Save Our Videos
Although we appear to be rushing headlong into a digital take-over of the entertainment world, there still remains a vast store of analogue media that many would be reluctant to discard. One example of this can be seen as VHS players, and their tape content, are superseded by the new hard disk based PVRs (Personal Video Recorders). Not only is the content stored on videotapes at risk from this move from analogue to digital but from the effects of deterioration caused by influences such as moisture and geomagnetism. Rather than take the risk of loosing this content, which could hold valuable and irreplaceable memories, you could opt to use a product such as Rescue your Videotapes! from Magix.
Although packaged in a small sized box, Magix has managed to squeeze in the software and hardware elements required to carry out the transfer procedure necessary to take content from videotapes to your hard drive and/or DVD media. Taking care of the software side is a copy of Magix Movies on DVD 7 plus the bonus items of Magix Photo Manager and Mufin MusicFinder Base. Three items of hardware and a slim Quick Start Manual (an extended version of the manual is available in PDF format) complete the package.
At the heart of this kit is the USB video converter that looks like a flash stick on steroids. Attached to this device are a number of permanently fixed colour coded-leads for left/right audio and video linking connections. Just in case there might be a problem in slotting the device into an already populated hub, Magix has included a USB extension lead. Completing the hardware elements is a lead with a 21-pin SCART plug at one end with three phono-style gold pugs at the other end. These plugs, which connect to the leads on the USB video converter device, are colour-coded so alleviating any difficulty with connecting them to the correct lead.
However before attaching the hardware elements, you need to install the Magix software. As is usual with software from Magix, the installation is not the quickest operation but you do get the choice of opting for a light or dark tinted interface and whether to include Mufin MusicFinder Base. If you do not already have the Mufin software installed then it is worthwhile adding it to your desktop. At the conclusion of the installation, and while the disk is still in the drive, you can attach the USB video converter and the appropriate drivers will be set up for the device.
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Magix Movies on DVD 7 offers a range of functionality covering Record, Edit and Burn. Selecting the Record option brings up a sub-menu with choices labelled as TV/Video record; CD/DVD copy; Recording; and Import file. For converting your analogue tape content to digital, you need to select the Recording option and click on the Analogue video option from the available choices.
A series of option with drop-down pick lists will allow you to apply the required settings for video driver (in this case Easy CAP USB); assign a name and location for the recording; plus select the recording quality. A video preview window is displayed along with left and right volume controls. It is then just a matter of clicking on the record button. As the video conversion takes place in real time, so you can view the actual video and check on feedback as to the on-going size and time of the recording plus any dropped frames. If the dropped frames count gets too high then you can always adjust the recording quality to a lower setting.
Once the rescue operation has been carried out then you can use the editing tools supplied. You can cut, splice and re-arrange segments using a timeline view plus add scenes, titles and apply a range of effects. When satisfied with the results you can burn content to appropriate media such as DVD. Support is provided for various formats including AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MP3, WMA. JPG, QuickTime and RealMedia.
The minimum specifications are for a Pentium 4 2.0 GHz processor with 512MN of RAM and 1 GB of available hard disk space plus extra for storing transferred video. You will need to be running Windows XP or later. Magix has set the price at £59.99 for this product which will work with different video formats.
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