Looking for an inexpensive way to enter the world of nonlinear editing? At the DCI Internet Expo held in San Jose in February, a couple of manufacturers showed products aimed at you. Intel showed its Smart Video Recorder III, a low-end PCI video capture board. And the Winnov company showed its audio-video capture board, the Videum AV. Both boards sell for about $200.

Like previous Intel capture boards, the Smart Video Recorder III uses the Indeo software codec to digitize and compress video for storage on hard drives. Unlike the performance in previous versions–largely limited to 15 frames per second at 320×240 pixels–that of Smart Video Recorder III scales itself to the machine in which it lives. On a Pentium 90 it could approach 30 frames per second at 320×240 pixels; on an MMX Pentium 200 it could approach 15 frames per second at full screen (640×480) display. Recorder III does not capture audio; you would have to have a sound capture board in your computer to capture your video’s sound track. But if you’d like to just dip your toe into the ocean of nonlinear editing, you might find the $200 price tag just right for you.

The Winnov company’s audio-video capture board, the Videum AV, is an inexpensive device that installs easily into PCs because it requires no DMA or IRQ addresses (the bane of computer users who try to install expansion boards into their machines). The Videum can run on any Windows 3.11, Windows 95 or Windows NT machine. As this board captures audio along with the video, it eliminates the need to install a sound capture board and lessens the lip synch problems that plague some low-cost capture devices. The Videum uses a proprietary intraframe codec, and delivers standard Video for Windows (.avi) files. The Videum provides no better than 352×240-pixel video at 30 frames per second, so don’t expect to use it to make full-screen VHS video. Nevertheless, like the Intel Smart Video Recorder III, it could be just the thing for giving you a taste of nonlinear editing–say for short productions designed for your Web site. The board can also be used with such programs as CU-SeeMe and VDOnet for video conferencing.

–S.M.

Matrox Graphics, Inc. has released a snap-on module for its Mystique graphics accelerator that can turn a Pentium PC into a full-blown nonlinear editing system. The Rainbow Runner Studio hardware/software add-on and the host Mystique graphics card together offer full-screen, full-color, full-motion video capture and editing for a combined price of about $500.

Rainbow Runner Studio captures composite or Y/C video at 60 fields per second at a maximum resolution of 720×486 pixels and compresses it with the MJPEG codec. Hard-disk space consumption is estimated at about 60 megabytes per minute for VHS-quality and 120 megabytes per minute for S-VHS-quality video.

The module is bundled with Ulead’s Media Studio nonlinear-editing and special-effects software package, Matrox PowerRemote and Ulead’s iPhoto Express for capturing and editing still images, and Ulead’s MPEG1 encoder software.

Minimum system requirements include a 90MHz Pentium PC running Windows 95, 16MB of RAM, 300MB of free hard-disk space, a CD-ROM drive for software installation and a sound card for audio capture and playback. Matrox recommends a 133MHz or better Pentium with 32MB of RAM and 2GB of free hard-disk space.

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