Importing analog VHS video to Mac Pro: does Panasonic HDC-TM10 support passthrough?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ToTo Man, Apr 21, 2010.

  1. ToTo Man macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2008
    A while ago I spent 3 months archiving old family VHS tapes onto a the HD section of standalone Samsung DVDR/HDD Combo unit, with the intention of then burning the footage to DVD and importing it onto my computer. My plan was foiled when I discovered the blasted Samsung had an internal fault which caused it to fail burning discs after reaching 4 minutes into the session. So with all this prized footage stuck in limbo, I decided to purchase a 2nd identical Samsung unit and attempt to stream the footage from my 1st combo to the 2nd combo's DVD-writer in real-time via composite. The discs burned ok but when I tried to import them onto my PC using either DVD-Shrink or DVD-Decrypter, I got CRC redundancy errors and hence failed imports. Tiring in patience the said footage has remained on the Samsung combo since last year and I have not reconsidered touching it until now.... ;)

    I recently bought a Mac Pro, and as I plan to purchase a HD Camcorder in the near future (probably the Panasonic HDC-TM10), I would like to archive this old footage to the Mac instead of PC so that all footage from now on is on the one system. I was therefore wondering what the best way of doing this is in terms of both ease and quality? I would like to go directly to iMovie without an intermediate stage. An external A/D firewire box is a possibility, but perhaps this could be avoided if the camcorder I plan on purchasing supports passthrough? Does anyone know if the HDC-TM10 supports passthrough, to enable me to connect the Samsung HDD/DVD combo unit to it via composite and then output it as DV to the Mac via firewire?

    Also, can someone please advise what format I should be importing/storing this SD footage and future HD footage on my Mac to preserve as much quality as possible. I have a 2TB hard drive so storage capacity shouldn't be an issue.....
  2. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    I don't know about that specific Panasonic model, but unless it is a miniDV based model, then it isn't going to do passthrough. AVCHD camcorders use USB, not firewire.

    Your best bet is to buy something like a Canopus analog-to-digital converter. You connect your VHS deck and your computer to it (via firewire) and capture the stream as a DV file. Then I would suggest keeping these DV files on either optical media if they aren't too big or on an external hard drive. Whatever you do, make sure you have redundant backups. From the DV streams you can also make h.264 copies that you can import into iTunes to play on your computer whenever you like. Just be sure to keep the DV originals somewhere safe.

    The other option is to buy an SD miniDV camcorder that does passthrough (although you can use one that doesn't by recording the VHS tapes to the miniDV tape first and them importing that, but it takes twice as long and you are limited to an hour at a time). That's probably the cheaper route. Just beware that if you get a used model you might be getting what you paid for.

    Use iMovie HD ('06) for the importing, not '08 or '09, as these use an inferior implementation of the DV codec. As for importing your HD footage, if it is AVCHD it will get transcoded to Apple Intermediate Codec (AIC) upon import, or you can use Final Cut and go with ProRes.

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