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How to configure a new iMac purchase for working with old analog and digital 8 videos.

826 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Feb 9, 2013 6:13 PM by AppleMan1958 RSS
johnMBC Calculating status...
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Jan 18, 2013 1:03 PM

I'm planning to buy a new 27" iMac and wonder if I will find the standard version in the Apple Store to be sufficient for working with home movies taken on 8mm analog and 8mm digital tapes. This is for home use and would probably not go beyond using iMovie and iDVD applications. If the retail store version would not be satisfactory, I would need to specify options and purchase through the on-lin Apple Store.

PowerBook G4 15", Mac OS X (10.5.8), 2 GB SDRAM; 1.67 MHz processor Power PC
  • Ziatron Level 4 Level 4 (3,255 points)

    For the job you are describing I would purchase a Mac Pro. A Mac Pro includes one or two optical SuperDrive's.


    You will need an analog to digital converter unless your 8mm tapes have a FireWire output. Anyway, you will play your movie into iMovie. From iMovie you can make a DVD using iDVD.


    IDVD is only sold on a disk. You can look on Amazon or eBay and purchase a copy of iLife 11.

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)

    If you stick to your standard def 8MM tapes, then any current iMac is sufficient. If you think you will be doing a lot of editing, then 27" is the way to go. If you think you might move into editing HD movies like AVCHD, or if you want the flexibility to edit in Final Cut Pro X in the future, I would suggest getting an I7 processor if you can afford it. Also, get an upgraded graphics card if you can afford it. I would suggest getting the minimum amount of memory, because you can add memory inexpensively from vendors like and I would add third party memory to bring it up to at least 8GB. I have 16GB in mine.


    If you do all this, you will probably want to custom build your iMac. I did this and had it shipped to my house.


    iDVD no longer is sold by Apple, but it still works. Be sure to save a copy of your current iDVD. Also, with the new iMacs, you will need an external DVD drive. These are no longer built in.


    There is a well respected Final Cut Pro X expert who recently bought an iMac, and he wrote a blog post on his thought process in selecting options. You can read it here.


    However, if all you want to do is edit old 8MM and analog, any iMac will do. (Even the 21" models).


    For capturing, your old digital 8, you need Firewire. The new iMacs may have Thunderbolt instead of Firewire. You can purchase a Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter for about $30-40 to attach your digital 8. You will also need a 4 pin to 9 pin Firewire cable. These are available inexpensively at sites like this. &p_id=3541&seq=1&format=2


    For analog, there are USB solutions and Firewire solutions. For Firewire, get one of the DAC boxes (Digital Analog Converters) from Grass Valley.  For the USB solution, consider the EyeTV Hybrid from ElGato.

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)

    Third party memory will not invalidate the warranty, but they might take it out to run diagnostics if they thought the memory might be causing the problem.


    (On the 21" it might, because it is not easy to do.)

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)

    Yes. I forget to mention that some digital 8 cameras (but not all) have passthrough capability, meaning you can play an analog tape and it will be converted to digital and come out the Firewire port.


    If you can get a camera that does that, you will not need additional hardware. I bought a Sony TRV-230 camcorder for that purpose and it worked fine. I bought it eBay, did my captures, then sold it on eBay.

  • TimeSave Calculating status...

    I had successfully transferred numerous analog and digital 8 movies to iMovie 11 and earlier versions with my Sony GV-D200 connected by Firewire to my iMac (mid-2007).  I recently purchased one of the new 27" iMacs.  Unfortunately, trying to connect the GV-D200 to the new iMac via the Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire Adapter and a Moshi 800 to 400 adapter (both purchased from the Apple store) will not work -- the deck simply does not show up in iMovie 11.  I am going to try using the old iMovie HD (ver. 6.0.4) and see if that works, and will report back.

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)

    My experience has not been good with those adapters. I think it is better to go with a straight cable to go between your Firewire Device and the 9 pin connector for the Thunderbolt Adapter.

  • TimeSave Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I was able to import a digital 8 movie through the old iMovie HD (ver. 6.0.4) using the two adapters connected as described above. It takes some doing to get into iMovie 11 but it can be done (save clips into an iMovie HD project, then from iMovie 11 import the iMovie HD project). 


    Would love to find a cable that will connect 4 pin Firewire from my Sony GV-D200 directly to the Thunderbolt input on my new 27" iMac.   Have looked but been unable to find such a cable so stuck using the old Firewire cable I had plus the two adapters.  Any leads on a "straight cable" that can eliminate the adapters and the need to go through old iMovie HD would be greatly appreciated!

  • AppleMan1958 Level 7 Level 7 (27,335 points)

    There is no 4 pin to thunderbolt cable, but here is a cable that will go from 708r camera to the thunderbolt firewire adapter. It has worked for others, but I can't guarantee it will work for you. It is not very expensive to try. &p_id=3541&seq=1&format=2


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