win98/iomega buzz

This was the next logical step for me – the board was reduced as an end-of-line, and the compression was nice and deterministic (oh, and I understood it). The breakout box provided for the video connections was great – it’s still not around on some much more expensive systems, and yet it’s all so obvious to anyone who likes to plug more than one device into the capture card. The user interface was broken, and the video editing software was, well, excreable. I shan’t rant about it just yet, but if I get a bad day, then you’ll be able to read about just how bad I thought it was (and how Sonic must have bought those same developers for MyDVD).

The interface allowed the selection of frame dimensions (QCIF, CIF, Full frame, etc.) for capture, and it also allowed the compression to be adjusted. Unfortunately, the programmers flipped and decided that everyone would be happy with CIF frames, and changed the compression slider to match: 10k to 200k frame size was the option, except that you had to multiply by 4 to get the correct answer for 768×576 video. Still, the results were good, and the resultant video stream was fairly easy to edit due to the fact that each frame was self-contained, and merely a sequence of JPEG images.

No, the only problem was the audio. Like most PC solutions, the audio was handed off to the sound card for capture – logical and obvious and quite a money and time saver. Unfortunately, also totally rubbish. The delay between the audio and video was slight, but try capturing more than 5 minutes of video, and the drift had become noticable. Changing the video compression made no difference: the two capture clocks just didn’t stay in sync. Time for a new approach, as I didn’t think that I could be the next Peter Jackson[1]

[1] What, you don’t understand ? Ok, Mr Jackson was on a very limited budget for Bad Taste, and only had one camera. A 16mm film camera. A clockwork 16mm film camera. Still not enough ? It only managed to record 30 seconds (I think) of footage at a time, and hence the film has a fast pace due to the frequent cuts required. I don’t really think that I could do many home videos like that before no-one would sit through anything I did.

Especially if they all turned out like Bad Taste…