Capturing miniDV in Linux… It works!

Yesterday afternoon my humble Linux rig captured over an hour of standard-def miniDV footage from a Firewire camera. There were a couple of issues along the way, but considering the utter disaster I was expecting that’s not too shabby at all…

The first hiccup actually had nothing to do with Linux. I had to find a 4-pin to 4-pin cable somewhere to connect camera and computer. Active Surplus to the rescue.

The next step was to find an app for my installation of Mint 8 that could capture video from my camera. It’s a sign of the times, I guess, that most of the modern video editors for Linux don’t actually do this, but Kino is one that does.

Kino Warning

A quick ‘apt-get install’ later I and was good to go, or so I thought. Kino has an annoying permissions bug which you can see in action above. It’s discussed early on in a 16-minute screencast by lead developer Dan Dennedy; here’s a direct link to the Ogg Theora file — if you’re on OS X or Windows just right-click the link then view the downloaded file in VLC. ;)

A fix for Ubuntu 10.04-based systems has been posted on the Kino site. I think I got the instructions right…

blacklist-firewire.conf

In a Terminal, enter ‘gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-firewire.conf’.
Uncomment (remove the #-character) ohci1394, sbp2, dv1394, raw1394, and video1394. Then, comment (add a #-character) out the firewire-ohci and firewire-sbp2 lines. Save and quit gedit.
Run ‘sudo update-initramfs -k all -u’ and finally reboot.

… But it didn’t seem to work on my derived-from-Ubuntu-9.10 version of Linux Mint. And since I didn’t really feel up to re-writing udev rules, I just ran Kino as root. Problem solved.

Kino Capture

Here’s Kino in action. Captured video is stored as a .DV (QuickTime?) file, just like Final Cut Pro. But I can only play them back through Kino — I’m guessing because my default movie player doesn’t have the required libraries to handle this type of file. Not to worry though, Kino has lots of available options for exporting video.

And I haven’t even touched on Kino’s editing capabilities… To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting to get this far. As a former Mac user I couldn’t be more thrilled with how this turned out, and this exercise proves to me that there is nothing Linux cannot do, except maybe suck.
8-)

8 Responses to “Capturing miniDV in Linux… It works!”


  • KDEnlive, a non-linear video editor for GNU/Linux which Dan Dennedy also contributes to (he is the main guy for the MLT backend, which is also used by OpenShot)… anyways, KDEnlive can also capture firewire video. Just giving you another option, with a more modern piece of software, which is also a very good editor and keeps getting better.

  • KDEnlive, a non-linear video editor for GNU/Linux which Dan Dennedy also contributes to (he is the main guy for the MLT backend, which is also used by OpenShot)… anyways, KDEnlive can also capture firewire video. Just giving you another option, with a more modern piece of software, which is also a very good editor and keeps getting better.

  • AC:

    Thanks for this post. Although I’m not doing very much shooting or editing anymore, I’ll still need video and audio editing on my next computer (currently I’m using a Mac G5, probably for the next 1-2 years).

    I have played with Audacity a bit, so I know the audio side of the equation is covered, even with Audacity’s current limitations around scrubbing and real-time effects (I started editing video on a Mac 8600 with OS 9, so I’ve spent more time waiting for effects to render than any of these new-fangled real-time ones). But the video side? That’s the big question. I’ll still need video capacity not only for stuff I’ve shot or captured before but also for any new projects that pop up.

    Ed

  • AC:

    Thanks for this post. Although I’m not doing very much shooting or editing anymore, I’ll still need video and audio editing on my next computer (currently I’m using a Mac G5, probably for the next 1-2 years).

    I have played with Audacity a bit, so I know the audio side of the equation is covered, even with Audacity’s current limitations around scrubbing and real-time effects (I started editing video on a Mac 8600 with OS 9, so I’ve spent more time waiting for effects to render than any of these new-fangled real-time ones). But the video side? That’s the big question. I’ll still need video capacity not only for stuff I’ve shot or captured before but also for any new projects that pop up.

    Ed

  • Hi

    I had this problem as well, after some research I came across this bit of advice to get Kino to access a firewire device as a normal user. It worked for me on Ubuntu 9.10.

    create a new user group called dvcamera and add yourself to it

    sudo groupadd dvcamera

    sudo usermod -a -G dvcamera your_user_name

    Writes new udev rule

    sudo bash -c 'echo "KERNEL=="raw1394", GROUP="dvcamera", MODE="0660"" > /etc/udev/rules.d/30-raw1394.rules'

  • Hi

    I had this problem as well, after some research I came across this bit of advice to get Kino to access a firewire device as a normal user. It worked for me on Ubuntu 9.10.

    create a new user group called dvcamera and add yourself to it

    sudo groupadd dvcamera

    sudo usermod -a -G dvcamera your_user_name

    Writes new udev rule

    sudo bash -c 'echo "KERNEL=="raw1394", GROUP="dvcamera", MODE="0660"" > /etc/udev/rules.d/30-raw1394.rules'

  • I’ll have to try that out… Thanks for the tip!

  • I’ll have to try that out… Thanks for the tip!

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