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Old May 16, 2014, 07:35 PM   #1
kamran1998
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Need to Convert Mini DV to MP4

Hi,

I have about 50 Mini DV tapes from my old Sony DCR-TRV950. I am interested in purchasing/renting a tape deck therefore I can convert all of the videos and store it on my NAS. I have a late 2013 Mac Pro, it doesn't have firewire.

Do you recommend any tape deck in particular? (One with Thunderbolt, or something therefore it would work on my computer)

Do you know any company that I can rent from?

Do you recommend any software? I currently have Final Cut Pro X, Compressor, Motion, Toast 11 on my Mac.

I am planning on converting all of the videos and then store it on a NAS.

Thanks
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Old May 16, 2014, 11:28 PM   #2
martinX
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No decks have thunderbolt.

You should use a FireWire cable. If your Mac doesn't have a FireWire port, you could try a Thunderbolt-to-FireWire adaptor from Apple.

You could then capture the tapes as you have been in the past and convert them to MP4 using something like MPEG Streamclip. To make it easy, you can use an "iTunes" setting for standard definition in MPEG streamclip.

Alternatively, you could use a capture device like one from El Gato or BMD. They come with software.
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Old May 16, 2014, 11:46 PM   #3
kamran1998
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Thanks for your response, are they any tape decks with USB 3.0? Do you recommend any tape decks I can use which are comparable with the thunderbolt to firewire adapter?

Thanks
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Old May 17, 2014, 12:06 AM   #4
ColdCase
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I use the Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire converter and connect my camera to it. Works well, but may get warm.

You may find DV camcorders (used or reconditioned) to be a lot less money than a DV tape deck, perhaps one with features you like. I picked up a older model Canon HD camcorder just for the purpose of capturing DV tapes (it will play both HD and SD tapes) for like $100. Most all MiniDV camcorders use the same tape deck mechanisms, it the features and lenses that drive up costs.

If these are home movies, you may want to think about media management and indexing. iMovie is great for capturing the video and then converting to whatever format you like, but it does run a little short with media management features. FCP has nice media management features, however. Snapshots of your entire video collection can be displayed so you can quickly find what you want. Tapes are indexed by date and time... other meta data if available.

If you are just archiving the tape, its a don't care. Its just when you want to find something, good media management can save you much time.

Most of us captured DV Video on the computer in uncompressed format and save it for posterity so it can be edited without quality loss. About 13GB per DV tape. Not enough HD space? 4TB drives are getting near $100. I have about 150 tapes stored on a 2TB drive.

There are several ways to skin the cat.... I like using a camera as the tape deck, capture/import with FCP (it can control the camera tape mechanism) and keep the tapes within FCP libraries on drives that are backed up. You can use iMovie to do the same thing.

If these are standard 60 minute tapes, you have 50 hours of Video capture ahead of you.
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Last edited by ColdCase; May 17, 2014 at 12:23 AM.
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Old May 17, 2014, 12:16 AM   #5
kamran1998
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Thanks for your response, I still have my old Sony DCR-TRV950, it still works but won't I get better quality if I use a tape deck? Or, is it the same? A company is willing to rent me a Sony DSR-45 for $200 a week. Should I rent it? And then attach it to my computer with the firewire to thunderbolt adapter?

After I convert all of my tapes, I will never need a tape deck again. I have a Canon SLR now. I actually have 63 tapes and 7TB left on my NAS will that be enough space?

I am planning on importing the video onto Final Cut Pro then export it as a master file to my NAS. Is there a better software for this? However, I am planning on editing some clips.

Thanks
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Old May 17, 2014, 12:27 AM   #6
ColdCase
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DV is DV, there is no difference in quality. Its a lossless digital transfer, no analog signals to degrade. There may be differences in deck features. If your tapes are worn or damaged, some decks are better than others reading the tapes. I have never had an issue that a tape cleaner cartridge failed to clear up. I'd use the camera to play the tapes for capture, and use the $200 toward a FCP update, if you don't already have 10.1.1 .... or for a backup drive.

Use what you are comfortable with. I've used FCP for years, the new 10.1.1 version has some really nice media management features that is helpful for large amounts of tapes. Otherwise overkill.

150 tapes just fit on a 2TB drive. I have a clone of that drive on a second 2TB drive for backup. If the drive fails, I could always go back an recapture tapes, but It would be painful. So I have two drives with captured video and the best video also saved out in the cloud in a compressed format.
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Last edited by ColdCase; May 17, 2014 at 08:42 AM.
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Old May 17, 2014, 04:11 PM   #7
Chad3eleven
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FCP and your camera are just fine.. DV video uses firewire.. no USB.

advantage of renting a deck is that your not beating on your camera.. but.. you then have just a week to load in all that footage.

And there is no quality gain, but a deck will have better heads, so that certain parts of your footage may drop out and be un usable from your cam, but with the deck it may help these areas.
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Old May 17, 2014, 04:24 PM   #8
kamran1998
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Thanks,

I decided I will just use my own camera, the rental for $150 is located in Glendale. And a local company charges $150/day.

I ordered mini dv cleaner kit along with the thunderbolt to firewire. I don't plan on using the camera again, after the video is converted.

Is it possible to fix the heads, so I don't get an issue?
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Old May 17, 2014, 08:09 PM   #9
ColdCase
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If aggressive use of the the head cleaner doesn't work, it would be cheaper just to buy a used DV camcorder off craigs list or ebay. They often are pretty much given away.

From what I've seen of tape decks, they use the exact same tape mechanisms as a camcorder of the era.

You may also need a suitable firewire cable or adapter. The TB-FW adapter has a FW 800 socket (newer square) where camcorders typically have a mini FW connector. Dunno what you have handy, but they do sell a cable with the right ends. When I couldn't find my mini FW 800 cable the other day, I used an old mini FW to FW 400 cable connected to a FW drive and then a FW 400 to 800 cable from the drive to the Laptop. These cables may be more easily found.

http://store.apple.com/us/product/HA...apter?fnode=51
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Last edited by ColdCase; May 18, 2014 at 07:21 PM.
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Old May 18, 2014, 03:49 PM   #10
kamran1998
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Thanks,

My Sony camera works normally, no issues I am just cleaning the head just incase. I am conveying 63 tapes, so should I clean the tapes again halfway?
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Old May 18, 2014, 10:59 PM   #11
ColdCase
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Its a two edge sword. Cleaning tapes are abrasive and can wear the drum, so most wait until there is some signs of degradation before using them. But those are also looking to maximizing camcorder life. In your case, clean as much as you want. Just follow the cleaning tape directions.
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Old May 19, 2014, 08:56 PM   #12
kamran1998
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Hi,

So, I received the Thunderbolt to Firewire Adapter today and decided to test the setup by attempting to import a mini dv tape.

Initially, the camera wasn't appearing on Final Cut Pro, so I tried Premiere CS6, iDVD, iMovie HD (Old 2006), Toast 11, and Life Flink (Downloaded it from the Mac App Store) and it didn't appear on any of them.

However, after disconnecting and reconnecting the cable from the thunderbolt adapter, the camera appeared on Final Cut Pro.

On Final Cut Pro, when I attempted to watch and import the video the video would flicker and keep on blinking. I had the same results on Premiere CS6, iDVD, Toast 11, and Life Flink (Downloaded it from the Mac App Store).

However, on iMovie HD (Old 2006) the video was playing perfectly, but when I tried going back to Final Cut Pro it flickered again and then when I went back onto iMovie HD it did the same and began flickering.

I didn't clean the heads yet, with the tape cleaner. But I suspect the issue is with the cable, I am using the Tripp Lite cable from my camera to the thunderbolt adapter which is attached to my Mac Pro. So, I decided to purchase the elago FireWire 400 to 800 Adapter and use it with my original i-link to Firewire 400 which I purchased from the Apple Store back in 2006.

I don't have any Mac's with Firewire anymore but when I use to, I used Firewire 400 and that would work perfectly.
The video plays perfectly on my camera's screen so I don't think there is anything wrong with my camera.

Could it be a setting on my Mac, frame rate? Please let me know

Thanks
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Old May 19, 2014, 10:29 PM   #13
monokakata
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I can't help you troubleshoot, but I can tell you what worked perfectly for me, with a few dozen DV tapes shot on a Sony PD150.

I used a Sony DSR-11 deck and FCP 6, on a 2010 Mac Pro (5,1), with a Firewire connection. Before I went to FCP 6 I did try FCP X without success, but I didn't wrestle with it much because I knew FCP 6 would do it.

Do you know anybody with FCP 6? It's old enough to completely understand tape decks.

Another alternative would be to download the free 30 day trial of Avid MC7, which I believe also understands decks well. All you'd have to learn to do would be to capture.
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Old May 19, 2014, 10:32 PM   #14
kamran1998
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Hi,

I have an old copy of Final Cur Pro Studio, will it work on that?

Thanks
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Old May 19, 2014, 11:04 PM   #15
monokakata
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Sorry, but I can't answer that. Wish I could.
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Old May 20, 2014, 12:50 PM   #16
ColdCase
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May not be much help, but both the new FCP10 and old FCP studio work perfectly for import once it recognized the camera, but I use canon camcorders. The FCP import settings need to match the camcorder.

Is the import screen flickering? When you just press play on the camcorder, does it flicker?

If you capture some video, export, and then try to play it back using something like QT player, do you still get flicker?
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Old May 20, 2014, 08:21 PM   #17
kamran1998
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Hi,

The video only flickers on my computer, it plays perfectly on my cameras screen. Yes, when I imported the video and then played it the same flickering continued.

I haven't used Final Cut Studio with Mini DV, do you have instructions?

Thanks
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Old May 21, 2014, 07:02 PM   #18
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Great news!

I received the adapter from Amazon and it works perfectly, the image loads without any issues into Final Cut Pro. It was just that specific cable.

Do you recommend any setting on Final Cut Pro or the camera such as color correction, analyze motion when importing? I want to get the best quality.

Thanks

Additionally, do you recommend and solution for digitalizing 8mm film and negatives?
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Old May 21, 2014, 07:02 PM   #19
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This is the Camera in System Profiler!
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Old May 22, 2014, 01:24 PM   #20
Chad3eleven
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For film you have 2 options.

Send it to a company, or simply set up a projector and screen, and then shoot that screen with a camera, then digitize the footage.

As for color correction.. theres no simple setting.. but a decent start, especially with DV footage is to crush the blacks (contrast) and boost the color (saturation).. use the three way color correct filter.. its all in there.

to over come white balance issues, (yellow whites, or blue whites) you may want to read up on that, or while using the three way, adjust the mids to offset the whites.. so if your footage looks yellowish, slide the color to the opposite side, which in this example is blue. (adding blue removes yellow).

On import/capture you need to match the source, in this case its DV NTSC. An hour of SD footage is generally 12-16 gbs per hour.
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Old May 25, 2014, 03:44 PM   #21
kamran1998
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Thanks, so I imported my first mini dv tape onto Final Cut Pro, I am using a NAS as the scratch disk and that is where my library is stored on. My speed on the NAS is about 100mbps read and write. However, frames are dropping from time to time and the audio doesn't sink very well. Additionally, the last 30 minutes had to be reimported because it never showed up even though I imported the entire tape. Any solution?
Thanks
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Old May 25, 2014, 11:00 PM   #22
ColdCase
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I've always had better luck capturing/importing to a local scratch disk. Once it is captured you can move the file to a library of your choosing. I think latency, not so much bit rate, may be killing you. Although a 100Mbps Ethernet connection to your NAS will get you much less than 10MBps due to overhead. Even the slowest USB2 drives are better than that.
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Old May 26, 2014, 08:58 AM   #23
kamran1998
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Hi,
I am getting another issue when I import locally. I am having issues importing my video with LifeFlix which I downloaded from the Mac AppStore, in fact I had the same issue with Final Cut Pro, and iMovie. Only part of the video gets imported, so 35 minutes then when I come back I need to go back to the part where it last imported and reimport. This is not convent and I don't want to miss any part of the tape when I import. Is there a way to fix this, I am using a Thunderbolt to Firewire, to firewire 800-400 to iLink adapter.
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Old May 26, 2014, 09:17 AM   #24
ColdCase
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Sounds like there was a time code break. When the tape was made it may have been recorded with a break or gaps. The import software detects the blank space and thinks the tape or clip ended so it stops capturing. I forget if you can set capture to ignore breaks. What I used to do years ago is capture in full manual mode which ignores gaps (or live perhaps)... or standby and when it stopped, restart capture at a point after the break. . I'd have to stand by to stop things at the end of the tape I think. Things may have changed since then.

Unless the tapes were recorded with continuous time codes, you may be stuck babysitting the capture. Too late for you, but many of us would record a blank tape to fill it with time code and then record over it. Made capture easier, lest babysitting.
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Old May 26, 2014, 09:30 AM   #25
kamran1998
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I still have iMovie HD do you know if I can do a manual import and then move it to fcp. Also, how can I verify that my entire tape has been imported?
Thanks
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