Firewire

How can I convert miniDV tapes?

MiniDV Tape

Episode 1485

Matt from Rochester, NY

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.

How can I transfer files from my old Mac to my new Mac?

Apple MacBook Pro

Episode 1211

Matthew from Encino, CA

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.

How can I recover files from a Mac that won't boot up?

Apple FireWire to Thunderbolt Adapter

Episode 1194

Dennis from Grand Rapids, MI

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.

Where can I get a tablet or laptop that supports Firewire?

Firewire

Episode 1007

Robert from LaPuente, CA

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.

Can I use my camcorder as a webcam?

Episode 1003

Rick from New Jersey

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.

How can I transfer MiniDV tapes to a PC without Firewire built in?

PCI Firewire Card

Episode 983

Alan from Long Beach, CA

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.