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Old March 12th, 2012, 02:49 PM   #1
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Can't find a solution for mini dv and Apple OSX

I have around 100 mini-dv tapes all shot with a Sony VX2000. As they are now around 10 years old, I want to archive them onto a hard disk drive (HDD). Unfortunately, I sold my camera a long time ago, but, I recently purchased a mint condition Sony DCR-TRV17 on eBay that plays them back just fine. So, I hook the camcorder up to my mac mini (2011 running Lion, 8 GB RAM, update all programs/firmware religously) with a four-pin to FW800 cable directly into the mini's FW800 port. I open iMovie 11, it recognizes my camera by name, and I choose to import automatically to my mini's HDD. It begins to import, audio and video seem fine. But, after importing for about 15-20 seconds, iMovie's preview pane freezes, camcorder still plays on, and then iMove crashes altogether and closes, with a corresponding "send error report to Apple" request.

It seems perhaps the TRV17 is not supported by iMovie 11, not sure because it recognizes it by name, but won't go past 20 seconds. The last iMovie version I can confirm did support this camera specifically was iMovie 3...good luck finding that, not even on eBay. I thought iMovie 11 supported most tape-based camcorders. Since it seems to recognize it and gets going only to freeze up after 15-20 seconds or so, perhaps this is a resolvable issue with my system software or hardware. I have scoured the Internet for clues, but nothing really helpful. I have over 200 GB of space left on the HDD, I deleted the plists, iMovie just seems to want to crash because it can.

So, my question for anyone who can offer helpful adivce is, what other way do I have to import my mini-dv tapes into my Mac or otherwise archive the tapes onto a HDD? I don't even neccessarily want to edit them right now (but will some day), I just want them copied onto a HDD to archive, presumably in a lossless uncompressed yet common format (.mov?) so I can work on them down the road.

Thanks in advance for any direction,

- Kevin Ryan
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Old March 12th, 2012, 03:28 PM   #2
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Re: Can't find a solution for mini dv and Apple OSX

I'm still using iMovie HD 6 for simple HDV tasks.

It became a free download for users of iLife 08 - don't know if it will work for you but here's the link (it might look for iLife 08 before it installs)
Apple - Support - Downloads - iMovieHD6
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Old March 12th, 2012, 03:38 PM   #3
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Re: Can't find a solution for mini dv and Apple OSX

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Ryan View Post
But, after importing for about 15-20 seconds, iMovie's preview pane freezes, camcorder still plays on, and then iMove crashes altogether and closes, with a corresponding "send error report to Apple" request.
Signs point to a bad cable, marginal hardware on the Mac or the camcorder or a hardware incompatibility. I would try a different fire wire cable from a different manufacturer first.
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Old March 12th, 2012, 04:45 PM   #4
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Re: Can't find a solution for mini dv and Apple OSX

Both Quicktime 7 Pro and QuickTime X "player" can also record from firewire as an alternative to iMovie
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Old March 19th, 2012, 09:13 AM   #5
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Re: Can't find a solution for mini dv and Apple OSX

Gents,
Thanks very much for the responses. QT Player does see the Sony camcorder, but I had trouble getting it to not lock up as well. I installed iMovie 09 from an old iLife disc, but after the installation could not get Lion 10.7 to "see" the program. However, after trying iMovie 11 again, it now imports my mini-dv without freezing up. Not sure why it works now, but will not touch anyhting until I get all tapes imported!
The import files are all .dv files, and I guess there is not a way to change this, and maybe I don't want to.
Two questions: Is there any "best" file for raw uncompressed digital video for having a backup copy of all our precious home videos on a hard disk drive? Space is not an issue for me. Secondly, is there any difference in using iMovie or Final Cut X for importing? Is a .dv file a .dv file regardless of how you import it? If there are better files (.mov?) or if there is an advantage in importing using FCX, please advise.

Thanks again for the advicce, it was very helpful!
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Old March 19th, 2012, 12:22 PM   #6
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Re: Can't find a solution for mini dv and Apple OSX

dv is dv. iMovie vs FCP X won't matter. dv is what the camera stored on tape. when you capture a tape, it's a bit for bit data transfer from tape to disk. dropouts happen when something causes the data to be corrupted and information gone missing. there is no better looking version of the video. that's it. Going to raw would do nothing but take space.
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Old March 19th, 2012, 12:33 PM   #7
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Re: Can't find a solution for mini dv and Apple OSX

Thanks Les,
You've been very helpful, I appreaciate it.
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Old March 22nd, 2012, 03:49 PM   #8
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Re: Can't find a solution for mini dv and Apple OSX

Some decks are better playing back without errors than others depending on how the tape was recorded. Also decks can be out of alignment which can give you playback errors. It is a good idea to try different playback machines if you are getting errors.
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