Capture MiniDV Tapes for Editing and

I’ve got over 30 MiniDV tapes with home video on and occasionally I’m inspired to capture some to the PC, where I can edit with Davinci Resolve. One challenge is that most PCs don’t have ieee1364 ‘FireWire’ conections these days. The other issue is that software that used to do such jobs is now 20 years old.


  1. Install old PCI based firewire card in linux PC
  2. Connect DV Camcorder
  3. Install the amazing dvgrab program – which not only grabs the video in raw .dv or .mov format but can control the camcorder as well
  4. dvgrab -showstatus -format qt -size 0
  5. the above creates an .dv file in a .mov container, which Davinci can use. the size option creates a limitless file. 1 hour is about 11Gb.
  6. Use this ffmpeg command to change the .dv container to a .mov for use in video editing software. Note that the video is formatted like this:

Stream #0:0: Video: dvvideo, yuv420p, 720×576 [SAR 16:15 DAR 4:3], 25000 kb/s, 25 fps, 25 tbr, 25 tbn, 25 tbc
Stream #0:1: Audio: pcm_s16le, 48000 Hz, stereo, s16, 1536 kb/s

5. ffmpeg -i dvgrab-002.dv -map 0 -c copy

6. Better: grab the dv tape straight to .mov. -rewind rewinds the tape before capturing 🙂

dvgrab -showstatus -format qt -size 0 -rewind

6. Convert .mov to .mp4 with ffmpeg:

ffmpeg -i -deinterlace -vcodec h264 -acodec mp2 my-video.mp4

7. Batch convert a whole folder and create the new .mp4 with the same name as the original .mov -deinterlace is needed

for i in *.mov; do ffmpeg -i “$i” -deinterlace -vcodec h264 -acodec mp2 “${}.mp4”; done