Mini DV Casettes onto MacBook pro


Novice Member
Aug 11, 2021
Reaction score
Hi everyone. I’m having some issues with transferring my mini DV tapes onto my MacBook pro 2017 osX Big Sur. I have all the connections i.e 4p to 9p firewire, FireWire to thunderbolt adapter, thunderbolt to USB-C. I have a Sony DCR-TVR18E camcorder.

My Mac isn’t recognising that the camcorders plugged in and not coming up anywhere for me to convert the cassettes. I bought lifeflix as I’ve seen good reviews on them with transferring mini DV’s onto computers but on there it doesn’t recognise my camcorders plugged in.

I also tried plugging the FireWire cable into my old MacBook which has a 9P input to no avail.

I was wondering if anyone had any solutions/answers to why this could be happening? I’ve seen videos on YouTube in the last year in which people have been able to convert their cassettes onto their MacBooks and I’ve followed everything they’ve done.

I was also wondering if anyone had any other tips on converting my Mini DV cassettes to another format? They’re old and some of them are already playing up so was wanting to get them converted before it’s too late.

Welcome to the forum @miniel :hiya:

When connecting the camcorder to your Mac you need to put it into playback mode. If it is in record mode then no computer will detect it.
If this is not the cause then I would guess that the firewire port on the camcoder may be damaged. But worth trying to power both cam & Mac off before connecting them together. Power on the cam first, then the Mac ands if no luck try it the other way around.

Do you have access to a friend/relative with a PC with a firewire port you can test the camcoder on? If so this will give a better idea of where the issue lies.

As a miniDV camcorder only records in standard definition you can save the files in any convenient format. The best format will depend on how you intend to play them, ie for a DVD you will need to save them as MPEG-2, but if playing back on a media player then just about anything should be fine. You could leave them uncompressed (well the camcoder compressed them at 5:1 when recording) as DV .AVI files but at around 13Gb per hour of footage it will eat up disk space so not ideal.

It's pretty easy to fry the port on the camera if you hot plug the FireWire cable in - I've seen it many, many times. That's where my money firmly is.

Both your Mac setups are tried and tested. Your second setup with the FW800 port is basically the ideal, but the chained adaptors also work well. FW can be a bit hit and miss sometimes on whether or not it wants to work on any given day, but you should have had it working by now.

The latest video from AVForums

Sony BRAVIA 9 Mini LED TV: The Best HDR TV EVER?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Top Bottom