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Pinnacle Studio MovieBox Plus: FireWire to USB!

6054 Views 1 Reply Latest reply: Oct 29, 2008 2:17 PM by MartinR RSS
Wiley207 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 29, 2008 12:09 PM
I don't have a Mac, but I've used them at my school, and I plan to get a Mac in the near future. Initially I figured I'd buy the $999 white MacBook since I use a Canon ZR800 MiniDV camcorder, until I just remembered I have THIS:

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/ol-images/hometech/uploads/2007-02-20PinnacleStu dioMoviebox.jpg

It is Pinnacle's Studio MovieBox Plus unit. What it does is that it connects to your PC via a USB 2.0 port and is able to capture analog video AND MiniDV, complete with device control! Yep, it has a FireWire port on the front to plug the camcorder in, and it connects to a USB 2.0 port!

The Studio 10 Plus software that came with it works great, on both PCs I've used it on, and I've also tested the MovieBox device with other programs, including Windows Movie Maker (XP version), Roxio Creator 10, various Nero programs and Ulead VideoStudio and DVD MovieFactory. They all recognized the DV part and the analog part. But the important part of the story is that when it came to Adobe Premiere Elements (version 3.0), that program was unable to capture analog video, but surprisingly, it recognized my Canon ZR800 camcorder through the MovieBox's FireWire port, and captured from it as if my camcorder was connected to a real FireWire port on the PC, using device control with it! The MovieBox is capable of capturing in DV, HDV, AVI, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2.

I wonder if I plug this thing into a USB 2.0 port on one of the Intel Macs (hopefully the newer-style MacBook), and then connect my Canon ZR800 to the MovieBox's DV port, the Mac would think the DV part of the MovieBox is a real FireWire port and capture from my MiniDV camcorder like it would on a PC? If anyone has one of these babies, an Intel Mac with OS X Leopard, and a MiniDV camcorder, can someone try and confirm this for me? That way, I can shell out a bit more money and get the $1300 MacBook and just use the MovieBox device for capturing from my ZR800 camcorder to edit in iMovie and Final Cut Express. As far as formats go, it encodes in typical DV format, which comes out as AVI on PCs and MOV on Macs, and also works with MPEG if you really want to use it that way.

Can anyone help me on this? My college's TV studio director, who is a former Pinnacle Systems employee and has worked with both Mac and Windows, thinks this might be a smart idea, so I don't have to spend more money to buy a USB flash-drive camcorder just so I can edit video on the new MacBook (which would admittedly be a stupid reason, IMO)
HP Pavilion DV9000, Windows Vista, AMD Turion dual-core processor, 2 GB of RAM (I plan on switching to a Mac soon)
  • MartinR Level 6 Level 6 (14,560 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 29, 2008 2:17 PM (in response to Wiley207)
    Great idea but ... but probably no go ... The MovieBox sofware is PC only and it is unlikely that the MovieBox converter by itself will work with a Mac. You can try it, but since it requires the Pinnacle software it is not likely to work. And Pinnacle equipment in general does not have a good reputation working with Macs.

    You could take the MovieBox to your local Apple Store and see if you can try it out on a Mac there. It can't hurt anything.

    Have you considered getting an iMac instead of a MacBook? Or perhaps a refurbed MacBook that has a FireWire port - they're currently going for $850 to $1000 and carry the full Apple Warranty, and are also eligible for the 3-year AppleCare. My son has one and it's been working flawlessly from the day he bought it.
    iMacG5/2.0GHz/2GB/3.6TB, Mac OS X (10.4.11), eMac/1.25GHz/1GB/160GB, MacBookPro/2GHz/1GB/100GB, Too much other gear.

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