I purchased a Sony HandyCam video camera not even considering that it might not play nice with my Mac.

As many people have discovered, iMovie, Quicktime, etc. on Macs don’t read MPEG2 encoded video. After many hours of reading
posts on-line I have finally gotten iMovie to recognize the videos from my Sony HandyCam and import them directly from the
camera. I’m not sure what the magic piece of software is, but I installed the following (and I am using the Snow Leopard operating system):

Perian (www.perian.org)
Flip4Mac (www.telestream.net/flip4mac-wmv/overview.htm)
Quicktime mpeg2 component (apple.com/quicktime/mpeg2 – this one costs $20) – Note, this you absolutely need, even if you don’t get any of the other pieces of software (I haven’t found a freeware program that suits, though VLC will play your mpeg2 movies, if that is all you need, and is free).
Quicktime Pro ($29.99)

Quicktime Pro will display the video, but does not play the sound (even though the a3 codec is part of the perian package and the sound should play. If works for some people, but not for all. Don’t know why).

I find MPEG Streamclip (http://www.squared5.com/svideo/mpeg-streamclip-mac.html) is also a great tool for converting MPEG2 to other formats. However, it needs the $20 quicktime mpeg2 component to work.

Of course it would be nice if iMovie and Quicktime just dealt with MPEG2 out of the box, but at least I managed to get it working so I can do what I want.

What still doesn’t work is importing the MPG2 files from disk to iMovie, as it doesn’t recognize them as a format it knows. So all
is not perfect, but at least I’m now content that I can look at and edit my videos in iMovie or Quicktime Pro.