMemories Home which would work on Windows XP, since the newest doesn’t support Windows XP. He boldly told me there was no software for XP, like all the info I just researched was imaginary, like the camcorder I just named by model no. wasn’t produced back when XP still was the current Windows. Maybe I’m also from a parallel universe, checked all those facts where I come from and suddenly ended up in this one, right before calling him, you know.. So I tried it differently (knowing he’d lead himself into a trap) and asked him what the software for my specific camcorder was. He then told me that there was ONLY ONE software for XP, and that it doesn’t exist anymore. Like, gone from all the world or something, you know.. I kept asking him what the software was called, and he kept telling me it doesn’t exist anymore. He became more and more mad as we were talking, rarely letting me finish talking. Admittedly, I shortly got angry too and said that as a buyer of this camcorder I have the right to have a software for XP, he got even more furious and hung up on me.
I called again, and waited a while on the waiting line – that’s to be expected, it’s what they always do. But I would withdraw, not with this kind of ignorance and arrogant attitude, as if everyone who calls there is an idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. While waiting I had the idea of recording this call (just as they do for “training purposes”), only to put it later on YouTube. I expected to be waiting longer, but that was the moment when the same guy took the phone, and I said “It’s me again. That wasn’t nice”. He said he’d do it again if I wouldn’t want to listen that there wasn’t any XP version. I asked him then why there was a guide/tutorial on Sony’s website, explaining how to install PlayMemories Home on XP, on Vista and Win7. He asked me where this guide was, and I asked him if I could give him the URL so that he could go see for himself (the only point being that there WAS a XP version). He said “please”, expecting me to give some non-Sony URL, and I dictated:
After I was done, he was shortly silent. Then he asked “What kind of URL is this?” And I said “sony.com, I just said that”. Again he was shortly quiet, then he said with a slingly unsure voice “Our network can’t open this URL”.
After he said that I was shortly quiet myself, then I had to slightly laugh about the whole thing and ended up saying “You know what? Have a nice day. It’s okay” and hung up on him.
I kept searching online if I could find the software, and after a while I finally found it:
The file “pmhome20ec.exe” is the full version resp. the installer (not downloader, thus 121 MB) for XP. I downloaded it, installed it, camcorder was recognized, videos were importet successfully.
I noticed that Mister “There’s-no-software-for-XP” of the call support center was fucking with me when he claimed that he couldn’t open the URL docs.esupport.sony.com/dvimag/DSCWX100_WX150_guide/en/contents/08/02/02/02.html… The Sony support center can’t open any sony.com URLs.. Yeah, right..
And to complete this whole thing, here are finally the specs:
– Frame Rate: 50
– Resolution 1440×1080 (I don’t care what you call that, but that’s not Full HD. Full HD has a width of 1920)
One thing I do know: That was the last time that I bought a Sony product. Playstation included.
Don’t ever let them tell you anything, and always check out the facts for yourself!