Whilst the capture card seems to do it?s job, the Studio 8 editing software that comes with it is another matter. Whilst this software is relatively easy to get to grips with, as long as you read the manual, it is totally unpredictable as to what it will actually do. I can edit a project with little trouble, but it is a lottery as to whether it can generate a usable file for burning to disc. Common ailments are clicks on the sound track and blocky images. It claims to be able to fit two hours onto a DVD. It fails to tell you that the quality will be very poor. In practice it can only manage one hour onto a DVD. Though it can output back to tape without a problem. Another random facility is the DVD chapter editor. When setting the point to return to the menu you are working on it will decide to shove the return point at the very end of the project and not where you told it. The ability to resort chapters has been removed ? but is still in the manual and they have no other way to do this. You are supposed to get expert support help when the product is registered. This, I am afraid is little short of a joke. You will be told to reinstall everything (something you will probably have already tried). After that they blame the problems on your video camera and once you prove that no to be the case they will just close the case and offer no further help. The last email I received from them was ?contact your vendor?. I have brought this up with their management and await some feedback. If you need an analogue capture card and posses your own software to edit said captured video then this will do the job (just look for one on ebay to save paying for the bundled software that does not work). If you are expecting the software package to do what it says it will then you will be sadly disappointed.
I have the folowing setup, AMD 1400+ XP processor installed on a ASUS A7V266-E motherboard with RAID disks, both capture and rendering and output by means of both Video and S-Video output works fine. Can it be the difference between AMD XP and MP processors that is causing the problem... The card itself or if it is the drivers is and has always been a bit unstable on windows 98... sometimes (I have never managed to find the reason) it just decides that there is for example no video input device or it does not send a videout signal... Especially it occurs if one are fiddling arround with the settings to much... When it happens the only way to solve it is to restart either the whole computer or do a hardware test on the card and start from the beginning... its anoying but you get used to it. The installation on my first computer I used the card on was easy (400Mhs Celeron), I had it up and running after 30 minutes. When I upgraded to the machine above it took me a week to get it running. I don't think Pinnacle has tested their HW on newer machines, the card is a bit old... After tweeking the system a bit it works excellent. The type of problem I had was problems with IO buffer overflows at 30 seconds capture caused by the way the RAID disk controller and the Video capture card is using the PCI bus. If anyone have the need of fast disks as well as a fast processor for video capture/editing and are thinking about RAID Disks instead FIREWIRE Disk and SCSI I reccommend it, the performance is outstanding and its cheap... half the cost as a FIREWIRE Disk of the same size. But beware if you intend to use a RAID controller and at least if it is the one made by PROMISE read their manual and homepages very carefully. They have a couple of utilities for example 'FastCheck' on their WEB site that you can tweek the system settings with. Basically remove everything you can find and set any time limits for
seizing the PCI bus to an as small value as possible.
I have had this item for about 2 years now, and I can't fault it!. It is basically a MJPEG video capture card which lets you capture full frame (PAL) (758 x 576 pixels) at 25 frames per second (fps) straight onto your hard drive from any source, VCR, video camera, DVD player literally anything. It is very easy to install simply drop it into a PCI slot and away you go!. The software that comes with the card is very good it allows you to edit, manipulate, add transitions, titles, narration. It will also automatically detect scenes so you don't waste valuable hard disk space. You will however need 2 hard drives to use this card to its full advantage, one drive to run the program on and the other drive to capture the video to. It can take up a lot of space so a capture drive of a least 15Gb is required. once all the editing, titling and so on is complete you can output the finished masterpiece to VCR via either the composite or s-video outputs, quality is perfect!!. If you purchase this hardware I would advise you get a copy of Adobe Premiere, it works brilliantly with this card. All in all 10 out of 10, well done pinnacle!