2 Replies Latest reply: Mar 28, 2014 11:18 AM by Bengt Wärleby
James Fernald Level 2 Level 2 (315 points)

I have an odd question. I have about 100 mini-dv tapes that are a mix of pal and ntsc. I actually still have the original cameras which are at least 5 years old. Boy are Sony handycams - the PAL being a DCR-HC51  and the ntsc being a DCR-HC26.


Right now it doesn't appear my macbook pro is reading the PAL camera...will try NTSC next.


Any suggestions? Do I need an older version of Imovie, and if so, how do I get it?


Also, should if it does work, should I just upload all the tapes onto a hard drive?

MacBook Pro (13-inch Early 2011), OS X Mavericks (10.9.1)
  • brenden dv Community Specialists Community Specialists (4,720 points)

    Hi James Fernald,


    If you are having an issue seeing or importing footage from an older DV camera in iMovie, you may find the following article helpful:


    iMovie '08 or later: Cannot see or control camera




    - Brenden

  • Bengt Wärleby Level 6 Level 6 (19,460 points)



    You remember that they NEED to use the FireWire Cable !


    USB - Will not work - at all.


    Start to import thev standard You finally want it to be. Then iMovie (last versions) use to be able to adapt the following to same standard.


    I do import to FinalCut and in recording standard - then I use JES_Deinterlacer to convert to what I need and then make a project that match in 100% to this. Result as good as I can guess it to be - I'm satisfied.




    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