Building a Digital Video Capture System - Part II

ADS PYRO ProDV (Platinum Bundle), Continued


I liked this system a lot primarily since it worked flawlessly straight out of the box with little or no setup hassles and it produced very nice captures under all circumstances.

I was a little concerned at the sparse installation documentation plus the fact that installing the software took only a few seconds. Granted, the HP people have done some pre-configuration for the x2000 but it still seemed almost too easy. But installing the system on the Micron was also a snap so I'd have to give ADS high marks in this area. After installing the board and software Win2K found everything with no problem. I launched Premiere, told it that I wanted to capture DV at the highest resolution possible, hit record and the Sony DSR-PD150 quietly switched into play. When I clicked on stop in Premiere the capture and camera stopped. When I clicked on rewind the camcorder dutifully began rewinding. It all worked like a charm.

I then tried to capture an extended sequence (well over 2 MB, although the short PYRO manual does, however, point out that FAT32 has a 4 GB limit - about 18 minutes of DV) and the PYRO/Premiere combination didn't skip a beat. There were no dropped frames, no problems dealing with the portions of the tape where it lost sync, and no problems with the quality even in difficult sequences. The capture quality was nearly flawless.

The software bundle (I was using the HP Platinum version) was very strong in all areas and included professional (or at least prosumer) level packages. I would have to say, however, that the standard bundle's software is more "second-tier". I'm not saying the standard bundle has bad or simply consumer-level software, but the Platinum bundle is stronger in all areas. (I'm not sure why the street price of the Platinum bundle is lower than the standard bundle but even if it were $50 more I'd spring for the Platinum package.)

I also liked the fact that the system requirements were minimal, which means it should work on just about any current PC without having to buy new gear.

The main drawback to the PYRO Pro was the limited documentation. The Adobe software had reasonably good manuals but the other packages had little to none. The ADS documentation consisted of a single installation sheet from HP and a 25-page pamphlet from ADS mostly devoted to installing the board and software and some tips for capturing, yet lacked any board specifications or other more detailed information.

Apart from the documentation the ADS PYRO Pro package performed very well on all other fronts. Overall, I would rate this package at a strong 4 out of 5.


4.5 = Capture quality
4 = Software bundle
5 = Ease of installation
4 = Ability to deal with problems
5 = System requirements
2 = Documentation
Overall rating: 4 out of 5