Calling all veteran videographers --
I have some old equipment..
and need to transfer data from DV tape to FCP7 using a Panasonic HVX 200 camcorder.
What wire/cable should I use ?
Are there any online tutorials available ?
Want to spend a bunch of time time or a little bit money? (The charge for 'pedestrian' DVC transfers here are $19.)
But back to your question... First of all you'll need a computer with a firewire connection whether using FCP7 / iMovie / FCPX. (Not certain FCPX can accommodate direct camera import but FCP7 & earlier versions of iMovie could.) Anything USB connected isn't able to gather the video signal unless you go through a specific video card or using a 'bridge' in between for the signal transfer. Those tapes in SD run 63 minutes (93 mins recorded at LP) resulting in a file size around 13gb per hour (HD file size is 65GB per hour).
The dilemma you're facing is exactly the one I dealt with on my SD DVC tapes. Lord knows I'm capable of transferring / ingesting video at maximum potential and quality but when objectively looking at the final result, even being as constipated as I am about quality, there was little difference between the one-tape-at-a-time approach you're up against as compared with the 20-tapes-at-a-time DTE decks used here. A different approach is used when dealing with 1080HD tapes. I'll pipe those directly into either Blackmagic Video Assist V or Atomos Ninja V.
Funny your question came up when it did. Yesterday morning a customer came in with a camera and 16 SD tapes. He was considering transferring the tapes himself but the camera would periodically stop playing and present transport error codes and wanted me to fix it. At a minimum it would take him 16 hours to transfer the tapes (actually 24 hours since all his tapes were recorded LP which makes for 90 minutes). He abandoned his attempt, left the tapes, and will be collecting his order this afternoon. Those 16 tapes were all customer ready in less that two hours.
So, yes, there are videos to watch, cables and cards and USB bridges to buy but $20 gets your SD DVC tapes in the DTE (direct to edit) drivers seat. Curious on this point but how much time have you already invested researching and reading this and still haven't pushed 'play' on camera?
To answer your question, the cable you'd need would be a mini DV to Firewire. Either Firewire 400 or 800 would work depending on the port on your computer, or how you might adapt it. The current version of FCP will also accept a Firewire import from the 200 if you adapt the Firewire to Thunderbolt properly. In all cases, on the HVX 200 set the 1394 parameter to device mode. There are other options if you don't need to use the camera as a playback unit, but it sounds as if you do.
With firewire you'll capture the full DV video stream without any re-encoding.
Second-best option is to use analogue video out from the camera to a capture card, if you have that. Use an S-video cable from the camera to the capture card instead of the single RCA video cable for better video quality and the left and right audio cables for audio. You will be doing a digital to analogue and analogue to digital conversion in the process so you will have some quality loss.
Good luck with it. MiniDV is a small tape and sometimes gets finicky with playing back clean video without dropouts. Try and try again. A miniDV cleaning tape can be helpful too to wipe off your tape deck's heads.