Anyone use Dazzle Digital Video Creator II? Any good alternatives?

sdowen

Junior Member
Oct 25, 1999
10
0
0
Hi... I'm in the market for a video capture device so I can make VCDs and .ra/.mov/.mpg files of home movies to share with friends and family (and for archiving).

It seems the Dazzle Digital Video Creator II (USB) fits the bill. http://www.dazzle.com/products/vidcr2.html

Comes with capture and editing software and can capture MPEG-2 up to 720 x 480.

FWIW, my system is as follows:
ASUS P3B MB w/128MB 100MHz SDRAM
PIII/450
AGP Voodoo3 3000
15G ATA/66 7200 RPM HDD (Western Digital)

I could go a video card route, but I like the Voodoo3. The Voodoo3 3500TV is an option, but reviews have been mixed as far as it's video capture capability... and I don't think it's MPEG-2. Other video card possibilities are the ATI All-in-Wonder 128 Pro, which looks good, but would pretty much mean replacing my Voodoo3 card, which I don't want to do.

So, I guess USB/Parallel options best fit my needs, but other options considered.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Thanks,
-S
 

(Chanse)

Senior member
Oct 11, 1999
421
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How ready are you to purchase. The reason i ask is that the new GEforce cards are supposed to be able ot offer incredible capture features, and ATI is set to release their new card, which should have super fast 3d in addition to their great video features. The Dazzle is a good card, I've had a good bit of experience with different versions, but is trouble at times, buggy, some incompatibilities. I currenty use an ATI TV-Wonder card, which is no walk in the park itself, but once i got it going, the features and quality are great.
And I'm runnign a P3B-F too, and it runs fine. There are also a few usb types out there, but usually their resolution is lower than whats offered in parallel or PCI.
 

sdowen

Junior Member
Oct 25, 1999
10
0
0
Thanks for the input. I guess I'm trying to stay away from video card based systems because I do want 3dfx acceleration. Pretty much the only games I play are racing games like Grand Prix Legends, Nascar 3, Need For Speed, etc, and they all seem to like the Voodoo3 cards a whole lot.

Now that I look closer, it does look like the Dazzle Video Creator II is PCI based, not USB based. That's OK as I've got the extra slot, I think. And the more I look and read, the more I feel that MPEG-2 encoding is a must.

Anywhere I can find info on the GEforce cards, just in case I decide to go that route?

Thanks,
Steve
 

Pariah

Elite Member
Apr 16, 2000
7,357
20
81
I'd steer clear of any video capture device that has USB anything as part of the package, even if it is a PCI card, unless you are looking at a webcam. USB does not provide nearly enough bandwidth to get highgrade captures. The capture limit of 10mbps signifies that despite the PCI interface, the video data is still coming through the USB port. I have no idea how they are claiming 720x480 captures with video data rates that low.

I would highly recommend the Pinnacle Systems DC10 Plus. This is a "true" video capture card made by a company that excels in the field. It captures at 640x480, 30frames/60fields per second. It captures using MJPEG compression and has a maximum throughput of 6MB/s which will result in FAR better looking captures than the Dazzle option. I own one of the bigger brothers of the DC10, the DC30 Pro, and I couldn't be happier with it, the captures are stellar.

MPEG2 is useless for the applications you are planning on using, don't worry about it.

I'd also recommend bying another hard drive to capture with.
 

sdowen

Junior Member
Oct 25, 1999
10
0
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Pariah wrote:


<< I'd also recommend bying another hard drive to capture with >>


Why's that? Capacity? Surely can't be because of the speed... the drive is amazingly fast.


<< MPEG2 is useless for the applications you are planning on using, don't worry about it >>


Why is that? I'm guessing that in the not-too-distant future I'm going to want to be making DVD-R. Will I be able to do that with MJPEG?

And as far as the USB comments, I was mistaken in saying the Dazzle Digital Video Creator II is USB... it's not... it's PCI.

Thanks for all the help everyone! I'm going to do some more reading and I'll probably come back with more questions. Thanks for the links Blain!

 

Pariah

Elite Member
Apr 16, 2000
7,357
20
81
OK, I took another look at the Dazzle card and figured out how they matched the highres capture with such low bitrates. This card encodes MPEG2 in realtime which keeps the bitrates way down. It may sound nice, but MPEG2 is the ONLY format this card will output to. So if you want to make VCD/ra/mpg files, you won't be able to do any of them without an unecessary amount of work.

You always want to capture to a second hard drive for optimal performance. Capturing to the same drive your OS and apps are on can cause problems, not to mention that you will probably be capturing to the end of the drive which is the slowest part. That and the fact that most captured video formats really suck up storage. When my DC30 Pro captures at its 7.1MB/s limit, it chews through 2GB in under 5 minutes.

MJPEG is a much more versatile format that can easily be edited and converted to other formats since it is simply an AVI variation.

DVD-R is probably at least 2 years off. The cheapest current drive is just under $5000 right now, and though prices will certainly drop, they won't be dropping $4000 in a year or so.
 

sdowen

Junior Member
Oct 25, 1999
10
0
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I've been reading up on the Pinnacle Studio DC10 Plus card that was recommended here. Seems to be quite a few people not so happy with the card and/or support from the company. Can anyone comment?
 

Pariah

Elite Member
Apr 16, 2000
7,357
20
81
I've heard all the bad experiences with Pinnacle Systems, so I assume they are true. Customer support can only be bad if you actually need it. I haven't had any problems with my card, so I don't know how bad they are. Video editing can be very tedious and painstaking. Expect to tweak your systems for an extended period of time before you actually get it right. As long as you know this going in, you shouldn't have too bad a time.

As for the DC10 card itself, there's a short synopsis of it on the third link in Blain's post. The one line that is probably important:

&quot;At a street price under $200, I can't think of a product I would more highly recommend for the beginning non linear edtor.&quot;

They don't know how to spell editor, but they obviously like the card.
 

sdowen

Junior Member
Oct 25, 1999
10
0
0
So besides the Pinnacle DC10 Plus and Dazzle Video Creator II, what good options are there in the under $300 range? Obviously, the DC10+ is quite appealing as it can be had for around $130, but I'm willing to go higher for ease of use and better results.

There's also the Pinnacle MP10 which is a bit more expensive than the DC10, but is MPEG1. But as has been said there, that's not necessarily a plus.

And besides that, my other options are video-card based. Since I like my Voodoo3 3000, the Voodoo3 3500 TV would seem a logical choice and can be had for around $160 (and I should be able to get $50 or so for my card). But I've read that the quality isn't great, suffers from dropped frames, etc.

The Matrox G400 TV seems pretty powerful/flexible (I like the breakout box which the Pinnacle stuff lacks). It's MJPEG and can do pretty high resolution. But then I loose my Voodoo3 acceleration. But it does OpenGL/Direc3D. Cost a bit under $300.

Or maybe I should wait until I have a fire-wire IEEE 1394 based camera and go that route.

Decisions decisions...


 

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