How can I convert miniDV tapes?

Episode 1485 (32:58)

Matt from Rochester, NY
MiniDV Tape

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. It may also be easier to either buy a used computer off eBay with FireWire, or an external hard drive with FireWire. The QuickstreamDV is one, but it's expensive at about $800.

One option would be to use a Thunderbolt port on his computer, if it has it. Apple has a Thunderbolt 3 to FireWire converter. That would be the best option.

That chatroom found an article on how to convert FireWire to USB at

But the easiest thing to do is just have a service do it.

Photo by MichiK via Wikipedia (CC-BY-SA 3.0)