Best Video Product
The Best Video Product goes to Canopus for its $549 ADVC300 analog to digital video converter. Pros and consumers alike have mountains of analog video tapes that need to be converted for both archival and production purposes. We've used a variety of systems to accomplish this task over the years, but the ADVC300 is the best implementation we've seen.
The right way to apply signal and image enhancement corrections to flaky analog signals is on the way in via hardware during the capture stage, but few products give you this option. The ADVC300 cross-references each NTSC frame with the frames immediately preceding and following it, applying digital noise reduction and image stabilization using Line Time Base Correction (LTBC). You can control brightness, contrast, saturation, noise level, and other settings via software. The unit captures to DV tape or disk, and it's compatible with Final Cut Pro, Avid Xpress DV and Adobe Premiere Pro, as well as Canopus's EDIUS editing system. It works on both Mac and PC.
I'll be discussing analog video capture in greater depth in an upcoming article, but based on our initial tests, the ADVC300 stands head and shoulders above its competition.
I looked into this a while back. The various alternatives are using a service to burn video to DVD (but what if the priceless original family video is lost or damaged?), using a digital camera in pass-through mode, or using a PVR. It's really, really, tough to find knowledgeable reviews comparing the alternatives.
This is a big vote for the Canopus. I've got a pile of 8mm SuperVHS home video I need to move to digital media, then edit to DVD. Part of the equation is a future Mac (a high end G4 laptop or a G5 server) and FinalCut Pro, but this may be another part of it. Not cheap, so I can wait a while.