Self-help message board
How to contact us
Web links directory
Tips and advice
Help Me, I'm new!
Fair pricing petition
Premiere 6 (trial)
Paint Shop Pro 7 (trial)
How to get started with
computer video editing
Join our ongoing campaign
News - August 2003
analogue/DV card claimed to be the first to work with any Windows/MacOHCI-compliant
video editing program.
to have performed a rather amazing trick that no other company has yet
managed - building an editing card that has analogue and DV capture/output
and is able to work with any OHCI-compliant video editing program -
Windows or Mac.
This is in contrast to the normal way of things with analogue/DV cards,
which work solely with the supplied editing program and only do that
because the hardware maker has written dedicated drivers for that program.
The card is the snappily named ACEDVio (pronounced, Ace DV I/O), and
is supplied with a full version of Sonic Foundry's Vegas 4 (review,
June 2003, p34), and has an SRP of £410 (inc VAT). The crafty
trick has been accomplished by building into the card Canopus's own
two-way hardware Codec that drives an analogue<>DV converter -
the sort of thing that is normally housed in an external black box.
There is a large number of Windows OHCI-compliant programs, starting
with Microsoft's free offering, the XP-only Movie Maker, and low-end
software, such as Pinnacle Studio and Ulead VideoWave. Moving up the
price scale, the list also includes Ulead MediaStudio Pro 7 (review,
p28), Adobe Premiere 6 and 6.5, Pinnacle Edition 4.5 and 5, and even
Perversely, ACEDVio owners won't yet be able to use Canopus's new Windows
editing program Edius (News, June 2003, p6), since the first version
of the program isn't OHCI-compliant. As well as Vegas, the card comes
with a Windows program to control the levels of analogue audio/video
input/output, plus a lite version of Ulead's entry-level Windows DVD
authoring program, DVD MovieFactory 2.
No software is provided for Macs - underlining the fact that the card's
Mac capabilities are an almost incidental consequence of following the
OHCI standard. There's also little doubt that the card will seem like
far better value to Windows users than owners of Macs - who have FireWire
built into their machines, get Apple's iMovie editor as standard and
will realise that the cost of an external converter box is far less
than that of the ACEDVio.
Nonetheless, some Mac users may like the idea of using hardware based
on Canopus's high-quality Codec and having analogue in/out without any
additional desktop clutter. Canopus says that the card's analogue and
DV capture and editing capabilities have been tested with three Apple
programs - iMovie 3, Final Cut Express 1.01 and FCP 4 - though we'd
tend to assume that it would work with other OHCI programs, such as
On the analogue side, the card has phono inputs and outputs for L/R
audio, plus two mini-DIN input/output ports that each combine S-video
and composite video. There are also two FireWire ports - one four-pin
for connection to a DV camcorder or DV VCR, the other six-pin for use
with FireWire peripherals such as hard drives. A standard hard-drive
power connector can be plugged into the card to ensure that the power
provided via the six-pin port to such peripherals is sufficient, and
doesn't sap current from the PCI bus. A composite-to-S-video converter
cable is supplied in-pack, along with a four-pin-to-four-pin FireWire
For Windows, the key minimum requirements are said to be Win 2000 or
XP; an 800MHz CPU; 256MB of RAM; and a free V2.1 PCI slot. Macs require
OS 9 (or later), a free PCI slot, a suitable editing program and, in
our view, a processor no slower than 500MHz.
Canopus UK, 020
7793 1188; www.canopus-uk.com
Avid Xpress Pro
Avid replaces Xpress
DV with Xpress Pro, a big software bundle that includes Sorenson's professional
Avid is set to replace
its Xpress DV editing software (review, Jan 03, p30) with Xpress Pro
- a package priced at £1,530 (inc VAT) and including a customised
version of Sorenson's Squeeze 3 media repurposing suite; Avid Filmmaker's
Toolkit, Illusion FX pack; Sonic ReelDVD; Profound Effects' Elastic
Gasket; and Boris FX and Graffiti.
Xpress Pro comes with Mac OS X and Windows XP versions in the pack and
has available a new hardware option (also at £1,530) - Avid Mojo
DNA - for analogue/DV capture and hardware-accelerated real-time effects
and DV in/output.
Users will be able to import edits directly into the customised version
of the Squeeze 3 suite (news, April 2003, p16) and encode to QuickTime,
MPEG1/2/4, Windows Media (version 7, 8 and 9), RealMedia and Flash Player
The supplied version of Squeeze supports one-pass and two-pass variable
bit-rate (VBR) encoding, and features a drag-and-drop interface; DV
capture-compression; compression presets; watch folders for batch processing
of multiple files; and video and audio filters.
Avid, 01753 655999; www.avid.com
conversion on a budget
analogue<>DV external converter with component video input/output
ADS is setting a
new, ultra-low price point for cross conversion of component video and
DV with the launch of the Pyro A/V Link for Windows and Mac PCs. This
external converter box carries an SRP of just £250 (inc VAT) and,
amazingly, even comes with a copy of the full version of Ulead's entry-level
Windows editor VideoStudio 6.
Pyro A/V Link works with PAL or NTSC video and carries separate inputs
and outputs for S-video, composite video and L/R audio. There are two
FireWire ports (four-pin for input, six-pin for output), along with
a single phono connector for component. Originally, A/V Link was only
going to provide component input, but ADS has decided to add output
as well - using the same phono connector.
The box has an analogue/DV mode selector and comes with a trailing external
power supply and three 2m connection cables - S-video, plus double-four
and double-six FireWire leads.
Ulead's VideoStudio 6 video editor (review, April 2002, p42) includes
a wizard with basic authoring capabilities, including menus, chapter-points
and direct-from-timeline burning to VCD, S-VCD and DVD.
In addition to FireWire ports, system requirements are a G3 processor
(we'd say a G4) and OS 9.x up to OS 10.2 for Mac, and a 400MHz CPU (650MHz
we reckon) and Win98SE or later for Windows.
ADS Tech Europe,
0035 361 702042; www.adstech.com
Drive Image 7 backs
up/restores boot disks to FireWire, USB and networking drives under
Win XP and 2K
One of CV readers'
favourite Windows disk utilities - PowerQuest's Drive Image back up
and restore program - is set to become far more convenient and far more
flexible, though only for users of Windows XP and 2000.
Version 7, SRP £40 (inc VAT), can create images of XP or 2K drive
partitions that have open files, including active boot partitions, and
without needing to shut Windows and boot into DOS.
The program can write images to drives connected by FireWire or USB
- including DVD burners in the four main formats - and also to drives
on networks. SCSI disks, and drives connected via laptop PC PCMCIA slots
are also supported. Although restoring a boot partition will, as in
previous versions, require a reboot, V7 boots from the supplied program/restore
CD. This runs a cut-down version of Win XP with native drivers for networks
and multiple disk drive connection types.
Drives will be using Windows own fast drivers all of the time - so creating
and restoring images should be much quicker than with previous versions
that required DOS. And, the program can run in the background to carry
out scheduled back-ups even of boot drives - though don't go backing
up while editing video.
V7 has a simplified Win XP-look interface with a task-pane for quick
access to help pages and links to the most common jobs - including copying
one drive to another when upgrading to a bigger hard disk. Images can
be mounted as virtual drives, enabling files to be copied or opened,
and, says PowerQuest, even for virus checks and some programs to be
V7 supports extended Linux file systems - Ext3 and ReiserFS - in addition
to FAT, FAT32, NTFS and Linux Ext2/SWAP. Although the current version
of Drive Image (2002) is being replaced by V7, users of Windows versions
other than XP and 2K aren't being abandoned. V2002 will be included
with V7 and is what will be installed under non-XP/2K Windows. If users
do upgrade to XP or 2K, they'll be then be able to install V7.
DVD about face
Latest ATAPI burner
from DVD- stalwart supports DVD+, as well as DVD-
Pioneer, the company
seen as the driving force behind the success of DVD-R/-RW, has carried
out an astonishing about turn, announcing the summer launch of an ATAPI
writer that burns to DVD+R/+RW as well as the two DVD- formats.
The DVR-A06 (SRP still unknown) looks likely to take over from the DVR-A05
DVD-R/-RW burner (review, March 2003, p38). Its DVD write speeds are
said to be, DVD-R (4x), DVD-RW (2x), +R (4x) and +RW (2.4x). Write speeds
are 16x for CD-R and 10x for CD-RWs. To avoid failed burns, writing
to discs of all formats is protected by buffer under-run prevention.
DVD read speeds are given as, 6x for 4x DVD-Rs; 2x DVD-RWs and all +
media; 2x for other writable DVDs; 2x for DVD Video (single-layer and
dual); 12x for single-layer DVD-ROMs; and 8x for dual-layer. For CD,
the figures are, CD-R/-RW/-ROM (32x); Video CD (4x); and Audio CD (10x).
The drive will be bundled with a suite of Pinnacle editing and authoring/burning
software for Windows - Studio 8 SE, Instant CD/DVD, Expression and InstantCopy
7 SE. Two Maxell blank discs will also be included - a DVD-R (4x) and
a DVD-RW (2x).
Minimum requirements are reckoned to be a 500MHz PIII processor, Windows
98SE or later, 128MB of RAM (256MB recommended) and - for those who
want to edit - a 10GB (or larger) hard disk.
Pioneer, 01753 789789;
LaCie adds DVD-R/-RW
drives to rugged PocketDrive range
Two portable external
DVD-R/-RW burners - one FireWire, the other USB 2 - are joining LaCie's
PocketDrive range at SRPs of £269 (inc VAT).
Each weighs 640g, measures 31(h) x 152(w) x 158(d)mm, and carries the
distinctive blue protective bumper used on other PocketDrive models.
Other shared features include a 2MB buffer and write speeds of 2x for
DVD-R blanks, 1x for DVD-RW, 16x for CD-R, and 10x for CD-RW. Read speeds
are 8x for DVD-ROMs and 24x for CD-ROMs.
The FireWire PocketDrive DVD-RW, which is designed to run from a powered
six-pin FireWire port, comes with Mac software - Pixela's CaptyDVD for
entry-level DVD authoring and a lite version of Roxio's Toast for CD/DVD
recording. The USB2 PocketDrive DVD-RW, in contrast, has to run from
the supplied mains adaptor and comes with Windows entry-level DVD authoring
software - Sonic MyDVD. Also supplied in each case are LaCie's CD Utilities
CD-ROM and an appropriate data cable.
LaCie, 020 7872
dual-interface +R/+RW burner
DVD+R/+RW burner has FireWire and USB 2.0 connections
(SRP £264 inc VAT) is an external DVD+R/+RW burner with connections
for FireWire and USB 2.0. What the company has done is mount its PX-504A
5.25in ATAPI EIDE burner (street price £180) into a silver case
with a dual interface.
Specs take in a 2MB buffer, high-speed writing at 4x to DVD+R, at 2.4x
to DVD+RW, at 16x to CD-R and 10x to CD-RW discs. Read speeds are reckoned
to be up to 12x for DVDs and 40x for CDs.
The burner only comes with Windows software. There's Pinnacle Studio
8 SE for editing and authoring discs, and two Ahead programs, Nero CD/DVD
for copying and mastering, and InCD for drag-and-drop packet writing
to rewritable media. CyberLink's PowerDVD player is included too, along
with cables for FireWire and USB, an external power adaptor, and two
blank discs - one DVD+R and one DVD+RW.
Plextor says that the burner itself supports DVD+VR writing - for adding,
editing, partial deleting and partial over-writing of DVD+RW discs -
but none of the supplied software offers DVD+VR capabilities. Candidates
include Ulead MSP 7 (review, p28). The hardware uses PowerRec (Plextor
Optimised Writing Error Reduction Control) technology to prevent writing
errors during high-speed recording - with help from a 2MB data cache.
The burner has rear analogue and digital (SPDIF) audio outputs, and
an option for selecting the tone of audio output using software included
on the supplied drive utilities suite.
NEC DVD burner
NEC high-speed DVD+R/+RW
and DVD-R/-RW ATAPI burner
NEC's latest IDE/ATAPI
DVD burner supports high speed writing to DVD+ and DVD- media. Claimed
write speeds for the MultiSpin 4x DVD+/- Writer (model ND1300, SRP £260
inc VAT), are DVD-R/+R (4x), DVD-RW (2x) and DVD+RW (2.4x). For CD,
write speeds are CD-R (16x) and CD-RW (10x).
To avoid failed burns, and take account of disc imperfections such as
fingerprints, the device uses NEC's ACTOPC technology. This is said
to monitor writing, power and reflection of the media; and then to calculate
the best laser power and adjust it - and all of this is reckoned to
happen in real time.
DVD read speeds are given as, 12x for DVD media and 40x for CDs. Supported
media includes 8cm and 12cm DVD-ROM, DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW, CD-ROM, CD-R/-RW.
The ND1300 has digital and line outputs, comes with two blank discs
(4x +R and 2.4/2X +RW), data and audio cables, screw set and a bundle
of software. Sonic MyDVD 4 is included for DVD authoring/burning; Ahead
Nero 5 for CD/DVD burning; Ahead InCD 2.0 for packet writing; ArcSoft
ShowBiz for video editing; and Sonic CinePlayer for DVD video.
Minimum requirements are said to be a 400MHz PII processor(at least
a 600MHz PIII for video editing), 256MB of RAM and any version of Windows
after Windows 98SE and Windows NT 4.0.
NEC, 020 8752 3535;
writes to high-speed media
Ricoh's latest ATAPI
DVD burner, the MP5163A-DP (SRP £200 inc VAT), is said to support
4x writing to DVD+R and 2.4x rewriting to DVD+RW media.
The burner is reckoned to write at 16x to CD-R and at 10x to CD-RW,
and has Ricoh's JustLink technology to prevent buffer under-run write
errors. Read speeds are given as 12x for DVD+R/+RW/+ROM media and 40x
for CD-R/-RW/-ROM discs.
The drive comes with Ahead's Windows software - Nero Burning ROM for
CD/DVD mastering; InCD for drag-and-drop data copying to DVD+RW and
CD-RW discs (but not DVD-R or CD-R); and Nero Vision Express for DVD
authoring. InterVideo's WinDVD for DVD playback is included, too, along
with quick start instructions, a PDF manual, data and audio cables,
mounting screws and eight blank discs - five DVD+R, one DVD+RW, one
CD-R and one CD-RW.
System requirements are said to be a 700MHz PIII CPU (1GHz recommended);
Windows (from 95 OSR 2 to XP); 128MB RAM (256MB recommended); and 5GB
of HDD space (for DVD creation).
Connections), 01423 704700; www.ricoh.com
P-Series supports dual-displays; P750 adds third output and TV-out editing
dual-head graphics cards have long been favourites among video editors,
so readers are likely to welcome the arrival of the Millennium P-Series
64MB cards - the triple-head P750 (£203 inc VAT) and dual-head
Each supports two digital (DVI) monitors, or two analogue (RGB), or
one of each. The third output on the P750, as on the company's Parhelia
cards (which sell for £280 with 128MB of RAM or £425 with
256MB), is for an RGB monitor or a TV set/video monitor.
The TV output allows previews from compatible video editing programs
to be seen full-screen on an attached monitor (or recorded to analogue
tape - audio coming via the PC's sound card). The P650 can also provide
a TV output - requiring an optional cable (price still unknown) - but
this, seemingly, won't be usable with editing program previews, only
for watching DVDs or a display of the desktop on a big-screen TV set.
It's not yet clear what programs will be able to take advantage of the
P750's TV output - hopefully, it will be no worse than with Parhelia.
Out of the box, Parhelia supports Avid Xpress DV and Ulead MediaStudio
Pro 7 (review, p28). Other programs, and there are not yet many of them,
require either a free downloadable Matrox plug-in or specific Matrox
drivers. Plug-ins are available for Adobe After Effects 5.5, LightWave
Discreet 3ds max (V4.3 on) and Newtek LightWave, as well as for Adobe
PhotoShop 6 and 7. Compatible drivers are available for Softimage XSI
The smaller amount of RAM with the new cards means that they can't support
dual-RGB displays at resolutions as high as Parhelia can - they offer
1,920 x 1,440 pixels, rather than 2,048 x 1,536. Otherwise, max resolutions
are the same - 2,048 x 1,536 with a single monitor, 1,600 x 1,200 with
dual DVI, and 1,280 x 1,024 for triple-head RGB. Refresh rates range
from 85Hz (2,048 x 1,536) to 200Hz (640 x 480).
Each Millennium card supports all AGP 2.0 card slots from 1x speed up
to 8x, and uses DDR memory, a 128-bit DDR memory bus, and a 256-bit
graphics processor. They're OpenGL 1.3 and DirectX 8.1 compliant, and
feature dual independent hardware overlays for video, and dual-display
colour calibration. Minimum system requirements are Windows XP, 2000,
NT 4.0 or Linux; a 600MHz processor; and 128MB of RAM.
Matrox, 01753 665500;
LaCie giant high-speed
Hard disks in LaCie
d2 range include 500GB high-speed drives - FireWire 2 and FireWire 2/USB
LaCie's d2 range
of external drives includes hard disks that connect by two versions
of FireWire (standard, IEEE1394a; and high-speed, IEEE1394b), USB 2.0,
and combinations of FireWire and USB 2.
Range leader is a 500GB/7,200rpm drive (£820) with a dual high-speed
interface, and containing, we assume, two 250GB HDDs.
There are four 7,200rpm models with dual high-speed interfaces. The
range-leading 500GB drive has an 8MByte buffer, as does a 250GB drive
(£457), while 200GB (£363) and 400GB (£657) models
Each unit carries a single USB 2.0 port and two backwardly-compatible
IEEE1394b ports offering, in theory, bandwidth of 800Mbps (100MBps)
- twice that of IEEE1394a, not that any standard FireWire drive we've
tested has ever got close to 400Mbps. They're fitted with Oxford Semiconductor's
922 FireWire 800 chips paired with Texas Instruments' S800 1394b PHY/link
Four other models have FireWire 2 interfaces but no USB. These are the
200GB (£299) and 400GB (£549) drives centred on 7,200rpm
HDDs with 8MB caches; and 250GB (£329) and 500GB (£649)
Drives connecting by high-speed FireWire require a computer running
Mac OS X (V10.1.x or later), or Windows XP/2000, and fitted with suitable
second-generation interfaces. There's no shortage of USB 2 card options
but far fewer high-speed FireWire cards - LaCie, though, does sell a
Mac/Windows PCI card that goes out for around £80.
The rest of the range is said to be compatible with Mac OS 8.6 or later,
and Windows 98 or later. The three largest standard FireWire drives
- 250GB, 400GB (£528) and 500GB (£704) - have 8MB buffers.
The others have 2MB buffers and offer capacities of 80GB (£157),
120GB (£181), 160GB (£204) and 200GB (£246).
Each model is housed in an aluminium case and can be stacked, rack-mounted
or sat on edge on a desktop. Data cables are included in pack, along
with LaCie's Storage Utilities. This provides Silverlining Pro (Mac
OS 9) and SilverKeeper easy backup for OS 9 and OS X, plus the deservedly
much maligned Silverlining 98 (Win 98SE and ME).
LaCie, 020 7872
Read more news
in August 2003's Computer Video magazine.
Reviewed in August's
MediaStudio Pro 7
Roxio WinOnCD 6 DVD Edition
Pinnacle Hollywood FX Pro 4.6
In August's news:
Analogue/DV on OHCI-compliant card
Avid Xpress Pro professional encoding
Component<>DV conversion on a budget
Pioneer DVD about face
Pocket-sized DVD-RW burners
Plextor dual-interface +R/+RW burner
Multi-format NEC DVD burner
High-speed +R/+RW Ricoh
Video editing graphics cards
LaCie giant high-speed HDDs