I know there are several video editing programs: PiTiVi, Openshot, etc

However I am unsure if I can transfer video footage from a DV tape to my computer. In other operating systems (with the correct software) I can connect my firewire camcorder or tape deck to a pc, and record the video to file in realtime.

Is this possible in Ubuntu and if so which software is needed?

  • Preferably a GTK application, or possibly a CLI app?
    – 8128
    Aug 8, 2010 at 19:51

2 Answers 2


I use the command line program dvgrab to pull from my minidv camcorder over firewire.

The command I use is:

sudo dvgrab -a -format raw -rewind -t prefix-

The permissions are messed up, which is why you need sudo. Afterwards, just do:

sudo chown username:username prefix-*.dv

The rewind command rewinds the tape, so leave it off if you don't want to rewind.

The prefix- gets appended to the file name to help you identify it. The files are automatically split when dvgrab finds a time gap or every 2GB.

Manpage for the dvgrab command Manpage icon has a few more useful options.

  • Thank you brousch. You made my old Sony DCR-HC24E live again in Ubuntu 12.04. Only added -srt to the command: 'sudo dvgrab -srt -a -format raw -rewind -t prefix-'
    – user75018
    Jul 4, 2012 at 16:11
  • replace "prefix-" with the prefix you want to chose. Apr 16, 2014 at 10:58

In short, it's possible but thanks to regression upon regression, it's a pain in the rear.

In Lucid it involves telling udev to keep its paws off the firewire device and let it be a raw interface:

echo 'KERNEL=="raw1394", GROUP="video", MODE="0664"' |
sudo tee /etc/udev/rules.d/50-raw1394.rules
&& sudo restart udev

You then plug you camera in, hit play on the camera then use something like kino that interfaces with the dvgrab package to record the video to disk. As I mentioned: PITA.


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