Frustrated with Nonlinear, a video producer's story

More for the Trenches

As a subscriber I can only praise your magazine for helping to make the whole video process more understandable. I would like to say thanks for your recent column, Computer Editing – Overcome Common Computer Editing Problems (April 2001). I found it fascinating and useful. In fact, I’d like to see you cover this subject regularly – perhaps with emphasis on other popular editing software titles from time to time. Addressing the "real world" issues of computer editing and its problems is something we sorely need out here in the trenches! Thank you.

Vinny Frisina

Danbury, CT

Frustrated with Nonlinear

I have been taking your magazine for over a year now – soon after I got my digital camcorder – and I have learned a lot from your well-presented articles and product reviews. I would like to relate my experience that might help other readers.

I bought a Sony VAIO RS38DS computer to start editing. I thought that the Sony with its i.LINK and the included Adobe Premiere LE software was what I needed. I soon found out that Premiere, although a very good program, was too complicated for me. After reading your review of Pinnacle’s Studio DV in the July 2000 issue of Videomaker (rated Best Product of the year), I called the Pinnacle people to ask them if its system was compatible with the Sony VAIO computer. I was informed that in order for it to work on the Sony I had to disable Sony’s proprietary i.LINK and uninstall the Adobe Premiere and Sony’s DVGate programs. The store salesman where I bought the Studio DV suggested that I buy the new version, the EZ Editor Home Editing Kit created specifically for Sony camcorder users (I have a Sony TRV 8).

I had the store technician disable the original i.LINK and uninstall the Premiere and DVGate programs as recommended by Pinnacle, and then install the Studio DV card and software. When testing the system, he kept getting an error message: "StudioDV cannot initialize the DV capture device." He tried several camcorders at the store with the same result. We concluded that it must be a software problem, so I contacted Pinnacle (by e-mail) explaining the problem. They first suggested that I update the Studio DV to the 1.10 version. After downloading that version and still getting the same message and after several e-mail exchanges with suggestions of various tests with no change, I called the technical support at Pinnacle. Their response to the problem was that Studio DV does not work on the Sony VAIO computers with Windows 98 SE. It might work if I would update to Windows ME or 2000. However there might still be problems, since Sony has their own 1394 drivers which are not OHCI compliant.

I wonder why I was not told that the Studio DV card and software would not work on the Sony VAIO when I called Pinnacle before I purchased their product. Now, after all the expenses for the card and the labor costs for the installation, I have a system that does not work. It will have to be uninstalled for additional expense and I’ll need to find something else.

H. Sofokidis

Internet

Our initial reaction to your letter was akin to screeching nails on a chalkboard with cries of "Why, why, why?" interjected to dull the searing pain. First of all, Sony should have been your first call, which would have possibly thwarted your attempt to destroy a perfectly good "turnkey" editing solution. Next, we condemn any reputable computer store that would go along with this doomed endeavor.

We assume that the i.LINK hardware and DVGate software were communicating with your TRV 8 and, as you stated, that the only issue was the complexity of the Adobe software. If you were not willing to invest the time to learn Premiere LE, an inexpensive editing software package would have been the solution. Easy-to-use editing software can be had for less than $100 and installed in minutes, without the need to dismantle the computer.

Manufacturers are making the attempt to clear the muddy waters of computer editing by providing turnkey solutions that have, for the most part, been troubleshot and optimized for their specific components. Typically, a turnkey system’s individual components are best left alone. At some point, the consumers must take responsibility for their own decisions, purchases and mistakes. Next time, we’d recommend picking up the manual instead of going for the screwdriver.

-The Editors

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