3 Replies Latest reply: Dec 20, 2009 7:34 PM by Ziatron
Randy Leiker Level 1 Level 1
I am trying to import VHS tapes into iMovie. I am using a Sony Media Converter DVMC-DA2. I have it hooked up to a VHS player. I tried just about every possible setting to no avail. I am using the 4 pin to 6 pin fire wire connection. I have the s-video hooked up and the red and white audio plugs. The best I come up with is the audio portion of the VHS tape, no video. I have lots of tapes that I would like to edit and convert to DVD's. Any ideas?

24" iMac 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6

    Don't know about Sony Media Converter DVMC-DA2 but I do

    a. S-VHS - needs a specific S-VHS VCR to playback

    b. I use a Canopus ADVC-300

    c. iMovie'08 or 09 - ARE NO GOOD TOOL TO DO THIS - discard every second line = Less resolution
    • iMovie up to version HD 6
    • FinalCut Express or Pro
    Works greatly with Maximal Quality

    d. From VCR I use the SCART-connection. THIS NEEDS A SCART to RAC Connector WITH AN IN and OUT Switch.
    The one that was delivered with Camera is only one way - in to VCR - NOT OUT to Camera or A/D-box.

    Else my general list on

    *NO CAMERA or A/D-box*

    • Sure that You use the FireWire - USB will not work for miniDV tape Cameras
    FireWire - Sure not using the accompany USB-Cable but bought a 4-pin to 6-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

    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)

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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)

    Using WHAT versions ? .
    • Mac OS - X.5.4 ?
    • QuickTime version ? (This is the heart in both iMovie and FinalCut)
    • iMovie 8 (7.1.?) ?
    • 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

    Yours Bengt W
  • David Mclaine Level 4 Level 4
    Have you tried another s video cable? or check inside the end of the cable, the pins can get out of line.
  • Ziatron Level 4 Level 4
    I am trying to import VHS tapes into iMovie. I am using a Sony Media Converter DVMC-DA2.

    Not a fan of the Sony Media Converter.

    I like the ADVC300.


    The ADVC300 will take Audio and Video from any source (VCR, Tivo, Satellite Receiver) and convert it to FireWire (iMovie will treat it like a camera).

    The ADVC300 also comes with a nice Macintosh application that works flawlessly with iMovie 06 and iDVD 08/09 (I have used it with iMovie 08/09 a few times too).

    The program that comes with the ADVC300 has some nice filters that can improve video and audio of the source material.

    I would use iMovie 06 with iDVD 08/09, why?


iMovie 08/09 uses 'single field processing' meaning every other horizontal line of the video is thrown out, which reduces the sharpness of the footage. iMovie 06 uses ALL of the image to form the video.

If your primary workflow is editing DV clips and making DVDs, iMovie '06 is better suited. Your movie will arrive at iDVD in DV format, which is an ideal match for making a DVD: same resolution, same pixels aspect ratio, and original quality. If you share your movie from iMovie '08 / 09, it gets re-rendered at 640x480 or less, and then iDVD upscales it back to 720x480. The end result is obviously not as good.

    iMovie 06 and iDVD 08/09 is a 100% "lossless" combination and my DVD's look like they came from Hollywood!