Great DV Shootout 2002
Page 3 of 7

Click for QT Movie
In this Pinnacle Pro-ONE example, notice the 3D effect with the 3D text effect on top of it. Click image for a QuickTime movie.
Click for QT Movie
Pinnacle's Image Stabilization feature is still a bit shaky. Click image for a QuickTime movie.
"Pinnacle Pro-ONE comes bundled with Adobe Premiere 6.0, Pinnacle TitleDeko RT, Pinnacle Impression DVD SE, Pinnacle Hollywood FX RT and AlphaMagic, Pinnacle DVTools, SmartSound Quicktracks, Media Cleaner EZ, and Photoshop LE."

Charlie's Comments:
Pro-ONE has some features that I really like, particularly in the simultaneous 3D effect area. Unique to Pro-ONE is its ability to, for example, create a page curl on a graphic while also curling out a text overlay. I like this effect and might actually use it in a production. In other words, it can create two 3D effects on-screen at the same time, something the other two systems can't do yet. But the 3D effects, particularly the Hollywood FX RT package, looked more jaggy that the smooth, antialiased moves of the Matrox RT2500. Even though it was remarkable to see complicated effects like these playing back in real time, they were ragged-looking. That's somewhat cured by selecting antialias within the configuration dialog box, but alas, choosing that attribute requires you to render.

A professional touch is the ability to create some nice-looking picture-in-picture effects, and round off the corners of those boxes, another thing you can't do with the other two systems (you can also see this effect in the QuickTime example). Pro-ONE's soft edged drop shadow underneath is also a nice touch -- by comparison, DVStorm's PiP effects were barely configurable and only offer a hard-edged drop shadow which looks less professional to me.

So, yeah, there are some pro-like features in the Pro-ONE. But again, I was not impressed by that "broadcast quality" real time slow motion (they call it "speed change"). I think it looks awful, as it does on all the systems tested (and it looks every bit as bad as the QuickTime example of speed change shown earlier in this article). And, the image stabilization feature looks good only in a press release, because when I applied it to a shot that had a few jiggles in it, it only made the shot look even more unstable, and zoomed in digitally, making it look laughably blurry and murky. That's a definite miss in an otherwise nice 1.0 version of Pro-ONE. Another annoyance with Pro-ONE I noticed, and you can see, too, in the QuickTime examples is a slight black edge around the video that appears whenever an effect is added. I'm not sure why this happens.

It was also a surprise to me that Pinnacle would send us a system that touts itself as professional, yet the Pro-ONE was running on Windows 98 SE. The three-year-old operating system, with its ancient DOS underpinnings, hobbled the promising new card from Pinnacle, resulting in crashes that were so profound that the computer had to be unplugged to get it to work again. I had forgotten how truly awful Windows 98 was. Thankfully, in mid-testing Pinnacle released Windows XP drivers for Pro-ONE, to which I promptly upgraded. Even though the XP drivers I found on Pinnacle's Web site were labeled as Beta software, they seemed to solve most of the problems I encountered with the Windows 98 version. Note to vendors: In the future, please don't send us a turnkey system based on a pathetic OS that wasn't even worth a damn in the previous century, much less now.
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Patrick Beaulieu, Matrox
"RT2500 is the best value because it is a stable, reliable platform that provides all the professional tools you need to quickly produce high impact video. It offers many unique productivity features, superior real time 3D video quality, and the most comprehensive software bundle all at an unprecedented price.
Configurability is the name of the game with RT2500's 3D transitions
Configurability is the name of the game with RT2500's 3D transitions Click image for a larger view.
Click for QT Movie
The RT2500's 3D effects look smooth and refined Click image for a QuickTime movie.
Matrox's Mediatools is the best implementation of DV autocapture I've seen yet.
Matrox's Mediatools is the best implementation of DV autocapture I've seen yet Click image for a larger view.

"Unique features:

  • Matrox MediaTools SinglePass real time DV scan and capture technology cuts capture time in half, and saves wear and tear on tapes and camcorders
  • Real time MPEG-2 IBP capture speeds up DVD creation
  • Matrox MediaExport provides accelerated encoding to multiple web formats simultaneously
  • WYSIWYG plug-in for Adobe After Effects is bundled free
  • Scalable Matrox TurboDV software codec leverages CPU power
  • MPEG-2 low res capture/editing simplifies storage management on long-form projects

Superior real time effects:

  • Superior-quality 3D effects with softness, antialiasing, advanced filtering
  • All effects can be used as transitions or filters on video and graphics
  • Advanced keyframeability and professional controls on effects parameters such as cropping, 3D rotation, drop shadow in true 3D space
  • With all layers always visible on your NTSC monitor, you use filters "in-context" to accurately manipulate each element
  • Over 60 native Adobe Premiere transitions in real time
  • Real time, high-end blur and mask effects"

Charlie's Comments:
Patrick isn't kidding when he mentions value, because at $899, the RT2500 is about $400 cheaper than the DVStorm, and has better-looking effects, including extensive 3D effects that DVStorm is just starting to implement. All the effects are adjustable and keyframeable, too, so you get to control all that whiz-bang stuff to your heart's content.

And, the 3D flying boxes looked cleaner to me. Although the effects are much more configurable than those of the DVStorm, the ability to layer effects in real time is not as powerful on the RT2500 as they are on the DVStorm.

Another point I agree with whole-heartedly is the superiority of Matrox's MediaTools auto-capture utility. Wow! It's the best I've seen. It rolls through your DV footage, sensing the start and stop points of the camcorder and grabs each shot on the fly. It's like magic. This saved me lots of time. Bravo.

But that "in-context" concept is not implemented as fully in the RT2500 or Pro-ONE as it is in the DVStorm, because edge-dragging (the ability to drag the edge of a clip on the timeline while viewing its video) isn't visible in the NTSC monitor on the RT2500 or the Pro-ONE. Another minor annoyance on the RT2500 and Pro-ONE is the slight pause whenever you hit the space bar for a preview. It takes black, sometimes for a full second, while it gets ready to show you the preview. Maybe this is a minor detail, but if you execute 600 previews in a day -- not that many in a day's work -- really, you've lost ten minutes staring at black while waiting for a "real time" preview.

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