Camcorder to PC cable?


Active Member
I've an old Panasonic camcorder that uses the mini dv tapes and I want to connect it to my PC to download recordings and edit them. I've found some capture/editing software (Filmora) and downloaded it. The camcorder has a 'PC' mode to view images recorded on a memory card.

The instruction manual doesn't cover the PC connection issue.

The camcorder has a small 'DV' port (about 6mm wide), an S video port, a small USB port (Mini B, I think) and a single 'jack' type AV port.

I hear that "you can only do that by firewire."

Can someone tell me what cable/ports to use, please?


Distinguished Member
USB is most compatible with modern PCs, providing the software for that camcorder is available and offers the function you want.

If not it'll be a case of trying to get firewire working.


Well-known Member
Depending on the brand, the DV port can also be known as a Firewire, i.LINK, or IEEE 1394 port.
So depending on your PC (tower system not a lap top) you can buy a IEEE 1394 card to fit your PC, then a Firewire cable (usually a 4 pin to6 pin) will connect. You will need a Firewire legacy driver downloadable from the web (but sometimes in the drivers list) to run the connection.
Most current video editors have the software to download from tape and use the timecode to separate the continuous flow into separate shots.

The camcorder has a 'PC' mode to view images recorded on a memory card
This usually refers to stills or photos caught on camera. The video is on the tape and can be transferred by Firewire.

OR get the DV tapes transferred to a DVD by a professional outfit. Then invest in a current camcorder with SD card storage and the whole transfer process is a doddle!:thumbsup:


Distinguished Member
DV on PCs is a bit of a nightmare...

Windows 7 onwards really badly supports Firewire and trying to get it to work is extremely frustrating at times.

As we discussed on the other thread, the simplest method would be to use a capture card with S-Video input and a USB output. This will allow you to capture in reasonable quality, but not up to the level of Firewire. For this, you might be better to find an older PC with a decent Firewire card, running Windows 2000 or XP. The other option is a professional conversion to a file format you can then edit.


Distinguished Member
FWIW, I'm running WIn 7 and confirm the Firewire card ( About £20) was not easy to install.... but this was the Mfr's use of a small DVD with multiple options - and no assistance, naturally. A simple tabulation of the card-type/driver/PC would have made it so much easier. . . The driver(s) were tried in turn and finally it worked. It was used for a couple of tape-based camcorders - but nowadays even the Professionals use Memory storage . . . so Firewire is all but dead.
The main advantage ( of Firewire), was that you could control the camcorder from the computer . . . and with tape this was quite useful. USB came some years later-on. Memory-files are a better means of working, as each "Take" uses new memory (no risk of over-writing unless you insist.). You can move about the memory at instant-speed; to collect cutaways and "extras" - something that slow Tape was bad at.


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