Well first you need the patience of Jobe!
Next you need to buy a DV to Firewire cable*.
Oh, and I should say I’m using a 2008 MacBook Pro with Leopard OSX.
This all began when I wanted to take some old camcorder videos and put them onto the MacBook. A quick search of the forums soon informed me that Samsung don’t make drivers for Mac. (Well they do for some recent camcorders, but not for the VP-D55.)
I needed a DV to Firewire cable which I was easily able to order online*. I connected it up and made my first recording only to discover there was no soundtrack.
By taking the following steps I could eventually record videos directly from the VP-D55 using iMovie, complete with soundtrack. But it seems inconsistent and I don’t know why. If not at the first attempt it often works on the second or third, so don’t give up.
iMovie recorded the video footage perfectly every time – but whether the soundtrack was included seems to be a hit and miss affair. I can only assume the cable doesn’t fit tightly enough, so make sure it is centered, aligned, and inserted fully into the Firewire slot. The following steps worked:
1. Connect the Firewire cable, to the Mac, while the camera is switched off.
2. Open iMovie.
3. Turn camera on (make sure you are on mains power not battery)
4. IMPORTANT: make sure the LCD viewfinder is open, and the volume is on full – so you can hear the soundtrack coming through your camcorder. (You may need to press the menu on your camcorder and scroll down to the volume setting to make sure your volume is not turned off)
5. ‘Import movie’ window will open in iMovie.
6. Choose ‘manual’ setting.
7. Press ‘play’ on your camera (not on screen)
8. A message may display on screen which reads “no device control” – just ignore it.
9. Press ‘Import’ on screen
10. This may pause the camera, so you have to hit ‘pause’ or ‘still’ on the camera to release it.
11. When you’re finished recording press ‘stop’ on screen.
12. A message displays ‘generating thumbnails’
13. Wait until this is complete, then press ‘done’.
14. THEN switch off the camera, and disconnect the cable.
I cannot fathom why this works sometimes and not others. The frustrating part is there doesn’t seem to be any way to tell if the sound is recording while it is actually recording. I had to wait until a whole 60 minute recording was complete before I could try it and discover the soundtrack was missing.
I quit iMovie. Switched off the camera. Re-launched iMovie, and repeated the whole process as above checking every step along the way, including checking the cable, and this time it worked.
iMovie did quit once or twice without explanation. I also found that quitting iMovie after every project, and re-launching the application to begin a new project, following the steps above, seemed to work. Checking the cable connections, which do seem a little ‘loose’, also seems to make a difference.
So with a lot of time and patience I was eventually able to transfer over 4 hours of well-loved old video footage onto the MacBook. Whether you can be bothered or not will depend on how valuable your videos are to you, I suppose.
From what I can gather in the Mac Forums there is a basic incompatibility with Samsung and Mac, but I have had the VP-D55 (camcorder) for a few years now – long before I bought the Mac, and wanted to transfer my old videos.
I’m glad that I was eventually able to do it, although the process is a bit hit and miss.