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getting HDV off HV30 with broken firewire

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Timothy Falconer
getting HDV off HV30 with broken firewire
on Apr 18, 2013 at 1:44:37 pm

Hi all,

My trusty HV30 has a broken firewire port (dropped while plugged in), but otherwise works perfectly. I'm looking for a way to get the HDV footage to my Macbook Pro (with Thunderbolt and Firewire 400/800), without spending a lot of money.

Checked into Blackmagic Intensity to use the HDMI port, but learned that would explode my HDV 13G/hour to 50G/hour, with no extra benefit.

Scoured ebay etc for a cheap HDV minidv camcorder or deck, but haven't broken the $300 mark.

Any other options I can try? I've got hundreds of hours of tape to move to hard disk.


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Todd Terry
Re: getting HDV off HV30 with broken firewire
on Apr 18, 2013 at 3:00:23 pm

You're a little bit stuck... barring firewire (or HDMI), there's no way to get the pure HDV signal out of that camera. You could jump through some hoops and capture via the analog outputs, but you need the right hardware to do than and you would no longer be capturing a digital HDV signal.

Bottom line is you are going to have to buy/borrow/beg/steal a playback device. Compound that with the fact that if you shot in Canon's 24f mode (I believe the HV30 called it "cine mode" rather than 24f), the you have to use a Canon camcorder as playback, another device such as a Sony HDV camcorder will not work (there are a couple of later-model Sony decks that will play 24f footage, but you're talking thousands of dollars there).

I'd hit eBay and look for a gently-used HV30 or HV20 (the HV20 will work just fine).

You might even pick up a spare one if they are selling cheaply enough... since you say you have hundreds of hours of tape to ingest, I wouldn't be surprised if that wore out a device or two. They're cheap and not exactly built like tanks or for such heavy uses purely as playback devices.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Craig Alan
Re: getting HDV off HV30 with broken firewire
on Apr 20, 2013 at 9:26:36 pm

I think large file sizes are something we all have to get used to. The black magic intensity would not only let you capture all your tapes but could be used to record directly from the HV cam in a much higher codec than HDV and without using any tapes.

Any cam with a tape transport will start to get get dirty and misaligned heads. It's the weak link of those cams along with Canon's problems with firewire. HDV is not the best editing codec anyway. It is true you will not improve the quality of the HDV footage (unless you skip the HDV compression) but it will be in a codec that will allow you to add high quality graphics. You can always further compress the files to save space and hard drives are getting cheaper all the time. Even at 50G an hour a 3TB drive would hold 60 hours worth and once in digital form you could trash stuff you have no interest in keeping. The tapes would still serve as an archive as well. I say transfer the footage you need to edit and take it one project at a time. If you had the 100s of hours of footage on hard drives what will you do moving forward - back these up to new hard drives? Hard drives are not that reliable in the long run. Most likely some flavor of solid state or archiving storage will become cheap enough for the rest of us, but I'm not sure having hundreds of hours of projects on today's affordable drives is a long term answer.

I've begun making the transition from HDV tapes to a P2 workflow and I'm really up in the air about planning long term archiving. My evolving plan is to try to organize storage very carefully. Keeping what is worth keeping and when an affordable solution presents itself making the move.

One more advantage to HDMI out would be no more problems capturing due to time code breaks.

Having just read your question and my reply again, I'm pretty sure I didn't help at all; but at least you know you are not alone on this whole what do I do with all this media.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Camcorders: Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV30/40, Sony Z7U, VX2000, PD170; FCP 6 certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

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