win2k/main concept/pinnacle studio 7

The next big problem that I had been putting off for far too long was what to do with all of the source clips I now had littered around my drive. I could capture material, I could encode and view it, but how could I make it watchable ? Investigating video editors was a long and tedious process – frequently the demo versions were so appaling that I never got beyond a two second title clip before they were deleted. I also found that the pricing is totally stupid: it was going to be cheaper for me to buy another capture card that came with a free version of Media Studio Pro 6 than it was to buy the software alone…

Things came to a head when I was asked to video a friends wedding – I had to find something, and it had to be good. I’d seen {iMovie} by this point, and was starting to think that perhaps Apple had got it right, and that I’d been wasting my time on a PC. That’s when I noticed {Pinnacle}’s Studio editor, asnd tried out the demo. It was an eye-opener, with everything that I’d been looking for, and with one large problem: there was no way to prove the export functionality on the demo… I asked if full frame uncompressed AVI was an available option in the full version, only to be told to try the demo. The demo would only allow CIF Indeo conpressed AVI’s, which proved that there was something moving and colourful going on, but was lousy for anything else.

This was solved by Studio 7, which was released just when I needed it most ! After searching around for it in shops, I ordered it from and waited for it to come back into stock. The editing is intuitive, the titles look great, and the range of features that are available seem to grow with experience. There was only one problem: it only worked with DV streams. Now I had been expecting this, and ha already asked a friend with QuickTime Pro to convert a sample raw AVI into DV for me to play with. This convinced me that it was the right way to go, so I went for a PC DV codec from {MainConcept}.

I’d already come across {MainConcept} whilst looking at various other editors that could cope with MPEG streams, and had since that point seen so many glowing reports of their DV codec that it seemed a good buy. The process then went like this:

  1. Capture 1/2 D1 (384×768) video in {VirtualDub}
  2. Post process with VirtualDub to expand back to 768×576
  3. Save that full frame video file with the {MainConcept} DV codec
  4. Load into Studio 7 for editing
  5. Export the final result:
    1. Via the built-in MPEG-1 (or 2) codec for dropping into {Nero} for a preview VCD/SVCD
    2. Via a {HuffyUV} compressed AVI stream for importing to {TMPGEnc} for a quality conversion
    3. Via a {HuffyUV} compressed AVI stream for importing into a DVD burining application
    4. Via a {HuffyUV} compressed AVI stream for playing back with the {ATI} All-in-Wonder in TV output mode for direct VHS taping

Long winded ? Maybe. Workable ? Absolutely. I could capture 15 minutes at a time without a single frame drop, and whilst the re-encoding to the correct frame size and codec only even went at 7 or 8fps, I could do the work I’d been asked to. Why didn’t I capture longer chunks ? Basically it was back to the audio sync issue again. I had told {VirtualDub} to make sure that the two streams stayed in step, but in doing so it would drop a frame if required to help keep things together. This sounds good, but was annoying in practice as I could tell something was missing if the frame happened to be during a pan, or some other high motion scene. I could have turned it off, but then I’d get drifing sync, so I settled to stopping the capture as soon as the first drop happened, and the rewinding a few seconds before starting it off again.