Capture a Memory: Video Capture & Editing

by the Reviews Team


With the rapid intro of digicams and DVD burners and equally rapid price drops, I thought it was time to take the next step. Capture your old movies and VHS tapes, do some editing and burn to either a CD or DVD. For more than the basic conversion (capture) and burn, you will need to read the manual. Read it not because it is so complicated, but all three products reviewed this month have a ton of options and features - no much different from your word processor. Moreover, once you get the hang of your program, you find it about as addictive as anything on your computer. Just plain fun!

However, there are three things to consider: a fairly powerful computer, commitment to read the manual and actually updating your computer - capture software updates are just the start. Not a real chore, but necessary.

Watch the HALNet homepage for a basic video edit class that will be offered this summer - a good time to be inside!

Enjoy. Charles W. Evans, Reviews Editor

AverMediaAVerMedia DVD EZMaker PCI: An analog capture card!, by Robert Du Vernay

It took less than an hour to install, setup, and actually capture and burn a VHS tape segment to a DVD, which played on my DVD player. Impressed, yes! OK, so the segment was only five minutes long, but it worked! I had a problem during installation when it hung because it couldn’t find a main CAB file on the CD. Copying the CD to the desktop and running the install from there resolved the problem.

The AVerMedia DVD EZMaker PCI, gives you a choice of component video or S-Video IN. Component video, we all known as the RCA type jack; S-Video is the new, round analog plug from your DV camcorder or DVD player. Conversion to MPEG1 or MPEG2 type file is done in real time via the PCI, converter card.

To controle the AVerMedia PCI card operations, use the neoDVDstandard v4.5 software, which breaks into three functional areas, plus a button for SHOP (upgrade v5.0 is available).

The CAPTURE screen is where you ID the inputs you have…the AVerMedia PCI input VHS or a DVD player or a DV camcorder, or perhaps you also have a TV card…(cable) and what channel? AUDIO? You want to pump it up; you can.

You must declare what the output signal format will be at this point. Will the output be NTSC or PAL? There is a drop down listing of countries and TV designations. Until now I didn’t know Hawaii was another country. You can set a TIMER to limit the capture. You can also stop/start manually. Note, the available TIME – Storage indicator is provided below the timer (max possible capture). WHERE to put the captured FILE and its name; make a note of this or put it on the desktop so you can find it later. You also have to choose the type of file to be created, MPEG1 or MPEG2. If you want a DVD, choose MPEG2; for VCD uses the MPEG1 format.

OPTIONS button on the lower left, if you are brave; you can COPY on the FLY directly to a DVD (you remember those rewrite DVDs the RW types). TUTORIAL button is available on every menu. I recommend you use it to review the many options on the screen before you press CAPTURE. After you have setup all the options and are ready to do it, turn on the VHS, TV, DVD or DV and then press the Capture button, and viola!

The CREATE menu is next; it can guide you with a Wizard. This screen is basically a MENU for the DVD setup/edit/burn. Read the tutorials. Lots of buttons! The OPTIONs button sets up the preliminary screen defaults / items. On the right you can select backgrounds, colors, styles. You must also identify the INPUTs and declare the type of OUTPUT you desire. This software, conceptualizes in terms of projects.

The EDIT button is at the bottom; once you have put together all the pretties, you need to deal with the issues of editing the video stream. There are several options. After you are finished editing and you have declared the type of output, you get to the MAKE DISC button, which will begin the necessary processes to burn a DVD or VCD.

COPY is the third screen and its functionality is obvious. Please read the TUTORIAL and caveats.

When you get into the DVD arena, you are going to discover it is in a state of flux. Standards are still in competition; the media is expensive and not uniform and the same can be said for the DVD players and DVD burners. With all that being said, I must admit, that I do like this AVerMedia EZMaker PCI analog card ($39). I didn’t get the greatest video out, but considering all the variables, it worked. It worked as advertised and should be seriously considered by the less experienced. For more info and updates go to

Robert Du Vernay is a HAL-PC member and chief instructor for CD Burning for Everyone and the DVD Burning for Everyone classes. He can be reached at

PinnaclePinnacle Studio   9 AV/DV, by Jannice D. Morris

 Simple, Powerful, Creative. Use Studio 9’s intuitive, three-step movie making, user friendly interface to capture, edit, create and then burn CDs or DVDs. The box includes a full version of Pinnacle Studio 9 AV/DV Deluxe, a well-designed break-out box with a 5’ cable, and a PCI card with two FireWire ports. You’ll not need any other devices to capture video. Just install the PCI card, hook up the cable with the breakout box at the end, attached a VCR or camcorder, press PLAY and RECORD. That’s it. When it’s over you have “captured” your video and ready to edit and burn it.

Drag-and-drop your captured video footage and edit using either the timeline or storyline approach and assemble a movie in minutes. Other features include the ability to import CD, MP3 and WAV audio files into your timeline/storyline, and export still frames that can be printed out on a color printer. Capture, edit and output 16 x 9 widescreen video, and create surround sound soundtracks.
Looking for a quick way to turn your recent vacation video into an enjoyable movie? Let SmartMovie edit your movie for you! With Studio’s automated editor, you simply choose a video and song from your hard drive and select an editing style (I would use this “automatic” approach for simpler, less sophisticated movies - too many cuts for more sophisticated movie moguls.) Studio creates a movie - complete with titles, transitions, and special effects. CAUTION: Read the manual first. I tried to create a fancy title and somehow I overlaid the first part of my video with it. Always make a backup copy!

Studio 9 gives you every tool you need to easily capture video to your computer, edit it, add titles, music, narration and special effects and then output a finished movie back to videotape, DVD and the web. New advanced features for Studio 9 solutions include automatic editing capabilities and powerful one touch controls for improving old or damaged video. And support for third party developers to incorporate their audio and video plug-ins.

Some of the more interesting new tools:

  1. Fix poorly shot movie footage
  2. Image Stabilization - fix those shaky handheld shots
  3. Analog tape cleaning - restore old videotapes

Video Inputs: composite video, S-Video, IEEE 1394 (FireWire/DV)

Video Outputs: ditto

When you’re done with your movie, output your creation to the format of your choice. Studio lets you export you movie back to analog or digital videotape, VCD, S-VCD, DVD and the Internet.

Surround-sound gives users an intuitive control to place, or move, the movie’s audio elements within the surround sound space, creating scenes with more dramatic audio impact. And for the first time for consumers, they who shoot video in wide-screen (16 x 9) can edit and export their movies for wide-screen playback.

Features like real-time effects, rendering speed, DVD authoring and productivity tools are what separate one solution from the other. One of the best features is that all the software is in one package - no need to learn several different packages - that I especially appreciate!

There are some glitches. When I moved from Edit and selected Capture, the program froze. When you select the Capture option and press Record, you are presented with a small menu requesting a file name. That is backwards and makes it awkward to coordinate VCR Play with Record. There are a few more glitches which I expect to be resolved in update “9.1”. Most of the effects are attractive, but won’t rattle your cage…useful, but not creative. Also, there is no support for DivX. Studio 9 AV/DV Deluxe is an excellent solution for most home or small office requirements. It is affordable, powerful and especially easy to use. An excellent buy. For more info and updates (there are two), go to

Jannice D. Morris is a HAL-PC member who is a staff archivist for a graphic conversion firm.

NOTE: I am preparing a more comprehensive review of just the Studio 9 software for the May issue.

ADS Instant DVDADS Instant DVD + DV USB 2, by Harold G. Spangler

Instant DVD + DV is an external USB2 device that provides simple steps to get started capturing and publishing your video. You can even capture straight to disk in one simple step, yet it also includes a helpful range of video editing and DVD authoring tools. You can quickly obtain high quality real time MPEG2 video capture from DV camcorders, analog camcorders and VCRs (at up to 15Mbit/sec through a USB 2.0 port). This means you can transfer either 8mm or VHS, including Hi8mm and S-VHS. Instant DVD+DV supports both NTSC and PAL video formats. The bundled software is to edit your video and add effects and titles as well as music and soundtracks and burn a disk.

Within 10 minutes of loading the installation CD, I was capturing a VHS tape. StudioVido 7SE is bundled with this unit and I will only review it in general, since a more comprehensive review of the full version 7 will be in the May issue. The unit ships with capture software called CapWiz 3.0 (download and install CapWiz 3.0.5). Both VideoStudio and Movie Factory 2, can capture MPEG.

Instant DVD+DV converts your video to MPEG-2 “on-the-fly” (as you capture)! First thing you notice is that it is simple to set-up to your specification and easy use. CapWiz has a no-nonsense capture- config screen. And when you hit the RECORD button, it begins immediately - no annoying delays!

Capture Wizard

Capwiz is easy to set up. It captures the standard sources: VCD, SVCD and DVD. Obviously, if your ultimate goal is a DVD or whatever, you’ll need a DVD or whatever burner. For a more creative “ canves” or more sophisticated results, use Ulead’s VideoStudio 7SE.

For a bit more polish to your final movie, just grab your video from any video source and use VideoStudio 7 as your editor.

Now comes the fun part…editing. Yes, it has a fair size learning curve, but the included manual takes a functional approach with lots of pictures to assist you. Trim and organize your video clips, then add a soundtrack and voice-over narration. Include titles and add special effects using 42 different transitions, umpteen title effects and 17 video filters, most of which are remarkable, but ordinary.

One of the more convenient features is the dozens of different, pre-defined “templates”. Create your own unique DVD videos with any of the DVD templates, complete with intros, chapters, and interactive menus...or customize your own template, as I did. For example, add special text and music.. To start, I’d suggest you use the default settings and read the useful Manual.

My test capture was a 110-minute VHS tape of a TV program. I made a custom DVD template (720x480) with 6.0Mbps and 192kbps audio. That setting was very good for picture quality and able to fit on a DVD blank. Complaints about VBR size of initial capture are ridiculous.

Default filtering does a great job of cleaning up VHS tapes. Initially, there was some brightness flicker, but it disappeared when I updated the Capwiz.

If you are looking for an easy way to get video from your DV camcorder onto a CD or DVD, this is it. The breakout box hooks up to your computer via a USB2 port and includes a FireWire port to control your DV source. The manual is helpful and well illustrated. Please read it! My only criticism is that there are three video packages to learn. You may not need all three, but you won’t know until you use them. The video quality is excellent. I give this unit and software two thumbs up for the beginner to intermediate user. For more info go to

Harold G. Spangler is a HAL-PC member, NASA senior software consultantr and video converter. He can be reached at

Editor: Look for a more extensive review of Ulead’s VideoStudio 7 (full version).