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Author Topic: How To Transfer a Full Movie (not clips) from a Mini DV Tape to a Mac  (Read 1094 times)

pflower

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I have a number of Mini DV Tapes on which there are completed movies which I made 20 years ago in what was then Final Cut Pro 7 (or even earlier).  These were outputted from FCP onto Mini DV - i.e fully edited with sound, graphics, effects etc.

I have now managed to get an old DV camera to connect to my iMac.  But if I try and import any of these into Final Cut Pro X or iMovie, the software recognises and imports each cut as a separate clip.  This is not what I want - I really just want to copy the entire film in real time into a single file which can be played on a computer.

It doesn't appear to me to be a way of doing this in FCPX or in iMovie.  Is there a simple piece of software that would allow me to do this?  To be clear - I have, say, a 40 minute edited movie which I want to transfer verbatim into a single mp4 or .mov file which I can share with my family.
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Pascalf

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Re: How To Transfer a Full Movie (not clips) from a Mini DV Tape to a Mac
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2022, 01:26:25 pm »

I have a project to transfer all my footage and competed projects, stored on miniDV; about halfway through the fourty hours of media.

Final Cut Pro X does not handle timecode. You cannot set the in and out point on an EDL and ask for a single [file] transfer. The workflow of FCP7, where you could do frame accurate batch capture and only need to feed media at the prompt, is extinct.
With FCProX, you can do a live capture, where you press the "start capture" icon, and when the media is done, press the "stop capture".  I cannot remember if playable frames are required to be playing, as it used to be with FCP7, because of the need for timecode.

For my project, I have been using a MacBook Pro 2009 with FCP7 and batch capturing the media, because I still have the original projects in the archive.  And for the media for which I don't, I have a project in which I log the in and out points for the un-logged media. I then use batch capture.

The resulting QuickTime transfer is easily converted [with Compressor, if you have it] to any format that plays on your favoured device.

For PCProX [10.4.x], you need to baby-sit the capture.

Regards,
Pascal
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pflower

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Re: How To Transfer a Full Movie (not clips) from a Mini DV Tape to a Mac
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2022, 06:54:49 am »

I sort of got there in the end.  I do have some very old Macs in storage and bought FCP7, so I suppose that might be the best bet, but frankly I wonder if it is really worth the effort. 

The weird thing about FCPX is that it imports from tape but even when archiving breaks the tape into multiple clips and gives each clip a completely opaque name, you can't sort clips by time added or name to get them into the right order.  I did finally work out that if I did an archive of a tape and then examined the footage in Finder, I could sort by date modified in the Finder and the drag the sorted clips into a timeline.  That sort of worked but FCPX clearly doesn't like importing from tape - it keeps missing pieces and I had to constantly quit and restart and do things in small segments - even archiving missed segments which I had to re-capture after restarting.
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pflower

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Re: How To Transfer a Full Movie (not clips) from a Mini DV Tape to a Mac
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2022, 01:23:25 pm »

Just in case anyone is interested, I have found an app called Retroactive.  This allows one to run FXP 7 on Mojave or High Sierra - also Logic Pro and iWork.  Plus it allows Aperture to run on Big Sur and Catalina.  For FCP works perfectly.
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Alan Klein

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Re: How To Transfer a Full Movie (not clips) from a Mini DV Tape to a Mac
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2022, 03:15:19 pm »

What is the final tape format or codec?  Couldn't you just read and copy the tape into your computer and then find a program that would convert it into a format that your software handles?
\https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DV

Jonathan Cross

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Re: How To Transfer a Full Movie (not clips) from a Mini DV Tape to a Mac
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2022, 05:03:39 pm »

I bought a cheap bit of Chinese kit from a computer bits and pieces shop in the UK.  One end plugs into a camera that took video and put it on mini DV- in my case an old Sony.  The other end plugged into a USB socket and a bit of software that came with it did the transfer.  A full movie will take a while. It only worked on a PC, but could you not find someone with a PC then copy it on to an exFAT formatted USB stick that will read into a Mac.  Given it is Chinese, such kit must be widely available.

Jonathan


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Jonathan in UK

Alan Klein

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Re: How To Transfer a Full Movie (not clips) from a Mini DV Tape to a Mac
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2022, 05:10:53 pm »

I bought a cheap bit of Chinese kit from a computer bits and pieces shop in the UK.  One end plugs into a camera that took video and put it on mini DV- in my case an old Sony.  The other end plugged into a USB socket and a bit of software that came with it did the transfer.  A full movie will take a while. It only worked on a PC, but could you not find someone with a PC then copy it on to an exFAT formatted USB stick that will read into a Mac.  Given it is Chinese, such kit must be widely available.

Jonathan



I did something similar years ago with a VHS video.  My Sony video camera had an output jack that connected through a Firewire to my computer. I just played the old video back in the SOny camera.  The output is otherwise used for things like connecting to a TV so you can watch the video there.  But you can use the output signal that the computer would recognize. Check the manual for the video camera if you have one.  Once I had the video in the computer, I used Adobe Premiere Elements to edit and create other outputs formats for more modern systems. 

Pascalf

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Re: How To Transfer a Full Movie (not clips) from a Mini DV Tape to a Mac
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2022, 01:46:30 pm »

Just in case anyone is interested, I have found an app called Retroactive.  This allows one to run FXP 7 on Mojave or High Sierra - also Logic Pro and iWork.  Plus it allows Aperture to run on Big Sur and Catalina.  For FCP works perfectly.

That's great.
I'll look into that to see if I can move the remaining captures onto a more recent machine.

Regards,
Pascal
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Pascalf

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Re: How To Transfer a Full Movie (not clips) from a Mini DV Tape to a Mac
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2022, 01:53:23 pm »

What is the final tape format or codec?  Couldn't you just read and copy the tape into your computer and then find a program that would convert it into a format that your software handles?
\https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DV

That's the point of the transfer.
The issue is that miniDV can be transferred without re-compression, via FireWire.  To do so, one needs to do a "capture", where the digital information is read and transferred into a QuickTime file.  Works very well.  No generation loss from re-compression with a capture card.
One can then use Apple Final Cut Pro/Compressor to transfer to whatever final format is required.

The ideal is to do the capture with timecode, though the picture quality will not change with or without it.  Timecode is great if you want to edit, because you can use an Edit Decision List [EDL] if you have one, or re-build projects with frame accurate results.

Regards,
Pascal
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Pascalf

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Re: How To Transfer a Full Movie (not clips) from a Mini DV Tape to a Mac
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2022, 02:02:41 pm »

I bought a cheap bit of Chinese kit from a computer bits and pieces shop in the UK.  One end plugs into a camera that took video and put it on mini DV- in my case an old Sony.  The other end plugged into a USB socket and a bit of software that came with it did the transfer.  A full movie will take a while. It only worked on a PC, but could you not find someone with a PC then copy it on to an exFAT formatted USB stick that will read into a Mac.  Given it is Chinese, such kit must be widely available.

Jonathan

Transferring via FireWire means that you do not re-compress the video.
A FireWire transfer is "lossless" in the sense that the digital information is read and transferred into a QuickTime video file.
If you can do it right, the FireWire transfer also maintains timecode and [interlace] field info, and transfers audio without re-compression.

Using a hardware capture card has it's own issues, like file format and compression artifacts.


Regards,
Pascal
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