How To Get Video off Mini DV Tape and Onto My Computer - blown Firewire!?!

OK so I have a Canon XM2 MiniDV camcorder - it appears that the Firewire Port has blown as it is no longer recognised by my PC.

Other than that the camera works fine and it’s an expensive camera so I don’t want to replace it. I want to keep using it for recording and find another method of getting the video onto my computer from the Mini DV tapes.

Any ideas?

whether it has been tried before on another computer ? :smiley:

  1. Have you tried using a different fireware cable?
  2. Have you tried connection using a different computer?

If your onboard firewire port(s) really are shot, you can get a firewire PCIe expansion card. Something like this would probably work:

Note that this is a full profile slot for a mid or full size computer tower. If you have a smaller case, you may need to find a low-profile card.

If you have a laptop, you’ll need a PCMCIA slot, otherwise, you may be out of luck:

Thanks for the replies!

Yes I’ve tried the camera with different computers and several cables so I think it is the Firewire port on the camcorder that is the problem (searching online it seems to be a problem with these cameras).

So I’m looking to use something else other than the camera to get the contents of Mini DV tapes onto my computer - any ideas what I might do?

If your camera has a USB port you can try that, though typically USB is limited to accessing photo storage and/or the capture software simply doesn’t recognize the USB connection.

You’ll likely need to supply a replacement firewire port, like with the PCIe card I indicated.

The camera does have a usb port but like you say it’s limited to stills.

When you said about getting a PCIe card I thought that you meant for the computer rather than the camera (the computer is fine) . I didn’t know that these are available for cameras - or am I missing something?

Oh, I assumed that the port on your computer was bad, not the one on the camera. Sorry about that–it wasn’t quite clear.

If the camera under warranty, contact the manufacturer. Typically cameras have a 1 year warranty. If you bought it using a credit card, some credit cards extend the warranty an additional year. If it’s not under warranty, contact the manufacturer anyway and see how much a repair would cost.

The other option is to use a different camera that uses MiniDV tapes, or get to a MiniDV player deck (these tend to run anywhere between $300 and $1200).

When the camera is plugged into the PC via USB, does it show up as a disk drive in Windows Explorer? If it does, have a look through the folder structure for anything that might look like the films that you’ve recorded

A camera with a build-in flash/hard drive is different than a tape-based camera. The footage doesn’t appear in a disk drive when it’s on a tape.

Thanks for the replies - much appreciated!

I got the camera on Ebay a while back (and it was OK when I got it - managed to upload via the Firewire) so unfortunately no warrenty is possible.

So Mini DV tapedecks - this might do the job $300 I could probably manage (but $1200 wouldn’t be worth it). Are there any that you know of in the lowest price range? I’m based in the UK but could order from the US if I can’t get one here.

Your cheapest option will be another camera that takes the same tape format. It could be a relatively low quality camera optically and features wise as long as it has firewire out.

If you recorded using LP mode, it’s best to get a camera from the same brand. There are sometimes issues with playing back footage that was recorded in LP on a camera that is one brand and played back on a camera that is a different brand. If you recorded in SP mode, it shouldn’t make a difference.

As for tape decks, stick with some of the big names–Sony, JVC, Panasonic–and get whatever is least expensive; you don’t need something with a lot of bells and whistles on it. Or get a cheap camera. It’s up to you to figure out which would be the most cost effective for you.

Great - looks like I’m getting there on this one.

I’m struggling to find cheap mini dv cameras though. There are plenty of used ones around but I can’t find anything new. Are new ones still available?

I’m struggling to find any tape decks below a thousand bucks too.

They’re certainly falling by the wayside in favor of cameras with built-in hard drives, but they’re still around.

Have you checked amazon?

I would just ebay a cheap minidv player or camera…Your other option is to use the composite/component outputs which it should have and get a blackmagic card to put into your computer and use those…Advantage of that is it will also have an HDMI input which if you step up and buy any new or even used camcorder now they are 1080p hd and, solid state memory built in plus expansion, and have mini hdmi out. Talking firewire in 2013 is way late. If you don’t have much minidv tapes I’d suggest you step up. As even consumer grade is blowing away your filming.