Question Seeking good, afforable way to transfer MiniDV to PC

Discussion in 'Camcorders, Action Cams & Video Making Forum' started by sc123, Mar 18, 2018.

  1. sc123

    sc123
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    Way back in 2001 I shot a bunch of footage on a Sony DCR VX2000 using MiniDV takes. I no longer have the camera and the format isn't used anyone. Just looking for an affordable and efficient way to get the tapes on to my Windows 10 PC. I know I could buy an old used camcorder but I worry about losing quality (maybe it didn't matter?). Also trying to find something with USB 2 to save some time. I guess I could buy a Firewire card if it was really needed. Thanks!
     
  2. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    I suggest you try a professional transfer service because:-
    1) It will work and you don't have to mess about trying to find new kit.
    2) They should look after your tapes and sort any problems with the old stock.

    Any video clubs near you? They may have working equipment you may borrow or hire.
     
  3. rogs

    rogs
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    If you do decide to get another camcorder, then Firewire is the way to go.
    With Firewire, DV transfer is exactly that - a transfer of the data as it exists, with no loss of quality at all.
    Trying to use USB will involve the loss of some quality -- And 'Firewire to USB' cables will not work for this task.

    A decision on whether to use a professional transfer service - or not - will probably depend on the number of tapes involved, as these services charge per tape.

    You might try contacting Colin Barrett at Simply DV to get an idea of costs?...... Although I've not used his service myself, he has a good reputation....
     
  4. sc123

    sc123
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    I have about a dozen tapes, so I don't think it would be cost effective to use a transfer service. I have Adobe Premiere and a good PC, so I wouldn't mind doing it myself. I didn't know using USB would affect the quality. I thought it would simply slow down the transfer rate.
     
  5. Terfyn

    Terfyn
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    If you want to transfer Mini DV to your PC, the best way is, as "rogs" said, through FireWire. The alternative is to use the A/V out and an A/V to USB converter. This gives poor quality compared to FireWire.
    The USB out on a Mini DV camera is for the transfer of still photos.

    I think your main problem will be the state of the tapes. You may buy a suitable camera only to find the tapes will not play or play badly.

    If your PC does not have a IEEE1394 (FireWire) port you will need to either install a FireWire card or, if a laptop, look for a suitable plug in.
    See www.cnet.com/forums/discussions/how-can-i-overcome-lack-of-firewire-port-on-laptop-635252/
     
  6. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    To echo what the others have stated, firewire is definitely the way to go. As you have a desktop PC it is also likely to be the cheapest option (if you can borrow a camcorder) as a firewire card costs from around $10us - https://www.amazon.com/Ports-Firewi...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=9QMDR9DKNJNKWSDJAG18

    The reason USB transfer does not work with MiniDV tapes is that it is a peak transfer speed and capture from a tape requires a near constant transfer rate. The only way around this is to convert the DV .AVI file as on the tape during transfer to (normally) MPEG-2 which will cause quality loss.

    Mark.
     
  7. sc123

    sc123
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    Thanks for the advice, all! I've found two cameras near me that might work: a Canon GL1 for $100 and a Panasonic PV-GS150 for $65. I know the GL1 is higher quality, but does it make any difference if all I'm trying to do is transfer to my PC?
     
  8. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    As rogs already mentioned the quality of the camcorder will have very little (if any) difference on the capture quality. The extra quality is most likely to be a better lens, bigger sensor etc. that will have no affect on playback & capture to a PC.

    Mark.
     
  9. sc123

    sc123
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    Thanks, all! I went ahead and ordered the PV-GS150 and a firewire card. Here goes nothing!
     
  10. JabbaNut

    JabbaNut
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  11. Emerton

    Emerton
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    Advice for anyone buying a firewire card for a 64bit operating system would be to make sure it is compatible. I have heard reports of generic drivers being unable to run older 32bit firewire cards.
     

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