Recovering videos from DV tapes with Canon ZR80

I am recovering some tapes from back in the day that some of you may enjoy. Here is a log of the process so that maybe you can recover some of your own DV tapes. Seems to work well in modern Debian.

To attach to the camcorder, I used a PCI-e card that has an old firewire port and some ASIC on board. The PCI card came up and loaded the correct kernel drivers.

Here is a search link so that you can buy a similar card.

cjac@server0:~$ sudo lspci | grep 1394
b2:00.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): VIA Technologies, Inc. VT6306/7/8 [Fire II(M)] IEE
E 1394 OHCI Controller (rev 46)

cjac@server0:~$ sudo lsmod | grep -i firewire
firewire_ohci 45056 0
firewire_core 81920 7 firewire_ohci
crc_itu_t 16384 1 firewire_core

The dvgrab program is available on Debian under the dvgrab package.
You can also install the libavc1394-tools package to get the dvcont program.

cjac@server0:~$ sudo apt-get install dvgrab libavc1394-tools

Turn the device to “VCR” mode, attach the firewire cable and wait about five minutes. Have you watered the cat today?

cjac@server0:~$ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Debian
Description: Debian GNU/Linux 10 (buster)
Release: 10
Codename: buster
cjac@server0:~$ uname -r
cjac@server0:~$ sudo modinfo firewire_ohci | grep vermagic
vermagic: 5.2.0-0.bpo.3-amd64 SMP mod_unload modversions

cjac@server0:~$ dvcont status
Winding stopped
cjac@server0:~$ dvcont rewind
cjac@server0:~$ dvcont status
Winding reverse
cjac@server0:~$ dvcont status
Winding stopped

# make a directory to store the raw dv tape data and the
# transcodings

cjac@server0:~$ mkdir -p /srv/nfs/cj.backup/dv/oscon2006

# I’ve found that each tape stores around 12 GB of raw data, so be
# sure to perform this on a partition with tens of gigs of spare
# space

cjac@server0:~$ cd /srv/nfs/cj.backup/dv/oscon2006
cjac@server0:/srv/nfs/cj.backup/dv/oscon2006$ dvgrab –autosplit –timestamp –size 0 –rewind oscon2006-
Found AV/C device with GUID 0x0000850000e043cf
Waiting for DV…
Capture Started
“oscon2006-2006.07.26_12-37-44.dv”: 266.30 MiB 2327 frames timecode 00:01:17.26 date 2006.07.26 12:39:01
“oscon2006-2006.07.26_12-40-59.dv”: 816.76 MiB 7137 frames timecode 00:05:16.01 date 2006.07.26 12:44:57
“oscon2006-2006.07.26_12-45-06.dv”: 8420.56 MiB 73580 frames timecode 00:46:11.05 date 2006.07.26 13:26:01
“oscon2006-2006.07.26_13-32-08.dv”: 2961.27 MiB 25876 frames timecode 00:00:00.00 date 2020.06.10 10:46:25
Capture Stopped

During the capture, the dvcont status will be “Playing”:

cjac@server0:/srv/nfs/cj.backup/dv/oscon2006$ dvcont status

In a different window of the screen session or I guess a new gnome-terminal, put together a transcoding environment.

cjac@server0:/srv/nfs/cj.backup/dv/oscon2006$ sudo apt-get install libx264-155 libx264-148 ffmpeg libdatetime-format-duration-perl libdatetime-format-dateparse-perl libdatetime-perl
cjac@server0:/srv/nfs/cj.backup/dv/oscon2006$ wget && chmod u+x
# review, change $prefix

The script will detect partial transcodes and do the right thing generally, so don’t worry too much about running ./ too often.

Results are being stored in various places including

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2 Responses to Recovering videos from DV tapes with Canon ZR80

  1. spegru says:

    Hi I’ve been trying to do this with a Canon MV450i and what appears to be a perhaps later revision of the same Firewire card (rev 80 vs your rev46) – but with zero success so far. The camera appears not to be detected. Grateful for any suggestions…..

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