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Import DV video from camcorder tape to a single DV file?

9187 Views 62 Replies Latest reply: Feb 8, 2014 2:12 PM by robertlloydsharp RSS
  • Chris Rivas Calculating status...

    Hi Matt,


    You seem to be the best person to consult about this. I have a Panasonic PV-GS31 (from around 2005.) It is very similar to your old Sony DVR-TRV22. I also have a bunch of old MiniDV's of my kids when they were babies. I'm using a Mac Air which I purchased in 3/2013, it's well spec'd too, i7 chip, 256 SSD, and 8GB of ram running the latest version of OS Mavericks. I desperately would like to import all my old MiniDV tapes into the Mac Air and possibly edit them some how. Is there a way that I can import into my Mac Air? Can I import into QT Pro or 7 and then edit in iMovie 10 or later?


    Finally, any suggestions on which cable would work with the Mac Air, USB, Thunderbolt with Firewire adapter? Your help is really appreciated.


    Attached are photos of my camcorder.


    Thanks a lot Matt,

    Chris Rivas



  • Matthew Morgan Level 7 Level 7 (22,420 points)

    I'd give Thunderbolt to FireWire a try.




  • Johnny O Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)

    Hi JohnNY123,


    Excellent Thread--thanks for starting it.  I reached the same point as you with the same objectives; that is, what is the best native capture application for mini-dv tapes!   


    Curious to know what application you, and/or anyone else, decided to use for capture and why?



  • Johnny O Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)

    Thanks for the post.  As I begin to back-up/convert my mini-dv library, I have settled on using either iMovie 6 HD and/or QuickTime 7 Pro as the import application of choice.  I'm trying to determine the merits and any tangible differences between via iMovie 6 HD or QuickTime 7 Pro, to create the highest quality native transfer.


    It's still not clear weather iMovie or QT7Pro is best for conversion to create a long-term archive.   Later, I plan to use either iMovie 6 or new iMovie 2013 as my editing application (presuming the latter has resolved the skip field issue observed in iMovie 8, 9, and 11).


    Anyone's experience or perspectives regarding of using iMovie 6 HD vs. QT7Pro to optimize the import/archive step in this workflow would be most helpful!

  • Johnny O Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)

    Hi JohnNY123,


    I thought there may be a "magic bullet" or process to best archive tapes; however, like you, the process has quite a learning curve.  I'm going to review / compare both applications just for capture and file format over the next few days/weeks. Also, I will be examining some of the approaches "surreyfriends" and others in this thread indicated earlier, interesting approaches that I want to validate.


    One tidbit, I did visit the Apple Store recently and one of the Apple video experts did say that previous iMovie applications utilize QuickTime as their foundation.



  • williaml100 Calculating status...

    I've had success with lifeflix a new minidv importer in the app store.  it doesn't work with every camera but most of them.  it's only $10. 

  • williaml100 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    you're welcome. I totally get not wanting new software, and I think lifeflix was built on quicktime, but it fits my other side which is really lazy, it makes the import and organization of the files so easy.  anyway, glad you figured it out!

  • Johnny O Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)

    Hi JohnNY123,


    As an update, I've been experimenting using iMovie '09 & '11 for dv import.  Regrettably, I have yet to find an option to select/deselect clip-splitting in either two applications.  The result, as you have found early-on, is multiple clips in the Events folder.  There are some solutions to rejoin those clips; however, not without challenges.


    Recently, I have experimented with "Sharing" (exporting) original captured mini-dv footage to achieve one clip for archival storage.  Using iM09 & iM11, I too found that each produced substandard results due to an issue called Single Field Processing (SFP). 


    I am reviewing deinterlace software which may remedy this issue (ex. JES Deinterlacer).  If acceptable results can be obtained (deinterlace), it may be possible to export multiple split clips as one clip.  However, by doing so, it is not clear to me technically whether that would require/result in greater compression and loss--even if shared/exported as a DV Stream--perhaps others can speak to this?


    Some folks in various threads have commented that iMovie '13 should be able to export/share without SFP; however, I cannot verify.  Presuming iM13 can export/share dv footage without SFP limitations, iM13 may be an interesting application choice. 


    I do share concerns expressed by others who suggest iM13 may have limited codec choices/availability.  Thus, if iM13 can "use" other codecs from the QT7P library, it may be a good combination.  Of course, if iM13 cannot "use" other codecs, other solutions may be necessary.


    So, it appears that unless SFP is solvable/resolvable, it may be better to utilize other capture applications to archive original footage.  Hope to progress this discussion!


    Hope to hear how you are progressing with QT7Pro as a capture/export application....


    Johnny O.

  • robertsharp3 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I know the forums are not meant for commercial purposes - and hopefully this won't be construed as such.  If it is, my apologies in advance. 


    We developed the LifeFlix MiniDV Importer recently to deal with all the issues discussed here (I personally had over 100 MiniDV tapes and iMovie was frustrating me to no end).  If anybody on this list wants a free copy please email me at  LifeFlix isn't some venture capital funded company with tons of cash, just me and a couple guys with regular day jobs and tons of MiniDV tapes.  We'd love to offer everybody here a free copy and get some feedback where we went right and/or wrong.  Thanks!


    Robert Sharp

  • Pieter_from_Ehv Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)

    @Johnny O: For an answer to your SFP question, see this topic:


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