View Full Version : Importing video and TV feeds

Apr 26, 2005, 02:49 PM
I am new to video work. I just upgraded from an iBook to a new 15" Powerbook. I plan on doing light video work and some TV watching/recording for my own use. I am going to get Final Cut Express. But I am wondering how you get videos clips on the powerbook. I know apple store has some boxes that convert it - averaging about $300. Do I need one of those? Any recommendations? Or are there other options/cables?

I have DirectTV. I'll be transferring videos (from VCR) to digital format. And some clips from DVDs I have - mostly personal material I use from lectures and classes and presentations.

Any help would greatly be appreciated.


Rod Rod
Apr 26, 2005, 03:24 PM
For $300 (or less) I think you're better off getting a miniDV camcorder that has analog to digital pass-through. I use a JVC GRD70 for that, and when I'm not using it for a-d conversions (for example, taking in VHS tapes for editing and DVD encoding), well it's useful as an iSight camera and a simple handheld camcorder.

If your DirecTV receiver has a FireWire port, you're in luck. You could use your Mac as a DVR. There's a program called VirtualDVHS which you could use to record DirecTV. It's part of the Apple FireWire SDK, which is available from developer.apple.com. You can install just VirtualDVHS (and maybe DVHSCap too if you like) by using Pacifist. After you've recorded your DirecTV shows you can transcode to an editing format (such as DV) and set chapter markers in iMovie, then burn the DVD in iDVD. Otherwise you could transcode the files to elementary streams and build a DVD in DVD Studio Pro. Either way will take about the same amount of effort. The DVD Studio Pro method takes a bit more knowledge but takes much less time (considering you won't have to wait for MPEG2 encoding).

Apr 26, 2005, 04:10 PM
opps, I have Dish Network - but it does have a USB port - can I use that? No firewire.

So a new powerbook has no video input (like through DVI) without somekind of digital pass through?

That's a good idea using a DV camera, same price as the boxes, plus you get a camera.

Thank you for your help. I'm just learning video work.

Apr 26, 2005, 05:12 PM
I just purchased a 15" powerbook. I'm wondering how to input video from DishNetwork (my receiver has a USB port), VCR, other DVD players etc. I know apple store sells converter boxes, but do you really need one? I've also got a great idea of buying a DV camera and using it as a converter. it's all for personal use, but I'd like to do some video work and don't know how yet.

Thanks for the advice,

The problem is that most video devices output an analog signal, and computer only works with digital. So you need a video capture device to convert, something like this one: http://macworld.pricegrabber.com/rating_getprodrev.php/product_id=651605/id_type=M

A DVD camera may work for the conversion purposes, or may not. I would bring the PB to the store and test it with the camera before buying. You can use iMovie to import the video stream (also with the device in the link above), the only question is whether the camera is going to output it in the DV format.

Apr 26, 2005, 07:09 PM
Most consumer cameras with analog inputs and DV (Sony call it iLink) output will support A/D conversion and iMovie will import the DV data-stream. Some newer cameras output an MPEG variant that is not comptible with iMovie.

Check on the iMovie page on the Apple site for a list of compatible cameras.

I use my Sony as a converter all the time.

One thread per question please, I've merged these threads and kept the advice.

Apr 26, 2005, 09:11 PM
Thank you wintermute. Sorry for the double thread, just got mixed up where to post.

I was hoping to find an inexpensive converter, don't have the need for a camera just yet. But it looks like thats the best thing to get.

Apr 27, 2005, 12:34 AM
I'm wondering if anyone knows anything about how well this DV camcorder works:
Canon ZR200 DV Camcorder
It seems like the best buy for my budget, and an ok camcorder. I'd be using it a lot for putting older videos and TV into digital format.
Thanks for all your help!

Apr 28, 2005, 11:41 AM
Just wondering if anyone has experience with this item or manufacturer:
It's a Canopus ADVC55, converts audio/video into digital format outputting through firewire. I've decided not to get a camcorder at this time, I have an old fashioned tape one that works for now.


Apr 28, 2005, 12:44 PM
ATI has a new product in which it will let you watch Live TV, pause, and record all on your Mac. It encodes your DV into MPEG 1 or 2. This model is priced at $150.

Elgato (http://www.elgato.com/index.php?file=products_eyetvwonder)

This company is the co-creator, and seller of this product. They also offer more expensive decoder cards which can convert TV to MPEG 4, but i think this model costs around $300-500.

ATI's info (http://ati.com/buy/promotions/elgato.html)

EDIT: i think that it also has RCA jacks on the card as well.