Problems converting my Mini DV video tapes to digital files on my laptop using firewire.


New Member
May 5, 2020
I have a Toshiba Satellite Pro A100 laptop running Windows 7 Ultimate. The laptop has a 4-conductor alpha FireWire 400 socket. I have a firewire cable with one at each end. I connected one to the laptop and one to my Sony DV camcorder. The camera was unfortunately not recognised? I then was forced to purchase a 6 Pin 2 Port 1394A IEEE Cardbus Firewire PCMIA Card 54mm for DV Camcorders. The driver for the PCMIA card was automatically installed by Windows. I then connected another firewire cable (the 6-conductor into the PCMIA card) and the 4-conductor into the Sony DV camcorder. I am trying to transfer 20 mini DV video tapes onto my laptop to convert into MP4 or AVI digital files. The problem is old laptops with firewire connections are very slow. I have installed a tiny program called MinDV not even a MB in size onto my laptop. The picture on my Sony DV camcorder is perfect but when I see or record the tapes on my laptop the quality is terrible and very pixalated? Could you please please solve this problem for me? I have been trying for 2 years now to get my 15 year old travelling tapes converted into digital files with no success?

My girlfriend suggested I try joining an audio/video forum so here I am :)


Well-Known Member
Mar 7, 2012
Dv know how from Sony

You might send an e-mail to you camera maker, and ask their technical team.

There might be propietary methods to preserving the recorded quality that is more of a .... Shall we say company know how.

This is an audio forum by the way.
Not a Video codec secrets forum...

Anyway. Check the link. Ask your DV gadgets maker how to...

I'm an Engineer... But I'd ask the maker of my gadget pertinant questions before risking my hard earned recordings value of life...


But if you really wanna know. Ask the maker of your gear.

If they do not help you.

Never buy a product from them again!!!


Just an advice...

Youtube contains millions of vids on how to do stuff...

Search and learn!!!

Youtube vid. Sony DV transfer

Tutorial on Sony Movie Studio Software

Last edited:

Bella brown

New Member
Jul 15, 2021
The good news is that MiniDV tapes are already digital - the DV in MiniDV stands for ”Digital Video.” The bad news is that most MiniDV camcorders only support export over IEEE 1394, also known as FireWire (IEEE 1394).

While a number of MiniDV camcorders have a USB port, those ports are USB 1, limited to a paltry 12 Mbit/sec. The MiniDV cameras of that era included an independent integrated still image camera and the USB port supported that function.

Unfortunately, the FireWire port was never common and now has all but vanished from the modern PC. The nature of FireWire makes a USB to FireWire port impossible. So how can you extract MiniDV on a modern PC or Mac?

If you can secure a MiniDV camcorder, here are some options.

  • Locate an old PC or laptop with a FireWire port. You may need a 4 to 6 pin adapter, or a 4 pin to 4 pin cable, depending on the camcorder and PC.
  • Get a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter if you have a newer PC with Thunderbolt. You may also need a Firewire 800 to 400 adapter.
  • Get a PCMCIA or Express card with Firewire support for an older laptop.
  • Use analog capture (NOT RECOMMENDED) with an analog video to USB adapter. This should be a total last resort.
If you don’t already have a MiniDV camcorder, try to procure one of the newest possible ones that may have USB 2 support for video transfer.

Once you have a solid connection, locate a program that imports video. Options include Kino (Linux), iMovie (Apple), and Windows Movie Maker (PC). The camcorder itself should have been bundled with video software as well.

Optionally, you can employ any number of service providers to do the job.

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