Jay has a stack of miniDV tapes and wants to digitize them to make DVDs. Leo says if he still has the camera, he can do it easily by plugging it into the computer. He wants a USB 3 or Thunderbolt connection if possible. Firewire to USB converter could also do it, but it may be easier just to have a service do it.
Mike has an old collection of miniDV tapes and a camcorder that works over FireWire. How can he transfer them to his computer? Leo says that FireWire was a great format back then, but nobody really supports it anymore. So he'll have to get a box that will convert it to USB 3. The good news is that because the miniDV tapes are digital, he won't be degrading the image any. If he has a tower computer, he can buy a FireWire card for about $15. But if he only has a laptop, then he'll have to think outside the box. He'll also have to play the video tapes in real time to transfer the data.
Matthew wants to transfer old files from his old computer to his new computer. Leo says that Matthew can use an ethernet cable, Firewire or even Thunderbolt and put the old computer into "target disk mode." This will treat his old Mac as a hard drive that will mount on the new Mac. Then it's just a simple drag and drop of his files.
Target Disk Mode is a simple and efficient way to move files from one Mac to another. This can be used if your Mac won't boot and you need to get files off of it. Or you could transfer files onto a Mac this way, just as you would with an external hard drive. Here's how to take advantage of this convenient feature built into OS X:
Dennis has an old iMac from 2006 and he's having problems getting it to boot up. How can he move files from the old Mac to his new Mac? Leo says that there's a utility option called "Target Disk Mode." Press and hold "T" on startup and it'll put the Mac into Target Disk Mode. This means the Mac will appear as an external hard drive to the computer it's connected to.
Robert would like to get a laptop or tablet that supports firewire. Leo says that the industry has moved away from FireWire in favor of USB 3.0. Even Apple, which was a huge proponent of Firewire has moved on from it. Robert could get a laptop that supports PCMCIA cards, and then he can get a Firewire card for it, but that's a feature that's also disappearing. Robert could also get a USB to Firewire adapter.
Rick has a Panasonic camcorder and would like to use it as a high quality webcam. Leo says that it depends on the camera. Most new ones are able to do it via HDMI. Some have live HDMI.
Rick needs is a live component or composite. It has to be able to pass the video stream out of the camera and into the PC. HDMI makes it easy. If it doesn't have that, then Leo says a capture card is likely needed. Also, camcorders will time out after a set time, so he'll have to turn that off in the settings or "pop" the cassette to keep it going. Firewire will work as it is always live.
Tom has an old Firewire Sony HD camcorder, but his PC has USB only. Is there an adapter he can use? Leo says he wouldn't want to do that. USB isn't fast enough. He should buy a Firewire card for his PC, and then he can import the video at full speed and full quality.
David has a Toshiba Satellite laptop and he wants to capture video from old MiniDV tapes. Leo says that David needs a Firewire card because USB just isn't fast enough. His laptop also doesn't have a PCI card slot.
An analog capture device like the ADVC110 from Pinnacle would be ideal if he were dealing with analog video, but his camera is digital, so it would downgrade the signal. David would be better off getting a PCI Firewire card for his desktop, and transfer the video to that.
David upgraded to Windows 8, but he's lost his firewire connection as a result. Leo says that upgrading an old PC to Windows 8 usually isn't recommended, but it sounds like David needs to get a firewire driver from the motherboard manufacturer. There's no indication that Windows 8 doesn't support it. He just would need the driver. Leo also says that doing a clean install wiped out all the older drivers, this is one case where an upgrade may have been the better move.