Quantcast MacBook Air not detecting Sony camcorder? - digitalFAQ Forum
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02-18-2021, 04:51 PM
Jim Starks Jim Starks is offline
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I am attempting to transfer old Hi8 and Digital8 videos using a Sony DCR-TRV730 Digital8 camcorder connected to a newer MacBook Air running Big Sur IOS. The Sony camcorder has an iLink (Firewire) port.
After hours on the internet researching what seemed to be the correct and best way to connect these two devices, I purchased three adapter cables: 1) Firewire 4-pin to 9-pin 2) Firewire 9-pin to Thunderbolt, and 3) Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt 3.
I connected the camcorder to the laptop using these cables, but the MacBook is not detecting the camcorder. I tried using both iMovie and LifeFlix.
I believe all my settings are correct on the camcorder (DV link OUT, camcorder set to VCR), and don't see any settings that need to be made on the MacBook.
What am I missing? I'm thinking that maybe the 9-pin to 4-pin adapter cable I purchased might be the wrong one? Does it need to be 1394a or limited to a 400 speed?
I have about 30 old home videos that was looking forward to getting in a digital format on a computer, but am close to returning the cables and paying someone to transfer.
Any advice would be appreciated, thanks in advance.
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  #2  
02-18-2021, 08:44 PM
bookemdano bookemdano is online now
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Ugh, yeah using a modern Mac for this task is certainly not straightforward! First thing's first, what year MacBook Air is it?

You've got all the correct stuff (I assume that #2 and #3 on your list are the Apple-branded accessories? If not, that may be the problem). The 4-pin to 9-pin cable is exactly what you want. The newer 9-pin Firewire 800 port on the Firewire->Thunderbolt adapter is backwards compatible with the 4-pin Firewire 400 port on your camcorder, so you're good there.

Searching on it just now, I didn't find much but did see this thread over on apple's support forums where a couple other people said they couldn't capture firewire via iMovie on Big Sur. But in their case, the camcorder showed up as a capture source, they just couldn't select it and initiate the capture. Are you saying that your camcorder isn't even showing up at all?

You could also try capturing with QuickTime. Launch Quicktime Player, go to File > New Movie Recording, and in the window that comes up, click the little down arrow to the right of the red button in the middle. Does your camcorder show up there?

If not, try this: Connect everything up, power on the camcorder and get it into the correct mode for capture, and then click the Apple menu, hold down the option key on the keyboard and select "System Information" from the top of the menu. Then go to the Firewire section on the left. If everything is working then you should see your camcorder listed there. If you see "No firewire ports were found" then there is an issue with either the TB3->TB2 adapter or the TB->Firewire adapter. If you see the firewire bus listed there but the camcorder doesn't show up then the issue is either the camcorder (or its firewire port) or the cable you used to adapt 4-pin to 9-pin.

Are you up to date on Big Sur updates? (Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update) Also check App Store > Updates to make sure you're on the newest version of iMovie.

General troubleshooting stuff--try rebooting the Macbook, and try both thunderbolt ports. Also try it with the mac's power cable unplugged (just a wild guess).
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  #3  
02-19-2021, 10:53 AM
Jim Starks Jim Starks is offline
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Thanks so much for the quick reply and detailed guidance and information. Here are answers to your questions and suggestions:
The MacBook Air is a 2018 model, with all the latest updates. iMovie is also the latest version.
I've tried both Thunderbolt ports with no success, and restarted the MacBook.
Both the Thunderbolt adapters are Apple-branded.
I read through the thread you linked and they are having a different problem than mine. For me, the camera is not being detected at all.
I tried using QuickTime, and it also did not detect the camera.
Looking at System Information=>FireWire (with the camcorder set up and connected to the MacBook), I see the following details- FireWire Bus: Warning: Unable to list FireWire devices. When the camcorder is not connected, the message is- No FireWire ports were found.
Looking at System Information=>Thunderbolt/USB4 (with the camcorder set up and connected to the MacBook), I see the following details- Port: Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter. Status: Device connected, up to 10GB/s x1.
So it does seem like you said that it's come down to either a bad FireWire cable running from the camcorder to the adapter, or an issue with the camcorder itself.
I think I'll order a different FireWire cable and give that a shot. As for the camcorder if it's the problem, it's borrowed from a friend (mine disappeared years ago), so not much I can do with that.
Again, thanks so much for the assistance, and if you have any other suggestions, please share.
Stay well.
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02-19-2021, 12:42 PM
bookemdano bookemdano is online now
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OK yeah you've definitely got it narrowed down. One thing: have you tested both Hi8 *and* D8 footage? I had a look at the user manual for the TRV730 and it's not clear to me if it will digitize Video8/Hi8 tapes to DV internally. It does have Passthrough and the manual discusses connecting a VCR to the analog inputs and sending the output to a computer over firewire. It also (sort of cryptically) says this:

"When inputting the image recorded by Hi8/standard 8 (analog) system into your computer, dub the image into a Digital8 or DV tape first, and then input it into your computer"

So that makes me wonder if it will only activate the firewire output when playing Digital8 content. I could be totally wrong about that though, as I have zero experience with Digital8. But you should be able to find out for sure if you test with one of your Digital8 tapes.

Other than that, yeah I would see about trying a different 4-pin to 9-pin cable. And after that you might need to track down a different camera.

Keep us posted!
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  #5  
02-21-2021, 03:35 PM
Jim Starks Jim Starks is offline
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The new cable worked! Plugged it in and it immediately recognized the camcorder, and iMovie was able to import video. Not sure what the issue was with the original cable, but it will be returned.
As for the different kinds of 8mm tapes, I had had the same thought and tried different tapes. But since I had a bad cable it just didn't matter! Both versions seem to be recognized now, though I haven't started a deep dive on importing all the tapes yet.
Thanks again for being a great sounding board and all the suggestions, you were a huge help.
Stay well.
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02-21-2021, 05:11 PM
bookemdano bookemdano is online now
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Awesome. Glad you got it sorted out, and maybe this thread will help someone else who's looking how to connect a D8 or miniDV cam to a modern Mac.
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