4 Replies Latest reply: Nov 15, 2012 12:56 AM by ofblack
ofblack Level 1 (0 points)

Hi all. I would import my video tape on my iMac but i'm experiencing some problem.


Hi have a sony digital handycam DCR-TRV145e PAL, the format is digital8. I use iMove 11 to import the video. I connect my camcoder to the mac through firewire 4 to 9 pin.


I follow to procedure i can read almost everywhere on the web. In theory, everything should be simple...in theory!


I switch the camcoder to VCR mode then iMovie open the blue screen window to import the video. I click the import button, select the name of the event, and the import process starts. I can see the images of the video tape in the window.

When i stop the import, iMovie pop up me saying that X minutes of video are successfully imported.


But no clips are are created. The thumbnails are not generated. If I select the event in the event library in the bottom-left side no clips are displayed in the bottom-right side.

Looking at the folder of the event (using Finder) it is empty or, in some case, there are many empty files (zero byte) with dv extension.


I've tested it with 3 different OS, snow leopard, lion, mountain lion (always iMovie 11), but the result is the same.


Any idea?

iMovie '11, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2), tested also Lion and Snow Leopard
  • Bengt Wärleby Level 6 (19,450 points)



    May be a grain of help here - May be ?


    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

    • Toggle 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 e.g. recording and playback to TV)



    • Is the dip-switches set right ?

    • Set to same standard as recorded/editing e.g. 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


    External device’s (hard disk’s)

    • Should be FireWire as USB/USB2 performs badly and so does Airport or Net-work connected ones too.

    • MUST BE - Mac OS Extended formatted - UNIX/DOS/FAT32/Mac OS Exchange - DO NOT WORK for video due to 4Gb barrier.



    • 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 minimum 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. No Camera or A/D-box

    • GarageBands fix - Close iMovie, Open GarageBand, Play some notes, Close GB and iMove can now be OK

    • 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 helpful 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 Choice / 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 un-installing 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 helps


    DJ1249 wrote

    The problem was the external backup hard drive that is connected, you need to disconnect 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

    //support.sony-europe.com/tutorials/dime/videotransfer/vtransfer.aspx site=odw_en_GB&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 i.link.

    Settings are shown then (VCR HDV/DV.- HDV and i.link-conv..- 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

  • ofblack Level 1 (0 points)

    Dear Bengt, thank you very much for your reply.

    Of course before to post my question I have navigated the forum and I already got this very good list. I also made a lot of tests according to the list.


    Not mentioned in the previous post but i have also

    • tested two different firewire cable
    • verified that File Vault is off
    • stored on my internal hard drive, NOT external USB or network storage. More than 600MB of free space
    • used three different mac (with different OS)
    • used new installation of iMovie


    What I should still test is another camera, but I would avoid to buy one just for a test.


    Anyway, i guess my camera is detected by iMovie because i can see the video in the window while importing. The problem is that the video is not saved.




  • Bengt Wärleby Level 6 (19,450 points)

    Hi Antonio


    More than 600MB of free space


    This is about 40 times too LOW - Way To Low !


    Fantastic that Your Mac even start's up.


    Mac OS = UNIX and as this sprays out a lot of temp files to be able to work OK - and to this the application used does the same.


    So my minimum of Free Space is - 25.000 MB or 25GB


    Yours Bengt W

  • ofblack Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm really sorry Bengt,

    unforgivable error on my side, but it is just a typo. I mean more than 600 GB, I have a 1TB hard drive


    Anyway, this night i did more tests. I tested also Final Cut trial version, the procedure to import a video is almost as simple as in iMovie, the only difference is that it works.


    I'm now almost sure that there is a bug in iMovie.

    Anyway, I would avoid to spend 270,00 euro to buy Final Cut just to have a functionality that iMovie should provide.