Hi Wonderings, just in case your G4s will not function properly again, I'd like to share some of my experience with Mini DV and FireWire.
In order to help you archive your tapes.
Of late, I'v'e had to transfer a Mini DV tape as well for my job. Emergency recording on an old Canon Mini DV camera, because a newer camera broke down.
Since I'm the only one of our crew to have access to Firewire gear, I've done my homework. Here goes:
FW > FW Hardware connectivity
- I have a mid 2012 13" MBP which still has FireWire 800.
- with a FW 800 > FW 400 (i.e. 9 to 6 conductor), I connected the MBP to an audio interface which has 2 FW 400 connectors (doesn't matter which, but in my case an Alesis io26 or Behringer FCA 202, although an old LaCie D2 hard drive housing with 2 FW 400 connectors will do as well).
If you do not possess a FW 9 >6 conductor, a FW 9 >9 conductor and an old LaCie D2 hard drive housing with a FW400 and a FW 800 will also perform.
- With a FW400 > Mini FireWire (6 > 4 conductor), I connected my elderly Canon MVX45i Mini DV camera to the audio interface, and bingo: link was up!
Thunderbolt2 > FW 800 connectivity
If you have a Mac with a Thunderbolt2 connection, there is a TB2 > FW 800 adapter which will probably work as well. See this:
Although cheaper 3rd party cables will perform equally.
There is another, though more expensive alternative though. I have a 2011 MacBook Air, which only has USB2 ports + 1 Thunderbolt2 port.
I was lucky enough to be able to cheaply buy a Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock v.1. This one still has a FW800 connection, among a slew of other useful connectivity.
So far for connectivity, now for:
: my 1st trial was with this package. Although my camera was recognised by it, the video import was pretty useless.
1 hour of Mini DV video import (± 12.3 GB, which is normal) was ripped into a whopping number of 2000+ clips. Simply insane!
- Upon further search, I found just the right software package for this job: LifeFlix DV Importer
A bit pricey, though (±80 US $). The free trial will let you import 1 tape.
However, it does some pretty useful things iMovie is not able to.
- It does not arbitrarily split your recordings into clips. It makes a new clip whenever your camera has been paused. Just what I needed.
A 1hour recording remains a 1 hour clip.
- If metadata show the recording after pause have been made from a different camera, it makes for a new clip as well.
- It builds a library of all your different recordings into a very useful archive. Very much simpler than what iMovie does.
Dedicated to archiving overview, no more, no less. Perfect.
And if you have to archive just a few tapes, here is my trick:
- Download the trial DMG, and save it somewhere safe.
- Install the trial & extract your tape. Save the resulting video in a folder of your own choice.
- When you are done, delete the LifeFlix app & all of its dependencies.
- Upon next extraction, run the trial version again.
Been there, done that. As a test.
I think this is only fair for sporadic users like me.
However, if you want to archive dozens of tapes, I think it only fair you should pay for such a brilliant app!
Run 80 tapes, charge it to your customers @ 1$ apiece, and it already is a break even!
There you go, I sincerely hope this helps your archiving.
Moreover, I'm only too glad to be able to answer a truly technical question on EhMac again.
I'm not here for the gossip...