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Old Jan 30, 2011, 11:50 AM   #1
swwack91
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FireWire ExpressCard via USB Adaptor

Hi all!

I'm in the market for a new laptop after my '07 MacBook Pro finally bit the dust. I do a decent amount of video editing and I'm confident that the MacBook Air has the power to work through Final Cut after seeing its speed tests in comparison to the 13" MacBook Pro. My only concern is that I can't capture video via a FireWire DV interface directly to the Air since it doesn't have a FireWire port.

Solution? I have an ExpressCard USB adaptor like this one. Would purchasing an ExpressCard FireWire card and connecting it to the Air solve the problem? Would I be able to capture video over that?

Has anyone actually done something like this? Any help/info/suggestions and especially experience would help!!!
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Old Jan 30, 2011, 11:57 AM   #2
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Is your need for the firewire speed, or just the firewire interface to your video device? Your data transfer speed will be limited by the USB interface with any adapter-type hookup you use.

If you require the higher speed of the firewire interface to keep up with the data stream, you may have to find another way to do it.

I haven't used any of the devices you mentioned, so I can't directly answer your question ... sorry.
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Old Jan 30, 2011, 03:07 PM   #3
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It's still going through USB so no it won't be faster
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Old Jan 30, 2011, 04:04 PM   #4
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I'm not even interested in FireWire because of the faster transfer speeds. The only reason I want/need FireWire is because I occasionally capture video or print video to tape and FireWire is the only way to do so. It's only something I would need to do once a month or less, so having an ugly adapter on the side of my laptop isn't really a problem.

The main issue is figuring out whether or not it's even technologically possible.
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Old Jan 30, 2011, 06:02 PM   #5
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It might work then ... at USB 2.0 speeds (or less).

I assume your video device only has firewire, so USB direct is not possible?

You might want to use a short USB extension cable to avoid having all that hardware hanging off of your MB Air. The leverage forces exerted on the connector of your computer could cause troubles if it should be accidentally bumped or dropped, possibly damaging the computer motherboard.

good luck...

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Old Jan 30, 2011, 06:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by swwack91 View Post
I'm not even interested in FireWire because of the faster transfer speeds.
The main issue is figuring out whether or not it's even technologically possible.
I think there was something in the pre-OSX days, but it might have been USB to Firewire. I don't think you will find anything manufactured today as there is no real demand for something like that. Perhaps eBay or Craigslist might help. Google just brings up blogposts saying it can't be done.

What you are proposing with the Expresscards won't work. The firewire signals need to be converted into usb signals. That will require additional hardware and drivers. All that that adapter does is to link the usb connectors on the expresscard into the usual plug.

Last edited by weckart; Jan 30, 2011 at 06:06 PM. Reason: .
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Old Jan 30, 2011, 06:04 PM   #7
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I assume your video device only has firewire, so USB direct is not possible?

You might want to use a short USB extension cable to avoid having all that hardware hanging off of your MB Air. The leverage forces exerted on the connector of your computer could cause troubles if it should be accidentally bumped or dropped, possibly damaging the computer motherboard.
DV tape decks and cameras only have FireWire video in/out, so USB direct isn't an option.

Good point on the leverage thing.

Is there anyone out there that has a FireWire ExpressCard that can test this out?
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Old Jan 30, 2011, 06:06 PM   #8
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I'm not even interested in FireWire because of the faster transfer speeds. The only reason I want/need FireWire is because I occasionally capture video or print video to tape and FireWire is the only way to do so. It's only something I would need to do once a month or less, so having an ugly adapter on the side of my laptop isn't really a problem.

The main issue is figuring out whether or not it's even technologically possible.
As USB and Firewire are not interchangeable, it will not work.
There have no proper solutions been found when the MacBook became Firewire-less.

Quote:
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It might work then ... at USB 2.0 speeds (or less).

I assume your video device only has firewire, so USB direct is not possible?
No need to roll eyes, as DV only has a data rate of approx. 3.5MB/s (video + audio), therefore USB speeds might suffice.
But as USB and Firewire are not compliant with each other and DV or miniDV or HDV requires Firewire to transfer, it will not work anyway.


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DV tape decks and cameras only have FireWire video in/out, so USB direct isn't an option.
It will hardly work, as there would be four "translations" involved.
DV to Firewire > Firewire to ExpressCard > ExpressCard to USB > USB to DV.
As USB to DV is not possible, your are out of luck with an MBA.
If you only need to do this once or twice a month, what about getting one of the first Intel Mac minis for this job or even an older G4 Mac mini or iBook?
My iBook G4 could capture and print to tape via Avid Xpress DV quite good.
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Old Jan 30, 2011, 06:12 PM   #9
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What about the fact that FireWire ExpressCards are sold at all? The interface for the ExpressCard is just an internal USB. If you have an ExpressCard with FireWire ports on it, don't they inevitably need to go through the USB interface?
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Old Jan 30, 2011, 06:20 PM   #10
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What about the fact that FireWire ExpressCards are sold at all? The interface for the ExpressCard is just an internal USB. If you have an ExpressCard with FireWire ports on it, don't they inevitably need to go through the USB interface?
Isn't it also possible, that ExpressCards could use the PCI-Express bus instead of the USB interface? Otherwise eSATA ExpressCards using the USB would be a waste. Therefore Firewire ExpressCards can be used via PCI Express (in a laptop and in a tower) and you can take full advantage of the interface the provide (USB, Firewire, eSATA, ...).
But as you use an adapter working via USB, all is lost.
http://www.expresscard.org/web/site/qa.jsp#13

Last edited by simsaladimbamba; Jan 31, 2011 at 01:11 AM. Reason: two buses, one had to go
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Old Jan 30, 2011, 06:30 PM   #11
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those adapters are for use with products like Expresscard based flash drives or any others that use the USB I/O bus (those of you with expresscards can see how your card is attached by going to system profiler, then go down to USB and see if you card is listed).
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Old Jan 30, 2011, 06:44 PM   #12
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What about the fact that FireWire ExpressCards are sold at all? The interface for the ExpressCard is just an internal USB. If you have an ExpressCard with FireWire ports on it, don't they inevitably need to go through the USB interface?
Wrong. They run on their own dedicated 3GB/s bus. Hence why I get 3GB/s with my eSata Expresscard.
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Old Feb 3, 2011, 03:26 AM   #13
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http://www.amazon.com/ExpressCard-La.../dp/B000RKUKMG ???
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Old Feb 3, 2011, 03:37 AM   #14
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That will not work via the combination the OP wants.
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