MacDirectory Magazine

Spring-Summer 2008 (#37)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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100 MacDirectory REVIEW | VIDEO In the video editing industry, there is a lot of focus on software – how intuitive an interface is, how simple the editing functions are, how many features have been added. What's frequently overlooked, because it's not sensational, is how the video gets to the editing station in the first place. If you've spent any time fiddling with cables, transferring from VHS tape to digital, or trying to work around incompatible file formats, Pinnacle Systems' Video Transfer device is for you. The unit itself is small, fitting easily in the palm of one's hand. One end features standard inputs: composite video, S-video, stereo audio ports. The other end outputs into several devices via the USB 2.0 standard: hard drives, flash drives, the Sony PSP, and even directly into the iPod (which, as a bonus, will get its battery recharged during the transfer itself). Interestingly, there is one more port, right next to the port for the power unit. It's marked 'USB-B', where the USB 2.0 port is marked 'USB-A'. On the enclosed Quick Start guide, the port is labeled 'Reserved for future use'. Clearly, Pinnacle thinks ahead, but it's unknown at this point what this future use might be. The port itself does bear a superficial resemblance to a Firewire port, so it's likely some upcoming digital transfer standard that no one's talking about yet. The Pinnacle VT unit captures everything in the MPEG-4 format, a common and high-definition format that's become the universal standard. What's even better is that it outputs to different qualities and sizes, depending on the project requirements, and/or the size of your storage device. It's as simple as pressing the 'mode' button on the front of the device, to choose 'good', 'better', or 'best' with their corresponding file sizes. It is worth mentioning where this device sits in relation to Pinnacle's other Video Capture/Transfer products, as there might be confusion when searching for the unit to solve your particular problem. The VT simply transfers video to a storage device, converting the signal along the way. It does not capture video, as Pinnacle's Video Capture for Mac does, nor does it offer any built-in editing tools, the way the Dazzle Video Creator Platinum does. And finally, though the DVD Recorder software from Pinnacle is a similar transfer device, the VT will only transfer to a hard drive, not a static medium. It also compares favorably to other video transfer devices for Mac, such as the Director's Cut Take 2 Analogue/Digital Video Converter, which operates on the same principle, but 1) Uses a Firewire cable, 2) is much bulkier, so unlikely to be a good fit for someone who wants an easily portable solution, and 3) converts to the much greater in file sized format of DV. It also costs more than twice as much as the VT, so the benefits are obvious. Included in the packaging along with the unit itself are a 3 x RCA audio/video cable, a power supply block (rather small itself, compared to the usual monsters that take up two power outlet spaces), and the documentation. And it's that simple. Plug one end into what you want to record from, and the other end into what you want to transfer to. Small and light enough to take anywhere you need it to be, this unit is a must have device for anyone who shoots video on the fly. Even for those who do all their editing and transfer at the same station, the smaller footprint of the VT makes for a tidier space. Pinnacle keeps refining the industry, giving us what we want, even when we didn't realize we needed it. VIDEO TRANSFER BY PINNACLE > THE HOW-TO SOLUTION Product Pinnacle Video Transfer Made by Pinnacle Systems Price $129.99 Pros Small and easy to use; USB 2.0 connector Cons None Rating HHHHH WORDS BY KEONI CHAVEZ

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