Gnome workaround: Downloading a MOV file from Canon 500D

This post was written by eli on September 6, 2010
Posted Under: Linux,Software

One of the things I love about fancy GUI interfaces, is that they work as long as things are easy, and always fail at the critical moments.

Downloading a 4 GB video clip from my Canon 500D to a Fedora 12, using the File Manager (nautilus?) was no different. As usual, when I plugged in the camera, I got the nice camera icon on the desktop. Browse my way to the right folder, copy the images into my disk just by dragging and dropping. How easy, how sweet. Too bad it didn’t work for the video clip.

Solution: Good old command-line utilities. That’s the way it always ends.

First unmount the Camera from the desktop (right-click the icon, pick Unmount). Otherwise, you get

[eli@desk videotests]$ gphoto2 -L
*** Error ***
An error occurred in the io-library ('Could not lock the device'): Camera is already in use.
*** Error (-60: 'Could not lock the device') ***

Then, in the command line window, let’s list the file available for download:

[eli@desk videotests]$ gphoto2 -L 

There is no file in folder '/'.
There is no file in folder '/store_00020001'.
There is no file in folder '/store_00020001/DCIM'.
There are 378 files in folder '/store_00020001/DCIM/100CANON'.
#1     IMG_6335.JPG               rd  3123 KB 4752x3168 image/jpeg
#2     IMG_6336.JPG               rd  3896 KB 4752x3168 image/jpeg
#3     IMG_6337.JPG               rd  3809 KB 4752x3168 image/jpeg
#4     IMG_6338.JPG               rd  3863 KB 4752x3168 image/jpeg
#5     IMG_6339.JPG               rd  2815 KB 4752x3168 image/jpeg
#372   MVI_6729.MOV               rd 67651 KB video/quicktime
#373   MVI_6730.MOV               rd 126006 KB video/quicktime
#374   MVI_6731.MOV               rd 81930 KB video/quicktime
#375   MVI_6732.MOV               rd 101169 KB video/quicktime
#376   MVI_6733.MOV               rd 105895 KB video/quicktime
#377   MVI_6734.MOV               rd 92356 KB video/quicktime
#378   MVI_6739.MOV               rd 4181560 KB video/quicktime
There is no file in folder '/store_00020001/MISC'.

It’s the last file, number 378, that I want. So:

[eli@desk videotests]$ gphoto2 -p 378
Downloading 'MVI_6739.MOV' from folder '/store_00020001/DCIM/100CANON'...
Saving file as MVI_6739.MOV
[eli@desk videotests]$ ls -lh
total 4.0G
-rw-rw-r--. 1 eli eli 4.0G 2010-09-06 12:30 MVI_6739.MOV

Which took some 9 minutes (for a 20 minutes 1280x720 clip).

And if we’re at it, here’s the command I used to convert it to a DivX cinelerra likes to work with (give or take MPEG4 glitches here and there) :

[eli@desk videotests]$ ffmpeg -i MVI_6739.MOV -acodec pcm_s16le -b 5000k -vcodec mpeg4 -vtag XVID was_4gb.avi

I know, I lost some quality there, but my Cinelerra version still doesn’t handle the sowt audio codec thing well. And the target file was 820MB instead.

Or, if you really want work seriously, and the size of the file doesn’t matter, convert it to the safest choice, MJPEG:

[eli@desk videotests]$ ffmpeg -i MVI_6739.MOV -acodec pcm_s16le -b 50000k -vcodec mjpeg -vtag MJPG mjpeg.avi

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