Customer Review

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Happy with mine - eventually, 15 April 2009
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This review is from: Pinnacle Dazzle Video Creator Platinum (CD-ROM)
I wanted to use this capturing VHS tapes with Vista laptop which was just over min spec, plenty of memory but dual core 2.1ghz processor. That took a little tinkering to capture at full quality. For reference, my 4 year old XP P4 3.2ghz desktop computer gobbled up the VHS videos and spat out top quality captures without missing a beat. If you've got an XP machine close to min spec you should have no problem. A Vista machine with a little higher than min spec, again should be fine. If you know what's going on in the background with Vista then min spec too will work, as mine did.
What you get in the box is:-
1- Pinnacle Studio version 11.12 - the last version of 11. It does not need updating to work with Visa.
2- Instant DVD recorder installs from same disc, version 2. There is an update to version 2.61 available - I got it but shouldn't have.
3- The bonus DVD in the box is full of effects you have to pay for - save yourself an hour of your time installing then uninstalling it, throw it away.
4- 2 more discs in the box containing 'Scorefitter' allowing you to sync music in time to any movies you are creating/editing - I didn't bother with.
After uninstalling that 2.61 recorder update, sticking with version 2 from the box and disabling my anti virus automatic updating service in the background, everything worked at full quality. Sounds easy but it took me a while to pin them down. Out of the box software is Vista fine as it is.
The capture process with Studio 11 is simple and effective. With Instant recorder it's even easier but I don't capture straight to dvd. To gauge the capture quality I needed so my files were at least as good as the original VHS tapes I plugged the video player into a big LCD flatscreen and played the tapes. Then I experimented with all types of capture settings. You don't need to capture at full quality DVD as that quality isn't there in your tapes in the first place. The Dazzle can't do magic! Most VHS tapes are also not the widescreen 16.9 aspect ratio but I wanted to fill the screen nevertheless. After exhaustive experimenting ;) I found 2 settings provided perfect results, smoother to my eyes than the original.
1- The preset medium mpeg capture(SVCD 480x576 quality as the dazzle calls it)captured at 16.9 aspect ratio in first option box. This plays full screen smoothly without changing your telly's display mode if it's left at the normal 16.9 setting you watch DVD's with
2 - Custom avi capture in DivX 720x576 @ 2000kbs 25fps - whether you choose 4.3 or 16.9 in capture settings didn't change the fact that it displays a 4.3 aspect ratio on TV for me. Viewing on a PC allows you control over the DivX codec to display it widescreen, on the telly you generally have no control over the DivX codec your device uses. Changing your telly's aspect ratio to 4.3 then setting the 'pan and scan' option almost fills the screen. The DivX is slightly better quality in my view but the preset SVCD setting is the one I use as it plays full without touching anything being more than good enough.
Those are settings for viewing on a TV assuming you have a way to play mpegs and DivX files on your telly. Both settings give nearly identical file sizes @ approx 1.4GB per 90 mins film. (For reference a 'best' quality DVD capture gives you a 4GB file at least, in my view with no benefit).
You can go much smaller with settings/file sizes - maybe you'd be happy viewing them on your PC, on a 37" LCD and over TV - they are blocky and artifact ridden.
To finish, if anyone is still reading, the dazzle works with other software.
H.P's Quickplay (home videos only - commercials are recognised as protected)
And capturing video through dazzle but audio through line in/mic socket (Both home & commercial tapes fine)
Ulead Video Studio
Windows Movie maker
Freebies
Stoik Video capture
WM9 capture
Virtual Dub

I need to get out more - I know
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Jun 2010 21:42:24 BDT
L. Penrice says:
Ace review! Saved alot of time messing around trying to find the best settings. Just a few tweaks based on the settings you've mentioned. Cheers!

Posted on 22 Aug 2010 20:45:48 BDT
hey i bought the dazzle off u and it dos in work :( i won't my money back !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2011 23:54:08 BDT
Not surprised you can't get it to work as it's still here having never sold it.
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