Sony Handycam with broken firewire connector - how can I import video?

Discussion in 'Amateur Video Production' started by Rhys, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. Rhys

    Rhys Guest

    I teach a high school video production class and have been having a
    number of problems importing video from my cameras (several different
    models of Sony HandyCams) into the computer.

    I am aware that Adobe Premiere will only import using Firewire however
    slowly the firewire ports on every single one of my cameras have
    stopped working. This morning we lost the last one and as it stands we
    now have no way to import video footage.

    I tried installing the Sony USB drivers but the package that they
    provide appears to only allow direct transfer to CD or it first adds
    formatting to the footage. As a result I am at a loss.

    Does anyone know of any software programs that will allow us to capture
    raw video footage using the USB port?

    Is there a way to fix the problem with the malfunctioning firewire
    ports? (Perhaps a student accidentally pressed the wrong button?)

    Any and all help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Rhys, Dec 1, 2006
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  2. Rhys

    Ray S Guest

    It appears to be a common problem (at least today). These firewire ports
    do not seem to have been designed to stand up to the rigors of students
    jamming the connections in and yanking them out. Eventually, they go.

    With multiple shooters wanting to capture and edit, perhaps a good
    solution for you be to acquire a cheap camera, say on ebay, and have it
    permanently connected to be used as a capture device.
    Ray S, Dec 1, 2006
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  3. Rhys

    Steve King Guest

    A three-port PCI Firewire card is about $20. Can one be installed on a MAC??

    Steve King
    Steve King, Dec 1, 2006
  4. That's a great idea. And for your computers, if they have an available
    slot, you can buy a cheap OHCI-firewire-card. Maybe they have even designed
    some which are rugged, and do not "go meet their maker" when you hook-up
    something with power on the firewire-plug.


    Martin Heffels, Dec 1, 2006
  5. Rhys

    David McCall Guest

    Unfortunately, none of those cards will work in any camera that I've ever
    I don't get out much though.

    David McCall, Dec 1, 2006
  6. Rhys

    powrwrap Guest

    Rookie video editor here. I've been using a borrowed Sony Digicam
    TRV740 this week to import videos to my hard drive. My computer didn't
    have a firewire port so I used the USB port on the camera. (I
    downloaded the drivers from Sony's website). I used Microsoft Movie
    Maker to import the video. The results were atrocious. Blurry,
    stuttering video. I went out and bought a firewire card that came
    bundled with Ulead's OEM version of VideoStudio and I'm quite pleased
    with the results. So even if you could get the USB ports to work I
    don't think you would be happy with the picture quality.

    As to buying a "cheap" digital camera on E-bay, I guess that begs the
    question of what is cheap. I've been monitoring E-bay for months and
    the barebones camera that performs the analog to digital conversion is
    a TRV120. They go for around $125. The next model up is a TRV240 and
    they fetch between $150 and $200.

    I was going to go this route but now am wondering if I'd be better off
    getting a brand new digital camcorder with analog to digital signal
    pass through and daisy chain my analog Sony camera to it and then to my
    powrwrap, Dec 1, 2006
  7. Rhys

    Ray S Guest

    Well, he currently seems to have a collection of expensive cameras that
    he can't seem to get the video from the tape to the computer. So, just
    getting one camera that everyone fed their tapes to would seem cheaper
    than fixing and or replacing the current crop.

    Even if its multiple computers its no big deal. Leave the cable plugged
    into the camera, and move plug it into a computer as needed. Perhaps a
    hub device may be available to allow multiple computers to connect to a
    stationary camera.
    Ray S, Dec 1, 2006
  8. Rhys

    Steve King Guest

    Ohh! Brain fart!! Sorry. I meandered away from the original request and
    replied to the poster who talked about blowing three Firewire ports on a

    Steve King
    Steve King, Dec 1, 2006
  9. Oooops, me too :))

    Martin Heffels, Dec 1, 2006
  10. Rhys

    Cliff Hartle Guest

    There is no way that you can import full resolution video through USB, the
    data rate is too slow.

    If you could do it through USB there would be no need for firewire.

    To answer your next question of why USB can't work I am going to quote a
    posting I made 6 and half years ago about the same question. To see how far
    we have come you have to read my last line of the post.

    The problem that I see is that the camera uses tape to store the data which
    is a sequential device. A tape is great for storing allot of data cheaply,
    but terrible for finding anything on the tape. A tape just wants to move in
    a nice controlled speed in one direction for along time. Because of this
    it can only dump the data out at the same speed it was put on.

    In order to do transfer at a slower rate the camera would have to do one of
    two things.

    The tape would have to stop and start while the transfer computer caught up.
    This is very hard to do because a tape drive cannot stop on a dime. A few
    frames would go past the heads which would require the tape to be rewound
    and then queued to the correct spot. This would place a strain on the
    transport mechanism and may not even be possible.

    The other way would be for the tape transport to have some sort of variable
    speed that could adjust the playback speed. It would then also need to have
    a few megs of buffer memory to hold the data while the computer caught up
    and the transport slowed down. Again not very likely.

    Of course if the camera had a 100 gig disk drive array, a USB cable could
    work. It may take a few days, but it would work :).
    Cliff Hartle, Dec 2, 2006
  11. "Rhys" wrote ...
    Since you didn't mention any model numbers (ALWAYS
    a good idea) we will assume that these are mini-DV and
    not mini-DVD, or some other kind of cameras???

    A common solution is to get a cheap DV camcorder,
    even one with a dead/blind camera section and use
    it as a "feeder" device. Leave it plugged in AT ALL
    TIMES so that the fragile Firewire connector doesn't
    fail like all your other equipment.
    The USB link to camcorders is for low-resolution "webcam"
    or MPEG (mini-DV) video, or for downloading still images.
    No DV camcorders use USB for downloading full-resolution
    Software has nothing to do with it. The camera *hardware*
    is designed to use Firewire to download the full-resolution
    Some cameras have a semi-hidden "reset button". But if the
    computer doesn't recognize that a source is connected, it seems
    more like a more fundamental problem than just a camera setting.
    Firewire connectors are fragile under the best of conditions.
    Putting them in the "care" of a bunch of ham-handed kids is
    just asking for trouble.
    Richard Crowley, Dec 2, 2006
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