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Archive that analog video footage before its too late
Most video cameras today shoot digital video, with more and more capturing to a built in storage medium such as a hard disk or flash based memory or via memory cards such as SD or Compact Flash and its variants, which are familiar to most anyone who has used a digital camera to capture still images. But there are still many who still have perfectly useable video cameras that capture to that old analog standby, video tape. And there is still that super old standby, the VHS cassette that many people have captured decades of memories to that need to be preserved. The Dazzle Video Creator Plus HD bridges the digital divide, enabling you to capture video from your digital camcorders via the analog composite or RCA outputs on your camera, as well as serve as an effective bridge that can digitize those VHS and 8mm video tapes captured during the last 25 years. And when it captures that footage, it sends it back into the computer as a digital file for editing via Pinnacle Studio HD v. 14.
Dazzle's Video Creator Plus HD is a hardware software solution that combines an external video capture device (Dazzle DVC-107 USB video capture device) with Pinnacle Systems' Studio HD v. 14 video editing software. The solution enables you to connect your video camera using S-Video or composite video (RCA) inputs to the Dazzle box and import your video into Pinnacle Studio HD.
Minimum system requirements are a 1.8GHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon CPU running Windows 7, Windows Vista SP2 or Windows XP SP3, 1GB RAM, 64MB DirectX 9 or 10 compatible graphics card, DirectX 9 or compatible sound card, and a DVD-ROM to install Pinnacle Studio. The device enables you to output to a variety of video formats, including AVCHD, DVD, S-VCD, DV, HDV, AVI, Divx, Real Video 8, WMV, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Flash, 3GP, WAV, MP3, QuickTime, and Apple iPod, Sony PSP, and Nintendo Wii.
Pinnacle Studio interface
A note about digital video. It is a resource hog. It will tax your system and eat up your free hard disk space. While the company offers up a minimum system requirements to run the application, consider adhering to the recommended system requirements to full take advantage of the Video Creator Plus HD. For example, editing AVCHD video files calls for 2GB RAM. And the 3.2GB of disk space is probably to install Pinnacle Studio HD, and not to store the video the device captures, because 3GB of free space can be gone in a flash when importing video into your system. Your best solution is to capture to a dedicated hard drive, be it internal or external. You will be all the better with a dedicated media drive.
Importing video footage from VHS tape.
How it works
Your first step is to install the Pinnacle Studio HD software and Instant DVD Recorder software. Instant DVD Recorder is used to capture video from your camcorder or other video device straight to a DVD for burning. There is no editing involved. For editing in Pinnacle Studio HD, you first connect your video device using your own RCA or composite video cables to the Dazzle hardware encoder. Launch Pinnacle Studio HD and select the Import tab. Turn on your video device, press play, select the Dazzle icon under Import from, and then click the Start capture button in the lower right corner of the Import window. Software does the rest, determining if video composite or S-video. The Studio Import tab gives you other pertinent information such as where your video is being captured to, as well as the available video space on your hard drive. Once you've captured your video, you can import it into Pinnacle Studio 14 for editing. Pinnacle Studio 14 is a consumer based editing application that enables you to add titles, special effects, transitions, and audio tracks to your video project. Once you've finished your project, you can output it to a variety of video playback formats, including MOV, AVI, Flash, iPod, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-2 TS, MPEG-4, Real Media, 3GP, Sony PSP, and Windows Media. You can also upload straight to Yahoo video and YouTube, or back out to video tape.
In an age where most video cameras today are capturing video in a digital format, who would have a need for the Dazzle Video Creator Plus HD, which has a primary purpose of converting analog video footage to digital for editing on the computer? It turns out there are a lot of prospective customers who can avail of such a device. Virtually any entity that has a large number of analog video tapes that needs to be converted to digital if for anything for prosperity's sake, stands to benefit from such a device. While the main customer focus of the Dazzle system is home enthusiasts who have VHS, 8mm, or other analog video around, there is definitely an ancillary market. Colleges, schools, local cable affiliates, and certain small businesses can exploit the capabilities of the Dazzle device in getting their analog footage to digital for editing and archiving, and even for monetary purposes. If you are capturing images with the latest high definition camcorders that capture to digital media, you would be better off connecting straight to the computer and downloading those video files direct rather than with the Dazzle device because of the lack of digital connections. The Dazzle Video Creator Plus HD is simple to use, gives you good quality video, and includes Pinnacle Studio 14 HD, the top selling consumer-based video editing application for Windows. If you've got a lot of video tapes lying around, this device will help you to convert it to a format for today's viewing pleasure.
Dazzle Video Creator Plus HD
John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at [email protected]