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How do I import video from DV camera into iMovie on iMac!?

21840 Views 18 Replies Latest reply: Nov 4, 2012 9:56 AM by LindafromEngland RSS
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mdee4 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 23, 2011 1:15 PM
I have a firewire cable and a panasonic PV-GS36 DV camcorder. I try to connect the camcorder to my iMac, but the camera still won't connect to my mac!
How do I connect this video camera to my mac!?
In manual it says this camera is compatible with Mac and I have the specific DV cable for this camera which says it allows it to connect to a mac.
I tried to see if it would connect to the Image Capture application, iPhoto, and the iMovie app. None of them recognized the camcorder.
Can someone please tell me what I am doing wrong?

I need an answer SOON please because I need to import the video to my Mac for a school project soon so I can edit the movie we made!!

iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.7), none
  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)
    If your Mac has Firewire 800, you need a 9 pin to 4 pin firewire cable. If your Mac has Firewire 400 (older Macs), you need a 6 pin to 4 pin firewire cable. The camera must be using house current, not batteries only.
    iMac 24 2.8Ghz, iPhone, TV, Mac OS X (10.6.6), Panasonic HDC-SD5 iMovie 11
  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (104,630 points)
    Do you have any other devices connected to the iMac? Is the camcorder recognized in system profiler?
    15" 2.4G MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (104,630 points)
    Wrong. The USB connection from the camera is for stills only. You have to connect the FireWire out of the camera directly to the FW port of the computer. Get rid of the hub.
    15" 2.4G MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (104,630 points)
    You cannot capture video from a tape camera using USB. Connecting the camera to the the computer using the USB port does nothing for you at all. It must be connected DIRECTLY to the computer using FireWire. A USB connection of any sort is NOT a FireWire connection. It MUST be removed or the device will not be recognized. You cannot capture from the camera via its USB port. Is this clear enough?
    15" 2.4G MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • Winston Churchill Level 10 Level 10 (81,665 points)
    Try a few combinations of connecting it, say open iMovie, turn on camera or turn on camera, open iMovie, try the camera in different modes etc, some cameras have been known to want things in specific orders.
    MP 2 x QC Xeon 3 Ghz, 12 GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 Level 10 (104,630 points)
    Are you connecting the camera directly to the computer from its FireWire port to the computer's FireWire port without any other device or hub or anything else connected to the computer or the camera? Yes or no?

    Are you using a 4-pin FireWire 400 cable from the camera? What's on the other end? A 6-pin FireWire 400 connector or a 9-pin FireWire 800 connector?
    15" 2.4G MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • F Shippey Level 7 Level 7 (21,500 points)

    Are you using a 4-pin FireWire 400 cable from the camera? What's on the other end? A 6-pin FireWire 400 connector or a 9-pin FireWire 800 connector?

    The original poster has said "I have a Firewire 400 and a 6 pin to 4 pin firewire cable which connects to my mac."


    Have you read Import video from a tape-based (FireWire-equipped) camcorder at
    933mhz G4 Quicksilver - 1.33Ghz G4 12" Al PowerBook - 2.8Ghz 15 " MBP, Mac OS X (10.6.7), I DO NOT receive any form of compensation from my recommendation or link.
  • Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6 (18,920 points)

    My collection to this

    *NO CAMERA or A/D-box*

    • Are You sure that You are using the FireWire Cable - USB-Cable will not work for miniDV tape Cameras
    FireWire - Sure not using the accompany USB-Cable but bought a 4-pin to 6-pin (or 9-pin) FW one ?
    • Test another FW-Cable *very often the problem maker*.

    • Test Your Camera on another Mac so that DV-in still works OK
    • Toogle in iMovie pref. Play-back via Camera (on<->off some times)
    • Some Cameras has a Menu where You must select DV-out to get it to work
    • Camera connected to "charger" (mains adaptor) - not just on battery
    • Camera set in Playback mode - NOT Recording mode

    Does Your Camera work on another Mac ?
    Sorry to say it is to easy to turn the 6-pin end of the FW-cable 180 deg wrong.
    This is lethal to the A/D-chip in the Camera = needs an expensive repair.
    (Hard to find out - else than import/export to another Mac ceased to work
    everything else is OK eg recording and playback to TV)

    • Is the dip-switches set right ?
    • Set to same standard as recorded/editing eg NTSC 29.97fps or PAL 25fps
    • Try resetting it

    • Daisy Chaining most often doesn’t work (some unique cases - it’s the only way that work (some Canon Cameras ?))
    Try to avoid connecting Camera <--> external HD <--> Mac but import directly to the Mac then move
    the Movie project to dedicated external hard disk.
    • FireWire-port - Can be re-setted by - Turn off Mac and disconnecting Mac from Mains/Power for 20-30 minutes

    • Free space on internal (start-up) hard disk ? Please specify the amount of free space.
    (Other hard disks don't count)
    I go for a minmum of 25Gb free space for 4x3 SD Video - and my guess is 5 times more for 16x9 HD ones
    after material is imported and edited.
    • Does Your Mac have a FireWire Port
    • White MacBooks - don't
    • MacBook-Air - don't
    if not then a few Mac’s has a PCM-CIA slot and there are FW-Cards that makes a FW-port this way
    else - NO SOLUTION

    Only option as I get it is either
    • Use another Mac to Capture material (to an external USB2 - Mac OS Extended formatted hard disk - or -
    • Change to another Camera that can be used with Your Mac (no there are no miniDV tape Cameras that can)
    • If Your Mac-Book has a PCM-CIA Card place - then there are FW-port-Cards and then
    You can import via this - but I've not seen this on more modern Macs. My PowerBook G4
    has one and this FW-Card-port works greatly.

    • Delete iMovie pref file may help sometimes. I rather start a new account, log into this and have a re-try.
    • Any strange Plug-ins into QuickTime as Perian etc ? Remove and try again.
    • FileVault is off ? (hopefully)
    • Screen Saver - OFF
    • Energy Saver - OFF

    Using WHAT versions ? .
    • Mac OS - X.5.4 ?
    • QuickTime version ? (This is the heart in both iMovie and FinalCut)
    • iMovie’08 (7.1.?), 09 or 11 ?
    • iMovie HD 6 (6.0.4/3) ?

    *Other ways to import Your miniDV tape*
    • Use another Camera. There where tape play-back stations from SONY
    but they costed about 2-4 times a normal miniDV Camera.
    • If Your Camera works on another Mac. Make an iMovie movie project here and move it
    over to Your Mac via an external hard disk.
    (HAS TO BE Mac OS Extended formatted - USB/DOS/FAT32/Mac OS Exchange WILL NOT DO)
    (Should be a FireWire one - USB/USB2 performs badly)

    from LKN 1935.
    Hi Bengt W, I tried it all, but nothing worked. Your answer has been helpfull insofar as all the different trials led to the conclusion that there was something wrong with my iMovie software. I therefore threw everything away and reinstalled iMovie from the HD. After that the exportation of DV videos (there has not been any problem with HDV videos) to my Sony camcorders worked properly as it did before. Thank you. LKN 1935

    from Karsten.
    in addition to Bengt's excellent '9 yards of advice' ..

    camera set to 'Play' , not rec/computer/etc.?
    camera not on battery, but power-line?
    did your Mac 'recognize' this camera before...?

    a technical check.
    connect camera, on, playback, fw-connected...
    click on the Blue Apple, upper left of your screen ..
    choose 'About../More..
    under Firewire.. what do you read..?

    • FileVault - Secure that it’s turned off
    • Network storage - DOESN’T WORK
    • Where did You store/capture/import Your project ?
    External USB hard disk = Bad Choise / FireWire = Good
    If so it has to be Mac OS Extended formatted
    ----> UNIX/DOS/FAT32/Mac OS Exchange is NOT Working for VIDEO !

    Thanks for all your suggestions. What I learned is that I had a software problem. I had something called "Nikon Transfer" on my Mac that was recognizing my Canon camcorder as a still camera and was preventing iMovie from working properly. After uninstalling Nikon Transfer and doing a reboot, everything worked great.

    I never liked the Nikon Transfer software anyway--I guess I'll get a cheap card reader and use that to transfer photos in the future.

    *No Camera or bad import*
    • USB hard disk
    • Network storage
    • File Vault is on

    jiggaman15dg wrote

    if you have adobe cs3 or 4 and have the adobe bridge on close that
    or no firewire will work
    see if that halps

    DJ1249 wrote

    The problem was the external backup hard drive that is connected, you need to disconect the external drive before the mac can see the video camera.

    MaryBoog wrote

    Maybe your problems is solved in the meantime, but for all others this might help as I had the same problem, also have the Sony HDR-HC7, but the 7e (Europe, PAL). I found this link today and it works perfectly

    // site=odwenGB&sec=DVH&m=HDR-HC7E

    What I exactly did.- put camera in play mode - open guide - choose connection guide - choose comp./printer (where to transfer movie to) - select connection.- i-link (on my camera) but equal to firewire - OK - choose HDV - choose NO for conversion of
    Settings are shown then (VCR HDV/DV.- HDV and OFF), press OK, OK, END.
    Switch camera off. Connect firewire cable to camera & Mac. Switch camera on, in play/edit mode.
    Open i-movie, choose import from camera. On screen below the camera connection is shown.- DV (HDV). Now you can import, automatically or manually.
    This worked perfectly for me. Took me 2 days to find out. Could not find any clear thread explaining what I had to do on the camera and the manual was not clear either.

    Yours Bengt W
    G3/G4 Blue white,PBG4,dG5, OS X.3.9 + QT6.5.2 and OS X.4.11 + QT 7.3.1
  • catspaw Level 5 Level 5 (4,340 points)
    Hi mdee4 - have you initially opened imovie, or are you expecting to see some connection evidence on the desktop?

    G5 Dual 2.0 ghz; iMac 2.66GHz Intel Core i5, Mac OS X (10.6.2), 4 GB RAM; VidCams: Sony DCR TRV80E; Sony HDR-HC1E
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