It is difficult in the digital age to ever appreciate video, given
the obvious inferior quality of tape. You only have to look at the
inner workings of a video player to appreciate the failings of the
system to provide crisp, now digital type quality. For me using the
Vidi-Amiga I began to get very frustrated with the video capture
as away of transferring images to the computer. I so wanted a
scanner, but they were very expensive in the day and really needed
a PC to make them usable.
You only have to look at the bleeding of colours on any grabber to
realise the challenge editing into a workable piece of art was
going to be. So when I was being super critical of the Vidi-Amiga
in the autumn days of my Amiga prime time I had been tempted to
buy a Pro-GRAB 24RT. I also had considered an upgrade to the
Vidi-Amiga 24RT. In the end it was other factors that shunted me
over to the PC.
Interestingly early scanners were never that good. I had a Black
Widow and I had to learn 'scanmastery' and shell out over £500 for
Photoshop to get anything like digital quality images. It is all
too easy today to get high quality images onto a computer. It
never use to be the case.
So as an experiment to see just what a video capture looks like
I set up a Pro-GRAB 24RT and tried to capture the very lovely
Clara Veiga into an Amiga 1200.
So I dragged out a very dusty and tea stained SONY video recorder.
I assume they are tea stains. It normally sits below a Commodore
64C that I do play quite a few games on the big Toshiba. And I
guess I do lose it a bit at times and the tea tends to get spilt.
The SONY like so many things here was purchased as a back-up to
my main SONY video player that I use every single day. It's a kinda
ritual here that I watch some old recorded videos for say twenty
five minutes while I have breakfast. I have over 200 tapes and I
just cycle through them recording the best bits from TV to DVD
that I have recorded over the years.
I then set up an Amiga 1200 with a Typhoon accelerator card and
hooked that up to the black Amiga monitor. The Pro-GRAB needed the
S-VHS to SCART that I purchased just before Christmas. So having
very easily installed the software I connected the video and was
greeted with both lights coming on as stated in the manual.
Next I checked the video using the preview option from the software
and was able to slow-mo the very wonderful Miss Veiga until I got
a suitable snapshot and froze. Capture was easy and the image was
transferred to the edit window where I mucked around a bit with the
image before saving to the hard drive.
Whilst the process was very fluid it really did highlight how poor
video capture is. I know I now have Photoshop and a very good
scanner, but even back in 1995 I was aware of the limitations of
the process. In truth looking at the results now I am glad I didn't
shell out the cash for a Pro-GRAB.
I couldn't get the video capture to work for animation. I just
got a black screen. I did try one of the other units but it came
out just the same. I really didn't read the instructions that much
given that I already had Vidi-Amiga for anims and I really didn't
see any point using another device.
So marks out of 10... 9/10 for ease of use and 6/10 for end result.
Again can I apologise for the quality of photographs of the
monitor. It is a camera issue and not the monitor or Amiga fault.
The camera cannot deal with the refresh cycle on the monitor. I
take so many pictures just to get one fairly good one. I could
use a screen-grabber on the Amiga but that adds yet another process
to an already complicated session. And it fractures the timeline
of the pictures taken. I'm sure those reading get the idea.