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How to connect Canon Vixia HV30 to iMac??

by lorigrim / July 19, 2008 3:15 AM PDT

OK, I'm a fairly new Mac user (recently converted from a lifetime of PC use) and a brand new camcorder owner so this is probably a fairly basic question...but please be easy on me anyway!

I have a Canon Vixia HV30 camcorder and an Intel-based iMac. I want to connect the camcorder to the computer but the Canon website indicated that I need a Firewire cable to connect them. I have two different Firewire cables - (6 pin to 6 pin and 9 pin to 9 pin) but neither of them fits the camcorder. There are USB, HDV/DV and HDMI ports on the camcorder - is there an adapter that I need to purchase for the Firewire cable?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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That one looks to be firewire
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 19, 2008 3:21 AM PDT
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Yes... firewire it is...
by boya84 / July 19, 2008 6:21 AM PDT
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by Vagabondoo / December 7, 2008 3:28 AM PST

The Canon Vixia HV30 most definitely does NOT take a 6 to 4 pin firewire cable. Please don't make recommendations if you do not own one and don't know for sure which cables are correct. I OWN ONE. You need 6 different cables and a Mini SD card to utilize all the features of the camera. 4 come with the camera and 2 do not.

The 5 cables are:

1. Power adapter (included)
2. USB cable for transferring still images ONLY taken from the HV30 when in still cam mode. (included)
3.HD video only component out cable: green,blue,red. (included)
4. AV cable: yellow, red, white: non-HD video and stereo sound. (included)
5. Wired Microphone (not included) but there are stereo microphones built-in to the housing.
6. THE MOST IMPORTANT CABLE which is NOT INCLUDED is a 10 pin cable which is not a standard 1394 6 pin/4 pin cable. I have searched all over and cannot fin the right one. Even if I did, then it wold still only transfer HV video and NOT the audio.

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It does so - I just did HDV import
by boya84 / December 7, 2008 5:14 AM PST
In reply to: WRONG!

from a friends HV30... I used the same Belkin 4-pin to 6-pin firewire cable I use to transfer from my Sony and Canon miniDV tape based DV and HDV camcorders. HDV format video and audio were imported - just like always.

Link to the manual at Canon:

Page 76 and 77 in the "Connecting to a computer" section refers to connecting the HDV/DV terminal. It also states that the DV (IEEE1394) cable is "commercially available" - not included in the box. So... no surprise there. None of my miniDV tape based camcorders came with a firewire cable. But after the first one, this was no longer a surprise - and unnecessary because I had a few.

Page 103. Refer to the section: "HDV/DV terminal"... where it says "4-pin (IEEE1394 standard), input/output"

I don't know what 10-pin firewire cable you are looking for. I don't believe there is such thing.

As far as I know, there are three different - common - connectors for standard IEEE1394. The original is the 6-pin connector that Apple pushed through IEEE which resulted in IEEE1394a. Then there is the 4-pin which Sony pushed through (it removes the power pins). Both are Firewire400. A newer variant most commonly found in data centers - or certain newer Apple Macintosh computers - is Firewire800 and it uses a 9-pin square connector.

So... yeah - I don't own an HV30 - but I have used one and I have successfully transferred HDV-format video over firewire to my computer.

Since you have not told us what computer you are using and we don't know what firewire/IEEE1394 port it has, we can't tell you which firewire/IEEE1394/i.LINK cable you need. But I do know the HV30 side of the firewire cable will be 4-pin.

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Since the original poster wanted to connect the HV30
by boya84 / December 7, 2008 5:41 AM PST

to an iMac, and since we have already found that the HV30's HDV/DV port is a standard IEE1394 4-pin terminal, I went to

According to this:
The current machines have a firewire400 port (my older iMac has two) and a firewire800 port (my older iMac has none).

If you go here:
enlarge the picture of the back of the iMac. At the lower left, moving from left to right, there is
a port I can't identify, then...
Ethernet port
Firewire800 port
Firewire400 port
three USB ports
Mic jack
Headphone jack

Personally, I would use
4-pin (camcorder DV port) to 6-pin (computer firewire port)
like I use today...

I would use the firewire800 connection for my external drives (they have Firewire400, firewire800 and USB2 connectors) since there is no advantage to using the faster firewire - the limiting factor is the camcorder's DV port (limited to firewire 400 speed)... BUT, if I had a new MacBook Pro with no firewire400 port (only firewire800) or if the firewire400 port on the computer was already in use, then I would have to use
4-pin (camcorder DV port) to 9-pin (computer firewire port)
(The newest MacBooks and MacBook Air have no firewire port - only the MacBook Pro has the Firewire800 port).

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OK, I was wrong.
by Vagabondoo / December 9, 2008 10:55 AM PST

I was not looking in the right place. The 1394 jack and the HDMI jack is under a flap to the left of the Start/Stop button.

I have a MacBook Pro. When I connect the camcorder to the Mac, nothing happens when I turn it to PLAY. The cam doesn't show up as a drive.

I'm very new to this. Do I also need software that doesn't come with htis camera?

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No worries... everybody is here to help.
by boya84 / December 9, 2008 12:38 PM PST
In reply to: OK, I was wrong.

With miniDV tape camcorders connected using firewire, nothing shows up... nothing mounts nothing "happens" until you launch the video editor. Firewire and USB use very different communications protocols and are very different standards.

You do not need any software that comes with the camcorder.

Try this:
Camcorder off
Connect firewire cable to camcorder DV port and Mac's firewire port.
If the Mac is on, that's cool - if not, power up the MacBook Pro - when you get to a stable desktop, turn on the camcorder and go to "Play" mode.
On the Mac, launch iMovieHD.
Name the file; select the destination folder for the video project; at the drop-down. select HDV (presuming you captured video in HDV - that is the HV30's default).
The iMovieHD blue-screen should appear and indicate that the camcorder is connected - You should be able to use the "VCR" button/functions in iMovieHD to rewind and fast-forward - and at some point, click "Import".

ALERT: There is a possibility this will not work. You *may* need to do a "custom installation" of the Apple Intermediate Codec using the OSX system discs. The AIC is a QuickTime component. It's been a while since I did this - If you insert the OSX system disc and "Install", it *might* allow you to proceed, or it might say you need to boot from the OSX system disc to do this. Just follow the instructions. You will not be installing anything else but the AIC, so when you select "Custom Installation" (if you have to do this), be sure the AIC in the QuickTime components area is the ONLY thing that is checked... with any luck, you won't need to do this, so I cover it here, just in case.

Once you hit "import", the video will start importing...

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WE FIGURED IT OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
by niko7sky / December 27, 2008 2:45 PM PST

ALL YOU NEED is the IEEE1394!!!!!!!!! (4 to 6 port firewall!!) U CANNOT USE a USB CABLE with a TAPE BASED CAMCORDER (like the Vixia HV30). U will use the input next to the POWER LIGHT ON YOUR VIXIA HV30 (as opposed to the USB input inside the moniter screen area.) Once u input the IEEE1394 and attach it to your computer, simply open IMOVIE on ur mac, and it will open right up, and RECOGNIZE ur VIXIA 30. It took us 2 weeks to figure this out!!! And now, it works flawlessly! I hope this helps. We were agonizing over this, and getting very frustrated, but now its all good! Best of luck, and hope this helps!!!

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I'm still having problems w/ my Hv30 to new MacBook Pro
by jeffrey stefani / January 6, 2009 3:54 AM PST

1) I'm new to both my MacBook Pro, (the newest one, with only 1 firewire 800 connection).
i just received my firewire 4 pin to 9 pin firewire. but when i connect them, the Mac, nor the hv30 register a connection, as opposed to when i connect the USB from the hv 30 to the MAc to transfer still photos, which has not been a problem.
2) i am using Final Cut Studio Pro 2, not iMovie. but according to my FCP manuel, the program should automatically seek out the video for capturing.
3) since the new macbook only comes with 1 firewire 800 port, and i also have a 1T-bite external hard drive, which i want to use as my scratch disk for capturing video, how should i configure my hv so, and the extern hard drive (the ext HD does have a USB port, but the directions recommend using the firewire.

(not really, i don't have much hair left to pull out.

BTW, i appreciate all the advice you experienced guys are so helpful...THANK YOU!!

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Let's start with the easy stuff...
by boya84 / January 6, 2009 4:21 AM PST

In the MacBook Pro, in the System Preferences, in Network, in the drop-down at Network connections (I think - doing this from memory, sorry, check the other selections if necessary), there should be a selection for Firewire port. There needs to be a checkmark in the box next to it to make it active.

With the camcorder powered off (any firewire device should always be off when you are connecting or disconnecting it to/from the computer), connect it to the Mac. Power it up and in "Play" mode (not "camera" mode). Just to make it easier, let's start with iMovieHD first... so launch iMovieHD; Name the iMovieHD project file; select a file destination and select the Video type... in the drop down, you can select DV, DV Widescreen... is HDV there? If yes, keep going. If no, skip to the next paragraph. If you can select HDV, do that and click on OK or Create or whatever the "accept" for that dialog window is. Can you import the video? If yes, great. If no, go to the next paragraph.

If HDV is not one of the selections, or if it is one of the selections but it still won't import, you likely need to do a "custom install" using the OXS System disc that came with the computer to get the Apple Intermediate Codec installed on the computer. The AIC is a QuickTime component.

If you were able to successfuly select HDV and import the video, then YAY. Quit iMovieHD, delete the project file and launch FinalCut. The FinalCut preferences need to identify which camcorder and codec you are capturing from... The "Easy Setup" or Audio/Video prefs can be used. I *think* they are both under "File" when FinalCut is active.

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Ok that's great. i', making progress
by jeffrey stefani / January 7, 2009 7:43 AM PST

i was able to capture HDV in iMovie, and it appears to have worked.
That was great!
but i still can't figure out how to get Final Cut to recognize, or "find" the camcorder.

when i launch FCP i get a prompt that says something like: "Unable to locate external A/V device"
then below that is states the its looking for the device :"HDV (1440 x 1080) f24"
or something close to that.
the prompt says i may not have the camcorder connected, or powered onto to "play". but the camcorder is connected, it is on "play" and the miniDV, or "cassette" .
i assume the firewire is ok, and that my camcorder settings are correct, b/c i was able to capture it via iMovie.
as far as settings for on FCP, there is a huge list of external A/V options. i chose the HDV bu simple firewire option, c/c that seemed like the most similar, but i really don't know, and i can't locate in my canon hv30 manuel any info on what the exact connection is.

any further help, or suggestions, or advice is GREATLY appreciated.

you have been VERY helpful, boya84.

thanks again,

PS, i though i recall reading in my FCP manuel taht FCP would be able to determine the type of source/media that it was capturing. but so far far i have tried all sorts of options, and cannot import or capture a single cut of digital video.

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by boya84 / January 7, 2009 8:09 AM PST

If you can capture HDV from the HV30 with iMovieHD, then that tells me that AIC is in and the firewire port is active - GREAT progress! And that tells me there is a Preferences selection issue in FCP. It is looking for something it cannot find.

I presume that while that FCP dialog box shows, there is still a way to get FCP to open to a default environment (which is how you saw the huge selection list). I *think* under "File" there are two selections you want to look through. One is Easy Set up. You can walk yourself through that. The other is Audio/Video Setup (apologies if this is inaccurate, I am going from memory as I am at work and Mac with FCP is at home). What you are looking for is the Capture section. I'm pretty sure that is where the "HDV (1440 x 1080) f24" preference is selected - you don't want that. I know - the list is REALLY long. There should be the "Apple Intermediate Codec" selection at the top of that list... select it... save and close out of of the FCP Preferences area. Quit FCP... Restart FCP... did the same error message return?

When I get home, I'll check my Mac FCP set up preferences...

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When FCP is active,
by boya84 / January 7, 2009 10:02 PM PST

up on top on the command line, just to the right of the Apple logo dropdown is "FinalCut Pro". Under that, select "Audio/Video settings. I have "Sequence Preset" using Apple Intermediate Codec 1080i60, "Capture Preset" using HDV-Apple Intermediate Codec and "Device Control Preset" using Firewire NTSC. I don't know why the Sony HDV presets are not selected (I use Sony HDV camcorders), but it works, so I don't care. "Video Playback" is none and "Audio playback" is default...

Or you can try the "Easy Setup".

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still no luck with getting FCP to acknowledge my canon hv30
by jeffrey stefani / January 19, 2009 1:48 AM PST
In reply to: When FCP is active,

hey "boya84"
sorry it took me a while to get back to you.
i had a minor head injury.

anyhow, i can't understand it. and i don't know what the issue is.
there was no problem getting iMovie to capture my Dv from the camcorder.

but even when i experiment with the "easy set uP", and used your recommended settings for the
the audio/visual connections, i can't seem to get FCP to acknowledge my camcorder.

thjis would appear to be the problem, with FCP acknowledging the connection with the camcorder.

i am using the same firewire and firewire port, the same camcorder settings, the same everything i used to get the macbook pro to capture video into iMovie.
but still no luck with FCP.

i live in detroit area, and there is an apple store close to my house.

but i am down in the florida keys for a while and was planning on doing lots of editing.

but there is no apple store around here.

any more ideas, suggestions, voodoo, etc would be greatly appreciated.

thanks again for your help.

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Perhaps there is a
by boya84 / January 19, 2009 2:18 AM PST
In reply to: When FCP is active,
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by UrbanAmishFilmmaker / October 2, 2013 11:58 AM PDT

I really appreciated this detailed list. Super helpful. THANKS!

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What if your camera and your firewire don't get along?
by lianehunter / April 4, 2011 1:00 AM PDT


I have a Canon Vixia HV30 and a MacBook with OS X 10.5.8. I am trying to edit my video, and I'm trying to connect using the firewire port. I'm using a 6-pin to 4-pin cable and my camera is not recognized on iMovie '08, iMovie6 HD, Final Cut Pro, or by the firewire port (according to both Network settings and "About this Mac"). It's a brand new cord and I am getting really frustrated.

I have the AV-->DV setting turned on. Are there any other settings on the camera or on the computer that I need to change in order to make this connection work? I've read the manual and about 40 different threads on this topic in various forums, and it is really ticking me off that I can't make it work.


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Which MacBook?
by boya84 / April 4, 2011 2:24 PM PDT

Is the HV30 in "VCR" mode?

These are the most common - assuming the DV port on the HV30 is not blown... or the firewire cable is not bad...

*Some* MacBooks do not have a firewire port - and no way to add one - and using a DV-to-USB cable/adapter/converter won't work. Assuming your MacBook has a firewire port...

As I recall, iMovie6 HD was the first version that could deal with HDV - but did not have the Apple Intermediate codec (AIC) installed. Using the System Disc, you will need to do a "custom installation" of the AIC. It is a QuickTime component which can be individually selected when a "custom installation" is done. After this, when a new iMovie project is opened, you will need to select HDV (assuming you are capturing high definition video and not standard def video)...

iMovie08 and Final Cut (Express 4 or Pro2, I think) *should* be able to deal with HDV - again, assuming the AIC was installed when the software was installed.

What "AV-->DV" setting are you referring to? With all the Macs and miniDV tape camcorders I have used together, I have never had to change any setting on the camcorder. The Mac takes control over firewire.

Apologies if you have covered these - we can't see what you see and don't know the configuration of the MacBook you are using.

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I have tried all of that....
by lianehunter / April 4, 2011 4:17 PM PDT
In reply to: Which MacBook?

Hopefully nothing is fried. I have the most recent version of AIC installed. The AV setting I referred to is on the camcorder, not on the computer. I read on another forum that it was a necessary step. My macbook is from 2008, I believe, but I am basing that on having iLife '08.

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has i ever worked...
by boya84 / April 4, 2011 10:48 PM PDT

or always not worked?

Did you get the camcorder new or previously owned?

Do you have access to another recent Mac with a firewire port to check with?

Do you have access to another miniDV tape based camcorder that is known to work importing over firewire?

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Please help me import from the Vixia HV30 to my MacBook Pro
by citimomma / May 22, 2009 12:18 PM PDT

My husband recently bought me the Canon Vixia HV30. I am using a MacBook Pro with iMovie. I purchased a separate firewire cable which I am using 6 to 4 pin...

If I connect everything correctly, iMovie sees the connection to the camera (which is in PLAY mode), provides me with the typical blue import from camera screen, and then it rewinds the tape. But then, the video starts playing on the camera monitor where I can see what I originally recorded but NOT on the import window on the computer. After a few seconds, because iMovie perceives there to be no info being captured, it stops, rewinds the tape, and I'm stuck.

I have been trying different approaches for WEEKS. Please help...

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When I launch my version of iMovie
by boya84 / May 22, 2009 12:51 PM PDT

which is iMovie 5... also referred to as iMovieHD '06.

When I launch iMovie, I get a window that has me name the video project, select the destination of the video project file (or the default destination in the Movies folder), and there is a drop-down that lets me select with DV, DV Widescreen or HDV... Is HDV selected? If, when launching iMovie, a "old" project window opens, then close that window by clicking on the red circle in the upper left corner of the iMovie project window. That should close the current project and present you with a window asking if you want to open a new project or an existing one - Create a new project and be sure the Video format drop-down has HDV 1080i selected.

Once you get to the main project window - I presume you are using iMovie '08 or '09 - yours is VERY different from mine and I regret I can't help you... But I presume there is an Import function available from one of the command line items and you should be good to go.

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by christinalano / November 17, 2010 1:33 PM PST

I have the same problem and now here I find the solution.
Thanks guys.

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