How to capture video from DV through USB

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    • #80151

      I have some old DV tapes that I'd like to capture to disk. I've borrowed a Sony DCR-HC32E handycam with a DCRA-C121 docking station which has firewire and usb outs.  I don't have any firewire slots on any of my pc's but understand it should be possible to capture the video through usb,  The problem is when I plug the dock into my pc nothing happens. I had a look for drivers, but only drivers for XP are available for this dock. I run Win7-64 but created a virtualbox xp-32 guest and tried installing the drivers. It seems to go ok, no complaints, but still the dock don't show up anywhere.  Any ideas?


    • #210822

      Video from MiniDV tape can never be captured via USB, you must use the Firewire 1394 port. Many video cameras can capture still images and that is what the USB port would be for.




      Jeff Pulera

      Safe Harbor Computers

    • #210823

      Hm, there are many websites on the internet that discuss this issue and say otherwise. I think it was not possible with the original USB implementation but already USB2 was the same speed as FW so ought to work. 


      I don't have a FW adapter, don't live in a place where one can be found, and don't have the use of the handycam long enough to be able to order one online, so it's kinda my only shot at it.


      Anyway, the first probelm is the PC doesn't even recognize that a USB device has been connected. If at least I could get it to that point it would be posisble to check the next step.



    • #210829

      Use a friend's Firewire-equipped PC or laptop.  Capture your video.  It will take about 5GB per tape.

      Copy the files to an external drive/thumb drive and take it home with you.

    • #210845

      DV takes about 13GB per hour when captured as DV via Firewire (keeping it native). Always. Don't know where that 5GB figure comes from.


      To capture DV footage natively, one MUST use a Firewire (1394) connection to the computer. DV cannot be captured natively via USB.


      A different option for someone without access to a computer with Firewire is to buy some type of capture device that can accept an analog video signal, such as Composite or S-video, as an input from the camcorder.


      This device MIGHT connect via USB to the computer, but it is NOT capturing "DV" video. It will compress the analog video using MPEG-2 or H.264 to bring the file size and data rate down to something that USB can keep up with. These are budget units that will have poor video quality. But maybe good enough for your needs.


      On the higher end, something like a Matrox MX02 Mini or Black Magic Intensity Pro connect to a PC via PCI-e card interface, and can capture the analog signal using a high-quality AVI codec, or even as uncompressed video (if the hard drive is adequate).


      I just went to Amazon and entered "USB video capture" and there are PLENTY of very cheap USB units with the "yellow-red-white" analog RCA inputs, so maybe that will meet your needs. But it is not "DV capture for certain. Perhaps your local big-box electronics store might have something similar, though you will pay a lot more.


      Thank you


      Jeff Pulera

      Safe Harbor






    • #210846

      Jeff you are right about 13GB for an hour of DV.  It's been so long since I've done it my memory is faulty.

    • #210866

      "Hm, there are many websites on the internet that discuss this issue and say otherwise." SafeHabor is perfectly right, that 1 hour of DV quality video takes up to 13 GB of HD space. He's also right that you need FireWire hardware to capture video from MiniDV. It is not possible to capture DV via USB, as much as I know. I don't know what websites you are referring to that say otherwise. But I'll be very glad to know, if you'll kindly provide the links. In the meantime, try and find a Firewire card/board that you can insert into your PCI slot to do the job. Try hard. Someone near you may have the right resources that you can borrow. Good luck. … And, btw, where do you live? Just curious.

    • #210877

      I have Mini-DV tape converter I bought a Frys electronics for $ 25 to transfer to my laptop — but  — it uses the cameras S-VHS analog and audio output (lower-quality)  — and does not recognize 16×9 ratio   — so the best solution is to convert to a firewire equipped desktop – and then to a thumbdrive. 

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