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Unable to import video from mini dv


Greetings and happy holidays.

I am having some issues . I own a Canon mini dv MC ZR 70.

I want to import the video on the tape. I have a firewire running from the camera to my macbook. I have tried both final cut pro and iMovie but neither one will recognize my camera.

Any suggestions? I looked on this website for information and it seems a missing driver is not the issue as it is not required...

Both the camcorder and the mac are about 8-9 years old.




What model Macbook do you have? Do you know if you're using a Firewire 400 or 800 cable?

I was only successful with capturing miniDV footage several years ago.  Sony miniDV cam attached to a 2008 8-core Xeon Mac Pro via a Firewire 400 cable.  I cannot remember the software I used.  It could have been Final Cut Pro, but I'm wondering if I had used the old QuickTime Player (version 7) application?

You could try using QuickTime Player.  Perhaps your Mac also has the older QuickTime Player 7 application.  That might be in /Applications/Utilities.

The last time I tried to import miniDV footage, it failed.  The setup was the same Sony miniDV cam, but with a 2017 iMac Pro.  I had a FireWire 800 cable going from the cam, connected to a FireWire to Thunderbolt 2 adapter, and then from that adapter to a Thunderbolt 3 adapter finally connected to the iMac Pro.  Could not capture footage using Final Cut Pro, iMovie or QuickTime Player.  I really don't know where the fault was; but a guess is that it may not have liked the Firewire 800.  As I got all my crucial footage imported years earlier, I have since given up.

I also don't remember if I had tried using my 2012 12-Core Xeon Mac Pro to do any imports.  That Mac only had Firewire 800 ports.


EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS, EF-EOS R 0.71x


Hi RIcky.Thanks for your reply!

I am using an 800 9 pin to 400 4 pin.

It is a Macbook Pro, mid2012.

How might I try Quick Time player? It is version 10.5 which appears to be 3-4 years old.

I am looking in the File menu and there is a New Movie Recording, New Audio Recording, and New Screen Recording. Open File and Open Location. Then at the bottom, Export As..

Thanks again,


version 10.5 is the latest version of QuickTime Player (I have that on my Mac with macOS 12.1).   About the only thing I can think of is to try the "New Movie Recording" option.  It will open up a window and probably will default to your webcam.   Next to the record button, there should be a downwards-pointing caret.  Clicking that should produce a list of all possible video sources.  Hopefully it will see your cam as an option.

Since I believe you may be on the newest OS as well, it's probably 64-bit only.  And thus even if you had the older QuickTime 7 application, it wouldn't run since that was only 32-bit software.

I still don't know if it may be the Firewire 800 causing the issues too; I was never able to get that setup working.

Best of luck!


EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS, EF-EOS R 0.71x


Does your MacBook have a built-in Firewire port?

Do you have the camera in VCR mode?

I actually got it to work on my new iMac24 and the FireWire->TB1 + TB1->TB3 adapter in iMovie. I was pleasantly surprised.

I have a iMac24 as well, in addition to the old MacBook. So is that 2 Thunderbolt adapters plugged into each other?

No, it is the Thunderbolt to Firewire and the Thunderbolt1 to Thunderbolt3 adapter. Just make sure to plug into the TB port and not the USB-C port if you have the 4 port model. I did have to fiddle for a bit.

But if the other computer has a built in Firewire, you can unplug it and take out the battery to reset the Firewire port. This has worked for some folks. It took me a while to remember this, it has been a while since it was necessary. 8^)


Okay so I finally acquired the firewire. Hooked it up. Downloaded iMovie. Turned the mini-dv camcorder to VCR and played the footage. Nothing. Tried iPhoto. Nothing. Turned the camera off/on. Same for iMovie. Nothing. 

This is kind of unbelievable in addition to being infuriating/depressing. Why can't I transfer my mini-dv footage to my iMac? It should be so straightforward but apparently it is a massive lift...

  • USB 2.0 to IEEE 1394 Mini 4pin FireWire DV Cable.

BLUEXIN USB 2.0 Male to IEEE 1394 Mini 4Pin Male iLink Firewire DV Adapter Cord Cable Compatible with Sony DV


Because DV tapes are dying out.

Is your camera supported? 

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