Not a Negative at All
Your "Test Bench" article in the September edition of Videomaker on the HP xw4100 workstation, made me once again think about upgrading my graphics workstation, an 866MHz P3 with 512MB of RAM, Windows 2000 Professional and a Matrox dual head video card. This setup had served me well for a few years along with a Pinnacle DV500+ card, Adobe Premiere 6, Photoshop 7 and After Effects 5, with most of my work ending up on DVD, using Sonic DVDit! and a Pioneer DVD burner.
Your article encouraged me to go the HP xw4100 way, although one comment you made in the article made me hesitate for a minute or so. Your article said, "The only piece of hardware that videographers will not find useful in this machine is the professional NVIDIA Quadro4 3D graphics card."
On the contrary, I am delighted with the card's clean video performance. Not being used to a dual head display, I would never want to go back to a half length timeline or having to use the main monitor to display tools, the navigator and other windows essential to the efficient use of the Adobe programs.
The install of the Pinnacle DV500 card in the xw4100 with Pinnacle's later DV500 DVD software and driver was a dream and worked fine from the outset. It almost makes you forget what the word "render" is all about.
I am glad that I ignored your one slightly negative comment in what was an otherwise excellent review of the HP xw4100 and I must say I am a very happy with my purchase and a happy and loyal reader of Videomaker.
Christchurch, New Zealand
In Search of Support
Since I picked up my first camcorder (the easy part), I've enjoyed taping scenes. But then I also realized that my video would benefit from eliminating mistakes and adding music and narration. So my first purchase was an inexpensive linear editor, which was a breeze to operate. But I wanted something that had more precise editing abilities. So after careful evaluation, I decided upon an editing appliance, specifically the MacroSystem Casablanca Prestige. Therein lies the warning to the videographer who is unfamiliar with computers.
Sure, the results are close to professional. But it's my feeling that your publication has not given the uninitiated reader the proper warning.
You had better be sure you're going to receive adequate training from your salesperson. It's also a good idea if he at least lives within your city and will return your phone calls. Second, you may have to hire a teacher to teach you that electronic monster. And last, but not least, begin with a lot of patience. And if all this frustration keeps you up at night, simply start reading the manual. You'll be out in less than five minutes.
R. P. Leidelmeyer
We're guessing you've had some not-so-great experiences trying to get support for products you've purchased in the past. Have you tried searching for a local user group? Many are still out there, especially for appliance users such as yourself. Check the user group listings at www.videomaker.com.
It's Not So Bad
I'd like to share some thoughts and let readers know that Pinnacle product support is not as bad as perceived by some (In Box, October 2003 Videomaker). I have been using the Pinnacle USB Moviebox for a year and I had some problems, but the email support team is just great. (Special thanks to John and Scott from the support team.) Whenever I have problems, I always get a response from them within 24 hours. Just recently, my box malfunctioned, and within three weeks they sent me a new box.
From my experience, I would recommend Pinnacle products to users, and advise them to use email support. Their discussion forums are of great help as well.
In this era of technology, name a developer who makes bug-free software.