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MiniDV Firewire to new laptop USB3?

M Stewart

Active Member
Much of my filmed material is HD video captured to MiniDV tape cassettes from both a Sony HDR-HC5 and a Canon HV30 camcorder. For my purposes, the quality is OK, and better than material filmed on my Canon SX40HS when viewed on my 50" plasma HDTV. However, editing HD has been a problem due to my having a slow PC. (It was fine for SD editing etc.) I now have a faster laptop (Intel i5 & 4GB RAM etc.) so I'm now wondering if I could edit on the faster laptop machine, but which does not have a Firewire input port. If possible, I'd like to burn to BluRay discs at some time.

So my questions are:
if I can find an adapter from Firewire to USB3, will I be able to capture Full HD video from my camcorder on the laptop? Will it make the correct file type?

Or should I capture on my desktop (which does have a Firewire terminal) and then transfer the file via an SD card or memory stick to the laptop?

Has anyone done this and what are the "Gotchas"?

Many thanks
 

Gramuk

Active Member
An older DELL laptop I used for work some time back had a PCMCIA (I think it was called that) card slot and I bought a dual port Firewire card for that which worked well for my old Sony MiniDV- but I don't think that the newer laptops have this card slot any more. This laptop I'm on now certainly doesn't - which is a shame. Sounds like the best route is through your desktop. Maybe save those files on the desktop and burn to DVD's - Time consuming - but at least you'll also have the DVD's as backups. Good luck
 

rogs

Well-known Member
Transferring DV or HDV tapes digitally (i.e. as recorded, with no loss) is carried out in real time, so the protocol for the transfer needs to stream data continuously in real time. Firewire can do this, USB cannot.
The key word is continuous. USB is not restricted by any speed considerations here, merely by the fact that it cannot handle a continuous data stream. It handles data in bursts.
The only way to use a laptop for the task is to use a card like this. InLine 2-Port PCMCIA Express Card FireWire 1394a: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

But very few laptops have PCMCIA slots any more either!

You're probably going to have to keep the desktop for Firewire transfers.....
 

MarkE19

Moderator
But very few laptops have PCMCIA slots any more either!
PCMCIA (aka CardBus) was superseded by ExpressCard a few years ago now, but even that didn't really take off and is as rare as hens teeth on laptops now (my old Vista laptop has it) as the cards were too expensive for most people to bother with.

One option would be the likes of the Pinnacle Studio Moviebox, but that is USB2.0 and captures a compressed (MPEG-2 IIRC) file not native DV .AVI files.
Pinnacle Studio Moviebox 14 HD (USB): Amazon.co.uk: Software

Mark.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I think your idea of capturing to the desktop, then transferring over via a USB drive would be the best bet. Get a USB3 drive and it will speed up your transfers onto the laptop.

I used to have an old PC with a hardware capture card for DV. This also allowed native editing and render at up to 2x real time. It was a Canopus card and they still turn up from time to time. A good way of keeping good edit speed on an old PC, but I think there are software and OS limitations. Card is here: ACEDVio | Grass Valley, A Belden Brand
 

12harry

Distinguished Member
If OP doesn't want/need the PCIMA transfer route, why not buy a 2Tb USB external HDD and put the Firewire-captured files on that....by transferring the plug, the laptop will be able to work with the files easily.... However, for best rendering-speed it would be preferable to have a spare HDD inside the laptop, so the programs/OS can be on "C" - and the video files (and other stuff) on new-drive I ( Internal). This reduces the amount of head-movements and should make rendering quicker.... and of course preserve the C-drive space for buffering, programs, etc.
However, as OP has USB3, any transfers should be very quick, so it may make little difference AND has the advantage he can use a Smaller Ext drive if he goes away on holiday, so the security of all earlier clips/work is not compromised.
The only downside might be that Music-files (like Royalty-free) would need to be duplicated, so his Video-Masterpiece can be completed while sunning himself on a sandy beach, etc.
Most Film-Editors support BlueRay, so the only issue is if OP has a suitable Burner.... as I read it.
 

grahamlthompson

In memoriam
If OP doesn't want/need the PCIMA transfer route, why not buy a 2Tb USB external HDD and put the Firewire-captured files on that....by transferring the plug, the laptop will be able to work with the files easily.... However, for best rendering-speed it would be preferable to have a spare HDD inside the laptop, so the programs/OS can be on "C" - and the video files (and other stuff) on new-drive I ( Internal). This reduces the amount of head-movements and should make rendering quicker.... and of course preserve the C-drive space for buffering, programs, etc.
However, as OP has USB3, any transfers should be very quick, so it may make little difference AND has the advantage he can use a Smaller Ext drive if he goes away on holiday, so the security of all earlier clips/work is not compromised.
The only downside might be that Music-files (like Royalty-free) would need to be duplicated, so his Video-Masterpiece can be completed while sunning himself on a sandy beach, etc.
Most Film-Editors support BlueRay, so the only issue is if OP has a suitable Burner.... as I read it.

I didn't understand a word of this post - confused.

PCIMA ?. Transferring a file from one PC to another isn't an issue. How the OP is able to transfer files from a DV camcorder without a PC with a IEE1394 capture card defeats me :rolleyes:

USB3 is more than capable of being used as source / destination for HD editing, it's just not capable of capturing DV material. It has a much higher average data throughput than is required for DV, what it lacks is the capability to maintain the uninterrupted data capture required to capture data from a tape based system.
 
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