or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Video Components › Home Theater Computers › HTPC - Mac Chat › HD Camcorder to HDMI to Mac Mini
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

HD Camcorder to HDMI to Mac Mini

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
I need to record the live HD output of an HD camcorder like the Sony HDR-UX1 to a Mac Mini or iMac. I know, slightly OT....sorry. But does anyone have any ideas for hardware and software?
post #2 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by keel View Post

I need to record the live HD output of an HD camcorder like the Sony HDR-UX1 to a Mac Mini or iMac. I know, slightly OT....sorry. But does anyone have any ideas for hardware and software?

I suggest that you go directly to the Apple Forums for both iMovie and Final Cut Studio.
iMovie can handle the input for HD. My concern is that the mini may not have the necessary hard drive speed and space, but you need to check on the Forum. The iMac should do very nicely via Firewire. You need to see if your YD camera is compatible. Not all cameras output in the appropriate format or provide drivers to work with all OS's. This can be checked on the iMovie site and searched for in the iMovie Forum.
I know that many HD video cams are now in frequent use by many people using macs to capture and edit.
Be prepared,however to play back what ever you have through the camera from digital tape. There is no DVD format agreed to for playback in the US. Have fun....
post #3 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lpfactor View Post

I suggest that you go directly to the Apple Forums for both iMovie and Final Cut Studio.
iMovie can handle the input for HD. My concern is that the mini may not have the necessary hard drive speed and space, but you need to check on the Forum. The iMac should do very nicely via Firewire....Be prepared,however to play back what ever you have through the camera from digital tape. There is no DVD format agreed to for playback in the US. Have fun....

Thanks, I'll go to 2-pop and an Apple forum. I need to use the live HDMI connector out of the camera though, so I was hoping to get some hardware suggestions here for how to connect the HDMI to the Mac Mini. Not sure it's possible, as the data rate is much higher than Firewire. The software is another issue...sorry for the "slight" OT!
post #4 of 39
I don't think it's possible to connect the HDMI output to any computer and capture the output. On my Sony HDR-HC3, the component output is live at the same time you're caputuring via Firewire and I believe someone said it was also active with HDMI.

If you could get by with capuring the component signal, then there's some chance instead that a Mac Pro with a Blackmagic PCI-e card could capture the uncompressed component output, but you would need a very fast RAID capabile of sustained read/write IO of about 250MB/sec. No Mini or iMacs need apply...

Dennis
post #5 of 39
I believe the Sony you mentioned is not compatible with iMovie. The output is in a format that is unique in many ways to Sony. I hope you have not yet purchased it with the aim of using the power of the Mac. But do check on the forums. Someone may have come up with a work-around.
post #6 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lpfactor View Post

I believe the Sony you mentioned is not compatible with iMovie. The output is in a format that is unique in many ways to Sony. I hope you have not yet purchased it with the aim of using the power of the Mac. But do check on the forums. Someone may have come up with a work-around.

No, not purchased yet..I now notice both the HDR-UX1 and HDR-UX5 capture HD to the new AVC-HD (MPEG4) format, developed by Sony and Panny. So I think it would be harder to find software to digitize to this new codec right now...I agree with you.

I'm now looking at the HDR-HC5, which records to the HDV format (MPEG2).
This has firewire, HDMI, and component out. I have to record live, and am hoping that I can send the HDMI to a flat-panel HD display, and record the firewire to the Mac.
Sorry for the slight OT, maybe someone else can benefit....thanks to ultimate also...
post #7 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultimate View Post

I don't think it's possible to connect the HDMI output to any computer and capture the output. On my Sony HDR-HC3, the component output is live at the same time you're caputuring via Firewire and I believe someone said it was also active with HDMI.

Thanks, it looks like the HDR-HC3 is no longer made, and is replaced by the HDR-HC5. Boy do these models turn over fast! Thanks for the info.
post #8 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by keel View Post

No, not purchased yet..I now notice both the HDR-UX1 and HDR-UX5 capture HD to the new AVC-HD (MPEG4) format, developed by Sony and Panny. So I think it would be harder to find software to digitize to this new codec right now...I agree with you.

I'm now looking at the HDR-HC5, which records to the HDV format (MPEG2).
This has firewire, HDMI, and component out. I have to record live, and am hoping that I can send the HDMI to a flat-panel HD display, and record the firewire to the Mac.
Sorry for the slight OT, maybe someone else can benefit....thanks to ultimate also...

I'd be careful about those new Sony Camcorders. The AVCHD is a H264 variant that Sony developed. It is not compatible with Apple's H264. So far, there is no software on OS X that supports AVCHD (neither iMovie, FCE nor FCP). My recommendation: if you want HD camcorder to work with Mac OS X, take a look at the Canon HV10 - it gets awesome reviews, uses the HDV codecs and is fully compatible with iMovie (via firewire). A good place to look is the www.dvinfo.net forum.
post #9 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogue900 View Post

I'd be careful about those new Sony Camcorders. The AVCHD is a H264 variant that Sony developed. It is not compatible with Apple's H264. So far, there is no software on OS X that supports AVCHD (neither iMovie, FCE nor FCP). My recommendation: if you want HD camcorder to work with Mac OS X, take a look at the Canon HV10 - it gets awesome reviews, uses the HDV codecs and is fully compatible with iMovie (via firewire). A good place to look is the www.dvinfo.net forum.

Right, I don't think there is much support for AVCHD yet. Somewhere I read it may replace HDV eventually...and a Pro version may be coming out, but have not really compared the codecs side by side to form my $.02 opinion..I thought Panny and Sony developed AVCHD jointly (or at least agreed to both use it), which is amazing and at least will not put us through a Blue-Ray/HD DVD battle.

I have read good reviews on the HV10, but I need both firewire and HDMI out, and LANC and I don't think it has that....the upcoming HV20 does.
Thanks for the tip on dvinfo, heading over now so I don't totally get OT.
But hey, I AM planning to use the MacMini for an HDR...!
post #10 of 39
Quote:


I'm now looking at the HDR-HC5, which records to the HDV format (MPEG2). This has firewire, HDMI, and component out. I have to record live, and am hoping that I can send the HDMI to a flat-panel HD display, and record the firewire to the Mac.

I would think that would work. If it doesn't work, you could use the component cable that comes with the camera to plug it into an LCD or other TV and then capture using Firewire. I do this all the time because I prefer how video looks on my LCD TV vs. how it looks in an iMovie or Final Cut Pro window.

The Sony HDV camcorders capture at 1440X1080i, but I've been impressed with the quality HDR-HC3. You might consider the HDR-HD7, which has a microphone input (not xlr) and a few other features for a little more. I just bought a gizmo for $20 that plugs into the Sony AIS port to provide a microphone input for my HDR-HC3.

Dennis
post #11 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultimate View Post

I would think that would work. If it doesn't work, you could use the component cable that comes with the camera to plug it into an LCD or other TV and then capture using Firewire. I do this all the time because I prefer how video looks on my LCD TV vs. how it looks in an iMovie or Final Cut Pro window.

The Sony HDV camcorders capture at 1440X1080i, but I've been impressed with the quality HDR-HC3. You might consider the HDR-HD7, which has a microphone input (not xlr) and a few other features for a little more. I just bought a gizmo for $20 that plugs into the Sony AIS port to provide a microphone input for my HDR-HC3.

Dennis

I'm actually getting more useful feedback from this board than any of the 5 others I posted to. So sorry if I am keeping the slightly OT thread going.
I am only going to use the camera for live video (not audio) capture to a Mac Mini. I think the HDR-HC3 is discontinued. I don't need the bells and whistles of the HD-7. I went to BestBuy with my MacBook Pro and they let me play with a HD5 for 10 minutes.

I could capture live video using QTPlayer Pro when connected to the camera with Firewire, but it was only DV codec, 720x480, not HDV. There is a menu setting in the camera that turns "Convert iLink to DV" on and off. When it was off, I could not capture anything in iMovie or QT Player Pro, and did not have my FCP and FCE installed (new computer). I had the camera's component and HDMI out connected to a 720P HDTV display, but only the HDMI worked. So, the camera may sense which output is going to be active, and can only use one at a time. Or, the component out menu choice is either 480p or 1080i, and the monitor was 720p and could not convert the signal.

Are you capturing live HDV to iMovie? Could not get that to work. When you do so, do you see the video in the preview window?
post #12 of 39
Quote:
Are you capturing live HDV to iMovie? Could not get that to work. When you do so, do you see the video in the preview window?

I was pretty sure I captured live HDV footage the first day I got the camera in iMovie. Final Cut is a little weird when working with HDV or at least I haven't figured it out completely, but I am able to capture in Final Cut.

I just did a test in iMovie and yes it did record what was on the camera in camera mode without switching to VTR mode. I did have to put a tape into it before the camera was recognized, which seemed a little strange.

I'm aware that the HDR-HC3 is discontinued, but the HDR-HC5 and HDR-HC7 should have similar capabilities.

Dennis
post #13 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultimate View Post

I just did a test in iMovie and yes it did record what was on the camera in camera mode without switching to VTR mode. I did have to put a tape into it before the camera was recognized, which seemed a little strange.
Dennis

Ahh, thanks. Time to head back to BestBuy with my laptop and a MiniDV tape. Soon they will tire of seeing me.
post #14 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ultimate View Post

I just did a test in iMovie and yes it did record what was on the camera in camera mode without switching to VTR mode. I did have to put a tape into it before the camera was recognized, which seemed a little strange.Dennis

Hi, thanks for the tip, that worked. Could digitize with QT Player Pro and iMovie, but Final Cut Express crashed. Did not have FCP. Anyhow, I got the programs I needed to work. Appreciate the help.
post #15 of 39
They do make HDMI capture cards for Macs with PCIe slots. Blackmagic-design makes one for $250. I am not sure how well it works or what the legalities of it are but there it is fyi. Funny they seem to have a photo of an HDR-HC3 hooked up to a Mac on that page

-Jerry C.
post #16 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryNY View Post

They do make HDMI capture cards for Macs with PCIe slots. Blackmagic-design makes one for $250. I am not sure how well it works or what the legalities of it are but there it is fyi.

Thanks, the legalities probably depend on what you are doing. I think the difference with this is that, according to their ad "Get higher quality capture from HDV cameras by capturing direct and bypassing the HDV compression chip, for high quality video, captured direct from the CCD...HDV video compression suffers from not being full 1920 HD resolution." So their video is probably uncompressed 1920x1080.

Coming out the camera fiewire port, it is 1440x1080, HDV compression. Which seems to be converted to the Apple Intermediate Codec on capture to Apple apps, to make it all i-frame for editing.
post #17 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by keel View Post

Coming out the camera fiewire port, it is 1440x1080, HDV compression. Which seems to be converted to the Apple Intermediate Codec on capture to Apple apps, to make it all i-frame for editing.

FCP does native HDV if you want it to, no AIC. The advantage is it takes up less space. The disadvantage is that it is far more CPU intensive.

-Jerry C.
post #18 of 39
Or, if you'd prefer not to spend $1400 for FCP you could use Apple's free Firewire SDK to capture HDV videos in their native format at 11 GB per hour. It's actually very easy. You must first install Apple's Developer Kit (Xtools) before you can install the Firewire SDK. Then look in /Developer/FirewireSDK23/Applications for a program named DVHSCap. Plug in your camcorder's Firewire cable, set the camera to playback mode, make sure you turn the camcorder back to its default 1080i playback (since you previously set it to downcovert to 480i DV) and press the "Capture from D-VHS" software button. The whole tape transfers to a single 11 GB HDV (.m2t) file. Very easy, and it takes up a lot less HD space than capturing in iMovie.

Playback of .m2t files isn't as straightforward as it should be. Unfortunately Mac OS X / QuickTime doesn't do a good job supporting MPEG2. The best all-around HDV playback tool is VLC Mediat Player. On my Powerbook G4, a free program named NicePlayer is even better, but Niceplayer doesn't handle HDV files for me on Intel Macs. You'll need the Xine Plugin for NicePlayer installed and dragged to the top of the list in Niceplayer's third Preferences pane. The Xine plugin doesn't seem to be Intel compatible yet; running it under Rosetta didn't work for me either.

Native .m2t capture is a workflow you may want to stick with regardless of which HDV cam you end up buying. It works great for my HC3. .m2t support is fairly ubiquitous on the Windows side. I just wish furture versions of QuickTime and iMovie would recognize .m2t format. You'll have to convert .m2t to Apple Intermediate Codec (40+ GB per hour) using MPEG StreamClip if you want to edit it in iMovie, or recapture from the cam directly into iMovie. None of this is seamless on the Mac.
post #19 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHound View Post

Or, if you'd prefer not to spend $1400 for FCP you could use Apple's free Firewire SDK to capture HDV videos in their native format at 11 GB per hour. It's actually very easy. .... The whole tape transfers to a single 11 GB HDV (.m2t) file. Very easy, and it takes up a lot less HD space than capturing in iMovie.

Very nice! All kinds of possibilities are being mentioned. Do you think you could capture live video this way, in the native HDV codec, bypassing the record-to-tape process? Apparently you don't get the HDV out of the iLink unless there is a tape in the transport, even if you change the menu to not convert to DV.
Yes, having QT Player decode transport streams would be great, not sure why Apple won't do it. Thanks for the unique and interesting workflow.
post #20 of 39
I've never tried capturing live video from my HC3, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Give it a try and let us know what you think! For my home videotaping, tapes are pretty cheap and reliable. But if you need continuous recording beyond 63 minutes, miniDV tapes won't get you there.

If it's any consolation, Windows users don't seem to have an easier time viewing HDV files than we do. WMP doesn't know what to do with HDV, at least under XP. I'm not sure about Vista's WMP. VLC is reportedly the best HDV player under Windows OS. Some people report decent results with Nero's media player. Personally, I prefer Mac VLC's user interface over Windows VLC. But HDV editing in Windows has a lot more options than Mac OS X. Sony Vegas, Edius, and several other programs can read/write .m2t files directly. I hope Premier Pro brings this functionality to Mac OS X later this year. I hope Apple gets off their backsides and supports AVCHD soon. There's been no word from Apple about AVCHD whatsoever.
post #21 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHound View Post

I've never tried capturing live video from my HC3, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Give it a try and let us know what you think! For my home videotaping, tapes are pretty cheap and reliable. But if you need continuous recording beyond 63 minutes, miniDV tapes won't get you there.

Will let you know. Someone mentioned you could also record the transport stream off the camera using VLC, so I also plan to try that. Both with tape and tapeless. Probably won't have the camera until next Tuesday.

Quote:


I hope Apple gets off their backsides and supports AVCHD soon.

Amen to that! Don't see how they can afford not to. Maybe NAB? I hear that's a transport stream also. As AVC is more efficient than MPEG2, we should eventually get higher quality at the same data rate, or same quality at a lower rate. There's are an awful lot of variety in both codecs (DV, HDV, AVCHD, etc.) and recordable media lately (tape, optical, hard drive, memory chips)...big transitions...I could not believe the misinformation a salesman at BestBuy was giving a poor consumer, but I just kept my mouth shut. It would have taken too long to straighten everybody out.
post #22 of 39
Don't confuse compression efficiency with quality. I continue to be perplexed why dark region noise levels isn't considered more critically by codec engineers. As bad as the artifactual noise is from my HC3 at low lux, AVCHD cameras do even worse. It's not the sensor's fault since the SR1 and UX1 have essentially the same sensor as my HC3. The AVCHD codec itself accentuates low-light noise or fails to address low-light noise in an acceptable way. A little pre-compression dark area smoothing would go a long way toward improving image quality and lowering bitrates. I won't buy an AVCHD cam until the low-light noise issue is addressed. I'll give 3-5 years for that to be fixed.
post #23 of 39
I have captured straight to iMovie with my HC3 it works great via 1394.
post #24 of 39
Yeah iMovie capture works ok if you don't mind filling up your drives at 40+ GB per hour. But how do you watch them? In iMovie??? VLC and other media players don't know how to handle iMovie projects.

I originally captured in iMovie until I found the above-listed DVHSCap workflow. We now prefer to keep our videos archived in their original HDV format until such time as I get around to editing them... if such a day ever arrives. Until then we can watch our raw videos at a whim, or whenever family & friends drop by. We have nearly 20 hours of native HDV on a single 400 GB drive. That's incredibly convenient to watch and it's easy to duplicate. Editing options will only improve with time, but for now we're content to archive our videos in their native format.

Will future iMovie versions, or other programs, be able to read your current iMovie documents? How do you plan to address future compatibility? How many transcodes lie ahead for your precious video data?
post #25 of 39
I keep all my HDV tapes and buy new ones rather than reuse them. This costs about the same as a hard drive, but I feel it is more reliable and I don't feel presured to transfer my footage to my computer right away. It is also easier to just pick up new tapes when I need one rather than buy a hard drive.

When I am ready to edit I transfer to iMovie and store that as a project on my external hard disk. The other nice thing about this is I can leave my projects on an internal drive when working on them which is much faster than Firewire. In the future I plan to buy a eSATA drive instead of Firewire to speed things up.

If I want to watch the movie that has yet to be editied, I play it back on the HC3, usually via component, but I could just as easily use HDMI or Firewire.
post #26 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHound View Post

Don't confuse compression efficiency with quality. I continue to be perplexed why dark region noise levels isn't considered more critically by codec engineers. .... I'll give 3-5 years for that to be fixed.

Yes, good point. MPEG2 had been around for quite a while, and they've had lots of time to tweak it. And it did take years to optimize it. However, H.264/AVC/MPEG4 Part 10 is new, and it will take a few years to get there...However, I do belive that eventually it should provide quality as good as you can get from MPEG2, at lower data rates, or so the theoretical mathematicians say...
There are obviously also a variety of vendors for each codec, introducing another variable.
post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdraw View Post

I keep all my HDV tapes and buy new ones rather than reuse them. This costs about the same as a hard drive, but I feel it is more reliable....

I agree with this point. Tapes are less likely to completely degrade versus entire hard drives that can become unusable. I always use my miniDV tapes only once and I keep my original tapes locked up in a fire resistant safe. Nevertheless even properly stored tapes can warp over time. HDV drop-outs last 1/2 second each (entire GOP), versus the momentary drop-outs of analog tapes; that can make watching your tapes a painful experience years from now.

There's much to be said for immediate click-of-the-mouse access to all my videos on a single hard drive. Making a backup of 20 hours HDV in less than two hours HD-to-HD certainly is easy enough. On the other hand, I wonder about how feasable it will be to play my miniDV tapes in 10-20 years when HDV camcorders are no longer in production and my HC3 breaks. Having everything backed up on multiple hard drives in addition to keeping all my source tapes provides greater peace of mind.

Do you haul out your HC3 every time you want to watch a video?
post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by keel View Post

H.264/AVC/MPEG4 Part 10 is new, and it will take a few years to get there...However, I do belive that eventually it should provide quality as good as you can get from MPEG2, at lower data rates, or so the theoretical mathematicians say...

Time will tell if AVCHD quality eventually equals HDV. Manufacturers may well have pegged AVCHD as a consumer grade codec, not a prosumer codec, in which case it may always represent the bottom rung of video quality. That perception may explain why Apple hasn't been enthusiastic to support AVCHD yet. There's no theoretical reason why AVCHD couldn't be improved in the future; only market-based product positioning reasons. Time will tell where the market is going with this codec. I do believe Apple will eventually support AVCHD but I'm not sure if it will be this year or next. Steve may be trying to limit a rush toward a standard he sees as stepping backward, though I doubt he'll succeed in doing so.
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHound View Post

There's much to be said for immediate click-of-the-mouse access to all my videos on a single hard drive. Making a backup of 20 hours HDV in less than two hours HD-to-HD certainly is easy enough.

I agree 100% and if I am able to play back HDV on my Apple TV this might motivate me, plus would like to have another copy. But right now connecting my computer to my TV is more of a pain then using my HC3.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacHound View Post

Do you haul out your HC3 every time you want to watch a video?

I leave my HC3 on my coffee table to catch all my 7mo old daughter's moments, when I want to watch something I plug it into the cables that I leave attached to the back of my TV. The remote is there too. I have been meaning to program my Harmony to automate the entire process.

But honestly I really can't stand to watch raw footage and with the lack of blu-ray support in iMovie, I really don't have many other options.
post #30 of 39
I wouldn't count on being able to watch HDV on AppleTV. From what's been written so far, it doesn't seem likely to support MPEG2. You'd probably do better picking up a second hand Intel Mac Mini for the TV set. Those should start appearing in volume after the next gen Mini is released.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: HTPC - Mac Chat
AVS › AVS Forum › Video Components › Home Theater Computers › HTPC - Mac Chat › HD Camcorder to HDMI to Mac Mini