VIDEO CAMERA 1998

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PCs can make excellent edit controllers but a lot depends on the software… We've been trying out the new PC-100 package from Datavideo

 

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As far as we're aware this is Datavideo's first foray into the PC editing market -- in the UK at least -- they're better known for their stand-alone controllers and processors. This is a fairly mature market, the first PC controllers appeared more than five years ago, so they've got a lot of ground to make up.

 

The PC-100 package is designed to run on any Pentium PC (120MHz or faster) under Windows 95. It can control a single camcorder via a LANC/Control L or Panasonic interface, the record VCR is operated by infra-red commands. It supports both VITC and RC timecodes, as well as normal tape counter data.

 

Installation takes a few minutes. The outfit includes a small box that connects to the PC parallel printer port, leads to the IR wand and the camcorder's edit control terminal plug into the back. A 9-volt battery or mains adaptor (not supplied) powers the module.  The operating software is on four 3.5-inch floppies, once it has been loaded and fired up the colourful opening screen has five options: set-up, cut, EDL, project and record. Set-up includes a facility to learn IR commands from the VCRs remote handset if the stored codes won't work. Despite having five choices it failed dismally with a Sony VCR though it had better luck with a Panasonic machine.

 

All was not well with the display, it looked unfinished, the taskbar at the bottom of the window extended off the side of the screen and a large unmarked arrow at the end of a row of buttons closes the program without any warning. The design and layout defies a lot of Windows conventions and it also managed to disable the Win 95 hidden taskbar feature.

 

Operationally it all looks quite reasonable. Clicking on the in/out button designates cut points; timings are displayed on screen and entered into an edit decision list (EDL), where they can be modified. However, the controls on the Cut menu proved to be quite sluggish (our testbed PC, a 233 PII with 64Mb RAM is no slouch…), the program crashed several times after clicking on a button in frustration, as nothing seemed to be happening.

 

We did manage to get most elements to work at one time or another -- we tried it on another Pentium PC, just in case it was our fault -- but in both cases the program proved to be quite unstable. We expect that kind of thing on Beta software but this is supposed to be a finished product and as it stands it's simply not up to the standard of rival products.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Make/model                              Datavideo PE-100 PC Editor

Guide Price                               £49.95

System requirements            Pentium PC (120MHz or faster) Windows 95, 4Mb RAM

Control systems                        Source: Control L or Panasonic 5-pin, record: IR

Distributor                                 Holdan Ltd, telephone (0161) 367 9000

 

Video Camera Ratings

*****

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Ó R. Maybury 1998 2105

 

 


 

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