Samsung L200 - Digital Camera - Compact Specifications

WINdows usERS
In This Issue
From the Very Beginning. . . 1
CES DVDs 2004 . . . . . . . 1
President’s Message. . . . . . 3
Verbatim Discs . . . . . . . . 3
Review: Power Director . . . 7
Review: Vox Proxy . . . . . 10
General Meeting & Map . . 12
CES 2004
By Terry Currier
April
Computers—From the Very
Beginning for New Users
By Charlie Paschal
Editor/Publisher, Palmetto Personal
Computer Club, Columbia, SC
Columnist, The (Columbia) State
newspaper, SC
O
ne of the biggest “panes” about
Windows is that just about anything
can break it—such as installing a new
program or getting rid of an old one.
There’s a right way and a wrong
way to do both but even if you do
things the right way, you still can
have problems. Windows 2000 and
XP have better ways to recover than
98 but it’s still not a perfect world.
That’s where the knowledge of one
keystroke might be able to save your
skin.
DVDs
Dell, Hewlett Packard, Mitsubishi
Chemical/Verbatim, Philips, Ricoh,
Sony, Thomson and Yamaha,
members of the DVD+RW Alliance,
announced the feasibility to make a
dual layer DVD+R disc compatible
with the dual-layer DVD-ROM
standard (DVD9). The dual layer
DVD+R disc nearly doubles the
Continued on page 4
2004
One hidden setting in Windows
2000 and XP (not in 98) also could
help you, or someone from technical
support, right the Windows ship. This
one is turned off by default in those
two versions of Windows but I’m
going to tell you how to fix it.
Here are the steps:
• Right click on My Computer,
then left click on Properties.
• Click on the Advanced tab at the
top of the next dialog box
• Click on Settings in the startup
and recovery section of the next
dialog box.
• Uncheck the box next to Auto-
matically restart under the System failure section.
• Click OK twice.
What does this do? Let me set up a
scenario for you. You install an
application that corrupts (or changes)
a file the system needs to run
correctly. If the box above is checked,
the system will automatically restart,
showing a brief “blue screen” that
doesn’t give you (or anyone else) a
chance to see what the error is before
Windows restarts again. It’s a vicious
circle.
With the above box unchecked,
although Windows still might not run,
at least it will stop on the above blue
screen, meaning you might be able to
trace down the problem, perhaps
replacing the needed file or get help
from a more experienced technical
support person who can identify the
problem and talk you through fixing
it.
This is not a total solution, but it
gives you a fighting chance. With the
above box checked, you don’t have a
chance at all, since you have no way
of identifying the problem. If you’re
using Windows XP or 2000, before
you go to bed tonight, uncheck that
box. By the way, Windows 2000 will
make you restart your computer after
hitting OK twice—XP won’t.
Continued on page 11
Telephone Help Line
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
PROGRAM/SOFTWARE NAME
PHONE
TIME
CompuServe
CorelDraw 5
CorelDraw & Ventura
& PhotoPaint
Hardware
Internet
Novell, NT & Networking
Quicken & Quickbooks
Windows 95,98,Me,Xp
Word for Windows
WordPerfect Windows
Cathy Grammer-Margolin
George Margolin
Sunny Lockie
949-645-5950
949-645-5950
949-644-0103
Jonathan Means
Cathy Grammer-Margolin
Jonathan Means
Max Lockie
Siles Bazerman
Cathy Grammar-Margolin
Sunny Lockie
714-542-1653
949-645-5950
714-542-1653
949-720-8170
714-897-2868
949-645-5950
949-644-0103
6-10 p.m. & weekends
Most times
6-10 p.m. weekdays
9 a.m.-10 p.m. weekends
6-9 p.m.
6-10 p.m. & weekends
6-9 p.m.
6-10 p.m. & weekends
9 a.m.-8 p.m.
6-10 p.m. & weekends
6-10 p.m. weekdays
9 a.m.-10 p.m. weekends
General Meeting April 10
Orange Coast College
9:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
in Science Room #149
Cathy Grammer-Margolin
on E-Bay
President
Steve Dela
714-775-8373
stevede@aol.com
Vice President
Terry Currier
714-774-2018
tcurrier@aol.com
Secretary
Ken Kamber
714-637-4496
kkamber@stanfordalumni.org
Treasurer
Ed Koran
Membership
Louise McCain
562-427-2560
Edk246@aol.com
714-964-8031
swpglhmom@aol.com
Programs
Terry Currier
By-Laws
Max Lockie
714-774-2018
tcurrier@aol.com
949-644-0103
mlockie@pobox.com
Editor/Publisher
Sunny Lockie
949-644-0103
sundesigns@pobox.com
Board Members
WINNERS Notepad is published
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the WINNERS Notepad, or its editors.
Page 2
PURPOSE
WINNERS, a computer association, is a volunteer organization
providing a forum for sharing information and experiences related to
Windows-based software, encouraging ethical use of computers and software, and offering service to our
communities.
MEMBERSHIP
Annual membership is $20.00 for
individuals; $5.00 each additional
family member.
MEETINGS
WINNERS generally meets the
second Saturday of each month from
9:00 a.m. to 12 noon at Orange Coast
College in the Science Building,
Room #149, 2701 Fairview, Costa
Mesa.
George Bretts
949-760-9753
gbretts@juno.com
Ray Howard
714-966-1468
candr321@bigfoot.com
Charles Schreiber
714-378-1253
cschreib@csulb.edu
Info/Message Line
949-644-0295
Website: http://windowsusers.org
FUTURE MEETING DATES
«
«
«
«
April 10
May 8
June 12
July 10
Presidents Message
By Steve Dela
L
Cheap is not
always costing less
By Terry Currier
ast month’s general meeting proved to be a hit with
Winners members as the Digital Photo Guy, Lee Otsubo,
explained in simple language how to select and use digital
cameras and get more out of digital photos. Lee offers three
different discussions outlining how to purchase digital
cameras, display digital photographs, and advance
techniques of digital photography. This was the first in this
series. From the response from the membership we hope to
invite him back in the near future to do the second session in
his series.
Lee’s approach clearly explained the importance of mega
pixels, resolution, digital and optical zoom, and how to make
the best use of a digital camera for the layman and
experienced photographer. It’s not necessary to have the
most expensive camera to take really great photographs and
share them with your friends. Member’s interest in the
presentation was so great that Lee spoke for two half hours
without a break. A record endurance for our audience.
There’s been such a keen interest in digital photography
and digital video by the membership we plan to hold more
sessions focusing on these areas in the future. Let Terry
Currier know if you have any other special interests that
could be covered in a meeting presentation.
On another note, the next generation of DVD writers will
soon appear on the market. Both Phillips and Sony have
preannounced faster DVD writers along with new double
density capability. Write speeds of 12 and 16X, along with
the ability to store over 9GB of data on newly designed
DVD disks should be of interest to power users needing the
capacity. According to the announcements, only the+R
format will be supported in the first release of high-density
disks. The -R format is still being discussed within the
standards committee and should be an available later in the
year. Many users find the current 8X writers suitable for
their needs, and with the recent drop in prices, a good buy.
With higher capacity DVD’s or use of conventional CDs,
most users have abandoned traditional tape backup for data
protection. Make sure you’re using some form of backup, as
you never know when disaster will strike. Making a mirror
image of your hard drive is also a good way of backing up
your data, considering the price of large capacity hard
drives. We’ll explore the topic in future meeting at Winners.
Be sure to join us.
Steve
One of the things I
learned while doing the
PowerDirector review
is that cheap is not
always costing less. I
brought some DVD
discs for what I
thought was a bargain.
I had used cheap CD discs with no problems, but
for DVDs, I found I was better off buying good
quality. CDs cost all the way down to 10 cents
apiece. DVDs cost $1.00–1.15 apiece. Buying
some on sale, a no-brand name brought it down to
80 cents each. Only problem was, the error ratio
was higher with them. Never mind that the drive
has under-run-protection—it still failed too many
times. So the overall cost was not so good.
I saw Verbatim at CES (Consumer Electronic
Show) and really liked the designer discs they had.
They sent me a pack of them for review and I
really liked them. I used them with complete
success. I had a tape of my daughter doing the Girl
Scout Olympics back in 1987 (when she was cute
and listened to me). Some of the girls in her troop
we are still friendly with. I imported the video
from the VCR tape and after editing with
PowerDirector burned it onto the Verbatim
DigitalMovie DVD. They look like movie reels
and the people I gave them to were very impressed
with them.
You may have heard that the DVD industry is
headed for new Dual-Layer DVD+R disc that will
take the storage of recordable discs from 4.7GB to
8.5GB. Verbatim will have those discs out for the
new drives in spring 2004. The new media is fully
compatible with the DVD+R DL standard
endorsed by the DVD+RW Alliance. The first
recording layer of the Verbatim DVD+R DL disc is
semi-transparent, providing enough reflectivity for
writing/reading data on the first layer, yet
transmitting enough laser power to read/write on
the second layer by refocusing the laser. In addition
to optimizing layer reflectivity, new Metal Azo
recording dyes were developed for each layer to
optimize parameters such as signal amplitudes and
power margins and ensure full compatibility with
current DVD standards.
http://www.verbatim.com
Page 3
CES 2004
Continued from page 1
storage capacity from 4.7Gb to up to
8.5Gb, while remaining compatible
with existing DVD Video players
and DVD-ROM drives. Final
specifications and the format book
are expected to be available within
this year and recordable media and
recorder products that will use this
new dual layer technology are
expected in the course of 2004. The
technology will allow consumers to
record DVD quality video up to 4
hours and up to 16 hours in VHS
video quality on a single dual layer
DVD+R disc. It will also enable PC
users of dual layer DVD+R discs to
enjoy increased storage capacity of
up to 8.5Gb. They also said the new
8X speed DVD burners will be
followed up with a 16X in late 2004.
Further in the future is the
Blu-ray. By employing a short
wavelength blue violet laser, the
Blu-ray Disc successfully minimizes
its beam spot size. The Blu-ray
Disc’s tracking pitch is reduced to
0.32um, almost half of that of a
regular DVD.
Information from the
Samsung website
The BD Recorder is designed to
be compatible with the Blu-Ray disk
format which writes HD digital
broadcasting source to a 23Gb disk.
The Blu-ray Disc was established by
9 companies (Sony, Panasonic,
Samsung, LG, Thompson, Hitachi,
Philips, Sharp, Pioneer) under BDF
(Blu-Ray Disc Founder). Currently,
the DVD recorder writes analog
broadcasting source to a 4.7Gb disk,
and the BD Recorder is considered
to represent the next generation of
DVD Recorders. In April of 2003,
Sony introduced the first model to
the Japanese market, and currently
other companies have models under
development or are ready to
introduce this futurist product. It is
forecast the market will rise after
2005, when digital broadcasting will
become widely available. The key
Page 4
advantage of this product is that it
incorporates a number of cutting
edge technologies in one product. It
is a futuristic product that combines
a digital broadcasting receiver (Set
Top Box), recorder and DVD
Player, and also provides an editing
function for recorded media. The
easy to use, convenient GUI
(Graphic User Interface) is also a
key selling point. Their BD
Recorder is the BD-R1000. They
have no time set for its launch.
I won’t bother with DVD
players—too many of them. I did
find some interesting portables.
Even recordable DVD’s are
common so I collected information
about those set up for home TV
recording (video and data also).
There were a couple of DVD
recorders I found interesting.
Portables
AMW – Amphion
MediaWorks
http://www.a-mw.com
They had some really
cool-looking portable DVD players,
including their UFO brand. These,
of course, look like UFOs. They
also have several other models with
7” and 10” LCD displays. All have
3-D surround-sound technology,
S-video input/output, and can play
CD/MP3/CD-R/CD-RW/WMA/Kod
ak Picture CD, besides DVDs.
Mintek
http://www.mintekdigital.com
Thinnest line of portable DVD
players. Their latest the MDP-1010
is a 16:9 TFT widescreen format.
Screen size is a big 10.2”, and it can
play up to 3 hours using a lithium
battery. They are made with A level
glass, with up to 170 degree
viewing. They include an AV car
adapter, and remote control. It
weighs 3 pounds with battery. Two
built-in speakers, S-video, AV
input/output, memory stick reader
and USB port. They include parental
control. It will be out April at an
MSRP of $700. The MDP-1810 is a
8" 16:9 TFT widescreen display,
built-in stereo speakers. It can play
DVD/MP3/CD/CD-R/CD-RW/Koda
k Picture CD. The MSRP is $349
Norcent
http://www.norcent.net
The MV 0702 has a 7” with a
built-in CF Card reader. Playback
format: DVD+RW, DVD-RW,
DVD, CD-R, CD-RW, CD-DA,
Photo-CD, JPEG, MP3. Simulated
surround with 2 speakers. AC/DC
power, the Li-Ion battery pack last 3
hours. Both S-video and Composite
video output capable. The MV 1000
is a 10’’16:9 Wide-Angle TFT LCD
display. Built-in stereo speakers,
with Lithium battery that will play
for 2.5 hours.
Panasonic
http://www.panasonic.com
The DVD-LA95 has a 9-inch
LCD widescreen monitor with an
MSRP of $700. Their DVD-LV65 is
a 5-inch widescreen for an MSRP of
$500. Both have built-in stereo
speakers and Dolby Digital®
Surround Sound decoder.
Multi-Format Playback (Playable
Disc Type) including DVD-Audio,
DVD-Video, DVD-RAM, DVD-R,
Video CD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW.
Playback time for both with battery
pack is approximately 2.5 hours,
and comes with a built-in recharger.
SD Card playable file formats are
AAC, MP3, JPEG, and MPEG4.
Pixa
http://www.pixainc.com
MP-710 comes with a 7” LCD
Wide Screen, with 400 lines
hi-resolution and 350 nits
hi-brightness. Viewing angle is 170
degrees, aspect ratio: 16:9, AV input
for Game/camcorder, build-in stereo
speakers, and Dolby Digital
decoder. S-Video, and PAL/NTSC
out. Rechargeable battery pack will
last 3 hours. Supports DVD, CD,
SVCD, VCD, HDCD, MP3, CD-R,
CD-RW, MP3, JPEG, Kodak Picture
CD.
Samsung
http://www.samsungusa.com
Their DVD-L200 is a 10” TFT
LCD portable DVD player. It is only
1” in height and widescreen format
(16x9.) The batteries will last you 3
hours. Playable video include
DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD. Playable
Audio Formats CD, CD-R, CD-RW,
MP3. Weight is 2.6 pounds, has
S-video out.
Sharp
http://www.sharpusa.com
DV-L80U is an portable 8"
Widescreen DVD/RW video player
from Sharp. It can play disc at 16:9
widescreen capability and even play
DVD-RW discs. Features 3 luminous
enhancement levels for dark scenes.
Improves picture quality when
viewing in a brightly lit area. It has a
GUI (Graphical User Interface), and
weighs less than 2 pounds.
DVD Recorders
for Home
Recording mode and time (based
on 4.7GB DVD, single-sided, 1 layer)
HQ: 60mins 9.6Mbps
SP: 120mins 4.8Mbps
EP: 240mins 2.6Mbps
SEP: 360mins 1.6Mbps
Norcent
http://www.norcent.net
Norcent’s DVR3000 DVD
recordable player will record up to 6
hours on DVD+R / +RW at EP speed.
Build-in PAL/SECAM or NTSC TV
tuner, S-Video and RCA inputs.
Real-time OTR and scheduled
recording (6-event program timer;
1year; daily/ weekly.) Playback
support for: DVD+R/RW,DVD ,
CD+R/RW, MP3-CD, CD Audio and
picture CD (JPEG).
Panasonic
http://www.panasonic.com
The DMR-E80H has a built-in
80Gb hard disk with time slip
playback ability. It can store up to
106 hours of recording in EP mode. It
can record to DVD-RAM and
DVD-R discs. MSRP is $700. The
DMR-E60S has built-in SD & PC
card slots and records to DVD-RAM
and DVD-R discs. MSRP $550. Both
are progressive-scan, DVD-Audio
(2-channel), with inputs for
Composite Video x3 (RCA Jacks),
and S-Video. They support
DVD-Video, DVD-RAM, DVD-R,
Video CD, CD, CD-R, CD-RW.
Philips
http://www.philips.com
The DVDR80 comes with
Faroudja DCDi progressive scan
video output. It has 10-bit video
processing, with i.LINK digital
connection, and component video
input. It has GUIDE Plus+®
on-screen TV program guide.
Announced at CES the HDRW720
provides consumers with an
easy-to-use TV Guide On-Screen
(EPG) that enables consumers to just
point and click to record their favorite
programs. With the FlexTime feature,
consumers are able to watch the
beginning of a program while it is
being recorded or replayed if an
important moment is missed during
the recording. High Speed Archiving
it can make a copy of a recording
from the Hard Disk onto a
DVD+R/+RW up to 20 times the
speed of recording time. The built-in
80 GB Hard Disk can store up to 130
hours of television, allowing
consumers to digitally record their
favorite programs. Available Summer
2004 it will have a suggested retail
price of $699.
Pixa
http://www.pixainc.com
The DW-804 is a DVD +R/+RW
Recorder (-R/-RW Recorder
Optional). Progressive scan with
NTSC/PAL/SECAM ability. Build-in
Dolby Digital 5.1ch decoder, DTS
digital out. Play DVD video, CD,
SVCD, VCD, JEPG, MP3, CD-R,
CD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW. OTR:
One-Touch-Record. Programmed
timing record (up to 20 tasks).
Programmed timing record setting:
commencing day, time, ending time,
signal source recording quality.
Record modes (once, every day,
weekly). Delete the last title, or the
entire disc. Manual or automatic
insertion of chapter mark. Inputs:
composite video, 2ch audio (L,R),
S-video, DV (IEEE 1394). The
PVR-907 has a build-in 40Gb hard
drive (80Gb and 120Gb Option)
supports long duration recording. Up
to 2-Hours Time Shifting.
NTSC/PAL/SECAM. Play DVD,
VCD, CD, MP3, CD-R, CD-RW.
Composite Video, and S-Video in and
out. Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS
digital audio out.
Samsung
http://www.samsungusa.com
Samsung’s DVD-R4000 will
record onto DVD-RAM and DVD-R.
It has Simultaneous Recording and
Playback, with Live Picture Pause
and Replay. It has Digital Noise
Reduction, and MPEG-2 VBR
Recording. 480P Progressive Scan
Video Output. Terminals - Audio:
Optical Digital Out 1 set Coaxial
Digital Out 1 set L/R Stereo Out 2
sets. For Video: Composite Video in
3 sets Composite Video out 2 sets
S-Video in 3 sets S-Video Out 1 set
Component Video Out 1 set.
Sharp
http://www.sharpusa.com
Sharp’s newest recordable DVD
player provides consumers with an
internal hard disc drive (HDD) that
can record and store over 100 hours
of programming, so consumers can
record a full season of several shows
and watch them anytime. The
DV-HR300 combines an 80GB hard
disc drive and a DVD-R/RW recorder
to create the ultimate all-in-one
viewing, recording and storage
device. It can do high-speed dubbing,
CD/MP3 playback and simultaneous
recording/playback. The unit
provides programming with VCR
Plus+ and has a DV Terminal with
i.Link™ so consumers can digitally
transfer video directly to DVD.
Searching for a specific moment on a
disc is made easier on the DV-HR300
with the “High Speed Access”
thumbnail view and Quick Search
Page 5
functions. Records on DVD-R and
DVD-RW, and playback
DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW,
DVD-Video, CD-DA, CD-R/RW,
audio CDs, video CDs and MP3
files. Manufacturer’s Suggested
Retail Price (MSRP) is $800.
Sony
http://www.sony.com
Their RDR-GX300 was created
for first-time users. It includes many
advanced features such as the
proprietary Precision Cinema
Progressive™, a DVD playback
technology which incorporates
Pixel-by-Pixel I/P Conversion
technology to augment and balance
DVD-video elements. It also
features Time Base Correction, Pre
Frame Noise Reduction and
Pre-video Equalizer technologies
that rebalance and equalize video
content before it is recorded onto a
DVD, improving the original source
content even before the encoding
process begins. New features added
to the recorder include chasing
playback allowing viewers to
rewind the recorded material while
it’s still recording to view and catch
up to the real time recording.
Simultaneous recording and
playback allows viewers to watch
pre-recorded content while
recording new content on the same
disc. Another convenience feature
new to the recorder is its ability to
control satellite receivers and cable
boxes through the unit’s IR remote
controls. It will be available in July
for about $500.
Toshiba
http://www.toshiba.com
Super Multi-Drive Recorder
D-R1 writes to DVD-R/RW discs,
designed to work exactly like a
floppy disk. Compatible with
virtually all DVD-Video players.
Record up to 8 hours of
programming using a double-sided
9.4GB DVD-RAM disc.
ColorStream Pro® component video
outputs allow for a high quality
video signal. Digital Cinema
Progressive provides smoother,
Page 6
clearer picture from discs encoded at
24 frames per second. QSound™
Virtual Surround Sound provides a
simulated surround sound effect.
Time Slip lets you ‘pause’ a live
recording and then return to it later.
Comes with VCR Plus+™ timer
recording with a 181-channel cable
compatible tuner and a 2-month,
32-event timer programming
functionality. Each compilation of
desired footage can be separately
titled and edited (for removal of
commercials or other unwanted
sections) and then seamlessly played
back for review. Disc Play
DVD/VCD/CD-R/CD-RW/CD/DV
D-R/DVD-RAM
±R/RW burners which will enable
users to write a 4.7GB +/-R discs in
under 10 minutes.
It’s not slim, but I liked the set up
this unit had.
mediaGear
http://www.mymediagear.com
Here are a couple of unique DVD
recorders I thought were cool,
because of their slim design.
The external Flash-DVD is an
external unit with medial slot
readers. Media supported include:
Compact Flash Type I & II(CF),
MicroDrive, MemoryStick (MS),
MemoryStick Pro, SmartMedia
(SM), SecureDigital (SD),
MultiMediaCard (MMC), and
eXtream Digital (xD). It uses USB
2.0 and they provide a hub for you
in the unit so you have two more
USB ports from it. For DVD it is a
dual 4x +/-R write.
Freecom
CD/DVD Labeling
http://www.freecom.com
The Freecom’s Classic DVD
+/-RW writer is less than two inches
in height. It is a DVD 8x writer /
recorder, connects with USB 2.0.
Writes to CD-R/CD-RW: Disc At
Once, Session At once, Track At
Once, Multi-Session, DVD
RW/DVD R: DVD-ROM,
DVD-Video CD: CD-DA,
CD-ROM, CD-ROM XA, CD Extra,
MP3 CDs, Mixed-ModeCD,
VideoCD, PhotoCD, CD TEXT,
Bootable CD. Comes with a two
years manufacturers warranty, and
unlimited free helpdesk support.
Their Freecom X2 is less than one
inch in height. Also connects with
USB 2.0 but it’s speed is only 4x
DVD +/-RW. The information on
this one is marked preliminary so it
could change.
Sunland International
(SLI)
http://www.digistor.com
The Digistor UltraSlim DVD
Multi Burner is an external 2X
–R/-RW drive weighing 1.05 lbs,
and measures 6 1/2"(L) x 5 1/2"(W)
x 1"(H). Features a combination
USB 2.0/ FireWire interface for
connectivity. Beyond that they have
both internal and external 8X DVD
HP was showing their new
labeling program. It lets users burn
labels directly onto discs. One of
their engineers did not like sticking
a label on his disc. So he thought
about using the laser already in the
disk burner to make the label for the
other side of the disc. What he came
up with is called LightScribe. After
burning the disc the user flips it over
and it burns silk-screen-like image
(label) on the topside of disc with a
LightScribe dye coating. It is not of
course in color, but it does look
really sharp. You will have to use a
LightScribe compatible media
material which enables a
LightScribe-enabled ODD laser to
impart energy to the label side. Look
for the LightScribe logo on the drive
and media. This is expected to be
out the second half of 2004. Other
companies besides HP are
supporting the technology including
Hitachi-LG, Toshiba, Mitsubishi,
and others. These drives will cost a
little extra (not much) while the
LightScribe disc will cost about 10
cents more.
REVIEW
PowerDirector
from CyberLink
By Terry Currier
F
irst off, I don’t claim to know a lot about editing
video. I have just started learning and doing these things.
Maybe that is the point I want to make. I don’t know many
who can open up a video editing program (sight unseen)
and instantly figure out how to use it. Magazines or other
ratings are done by people who do it professionally. So
this review is for the non-professional.
me, after listening to the same marching song many times,
I was using that fast forward a lot.
You can capture to MPEG-1, MPEG-2, or AVI format.
Remember, AVI is the best but it takes up a lot of space.
When you have the video in, you can add in effects such as
blur or ripple. There are 24 different effects for you to
work with. For scene transitions, there are 122 different
and clever effects from Blizzard to X-Ray. All of these are
very easy to put in with simple drag and drop wherever
you want them.
If you’ve never worked with video before, I should
point out a few things. When you start out, don’t be
intimidated by it—it does take time to learn. I think there
is nothing wrong with starting out simple with something
like Pinnacle Studio, CyberLink’s PowerProducer, or
PowerDirector, a low-price product which is not so high
end with features as to frustrate a new user.
One of the things you need to know before doing video
editing is that it takes a lot of disk space. When I say a lot,
I mean about 20-30Gb of free space. And that is just for
one hour’s worth of work. Once you then get into the
project, you need another 10-20Gb for the processing of
the video. My import of 1.5 hour was saved into AVI
format and took up 25Gb.
There are 57 animated title pages for you to use. They
do look good and have great effects. But they really are
labeling for the scenes not true title pages. What
CyberLink does is just put in the title to show on the
screen. I could not separate the title from the video. Look
at the picture above for an example of a title page from
Studio (left) and one from PowerDirector (right.)
Another thing to know is that while the DVDs you buy
will say “record up to two hours” on it, you can really only
do one. For best quality (DVD quality) video, the products
will only fit one hour on them.
With PowerDirector, there were some things I was
disappointed in. While I could view video from my VCR
through the Dazzle unit I bought, it would not capture it.
Pressing the record button merely brought up a dialog box
saying an error has occurred and could not be recorded. So
to get it in my system, I used the Pinnacle Studio (version
8.10) to capture the video, and then import it into
PowerDirector. They do say that you can capture from TV,
PC cameras (web cams), TV tuners, or other video capture
cards. Their PowerProducer product has the ability to
capture from a VCR, but they left it out of PowerDirector.
You can import AVI or MPEG files. You can also record
directly to a DVD disc if you want. One of the best things
in PowerDirector 3.0 is the speed for importing video from
the camera. It scans the video and brings it in at six times
normal speed. After capturing video, you can have it detect
scenes within. Once in, you are able to preview the video
at speeds up to 16 times normal. I imported some video of
my daughter’s high school drill team and band. Believe
The interface of PowerDirector is easy to figure out.
Bring the video into the library. You can bring in several
videos and pictures for whatever project you work on.
Then just drag and drop the video or pictures at the points
you want them. The workspace is divided up so well that
most will be able to figure out how to do things.
You can work with the video in either StoryBoard mode
or TimeLine mode. StoryBoard mode, if you have a
number of scenes or videos, makes it easy to view them
Page 7
and follow the story. I found both easy to work with. In
the voice area, you can add a voice background, or over
others. For example you could add a voice narration of
video when editing. You can actually add multiple audio
tracks of music and audio into the background. The most
fun part (for me) was putting in a PiP (Picture in Picture).
The editor can just put in video from anything else in a
small window of the video. I took a video of the band and
drill team practicing for a parade. I then took the video of
the actual parade march and put that in the PiP.
The problem with many video editing software
products is that they were written by software engineers
with input from movie editors, and not much from
ordinary users. That is what happened with the editing
part, at least in my opinion. When you want to actually
edit the video, you double click the section you want to
work with, or move the slider bar to that time period or
spot. This brings up a box with the video in it. From there
you can mark it with a [ for mark in (this is where the
video will start), mark it with a ] where you want the
video to end.
That is all well and good, but what if you think (such
as I did at first) “I’m in the trim section so this is what I
want to trim out.” After all, there is a Delete button there.
I clicked on the Delete button, and the video section I
was working on was deleted from the workspace. Oops.
I’m sure people who have been doing video editing for a
while are saying “What was he thinking?” I was thinking
the Delete button is there to delete the section I don’t
want. The mark in and mark out can only be used to show
that section of the video and cannot be used more then
once per video. I figured out to split out the sections I did
not want, and get rid of them by using the Delete KEY.
I will say it was easy to edit at a precise spot, since I
could move the slider to the time, or put in the time on
the trim pull out, and then move it frame by frame to the
exact spot needed.
Okay you’ve edited the video, put in effects and titles
where you want them, now what? Well, you produce the
video. This gathers the video, photos, audio, and effects
and compiles them. They have a Production Wizard that
opens giving you the choice to:
• Produce a Disc: produce a movie and letting you burn to
DVD, VCD, SVCD, or MiniDVD disc.
• Create a File: produce a DV-AVI, Windows-AVI,
MPEG-1, or MPEG-2 file to watch on your computer.
Page 8
• Create a Streaming File: produce a Windows Media
Video, RealVideo, or QuickTime you can then stream
over the Internet.
• Write Back to DV Tape: write the movie production back
to DV tape.
PowerDirector has what they call SVRT (Smart Video
Rendering Technology). It reduces the time needed for
rendering video by rendering only the portions of the
video that are edited, instead of the whole length. The
bad news for me was the SVRT box was always grayed
out for me so I could not use it. The good news was that
it was still much, much faster to render the video than my
Pinnacle Studio was. I did find out that SVRT is not
available if you have any effects in the video. Then why
do they offer it?
ï
By the way, when you start this, a file is created
(MPEG) that, if you don’t notice on the left side of the
screen, is named default.mpg. It really should ask you
what you want to name it, but it doesn’t, which means
when you go to the next step, you could be scratching
your head trying to figure out which file you want.
When that is done, you are ready for burning the disc
(if that is your choice). To do that, they added the
PowerProducer part onto PowerDirector. It really is an
add-on, not fully integrated. The reason I say that is that
when you go into EzProducer 2, you have to choose what
file you want to work with. If truly integrated, you would
not have to—it would automatically load the file you
were already working on. Once there, you then go into
the preview mode where you can customize the menu and
divide up the video into chapters. Chapters allow for easy
navigation on a DVD, allowing the viewer to skip ahead
to other points of interest quickly.
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
You can have the program divide it up equally into 8
chapters, have it search for scene changes, or do it
manually. I, and I am sure most people, would want look
Minimum
Recommended
Screen Resolution
1024 x 768, 16-bit color
OS
Windows XP/2000/ME/98SE
Windows XP/2000
Memory
128MB
256MB DDR
HDD Space
1GB for making
VCD/SVCD/MiniDVD
3GB for making
VCD/SVCD/MiniDVD
10GB for making DVD
15GB for making DVD
7200RPM drive
CPU
1024 x 768, 32-bit color
Capture/Produce AVI: P2-450
Capture/Produce MPEG-1: P3-600
Capture/Produce MPEG2: P4-2G
Optimized for CPU with SSE, SSE2, 3DNow!,
and HyperThreading technology
Video Capture
PCI or USB1.0/2.0 capture device compliant with WDM
standard (For example, PC Camera and TV tuner with
WDM driver)
DV/D8 camcorders connected via OHCI-compliant
IEEE1394
through the videos themselves to set the chapters. I
actually enjoyed going through it and selecting the
different chapter points. That done, you go back to the
preview menu. Here was another weak point. I spent a lot
of time looking through the video and finding key points
that I felt would make good chapters points. When done, it
took me back to the preview area. There on the screen,
instead of the eight chapters I divided it into, was only the
first scene on a button. I went through the process of
telling it I wanted eight buttons and what they were to look
like, but still it only showed one button in the center. When
I clicked on the button it changed to the next chapter scene
on the button. Double-clicking on that would make it start
at that point. Okay, but not ideal, and certainly not what I
told it to do. It drove me nuts, I even gave up and burned a
couple of discs with just that. Then I thought
about clicking on the list of chapters in the Title
Menu area. Lo and behold, the other buttons
appeared. Even the book did not tell me to do
that. If you want, in the customize menu module,
you can add in a first play. First play is the
20-second introduction part of the disc. This is
where the movie companies usually put their
copyright notice, which cannot be fast forwarded
through. It can be something as simple as a
picture or short video.
CD/DVD Burning
CD or DVD burner (CD-R/RW, DVD+-R/+-RW) is
required to burn VCD/DVD/SVCD/MiniDVD titles
Mic
A microphone is required to record a voice-over
PowerDirector video editing is about $80. Despite some
weaknesses it’s a very good program for beginners to
intermediate users. Company Info: CyberLink USA,
510-668-0118,
http://www.gocyberlink.com
When done, you are ready for the burn. In the
Final Output you burn it to the disc. If you want,
you can have it include a PowerDVD
Auto-player on the disc. This is a great DVD
viewing program. You also have the choice of
saving as a disc image, or create a DVD folder
on your hard drive.
Page 9
REVIEW
Vox Proxy
By Terry Currier
V
ox Proxy (version 2) is a plug-in
for PowerPoint. If used properly,
PowerPoint helps to make a
presentation flow. Vox Proxy uses
3D animated characters to enhance
and make a PowerPoint presentation
more entertaining and fun. I like
using PowerPoint (I really do). You
just have to be careful not to overdo
it. Too many effects and the audience
may wonder if the presentation is for
them or for the presenter to play with.
One of the rules for a good
presentation is not to have
everything listed in the slide. The
presenter must be part of the show
and not have the people have to read
everything. Vox Proxy characters
help to become another presenter.
They can explain in more detail
something on the slide. Don’t get
me wrong, it should not replace the
human interaction or the presenter
becomes a prop.
Vox Proxy works by first creating
a script. With that script, you choose
the 3D character from a list of 27,
both male and female. When you
choose the character, you also can
choose the voice to be used. There is
a list of 8 male and 2 female voices.
The voices are not bad, but they do
still have the sound of computer
generation. You then can type what
Page 10
you want the character to do or say
directly into the script, or work with
the wizard. This uses a
text-to-speech engine. You can
record what is to be said into a WAV
file and have Vox Proxy “say” that.
It will speak other languages if you
have a text-to-speech engine that
supports the language. Vox Proxy
supports multiple TTS engines
within the same script so that
characters can have a conversation
in different languages or a single
character can speak in multiple
languages. In other words, whatever
languages you load onto your
computer will work with Vox Proxy.
Text-to-speech engines in several
languages are included with
Vox Proxy. AT&T has an
enhanced TTS with better
human sound. The cost is $60
and you can get it at
http://www.naturalvoices.com
It comes with 10
text-to-speech engines so you
can have it speak in Spanish
(2), German(2), French, British
English (2), English (4), and
one Indian-accent English
voice.
They include some really
good tutorials for the user to go
through before making a script.
You really do have to look at the
tutorials—it will take about 50-60
minutes to go through them. After
that, work with the wizard for a
while to get the feel of how it works.
Also look at how the tutorials are set
up. This is your best way of using it.
Even with the wizard, I still had a
little start-up problem—nothing bad.
Vox Proxy uses Microsoft agents
(the characters) to provide
animation. The script is actually a
program to have the character do
what you want.
There is interaction between the
presenter, the character, and the
presentation. You can have the
VOX PROXY
Continued from page 10
character just appear and say
something if you want, but doing
something more will take time to
learn. Again, the tutorials are not just
a good learning place, but they are
also good to watch and get ideas. The
Script Wizard helps you to have the
character say, do, move, or gesture.
Each character has a list of moves,
commands, gestures, and facial
expressions. By the way, within the
box that previews the character, there
is a hyperlink to the creator of the
character’s website. I highly
recommend going to them to get
more characters (can’t have enough).
I downloaded some great ones from
http://www.e-clips.com.au.
Within the script, you can do some
PowerPoint commands such as click,
or go to the next slide. During the
presentation you have the option of
speech balloons that are displayed
when a character speaks or thinks.
They can help to show what the
character is saying in case someone
does not hear what is said. As part of
the presentation, you can put in
commands to play a video file, read
or just show a Excel or Word file.
Vox Proxy costs $199. As an
option, you can purchase a CD prep
which allows users to burn the
presentation to an auto-starting CD.
That option will bring the total cost to
$228.95. Not for the casual user, but
if you do a lot of PowerPoint
presentations, this is a product that
will help make them even better.
http://www.voxproxy.com
Minimum System
Requirements
Windows® 95/98/Me/NT/2000/XP
PowerPoint® 2000 or 2002
128 MB RAM
150MB free disk space
Screen resolution: 800 x 600 minimum
300 MHz or faster processor
Microphone if you use VP speech
recognition
FROM THE BEGINNING
Continued from page 1
The other keystroke might get you
out of an install mess. Sometimes
with this one you have to be really
quick because you have to hit it while
Windows is starting up. With
computers getting faster and faster,
you don’t have much time to hit this
key because once Windows starts
loading the desktop, hitting this key
won’t help.
One of the ways to make sure you
have time to hit the keys is to turn the
computer off completely, then get
poised to hit the F8 key. It’s along the
top row of keys of your keyboard and
you MUST strike it before Windows
starts loading the desktop.
(With some computers, this is
made even harder by a flashy screen
they display while, in the
background, Windows is busy trying
to load everything. Even if you get
this type of screen, once you hit the
power button, hit F8 anyway.)
Sometimes you’ll get a message
that you have a keyboard error and be
asked to hit F1 to continue. If that
happens, press F1, then F8 again. You
should then get a menu in a DOS-like
black screen.
Let’s say that you install a program
in Windows (any of the above three
versions) and then you start getting
error messages or, even worse,
Windows won’t run at all. The one
you want to choose is “Safe Mode.”
This is Windows with all the good
stuff removed. The operating system
uses a minimum set of drivers and, to
tell you the truth, it looks grimy
because the display is using only 16
colors. I remember the days of 16
colors on monitors and they looked
pretty good back then; now I’m
spoiled with millions of colors.
Once Windows loads, Windows
2000 and 98 will look pretty much
the same, except for the few colors.
This is the time to go to the
Control Panel, click on
Add/Remove Programs and
remove the program that started
giving you the trouble in the first
place.
You also can go into Device
Manager (right click on My
Computer, then left click on
Properties) to disable drives or
devices you suspect are creating
the problem. By clicking on the +
sign next to a category, you can
see the all the devices listed.
Right clicking on the device will
give you a context menu. On that
menu is a “disable” device. That’s
what you might want to do if
that’s the one with the problem.
While in this cocoon of safety,
you can do such stuff as change
video drivers, adjust video drivers
or uninstall a program that is
creating problems.
How to uninstall a program:
• Open the Control Panel.
• Double click on Add/Remove Programs.
• Select the program you want
to uninstall and follow the
directions from the Wizard.
In many cases, this will fix
your computer. If it doesn’t, at
least you have a fighting chance
by unchecking the automatic boot
and learning how to use the
startup menu that contains a
goody that can help you rescue
your system.
Questions, comments:
Charlie@askcharlie.com.
__________
The Editorial Committee of the
Association of Personal
Computer User Groups
(APCUG), an international
organization of which this group
is a member, brings this article to
you.
Page 11
April 10 9 a.m. to 12 noon
Orange Coast College
Science Building Room #149
Our presenter at the April 10 meeting will be
our own Cathy Grammer-Margolin talking
about eBay.com. Do you need some item or
product that is difficult to get? Well, often
eBay.com is a great place to get it. Cathy, who
know a lot about eBay, is going to tell us how to
look for the hard-to-find products without
over-bidding. She will also tell us about how to
sell an item on eBay.
After the meeting the PIG SIG will go to the
new Pat & Oscar’s Restaurant on Bristol
SAN DIEGO
FW
Y.
405
ADAMS AVE.
ORANGE COAST COLLEGE
MERRIMAC
PARKING
Lewis
Center
Room #149
MERRIMAC WAY
FAIRVIEW DR.
HARBOR BLVD.
Science Bldg