I picked up a Soundblaster Audigy 2ZS Video Editor from PressDigital yesterday and I must say that I am really impressed. Normally I am not one of these people who buys high-end sound cards, or video cards. Well, apart from the Soundblaster 16 I think it was when I was at Uni, but who could really call a Sound Blaster 16 a high end card? Whilst the card as 192 KHz sampling and all sorts of other audio features, these were not what interested me.
I was more interested in the Video capabilities of this card. Yes, you heard right. Video! The Audigy 2ZS Video Editor actually has great video capabilities. It is not one of these devices that has 768 MBytes of DDR3 RAM or a large nVidia graphics card. No, but it is amazing none the less. You see, the card does TV input and output. Not TV tuner, just TV, and by keeping to the basics it does a very good job at it.
The device (and it is a device since it connects to the PC using USB2) digitizes and processes the video on board. It firstly captures the video, then fixes up any timing information between adjacent frames. Then it does noise filtering, adjacent frame compensation and then motion compensation. What this means is that the video signal that is captured is rather amazing. For all intents and purposes it appears that the original signal has more detail than the tape it was captured from.
It does not work quite as well on tapes that have been copies from other tapes – for instance a compilation of all the camcorder shots moved to VHS, but the quality is still rather good. Somewhat better than my DVD recorder could ever do. And because the work is done on the device, the PC only needs enough computing power to store the video to the HDD.
The unit comes with all sorts of video editing and managing software, but to tell you the truth I have not even looked at those yet. I am mostly interested in Capture at the moment, and it does a really good job at that. Later on I will start editing start and stop zones from the tapes I have digitized.
At High quality MPEG a VHS tape will take up about 4 GBytes per hour. This is a lot of data, but the space is small compared to the size of all the tapes.
All in all this is a card I would certainly recommend.