Help Finding Correct Cable

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by OriginalGrizGuy, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. OriginalGrizGuy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    #1
    Hello, All!

    Haven't posted, though I've lurked for years. I just came up w/ a need and I figure someone here will have a solution.

    I have a canon ZR800 camcorder that permits video pass through. Trouble is, I can't find the right cable to do it.

    I'm trying to connect my VHS machine to the camera to record old VHS tapes. Then I'll put it in my iMac and edit them down. Yes, I'll lose a generation, but so be it.

    I need a cable that is male RCA for L/R audio and video on one end and male DV on the other.. I must be using the wrong search terms because I can't find such a beast.

    Any thoughts?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #2
    You're not looking for the right cable. If your ZR800 is anything like my Elura100, you need a cable that is RCA on one end and mini-jack on the other. This will allow you to use the DV port (Firewire ... iLink) to connect to the Mac. It should have come with your camcorder

    Here's a link on Amazon. >LINK

    If you do it this way, you can go from VCR to Mac in one shot. You can still record onto a miniDV tape if you want to, but you don't have to.

    You just need to go through the menus to switch that port from output to input. At least that's how it works with my Elura 100.
     
  3. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    #3

    I think you are looking for the wrong cable.
    All the old ZR series have the same cable... I was pretty sure about this but googled it to make sure before I went off and told you.

    What you want is a cable that came with the ZR800 that is RCA Yellow, Red, White on one end and then what looks like an 1/th of an inch stereo plug on the other, but really if you look at it carefully it has 3 bands on it instead of the normal two.

    Looks like this:

    http://www.ylmart.com/canon-zr800-av-cable.html


    Plug the 1/8th of an inch side into the ZR800 and connect the RCA ends to your VCR. Though if you're using a VHS camera to the DV camera, you'll probably need some Female-Female RCA adapters in the middle.
     
  4. nullx86 macrumors 6502a

    nullx86

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    Wilmington/Jacksonville, NC
    #4
    What your looking for is what he posted ^^^ That cable is pretty much standard for all tape and some modern camcorders. Its either a 2.5mm or 3.5mm Male 4-pronged plug on one end and three RCA connectors on the other. If you want to hook it to your VCR/TV/DVD/CABLE/ETC thats what you need. If you want to hook it up to your mac, then you need either a USB Cable or a Firework 400 to 1394a mini.
     
  5. OriginalGrizGuy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    #5
    Thanks!

    Thanks!

    I totally misread the manual. Sorry for posting a dumb question. I tried hooking up the camera the way you said, but I failed to change the settings on the thing. Duh.

    I'll hit it and let you know the results.

    Thanks and sorry for wasting anybody's time but I appreciate your help!
     
  6. OriginalGrizGuy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    #6
    No,I think I was right..

    I hooked it up your way, with the little cable that came w/ my camera, but got no signal...

    Pg 42 and 44 of the manual both refer to the DV input on the camera as the input for the source video/audio... So, I think I do need a RCA to DV cable...

    Grrrr... The manual says they are "commerically available." Yeah, but what the heck are they called so I can buy them, Canon?
     
  7. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #7
    If I recall my Elura manual, the phrase "commercially available" was used to describe the Firewire cable (aka DV cable). I can assure you that there is no such thing as a RCA to Firewire cable.

    Did you go into the menu system to explicitly select A-D pass thru? Are you sure you have the camera powered on the correct setting? Are you using iMovie?

    Perhaps the ZR800 doesn't have A/D passthru? I'm gonna do a little research.

    I think you're screwed. According to this post, the ZR800 doesn't do A/D passthru. Sorry.
     
  8. OriginalGrizGuy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    #8
    Oh, it's possible



    Oh, it's possible that I'm doing it wrong... Goodness knows that. But looking at the manual on page 42, it's pretty clear it says it has to be hooked up to "DV in..." They show a 4- or 6-pin firewire cable, but I don't have that output on my VCR.. just the RCAs.

    I'm just going from VCR to the camera.. I wanted to record snippets of various VHS tapes and then edit those snippets in iMovie. Maybe if I hook it up through the Canon, I'll get something..

    Pg 44 of the manual describes how to record from another source. I followed the steps and the camera showed me all the right icons in the screen, so that's why I presume I have to go in thru the DV input.

    I'll keep trying.
     
  9. tri3limited macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #9
    I imagine the hookup should be;

    VCR --[AV Cable of Sorts]--> Camera --[Firewire/iLink etc.]--> Mac/PC

    The bypass might be built into the mac software or just happen, worth checking for options on the cameras menu.
     
  10. OriginalGrizGuy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    #10
    Well, some progress

    OK, well, I dragged the VCR up to the iMac to connect it daisy-chain style and here's what we have: VCR's RCA plugs OUT to the 3.5mm jack IN to the Canon ZR800.. From the ZR800 DV port, I go OUT to the iMac.

    iMovie sees a camera connected and says "camera ready to record." Good! But I go through the ZR800's menu to do "digital video dubbing" as explained on pg 44, and I then hit play on the VCR and I get nothing but blue screens on the ZR800 and in iMovie. iMovie doesn't record a clip in fact. If I hit "import" in iMovie just to see what it does, it stops the camcorder, starts playing the tape and then records whatever was on the tape before...

    (sigh).. I dunno... I'm sure it's one little switch or one little thing wrong like the order in which I start tapes or the cable or something..
     
  11. nullx86 macrumors 6502a

    nullx86

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    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    Wilmington/Jacksonville, NC
    #11
    for the record there is not and never will be a RCA to firewire cable. It doesnt exist and it never will because of the protocols involved. You need to check your settings on the camcorder and make sure its set to allow video out to the port. DV ports on camcorders do not allow video out. That is for uploading/Downloading video to/from the computer/camcorder.
     
  12. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2006
    #12
    If you're able to control the camera from iMovie, you're not in A/D passthrough mode. When this mode is enabled, you can't control anything and video will just keep playing and you'll have to manually hit record in iMovie.

    Do you have your VCR set to output on the AV channel? Verify this works ( with a TV ) first.

    I can guarantee you're on the right track and that ftaok's advice about having to turn on the A-D passthrough is very important. I have done exactly this with my Canon ZR400 many many times.

    A faster way to see if you're doing this right... don't worry about hooking this up to the computer yet. Just hook up the VCR using the AV cable to the DV camera.

    Press play on a known good VHS tape, and make sure your VCR is set to output on the AV outputs ( some VCRS even have multiples, don't forget )
    Anyway... keep the tape playing and then mess with your settings on the DV camera. You'll need to explicitly set the A/D passthrough mode every time you use it this way. Be sure and select 16bit audio too BTW.
    You'll know you have it correct when you start to see video on the LCD display. ( and hear the audio, most likely )

    Good luck!
     
  13. ftaok macrumors 601

    ftaok

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    East Coast
    #13
    OriginalGrizGuy,

    I was afraid of this ... but I confirmed it by downloading the manual.

    The Canon ZR800 does not have A/D pass-thru. The AV terminal on your camcorder is output-only. It seems that Canon removed the A/D pass-thru starting with the ZR800 model. The DV terminal is input/output, but both devices need to be digital ... which a VHS/VCR is not.

    You have several options available to you at this point. Some of which are probably impractical or cost-prohibitive.

    1. Borrow someone else miniDV camcorder that has A/D pass-thru. As I've mentioned, the Elura100 has it, as do most Eluras. The earlier ZR series usually have them, but you have to double-check.

    2. Beg/Borrow/Steal a dVHS deck. Most (all?) dVHS decks have firewire input/output and can play VHS tapes. Then you can use Firewire to connect to your ZR (tape). Then you can import from the ZR to the Mac. You may be able to go straight from the dVHS to the Mac, but I'm not sure. BTW, unless you know someone with a dVHS decks, you're probably SOL on this option.

    3. Buy a dedicated USB device that has AV inputs. El Gato (the EyeTV guys) make one for $100. BlackMagic has one for $130 that also have component inputs (limited to 480p). And Hauppauge has one with component inputs that can do HD. The downside is that the material isn't converted to DV footage, so iMovie may or may not work. In the case of the BlackMagic and Hauppauge devices, it records as h264, which can be difficult to work with.

    4. Buy a DV bridge. Essentially, this is what you were trying to do with the ZR. A unit like a Canopus 110 can take composite (or s-video if your VCR has it) and convert it to DV. You'd record straight into iMovie.

    5. Do you have a stand-alone DVD recorder? Many DVD recorders have composite inputs. Just dub your VHS tapes to DVD. Then rip the DVD to MPEG-4 (use Handbrake) and you'll be able to edit in iMovie. There will be one extra conversion step, so you'll lose a little more image quality.

    ft
     
  14. OriginalGrizGuy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    #14
    well,

    Well, it's clear from the manual that only the DV jack is an in/out jack.. The camera requires video IN via that jack. It's in plain English on page 60. The manual doesn't use the words "Pass through," so it's probably only "video dubbing..." My VCR doesn't have a 4- or 6-pin firewire OUT, just RCA and BNC.. So, I'm screwed with this machine. I need to find a way to dub from VHS to the camera and import to the iMac after that... (sigh).
     

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