Importing video and TV feeds

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by indigoblu, Apr 26, 2005.

  1. macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2005
    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.

  2. macrumors 68020

    Rod Rod

    Sep 21, 2003
    Las Vegas, NV
    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 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).
  3. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2005
    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.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2005
    Video capture

    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:

    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.
  5. Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    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.
  6. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2005
    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.
  7. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2005
    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!
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 21, 2005
    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.

  9. macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2003
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    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.


    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

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

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