Importing movies from MiniDV to iMovie missing audio

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by bisk, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. bisk macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2009
    I'm trying to import my home movies from my Canon Optura60 MiniDV Camcorder into iMovie, but for some odd reason the imports seem to be missing the audio. When I play the tape on my camcorder there is audio, but if I try to play the tape or capture it through iMovie there isn't any audio. Does anyone have any ideas on how I can get the audio working? I have the camcorder connected to my 2017 iMac through a chain of cables (USB to Thunderbolt 2 --> Thunderbolt 2 to Firewire 800 --> 9 Pin Firewire to 4 pin Firewire).
  2. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    IIRC, USB does not transfer audio signals (at least it didn't on my old Sony camcorder).
  3. bisk thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2009
    Interestingly enough, I went through an import of an entire tape and there were a few clips that did have audio on them. This is very strange. So it looks like the setup should work in theory, but why are some clips missing audio while others have it?
  4. bisk thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 2, 2009
    I contacted Apple Support and they weren't able to get iMovie to import the video with audio. We tried a new Library in iMovie and even created a new ID and that didn't work either. We also tried doing a recording with QuickTime and that was able to record the video and audio. The only thing that is unfortunate is that QuickTime won't split the recording up based on the clips on the tape and doesn't retain the timestamp from when the clip was recorded.

    I wonder if there are any 3rd Party apps that I could use?
  5. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    I think it's probably the USB bit that's causing the problem. Normally, the only way to import from a miniDV camcorder to iMovie is by using a Firewire connection. Your camcorder should have Firewire socket that will take a 4 pin FW cable.
    (see attached picture)

    Connect that cable to the Thunderbolt port and it should work.

    Attached Files:

  6. connk05 macrumors newbie

    Dec 23, 2017
    Hi how did you do the recording in quicktime player?
  7. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    Quicktime>File Menu>New Movie Recording. It should pick up your connected camcorder.
  8. codad3x macrumors newbie

    Feb 3, 2018
    Also having the same problem with iMovie when importing mini DV tapes from my Canon Optura 30. Video is fine, but there is no audio. Same with Quicktime for me--no audio comes through. Have you come up with any other solutions.
  9. Late2012 macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2018
    SOLVED: Hi, my old miniDV (Canon MV300i) has a line out (headphones) and my Mac has a line in, just choose the right audio source in QT (pulldown, arrow down, right side of the red recording button) and you should be fine, the recording will get the audio then.

    NOTE: You can also check there if your audio source is in fact your Optura, that might help right away as the default is line in. It did not help me, but then I tried the line in and that solved it, just an old 3.5 mm male-to-male cable needed.

    Hope this helps.
  10. jjonester macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2018
    The Quicktime recorder info helped, but I'm still having audio issues. What's the cable that you used to plug the camera mic into the computer? I'm pulling video from a friend's MiniDV recorder, and it seems their AV cable doesn't even go to this camera, it only has the male white and yellow cables and on the other end, the connection is smaller than a normal mic plug. I'm going to have to see if I can find a proper cable somewhere unless someone has another suggestion. Thank you!
  11. Late2012 macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2018
    Hi the audio cable I used was a normal 3.5 mm male to male audio, available in any Fry's or Tesco supermarket, from the headphone jack of my cam to the mac.

    More info on the audio jack and possible differences: and look for 3.5 mm.

    At the end of the day I went for another solution as I realised that I did not need the raw bitstream from the DV filling up my disks. I now tap out the signal over Super-VHS (which includes audio) and convert them using a Terratec G1 video capture unit, which connects nicely over USB and has a lower bit rate, 1 hour is 3-4 gigabytes instead of hundreds. I want the action, the talk and the people not crisp scenery as it turns out.

    I am facing a lag in audio though, of around 0.25 seconds which is a bit of a problem, as lip sync is suffering. Will post here if I figure it out. Could well be the capture unit.

  12. jjonester macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2018
    Thanks for the quick response! I dug around my cables at home and found this one that seems to work ok, just plugged the red cable into the mic port on the camera and the yellow into the AV plug, then the mic plug (black end) into the computer and changed my settings in Quicktime to recognize it (in case anyone else comes across this). Works ok as far as I can tell, but what I'm capturing won't rely heavily on the audio either thankfully.
  13. Late2012 macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2018
  14. jjonester macrumors newbie

    Apr 24, 2018
    You know what? I actually spoke too soon. I thought I was getting audio from the cable, but turns out it was just picking up audio from my Mac speakers, even though the headphone jack was plugged in. So, once I turned down the sound on my camera I could hear myself futzing around through the recorded audio :(
  15. Late2012 macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2018
    Oh, check :
    1. with a pair of headphones, are you getting audio from the headphone jack
    2. if yes, check the other end, did you put the jack in the correct input on your mac, line in
    3. if no,
      • then the headphone jack is toast, or
      • the cam settings are worth checking (headphone volume, check the cam onboard menu) or
      • the cable you have is not of the right kind, could be too short or not audio, check the wiki link I included above.
    BTW the audio lag problem is present only on one recording out of 5 so far so have some checking to do.
  16. BertSchultz macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2018
    I have my camera attached to the Mac with firewire 800. It used to work with Final Cut Pro 9. So I know that the mechanical connection is ok. iMovie just does not see the sound.
    --- Post Merged, May 10, 2018 ---
    My Canon miniDV has an output jack that feeds into 3 RCA cables. Just putting an audio out device into the jack doesnt work. So I guess if I do this I need to get a splitter to go from R and L RCA out to minijack to go to my mac.
    --- Post Merged, May 10, 2018 ---
    My camera is attached to the Mac with firewire 800. I used to be able to import sound to Final Cut Pro 9 with no problem. iMovie just does not see the sound portion of the firewire input.
    --- Post Merged, May 10, 2018 ---
    I just discovered that my Panasonic DVX 100 works just fine with iMove to capture sound over firewire 800.
  17. brutusfly macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2006
    I had this problem as well with a Canon HV40, and from what I can find, Apple has dropped support for certain cameras or audio codecs. I've started importing Firewire DV into QuickTime Player instead (New Recording function). I still have to use other app import windows or workarounds to see the time/date codes embedded on the tapes, since QuickTime doesn't seem to retain that info (as far as I can tell).
  18. IainB macrumors newbie


    Nov 26, 2003
    I am now trying to import some old tapes and have run into the same problem, but weirder. Of 15 MiniDV tapes, 7 have imported successfully with sound while the other 8 have picture, but no sound. I have adjusted and eliminated every possible variable I can think of.
    1. The tapes were all shot on (and are playing back from) the same Canon camcorder.
    2. I am using a new Firewire cable in to an Apple Thunderbolt adapter, straight into the Mac.
    3. I am using iMovie, which has no problem recognising and controling the camera for import (the camera is not on the 'supported' list, but, as I say, half of the tapes have imported fine.)
    4. I have used a head cleaning tape between each of the 15.
    5. The sound is fine on the tape if I just play back one of the 'problem' tapes on the camcorder.
    6. I have restarted the Mac, tried writing to internal and external drives, set up new libraries, set up as a different user etc.
    7. I have tried the 'good tapes' again, and they still import fine so nothing seems to have changed on the Mac (I was thinking corrupt preference file for example)
    8. Playing the imported files in Quicktime is the same, some just don't have sound. Similarly you can se in iMovie if an audio waveform is present or not.

    A complete mystery! Does anyone have any other suggestions - or similar experience? Otherwise, I guess the next step is to send off all the tapes to a specialist transfer company.
  19. eRondeau macrumors 65816


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    There are lots of old messages on A/V forums similar to yours, and I had the exact same problem importing an old VHS tape with my Optura-20.Your Canon camcorder is able to record audio at both 16-bit and 12-bit. Most people set their camcorder to 16-bit because it's better, but I don't think it's compatible with iMovie. Try switching it to 12-bit and see what happens.
  20. chrichton25 macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2018
    It doesn't.

    -Connect that cable to the Thunderbolt port and it should work.[/QUOTE]
    --- Post Merged, Dec 2, 2018 ---
    It doesn't record the audio.

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