Saturday, June 2, 2012

Capturing Firewire 1394 camcorder MiniDV in Ubuntu 12.04

How to transfer MiniDV Camcorder footage digitally via Firewire 1394 to your Ubuntu 12.04 computer:

I have a bunch of old (>10 year) MiniDV tapes laying around that I wanted to transfer to my Smugmug account online.  Mainly because I am concerned about losing the content due to decaying magnetic tape and partly because I am organizing the last bit of imagery I have onto the cloud for easy access across all of my devices.

Once upon a time circa Ubuntu 8.04 I was able to plug in the firewire cable into the back of my PC and into my Panasonic MiniDV Camcorder, load Kino, and everything worked.   This time, it wasnt so obvious.

The problem:
  • Kino reports "WARNING: raw1394 kernel module not loaded or failure to read/write /dev/raw1394!"
  • The newest Firewire driver does not create the raw1394 device node
  • Permissions are not setup to allow for general user access on the /dev/fw0 node
  • Bug Report here:
The fix:
  • Create a link to the newer /dev/fw0 node
    • $ sudo ln /dev/fw0 /dev/raw1394
  • Run Kino as superuser
    • $ gksu kino
Hope this helps someone else out there as it took me a good 3-4 hours of searching the net and trying different drivers to come up with this simple solution.


  1. Thanks for the partial help. This does fix the "/dev/raw1394" problem for me, but kino still fails to see my camera: "No AV/C compliant camera connected or not switched on?"

    1. The same here. Once I even got video coming from the camera to Kino, but DV camera controls didn’t work.

  2. it is very strange. I have Ubuntu 120.4 (64 bit version) and a old MiniDV Camcorder of Sony and I connect the camera to my computer via miniDV without problems.

    1. my camera is: Videocamera sony handycam dcr-hc20e

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  4. Thank you for your post. It helped me.