Quantcast Transfer MiniDV tape to Mac or PC? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
06-11-2013, 11:14 AM
Eagleaye Eagleaye is offline
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I have a Canon mvx350i camcorder and want to transfer the family recordings I have made on minidv tape to computer. Ultimately I want these to end up for use/viewing on Mac/iPads etc, but also want to get the best possible results.
I'm not rigid in just using Apple products and lucky enough to have access to a range of hardware, I have a couple of XP/AIW setups for VHS capture so happy to use Windows, Linux or whatever tools as required for these miniDV transfers.
I've read on the site that Scenalyzer or Windv are the recommended softwares for these transfers, but can anyone tell what the advantages are in using them or what is lacking in just plugging in the camcorder into the Mac with a firewire cable and using iMovie or Final Cut Express directly? Or should I use the software that came with the camcorder?

Am I wrong in thinking that miniDV recordings are just "0's" and "1s" so the transfer is just the same as copying a file from one computer to another?

As always any advice appreciated.
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  #2  
06-11-2013, 01:33 PM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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mini-dv can be just straight transfered onto you computer via firewire - no need for a capture card.
ive used scenalyzer and windv - but i use PC's exclusively
im sure the apple software can do it to as it is just a simple transfer as you surmised
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06-11-2013, 08:31 PM
tomswift tomswift is offline
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I've used both Windows (Premiere Pro) and Mac (Final Cut Pro) and the only difference between both for Mini-DV is that Windows will import in an AVI wrapper, while Mac will import in a MOV wrapper; when you're looking at the file it'll say "file name.avi" or "file name.mov", but it'll be the same DV video in both.

Just think of Mini-DV as being a modern form of the 1970's cassette-storage method for computers, before floppy discs were around.
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06-12-2013, 05:27 AM
Eagleaye Eagleaye is offline
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Thanks for the replies.
It's good to know that it is essentially just a strightforward transfer and I can use the Mac to cut out the "middle man".
I suppose processing power might have been a source of problems when transferring directly into a multipurpose editing package rather than a dedicated piece of transfer software, hence the concern about dropped frames etc, maybe not so much of a concern with more recent processors.
I've wasted quite a bit of time in the past trying to capture video without seeking advice on the best way or best equipment so just want to make sure that a Mac transfer is just as good as a PC transfer for these miniDV tapes.
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  #5  
06-13-2013, 03:19 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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S-video is acceptable too, to be honest. The crappy optics in most consumer cameras isn't true 480i/576i (720x480/576), but lower resolution like a good analog format along the lines of Betacam or S-VHS. The DV formatting of video is to partially blame here, too, as it reduces color quality a wee bit (vs professional formats). S-video is supposed to be 480i anyway, in theory.

Theoretically, PC (Windows/Mac) transfer is best, but in practice either can do. Assuming the capture card is good, of course.

It really depends on your camera.

Shocking to some, I know. But I do a lot of testing!

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  #6  
06-18-2013, 12:57 AM
Eagleaye Eagleaye is offline
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So I could use my AIW setup but direct transer via firewire to Mac would be more convienient and wouldn't comprise quality.

What software would be best to use? Is iMovie just as good for transferring as anything else?

I found these specifications for the camcorder, do they give any clues on how best to transfer?

Code:
Video Recording System: 2 rotary heads, helical scanning DV system (consumer digital VCR SD system), digital component recording
Audio Recording System: PCM digital sound: 16 bit (48 kHz/2 ch); 12 bit (32 kHz/4 ch)
Television System: CCIR standard (625 lines, 50 fields) PAL colour signal
Image Sensor: 1/4.5-inch CCD, approx. 1,330,000 pixels*
* * * * * * * * * * * Effective pixels: tape: approx. 860,000 pixels
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * **card: approx. 1,230,000 pixels
Number of recording pixels    Still image size    1280 x 960, 640 x 480
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Video size    320 x 240, 160 x 120
Lens*f=3.5-63 mm, f/1.8-3.4, 18x power zoom
35mm equivalent:
Tape: 4:3 recording: 45.4-817 mm
* * * * *16:9 recording (image stabilizer ON): 44.6-803 mm
* * * * * 16:9 recording (image stabilizer OFF): 41.3-743 mm
Card: 37.9-682 mm
Lens configuration: 10 elements in 8 groups
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  #7  
06-19-2013, 07:04 PM
tomswift tomswift is offline
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The best way is to just hook it up via firewire and capture the video that way. iMovie should do it, but as I've said in the past, I've only used Final Cut Pro on the Mac.

All the specs say is that the best way to record video is to go to the tape, otherwise you'll end up with heavily compressed video on the SD card.
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  #8  
06-19-2013, 07:21 PM
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Because Mac addicts upgrade so much, you can often get "old" versions of FCP for deep discounts.

I see some on eBay right a now for $50 to $75 right now.
That's pretty good for it, for DV needs. (The only thing it's added in recent years are more HD format support.)

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  #9  
06-26-2013, 02:39 AM
thecoalman thecoalman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagleaye View Post
So I could use my AIW setup but direct transer via firewire to Mac would be more convienient and wouldn't comprise quality.

What software would be best to use? Is iMovie just as good for transferring as anything else?
When you transfer over firewire it's a bit for bit copy of what is on the tape, really no different than copying files from a hard drive. The only difference is error control, because it's done real time your machine has to be able to keep up with data stream. Any machine built after the early 2000's should be able to keep up. This is also why firewire is used instead of USB, USB may be faster but firewire is more sustainable. It's not prone to lapses in the data transfer rate that could result in dropped frames.

As far as software they are all going to produce the same exact file, the difference will be in the options. For example you may have options for splitting the transfer into different files by the timecode which makes it much easier to edit later.
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  #10  
06-26-2013, 02:45 AM
thecoalman thecoalman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
S-video is acceptable too, to be honest.
A long time ago using the same camcorder I compared the DV transfer to S-Video captured with a Canopus 110. They were almost identical.

That said I don't see the point of getting involved with capturing when you can just copy the file, also note you lose all that timecode information with analog capture and that leaves out options to split the video up easily either during transfer or with an editor.
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  #11  
07-17-2013, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
A long time ago using the same camcorder I compared the DV transfer to S-Video captured with a Canopus 110. They were almost identical.
I was hoping somebody else would confirm it.

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  #12  
07-17-2013, 11:35 PM
thecoalman thecoalman is offline
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Not sure why it's 780*576, must of been a blonde moment and I had PAL settings in the editor. It's a NTSC source and they both went through same processing so it's still a valid comparison.

http://forum.videohelp.com/threads/2...=1#post1409054

DV transfer:


S-Video transfer:
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