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Dazzle Video Creator Platinum
Video archiving and editing solution
By John Virata

With VCRs soon going the way of the cassette tape, what are you going to do with all those videotapes that you've shot over the last two decades? Take them to a video service bureau to have them converted to DVD? Now why would you want to do that when there are plenty of solutions available that enable you to do it yourself on your PC? Pinnacle Systems' Dazzle Video Creator Platinum offers to tools to get turn those video tapes into DVDs with just a few clicks of the mouse. Or, you can get even more fancy and make some neat edits to yo8ur footage fairly easily with the incouded software.

Dazzle Video Creator Platinum
So what is it? Dazzle Video Creator Platinum is a hardware/software solution that enables you to convert video using your VCR or video camera that supports S-video and/or composite connections into a format that can be saved to DVD as a movie. It is comprised of the Dazzle DVC 170 USB video capture device that supports MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 compression hardware support, Pinnacle Instant DVD Recorder software, Pinnacle Studio QuickStart software, Studio Bonus DVD with various content such as DVD menus, etc., and the QuickStart Installation and Getting Started guides.

Thanks to USB, there is no need to install any type of add in card into your computer. You simply insert the install discs into your media drive and follow the onscreen direction, plug the DVC 170 cable into an available USB 2.0 port, and capture video either with the Instant DVD Recorder software or the Pinnacle Studio QuickStart software.


Instant DVD Recorder select video source window

So what is the difference between the two applications? In short, simplicity versus the capability to get creative.

Instant DVD Recorder enables you to capture video straight from your VCR or video camera to a blank DVD in your DVD burner. This is by far the most simple way to save those precious memories to DVD.  It is a really simple process. First, you plug the DVC 170 into your VCR with the included cable. Next you que up the starting point of your video tape. Launch Instant DVD Recorder and follow the onscreen directions. Insert the appropriate DVD, press play on the VCR at the appropriate time and the software and hardware does the rest. The beauty in this solution is the video is burned straight to the DVD without having to first be stored onto the hard disk drive on the host computer. You can make simple chapter markers with the software or you can can choose not to use chapter markers and burn the entire content of the video tape as a single movie.

Pinnacle Studio QuickStart

With Pinnacle Studio QuickStart, you have the capability to edit your videos via Pinnacle Studio 10, a version of Pinnacle's consumer editing tool. With Studio 10, you can edit your videos captured from the Dazzle DVC170, and most any other video that might be on your computer. You can add titles, transitions, and video effects to further spice up your videos. You can add audio from your iTunes library, Windows Media and even create SmartSound audio tracks to your movies. Studio 10 is a full featured consumer editing tool that offers plenty of tools to get creative with your videos.

System requirements are a Windows XP based computer running an Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon CPU running at 1.4GHz or faster (2.4GHz recommended) 512MB RAM (1GB recommended), DirectX9 or higher graphics card and sound card, 1GB disk space (more is highly recommended) USB 2.0 or 1.1 and a DVD burner.

Dazzle Video Creator Platinum using Studio QuickStart can import DV, AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, DiVx, MPEG-4, Windows Media, and non encrypted DVDs. It supports WAV and MP3 audio files, and BMP, JPG, PCT, TGA, TIF and Windows Media format graphics files. It can export Video CD, S-VCD, iPod and PSP format MPEG-4 video, DVD format DVDs (DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW,), DV, AVI, DiVx, Real Video 8, Windows Media 9, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4.

First Impressions
If you have a large collection of VHS or other analog formatted video, and have a player that can accept the composite or S-Video inputs, Dazzle Video Creator Platinum can make it as easy for you to transfer that old, outdated video straight to DVD for playback, or to your computer hard drive for further editing and output to the format of your choice. What Pinnacle has done is give you a choice in how you can work with your video. You can go the easy route and convert a tape straight to DVD without any editing involved, or, for those who want to get a bit more creative, you can edit your video with Pinnacle Studio QuickStart 10, which is essentially the previous version of Pinnacle Studio. Either way, the important thing is to get those old videotapes into a format that has a bit more longevity. The good news is the application works great with Windows XP. The not good news is the fact that Pinnacle Studio Quickstart out of the box doesn't work with Windows Vista; you need to go online and get the 10.8 update. However, the Dazzle breakout box and Instant DVD Recorder works flawlessly in Windows Vista out of the box. 

In all, Dazzle Video Creator Platinum ($89) is a competent solution for those who need to get VHS or other analog video onto DVD, or want to get into video editing on the Pinnacle Systems family of editors. The system works well and outputs some great quality video. For more information, visit www.pinnaclesys.com


 


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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at jvirata@digitalmedianet.com
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 





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