I have loads of video files that I have transferred from MiniDV tapes and onto my computer. I used firewire cable and something called WinDV to transfer them and as far as I know they are saved in the DV-AVI type 2 format.

I copied the files onto an external hard drive for a friend, to edit on his Mac. But there is a problem. The files are there, but won't open on the Mac. They play fine on all my PCs.

What do we do? Is this a file type incompatibility issue, or a software issue, or what? I was under the impression that the files on MiniDV tapes are natively DV-AVI (or is this wrong?). Do you have to convert these to MOV or something else while transferring if they are going to be used on a Mac? What do we do?

2 Answers 2


Handbrake can convert almost any movie file to MP4, which then works fine on everything Apple.

  • But is MP4 a good choice for editing? I would think that less converting and compressing would give a better result in the end..?
    – John
    Dec 16, 2014 at 14:18
  • I've never had a problem with Handbrake files. I actually make a habit of Handbraking all of my iMovie exports, even though iMovie exports to MP4, because iMovie tends to make insanely large files and Handbrake can cut them down to a more reasonable size. Never had quality loss.
    – user24601
    Dec 16, 2014 at 14:31

VLC can play almost everything, DV files included.

You can check supported formats here.

To edit this kind of videos you can use iMovie from Apple.

  • Thanks, I will try these options.. Pretty sure I've given files of this kind to other Mac users, and never had any complaints. I got the impression from my friend that he was not able to open the files any which way he tried. I don't have a Mac myself, so I can't check. But we have one at work, so I'll bring a few of the files with me and try them out there. The hard drive he is using is a hybrid external WD Passport drive, especially labelled to work on both Windows and Mac. Would the fact that I copied the files over from a PC pose any problems when trying to read the files on a Mac?
    – John
    Dec 16, 2014 at 14:16
  • No, that shouldn't be a problem.
    – jherran
    Dec 16, 2014 at 14:27
  • Ok, so I hooked my hard drive up to the Mac we have at at work, and here's what happens: I connect the drive, open the folder, and the actual DV-AVI files are not showing up at all. Other files show up fine, like MP4, MPEG2 etc, but the DV-AVI's are not visible. Checking folder info/properties shows the data is definitely there, but they simply don't show in the folder view. So there's nothing I can 'click to play' so to speak. Any suggestions?
    – John
    Dec 18, 2014 at 19:48
  • What is the extension of those files? and what permissions have?
    – jherran
    Dec 19, 2014 at 10:01

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