Importing video

Matt Phoenix

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 6, 2006
Now, I just ordered my camcorder and will have it soon. I bought a firewire cable to transfer the video to my computer. From my understanding, video from a MiniDV tape is imported into a computer in real time. The only problem is that I will not be transferring the video directly to my computer, but rather an external hard drive. The thing is that the enclosure I have for my hard drive is not firewire, but USB2. Will this cause a major slowdown when I try to transfer video from the camcorder to the external hard drive? Would I be better off just buying a firewire enclosure for it?

Super Macho Man

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2006
Hollywood, CA
It should work fine. USB 2.0 hard drives are slower than Firewire drives, but still have plenty of bandwidth for DV... as long as the USB bus is not being heavily utilized by other devices and the drive is not being asked to transfer a lot of other data at the same time it's handling DV.

A DV stream is 25 Mbps (megabits, not bytes). USB2 can handle that easy... as long as you are not using a 300MHz CPU or something that can't keep up with handling the USB communications. USB is more CPU-bound than Firewire. Heck, a 4200rpm laptop drive from 1998 can handle DV capture.

Using a USB drive may be even better than a using a Firewire drive for capturing DV, If the DV camcorder would be on the same FW bus as the FW drive. Although I do that and don't have any problems.


macrumors 6502
Oct 20, 2005
Sussex, England
You should have no problems with capturing the footage to your USB HDD, but be careful if you attempt to lay the footage back to tape from this source.

I have experienced a lot of problems before with laying off from USB HDDs. Especially if the length of your video is more than 10 minutes. It tends to drop frames, and have major audio dropouts.

In the end I gave up trying and always transfer the final piece onto my main HDD or a Firewire drive instead before laying to tape.