How can I use a Canopus ADVC-100 in 2020 with my OSX Catalina?


Ok, how about with Mojave?

Again, don’t.

But I already own it! and I have a Mac with firewire. I should be good to go for finally converting all those old tapes right? Hard drives are cheap now! I could copy Michael Lynch!


And here’s why – VCR tapes are made for CRT TVs. This means that they’ve never been too precious about timebase, because it hasn’t mattered. Unterzuber here has a great page about timebase and why it’s important to get a good one for for video conversion.. but I’ll skip all that and say this – devices like the ADVC-100 really needed one for knowing where and when each frame begins and ends, because they use that to create IEEE 1394 digital video frames – if the timebase is bad, the audio stutters, frames drop and all sorts of bad happens.

I got my ADVC-100 probably 15 years ago, work was getting rid of a bunch of them. They were originally USD$199 new, because digital video, firewire and conversion is hard and people should pay for it. I only ever used it for capturing from my now deceased DVD-H40A, one of the first DVD players with a hard drive recorder built in, and which output a perfect timebase signal, so it was never an issue.

But I’m trying to convert some videos from tapes for family, and oo boy is it not liking it. I didn’t want to pay upwards of $100-150 for some of the retail device that might not work – but I came across this video from a channel I trust and enjoy, Technology Connections –

Again, skipping to the conclusion – I bought a composite to HDMI converter, and then a HDMI capture device for $15 each from eBay, so $30 all up, and with the exception of NTSC443, it’s perfect.

The ADVC-100 was an amazing device for its time, but its time is over. Sorry.

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