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  1. Hi guys,

    Complete video noob here looking for a helping hand.

    I've got a Panasonic NV-DS65 video camera and some old MiniDV tapes with some recordings that are pretty close to my heart and it would gut me to lose the footage. I've been looking into trying to put the footage onto my PC and it works. I can record the footage using recording software but I can't get the audio to be put along side the video. I know this is a question that has been asked here a lot and I have consulted the other posts first but I simply can't get the audio recording to work...

    Allow me to explain the setup I have:

    Into the videocamera I have plugged in a A/V out RCA cable and attached that to one of those USB2.0 Chinese Audio/Video grabber thingies using RCA cable. I've installed the drivers and am using the custom software that was on the CD to record the video. All of that works fine, the video footage gets saved to the PC, great stuff. However I'm struggling with getting the audio as well. My thought was that if I just connect the correct cables, the grabber will do the rest.

    Both the audio and video drivers are installed on the PC and I've tried different kind of approaches like using an external mic to act as the audio input for the recording but I think I'm simply missing something to get the original setup to work. Can someone please advise on where I'm going wrong ? I'm not a really tech savy guy but all of the "instructions" I've found both on Youtube, the CD software manual, forums, google, ... haven't really brought me closer to a solution.

    PS: would a better option be to simply connect the camera to the PC using a FireWire cable ? Will I then get both audio and video ?

    All help is appreciated and i apologise for my bad english.
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  2. Capturing via Firewire is the best option. That will transfer the digital video and audio from the tape to the computer. If you have to buy a Firewire card for the PC make sure to get one with a Texas Instruments chip.

    Regarding your missing audio, did you plug in the red/white audio cables into the capture device as well as the video? Or you may have to select the audio input within the capture software (it may default to microphone or line-in rather than the capture device).
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  3. Hey Jagabo,

    thank you for your kind reply.

    I did indeed plug the left and right audio plugs into the grabber and switched the audio input to the Audio driver on the grabber but still no luck
    I think I will look into the firewire option. Regarding that, the video camera has a DV port. I think I will need a DV to Firewire cable right ? Or is that the standard for the cable. Also, I can get a USB to FireWire adapter if I'm lacking the FireWire card right ? Will that change something for capturing both audio and video or will it just be of a less quality ?
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  4. "DV port" is a firewire port. You just need the right connector at each end of the cable. Usually 4-pin (camcorder end) to 6-pin (Firewire card end):

    https://www.cablestogo.com/learning/connector-guides/firewire

    No, you cannot use a USB to Firewire adapter. Those only work with Firewire hard drives. I've never heard of anyone successfully using one for video capture from a camcorder.
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  5. Member
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    Originally Posted by ShipWood View Post
    I've got a Panasonic NV-DS65 video camera and some old MiniDV tapes with some recordings that are pretty close to my heart and it would gut me to lose the footage.
    In that case, you definitely want to use FireWire. The setup you currently have converts digital to analog, then back to digital. You are losing quality in the process, especially with the yellow composite video connector. FireWire will transfer the digital data from tape (as best as it can be read) right into the computer.
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  6. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    If you use one of those USB to firewire adapters kiss bye bye to your camcorder or your computer USB port, A short will happen.
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  7. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    Short will very likely NOT happen, if it's properly made.

    But that has nothing to do with whether it is a usable device for DV transfers. It isn't.

    Dv transfers use an isochronus transfer mode which USB doesn't normally have the capability of performing. It would have to incorporate those features in an active converter enabled & governed by a custom driver. This is how a pinnacle converting adapter was able to work, a decade or so ago.
    The only other adapters that have EVER been claimed to work are those FW800 to FW(400), because they would/should already support a superset of the FW spec.

    I would recommend you do it right: get a desktop pc, put an older OS on it (e.g. XP), put a firewire (400) card with a TI chipset in it. Then use something like WinDV or Scenalyzer to capture. All other current options are just a big hassle that might or MIGHT NOT work.

    Scott
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  8. Scott (Cornucopia) is right both about a short being unlikely and a USB adapter being unusable for DV transfers. As others have mentioned, you want a Firewire cable for what is basically a direct dump of the digital data stored on your MiniDV tapes. (In theory what comes off of the tapes should be identical at the bit-level to what is copied to your computer. However, some editing of the more consumer-focused editing software may alter this.)

    How much are you willing to spend to preserve these tapes? Scott's idea of installing an old OS like Windows XP along with a Firewire port isn't bad if you can afford it. Regardless of what you do, you'll want a firewire 6-pin to firewire 4-pin cable to connect your camera to the computer. Note that their are/were two types of Firewire ports that were fairly common for computers. The first is Firewire 400, which is what you'll want in an ideal situation, and the other is Firewire 800, which uses a different connector, and may require an adapter if you buy a Firewire 400 6-pin to 4-pin cable. Note that there are Firewire 800 cables with 4-pin "DV" connectors as well should you need them. Since you mentioned being very new at this, it's also worth pointing out that Firewire is also known as IEEE1394 and sometimes i.Link, usually on Sony products; they're all the same standard though and all will work.

    If these tapes are truly important to you and installing an old OS isn't an option, my next suggestion would be to just install a Firewire card with your current OS, and to rent Adobe Premiere Pro for a month, ($60US, but be sure to cancel it before it auto-renews for another month,) assuming that you can't capture all of your tapes in the span of a week, which is how long Adobe's free trial lasts. The reason I suggest Premiere Pro for the capture is that Adobe's DV capture capabilities are some of the best available, and I know that it doesn't screw with the data that you're capturing in any way. (What's on the tape is what will be on your computer.) I also know that it works with modern OS's without hiccups, so you as long as your hardware plays well with a modern OS, your software will too. I recommend archiving your DV tapes in DV-AVI (Windows,) or a DV MOV file (Mac,) both of which will retain your original data properly; these will be large files, (about 4GB for 22 minutes of standard definition video,) but they'll be identical to what's on your tapes, and you can always create copies in another format if need be. Premiere Pro will put the video from your tapes in a folder literally named "Capture Video," so you'll have no trouble finding it either, and you can just take those files and throw them onto an external hard drive for archival purposes, with the ability to go back to them and edit or alter them later using less expensive (free) software. I'm curious, does your current computer have a thunderbolt port on it? (Note that I don't mean USB-C, but an actual Thunderbolt port. Even though they're sometimes combined, they're two different standards.) If so, you might be able to use a Firewire to Thunderbolt adapter, but I'd suggest a Firewire card first.

    As far as cards go, I've had good luck with Sonnet's products, and would probably recommend the Sonnet Tango PCIe FireWire 400/USB 2.0 adapter card for $59.99US. (Search for the part in bold, also try a search for Sonnet FWUSB2A-E to find this particular card.) The card will give you three Firewire and three USB 2.0 ports, but the main reason I'm recommending it is that Sonnet's products are well built in a way many other brands aren't. (You can probably find a cheaper card with a single Firewire port, but it will likely be of lower quality.)

    If you want to use a computer from the era when MiniDV was fairly popular, and don't want to spend a lot of money to do so, consider looking for a used Apple PowerBook G4 from around 2005 or so, or even an early MacBook Pro ($200US or less on eBay,) with a copy of iMovie 6 HD pre-installed. The reason that I'm suggesting this is that Apple and Sony were the two companies that really pushed Firewire, and iMovie 6 HD is very easy to use and does everything in DV, so what you capture will be "pure" DV material, usually saved in a *.dv file from what I remember. You'll need a decent sized flash drive to copy everything to your regular (Windows) PC, and you'll want to format it in Windows (not OS X) as ExFAT, but it'll be a lot easier than trying to get Windows (NTFS) and Mac (HFS+) formatted drives to play nicely with each other. (Don't use ExFAT for long term archival though, format a drive with NTFS or HFS+ depending on your OS and use that for long term archival instead.) This is also a fairly inexpensive solution that provides you with everything you'd need to capture a MiniDV tape except for the Firewire cable.

    Whatever you do, definitely dump the analog video adapter; all that's doing is causing quality loss and making a fairly simple process more difficult.
    Specs: Mac Mini (Early 2006): 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo CPU, 320GB HDD, 2GB DDR2 RAM, Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics card, Matshita UJ-846 Superdrive, Mac OS X 10.5.7 and various peripherals. System runs Final Cut Express 3.5 for editing.
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  9. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Short will very likely NOT happen, if it's properly made.Scott
    I didn't make that up, I read amazon reviews about such devices and a lot of people complain about either their USB port stopped working or their camcorders port stopped working. It is not 100% as I put it, but why take chances?
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  10. There's no need to put an older Windows OS on a PC in order to capture DV video -- just use any Firewire/IEEE1394 card (I've not found that brand name makes any difference), I'll assume you've got a Windows 7 or 10 PC, make sure the card fits the architecture of your expansion slots, and then capture. Now as for capture, almost any video editor out there will capture camera input (meaning DV), WinDV works fine if you just want to capture. But if you don't have any familiarity with capturing/editing video, personally I'd spring for a copy of AVS4YOU, I think it's about forty bucks, you can capture the DV, then edit/export it to other formats, streaming, DVD, etc. Good luck!
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Originally Posted by Cornucopia View Post
    Short will very likely NOT happen, if it's properly made.Scott
    I didn't make that up, I read amazon reviews about such devices and a lot of people complain about either their USB port stopped working or their camcorders port stopped working. It is not 100% as I put it, but why take chances?
    It's certainly possible. Both USB and FireWire have positive voltage and ground conductors. Who knows how they are wired in those cheap, sucker adapters.
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  12. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    It's certainly possible. Both USB and FireWire have positive voltage and ground conductors. Who knows how they are wired in those cheap, sucker adapters.
    I can second this as far as USB devices go -- I work in tech support and we had a customer who tried plugging in a webcam to her desktop PC, and when she did it the machine instantly shut down. She rebooted it, tried again, and again, instantly shut down. For reasons known only to her, she didn't make the connection between plugging in the webcam and the PC shutting down, until after enough times that nothing happened at all when she plugged in the webcam and she called us.

    It was a decent name webcam and there didn't seem to be anything obviously wrong with it by just looking at the USB connector or the webcam itself, but there must have been some kind of internal short because -- going through all the logs -- plugging it in tripped a bunch of hardware errors that finally resulted in the USB port shutting down to protect the system. Fortunately it wasn't a permanent shutdown, after the machine was left turned off for half an hour and rebooted, the port started working again, but we chucked the webcam in the trash.
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  13. Member godai's Avatar
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    i able to use firewire and transfer from minidv to pc using virtualdub capture mode in win 10 without problems also ati 600 usb too in win 10 ,
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