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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 30, 2020
I'm trying to copy content from miniDV tapes into iMovie. I'm doing this using a Firewire connection to a borrowed Canon MV550i camcorder.

The miniDV tapes play fine on the camcorder with sound. However, the imported clips have no sound. There is no waveform in the imported clips, just a flat line. In iMovie the sound is not muted.

Any ideas anyone?

This is the set-up I have:
  • MacOS: Catalina 10.15.6
  • iMovie: 10.1.15 (the latest I think)
  • Camcorder: Canon MV550i
  • Firewire: 4-pin to 9-pin cable with Thunderbolt adapter
Thanks in anticipation.


Dave Braine

macrumors 68040
Mar 19, 2008
Warrington, UK
Your setup is fine. Back in the day when miniDV camcorders were common, there was often a problem when trying to import using a camcorder that hadn't recorded the tape. This may, or may not, be the problem.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 30, 2020
Thanks for this Dave. Not very encouraging...

This may be the problem as the camcorder I'm using wasn't the one the tapes were recorded on. Makes me think - is there a way to get the audio off the tape? I could then merge the audio with the video I've managed to get on to my Mac.


macrumors 65816
Oct 15, 2005
The Paps of Glenn Close, Scotland.
Luckily I'm doing this very thing this week, but fortunately I'm still on Mojave.
I'd bought Parallels 16 w/ Snow Leopard Server & iLife '06 specifically for this task only to find out that the firewire port cannot be used with Parallels, but I did find out a bit more about iMovie.
Catalina strips the DV sound codecs out of MacOS that iMovie 6 HD used with Quicktime 7 so no doubt you're having issue.
I don't know what Mac you're using, but if you upgraded to Catalina on it, one solution would either to be partition your Mac disk or get an external disk, install Mojave on it & change the boot drive just for the camcorder project.
You can then install iMovie 6 HD (I bought mine on Fleabay, but a quick google with the Parallel issues I was having located a site you can d/l it from). Once installed, you will see the iMovie app w/ a circle and a cross through it. Double clicking it won't work.
On the iMovie icon, secondary click, show package details, locate the MacOS exec file & double click that.
Terminal loads up stating the software is deprecated (& you keep it open when using iMovie) & iMovie 6 HD runs just fine.
I'm 10 tapes in, sound and picture transferring ok.
Hope this may of some help to you (& for the record, my original Canon Hi8 camcorder was several years before the one you're using & I'm transferring the tapes now using a Sony camcorder purchased solely for this project from Fleabay)
Last edited:


macrumors 68040
Oct 9, 2008
Press play on your “canon” camcorder before importing max is has a bug if you do not do that you will have no audio.
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