Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Video and Film Discussion › Do firewire to usb adapters work?
June 18, 2012 at 4:58 AM #48441mimagesnwMember
The newer laptops do not have firewire ports so can adapters work when downloading mini dv tape? Some say they work, others say not. If not, what will work to get video onto the laptop for editing?Videomaker Editor’s Response
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June 18, 2012 at 1:42 PM #199039RobParticipant
I can’t say for sure because I have never tried it, but I know the reason you can’t capture tape through a USB connection is because USB transfers data as packets, while Firewire transfers data as a steady stream. So while you can come out of your camera or deck with a firewire connection, the data stream will catch a snag when it hits that USB connection.
If your laptop has a PCIe slot, you can purchase a firewire adapter. You can also look into something like that Matrox MXO2 or MXO2 mini
June 18, 2012 at 1:54 PM #199040chuckzootzParticipant
Yes they do. I had to work with a laptop that did not have a fire wire port, so i used a combo usb2 / fire wire adapter to connect my old Sony camcorder to the laptop to upload video files for editing back in the days of 4×3 SD video
June 18, 2012 at 2:01 PM #199041RobParticipant
Hmm…interesting, Larry. What software were you using. I wonder if software plays a role in whether or not you can capture with USB. I’m pretty sure it was never possible with FCP.
June 18, 2012 at 3:33 PM #199042gldnearsMember
I have an IcyDock external hard drive docking system which has both Firewire and USB ports. I wonder if fed with aFirewire stream whether the data would show up on the USB port?? Never had a reason to try this since all my computers have both connectons.
June 19, 2012 at 7:02 AM #199043saltlakestudioParticipant
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-firewire-to-usb-adapter.htmYou might want to check that websites. Yup, it works best for newer laptops, pc’s
June 25, 2012 at 3:50 PM #199044AnonymousInactive
I have exactly the same problem, and was able to solve it:
Firstly, I tried the cable adapter. This did not work. The laptop recognised that something was going on, but there was no recognition of the signal going through.
Next I bought an Express34 card (about 10/$15) which had 2 Firewire ports and a USB port. I also bought an adapter cable to connect the card to my laptop usb port (the laptop doesn’t have an Expresscard port either). The USB port worked! But the Firewire ports did not work. The problem seemed similr to the adapter cable.
I then plugged the Expresscard directly into an Expresscard port on another laptop. It worked perfectly and I got 5 DV tapes copied across into .avi files that day.
Not being a computer expert, I suspect you would need a custom port driver for the usb port used for the Firewire connection for the computer to “understand” what it was receiving and, as far as I know, there isn’t such a driver out there.
If all else had failed, I had an old desktop machine with a built-in Firewire port…
June 26, 2012 at 6:36 PM #199045SteveMannParticipant
Do firewire to usb adapters work?No.
For two reasons.
First the protocol is entirely different. Firewire is a DMA transfer and needs a processor at each end to set up and monitor the data transfer. USB is little different from the serial port communications of my youth. They work on an ACK/NAK protocol where (in a nutshell – the actual protocol is a but more sophisticated) the sender sends a packet of data and if the receiver likes it, it returns an ACK (acknowledge), and if not it sends an NAK (notacknowledge) and the sender tries again.
Second the speed of the USB port is too slow.The DV data is a fire-hose of data that runs about 25Mbps. And it doesn’t stop when the buffer is full as in USB. Meaning that you would certainly see dropped frames.
The solution is to look for a used laptop with Firewire, or switch to tapeless recording and never buy another tape.
June 26, 2012 at 8:18 PM #199046jsachandaMember
I was trying to solve a similar problem. I need to capture HDMI oiutput to USB3. I found the Balck Magic Intensity Shuttle, which appears to do the trick.
I have not tried this yet. Anyone know about it? Does not necessarily solve Tom’s problem,but maybe you can solve mine or someone else’s. Thanks.
June 27, 2012 at 2:16 PM #199047AnonymousInactive
Ha! Now I know why my efforts with a firewire-to-usb connector were doomed to failure. In my case I was trying to connect an Expresscard with firewire ports connected to usb via an adaptor. Apparently the expresscard specification includes 2 interfaces – usb and pci(e). The common (cheap) card-to-usb adaptors only use the usb part of the spec, whereas the firewire ports were looking for the pci(e) part. So it seems that a firewire link to a usb port would require a large/complicated/expensive box in the middle.
If you have a modern mac with a Thunderbolt port, you can definitely get a firewire-to-Thunderbolt link. But firewire-to-usb seems to be impractical. SteveMann’s suggestion, or an expresscard to fit in a laptop with the right slot, seems like the way to go.
January 21, 2013 at 11:28 PM #205780DanviParticipant
You can use an external Firewire to USB video adapter for a laptop, just be sure it is made for that purpose. I use the Pinnacle Moviebox Ultimate unit and it works perfectly, even giving me camera control. You can use the captured video in any editing program, not just Pinnacle's.
January 30, 2013 at 12:02 PM #205915AnonymousInactive
I have been using such an adapter for 2 years because when I bought my laptop I had not realised it does not have a firewire connection whereas my Sony camera required it in order to capture. I use Pinnacle Studio and it works fine.
February 20, 2013 at 6:32 AM #206156AnonymousInactive
I recently bought a new "more than adequate" laptop for video editing and was suprised that it did not have a firewire port that allowed me to tranfser my dv tapes from my camera. One work around is to transfer your dv tapes to your former laptop or desk top that had a dv, firewire port and then transfer the file to an external hard drive. Then simply drag and drop the file from the external drive into your new computer. It takes an extra step or two but it's fool proof.
January 26, 2015 at 10:34 PM #211669JonnyDeathMember
It's a SOFTWARE LANGUAGE ISSUE not connection.
As an engineering student I can tell you ultimately EVERYTHING converts to binary but to get there the input device must speak then recode the same language as the output device to a language compatible with your OS or at least, video software.
This appears as a high frequency series of pulses measured as ons and offs by a logic circuit which is translated to a certain language which may be as simple as a compression container for video/audio data.
Anyway just buy the ancient firewire card for $5-$10 OR,
BUY AN EASY CAP FOR YOUR VERSION OF WINDOWS/MAC FOR $5 ON EBAY.
I hate when so called knowledgeable techs promote an overpriced hunk of crap with a massive enclosure hiding the fact that there's about $3 in functional circuit and interface parts inside all coming from Asia anyway.
I've had great results using a $4 EasyCap card using capture freeware and a good codec configured for high quality video.
Firewire went extinct as fast as it became a commercial system because USB 2.0 absolutely crushed it in under 2 years time.
Of course believe it or not plenty of production companies still use miniDV over flash based storage digital cameras for a lot of small scale productions such as commercials or film shorts.
June 8, 2015 at 9:56 AM #212421AnonymousInactive
does studio movie box work with a firewire audio interface for recording?
December 31, 2015 at 4:44 AM #213230RhinoMember
Does this Pinnacle moviebox ultimate work under windows 10?????
August 1, 2013 at 7:58 PM #208408jbouvardParticipant
Danvi, what OS are you using on your laptop? Do you know whether the drivers supplied with the Moviebox are compatible with Windows 7?
September 11, 2013 at 6:38 PM #208620MariaMorrisParticipant
Thank you, you answered my question because I'm looking to buy the new MacPro Book using fcpX and I was wondering about using it with my camera using mini DV tape now I know it will work because of you.
Thank you Maria
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