by Lars Georg Paulsen @ Braindead Production

Last Updated; 29th May 2006

Where do you start, when it comes to importing HDV photage under linux. I’v been asking my self that questions since I was looking for my new camera. At that time (Spring of 2005), there was a small program called mpeg123grab, but now there is a new testing script/app that came out with the release of libiec61883 v1.0.0 called test-mpeg2

I take it for granted that you allready have a working IEEE1394 system, and you can grab normal DV from your camera, this is a guide only to capture HDV, nothing else.

Table Of Content;

HDV Rocks!!

Getting hold of test-mpeg2
Capture with test-mpeg2
Rebuild mpeg2 files

Final Words and the future
Usefule Links

Getting hold of test-mpeg2

First thing you need to do, is get a hold of libiec61883. This is the new library that adds support for mpeg2 stream over IEEE 1394. If you have a working IEEE1394 sub system, you probably have it installed allready.
If not install it. šŸ™‚

If you are lucky, your distro also installs test-mpeg2 and you can jump on to the next step if not, read on. Even if you have libiec61883, it doesn’t mean that you have test-mpeg2 installed. For me, that’s my scenario. (I’m running kbuntu at the moment).

What you need to do is get the source and compile it yourself. Surf over to and get a hold of libiec61883-1.0.0.tar.gz. At the moment this is the latest release, but don’t take that for granted, check for yourself and download the newest version.

After unpacking iec61883 library, you should now configure it and compile it, I’m not going trough all the things
you need to have to make it compile, but for me, after setting a normal IEEE1394 sub system, I had to installed libraw1393-dev packages to make it compile.

Running ./configure and make worked for me. You do NOT need to do the last install command, make install.

If everything works you will now have test-mpeg2 under $path/libiec61883-1.0.0/examples

Capture with test-mpeg2

Now to the fun part. Let us start capturing some mpeg2 streams, from our HDV camera. After connecting your camera to your ieee1394 port, you can now see if your test-mpeg2 script works.

#>./test-mpeg2 DestinationFile.ts

If you get Failed to get libraw1394 handle you should try either to change your permissions under /dev/ or use sudo/root, a quick ‘sudo chmod 777 /dev/raw1394’ will work.

Rebuild mpeg2 files

To make your new capture files work under Cinelerra you will need to create table of contents of your mpeg2 file. This can easy be done with mpeg3toc.

#>mpeg3toc SourceFile DestinationFile

Final Words and the future

This is the way I did it, capture HDV photage on to my computer, under linux. Even if I know now how to capture my photage in HDV I don’t think I’m gonna use it in the near future. Not because it’s not mature yet, (well it’s not mature at all…but) because my poor old computer doesn’t have the power enough to work with HDV. Try preview in cinelerra or just plain viewing of files in hdv made my computer so slow, couple of frames pr second maybe? Guess I need to save up some money and by myself a new compute before even tempting to try working with HDV again.

But for you guys out there, that does have the computer power, I wish you luck. And we are looking at a bright and execting future. When dvgrab-2.0 comes in a new version supporting hdv, that’s when mainstream linux will capture in hdv to linux. and it looks like it’s on the TODO list for dvgrab development.
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I take no responsibily, of what might or can happened to your system, while using this tutorial, Iā€™m no wizzard in linux or video editing, the information found in this tutorial is purely based on own experience and information found on the www.

There is probably a lot that Iā€™v forgoten, so feel free to fill me in on things that might need to be updated, and suggestion that this tutorial is missing.

If you have any trouble using this tutorial, please feel free to email me.

Lgp [a]