Great DV Shootout 2002
Matrox RT2500, Canopus DVStorm, Pinnacle Pro-ONE Face Off

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After receiving hundreds of requests, Digital Media Net presents the shootout of the year. The contenders? The best of the low-priced DV editing systems. Facing off are the RT2500 from Matrox, DVStorm SE Plus from Canopus and the newest of the bunch, the Pinnacle Pro-ONE. Watch the bullets fly as the top brass from each company take pot shots at each other, followed by comments based on extensive tests performed over the past few weeks here at Digital Media Net's Midwest Test Facility. We'll let you know who's packing the .44 Magnum and who's shooting blanks.
In addition to our rigorous testing, early on, I decided to get the product managers from each company involved, inviting each of them to participate in three volleys of email in a "debate" format.

This contest will focus on all aspects of these systems, including real time effects, image quality, DV I/O, usability, configurability, overall speed, and price/value. But the emphasis will be on the ability of each of the systems to create effects in real time. The impact of real time functionality can't be stressed enough -- it makes all the difference in the world to be able to see the result of your effects with real time feedback. For example, it's difficult to estimate how long a text overlay should appear until you've actually seen it in place, and if you can do that in real time, you're able to see for yourself how well it fits into your segment without waiting a few minutes for each attempt. This translates into true user-friendliness -- there's nothing more tedious than waiting for a simple dissolve to render, for instance, while a paying client is breathing down your neck. Keeping that in mind, all the test videos in this article utilized only real time effects -- nothing you see in any of the QuickTime examples required any rendering at all.
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In addition to our rigorous testing, early on, I decided to get the product managers from each company involved, inviting each of them to participate in three volleys of email in a "debate" format. First, each product manager, in 200 words or less, told us why their system is better than the other two. Then, I showed these statements to the others and allowed each product manager 200 words to rebut the others' statements. After I showed those rebuttals to the others, each product manager made a final statement.

Accompanying these back-and-forth comments, which turned out to be much more civilized than I expected, each company was invited to present a feature matrix, including objective specs for their respective systems. I then merged all three matrices into one, eliminated redundancies, and highlighted in boldface the feature in each row that I thought accomplished its mission best. If no feature stood out on any system, I didn't boldface any of the entries on that row. I also added my own comments where I felt it was necessary (Feature Matrix).

Along the way, I tested each system against what each product manager wrote, added my comments after each statement, and summed everything up at the end, where I declared a winner (hey, no fair skipping ahead to see who won!). So choose your weapons, contestants, stand back to back, and take ten paces on my count, after which you'll turn around and start shooting. One, two, three ...



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