Price: £935 plus VAT
The game of leapfrog between Pinnacle and Matrox continues. The latter’s RT2500 currently sits on the top of the pile of real-time DV editing cards, replacing the RT2000 that originally stole the crown from Pinnacle’s DV500. As you’d expect then, with the release of the Pro-ONE Pinnacle has nicked it back – though how long remains to be seen. The Pro-ONE bundle is based around a full-size editing card with a CCube DVExpressMX chip at its heart, which uses the same codec as the RT2500. The size means you’ll need a full tower or one of those larger mid-towers to accommodate it. We didn’t get to test the installation process, as the test system was shipped to us as a pre-loaded workstation from Planet PC, but it seems straightforward. The only big pain here is that Pro-ONE only runs under Windows 98 and Me. Windows 2000 and XP drivers are apparently on the way, but with no fixed release date. Break out the video As well as the card out of the box you get the standard Pinnacle breakout box, the usual set of cables and a whole stack of software. The breakout box has a good-sized cable (six feet long) but as with all of the other manufacturers, Pinnacle hasn’t updated this since the days of analog-only set ups – so you have to use a separate cable for DV capture/playout. Pro-ONE’s main NLE tool is Premiere 6.0, and you also get Pinnacle’s own DVTools capture/management application, the Hollywood FX set of real-time filters and transitions for Premiere, the TitleDekoRT real-time titling tool and Impression DVD SE for DVD authoring. DVTools is an excellent capture utility, though very idiosyncratic. For example, it has an extremely useful automatic tape scanning facility that looks at a tape’s timecode and spots scene breaks. It then automatically captures each scene to a separate file. Mighty real-time Central to the Pro-ONE is its real-time abilities. These are impressive, with the usual two layers of video complemented by two real-time title/graphic layers. Hollywood FX provides a whole bunch of filters and transitions with real-time 3D effects, alpha, picture-in-picture, page curls and a very limited form of colour correction. You can combine up to ten at once. There’s also a real-time image stabilization tool that’s good for basic work. The Pro-ONE’s real-time facilities stand up well against its main competition, Matrox’s RT2500 and Canopus’ DVStorm SE Plus. Against the RT2500, the Pro-ONE is notable for being capable of up to ten real-time effects (the RT2500 can do only one), real-time transitions between two graphics and the image stabilization tool – though the RT2500 has MPEG-2 capture and a £699 price tag. Against the DVStorm SE Plus, the Pro-ONE has access to real-time 3D effects in Premiere, and the image-stabilization tool – and is around £50 cheaper. The DVStorm fights back with a third layer of real-time video, an open effects system that is only limited by processing power. Pinnacle’s Pro-ONE is great if your work involves combining many elements, especially 3D, but you don’t want to have to buy a new machine. Users with lower budgets or higher aims should check out its rivals.