Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Easily Convert Old Analog Video to Digital

If you were an early-adopter of video camcorders -- like me -- then you probably have a significant amount of personal video content trapped on VHS video tape. Perhaps you have also used your camcorder for business purposes, capturing training sessions, seminar presentations, etc.

In the past, the choices to convert your video to a format that you could use on your computer, and ultimately make it available online, were limited by your technical skills. While video capture cards that insert into a desktop PC slot have been available for years – this approach was not user-friendly for mainstream consumers.

The alternative was cost-prohibitive. I've used professional video transfer services, but due to the processing fee I've only converted a small amount of my analog video content to a digital format. I recently had a situation where I needed to convert and enhance very old video content.

I decided to try a do-it-yourself solution that promised to be easier to embrace, and I was not disappointed by the results. Armed with the Dazzle Video Creator Plus, available from Pinnacle Systems Inc., I put the promise of ease-of-use to the test.

This is a multifaceted solution to transfer and share your videos either on a DVD, or export your video content to an iPod, PSP -- and of course upload it to YouTube or similar online platforms.

Visit the Pinnacle web site to learn more about all the features and specifications. Here's a brief summary of what it does, and how it enabled me to accomplish my objective to quickly transfer video.

The product package contains a small external device that connects to most PCs with a standard high-speed USB 2.0 port. It also includes a software bundle of their instant DVD recorder, and the very capable Pinnacle Studio. A step-by-step quick start guide is included -- although I didn't need it (it's a fairly intuitive installation process).

After I installed the software, connected the DVC 107 device to the USP port on my notebook PC, and then connected the video and audio cables from my VCR to the device, I was all set.

For my application, Pinnacle Studio 12 has three basic process steps – capture, edit and make movie. I created my first project, an initial experiment, in minutes. If you have used Windows Movie Maker previously, then you will likely have the same reaction that I did -- this is not rocket science.

When you're transferring from old video tape you will want to "enhance" your content before you turn it into a finished project. The Edit function enables you to adjust the volume for each individual segment, or the whole project. It also gives you the option to auto-correct the color, and adjust the brightness of individual video segments.

In summary, I successfully converted 20 year-old video recordings into usable digital video files that I'm now able to re-purpose in a number of different ways. I highly recommend this product for any small business owner who is ready to explore the full potential of this creative communication and entertainment medium.

Again, this is a video solution that's capable of a multitude of different applications. I've shared just one. Pinnacle has several customer testimonials available online.