USB aids transfer from VHS to a CD-R

Helpline

March 27, 2003|By James Coates | James Coates,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Could you recommend a special video card to copy some videotapes onto CD-Rs? Do I need other hardware?

It's getting ever more easy to pump video into computers, and once you've done it, your idea of personal computing will be changed forever.

So I recommend that folks first get their feet damp with an ultra-simple USB video input device before shelling out money and time opening up the computer case and installing a video card.

Recently, I reviewed a nice one of these, the $70 Linx package from Pinnacle Systems Inc. (www.pinnaclesys.com).

The hardware amounts to little more than a set of cords with the common type of RCA video and audio connections used by VCRs.

You plug it into the USB port and connect a VCR or a camcorder to the other end. Included software, Pinnacle Studio 8 LE, is a simplified version of the company's extremely user-friendly video-editing program.

Incoming video gets captured into computer files that then can be edited into pretty sophisticated home movies or even commercials.

Videos from this sort of device make particularly impressive additions to PowerPoint presentations.

A popular frame-capture feature even makes quick work of chores like snapping quick head shots of people without needing to mess with far more costly digital cameras.

James Coates is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached via e-mail at jcoates@tribune.com.

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