Caveat:This version of the card (and software) is the original (now called Screen Machine Lite, we believe) and there are likely to have been some updates to the system - although FAST seemed to imply that there were no major changes. Please take this into account when reading the following observations. There is a second version of this card - Screen Machine II.
AppearanceFull length ISA card. 16 bit slot only.
4 jumpers (I/O address and wait state).
Various headers for option boards (SECAM, audio I/O, colour keying, RGB, TV tuner).
ExternallyVGA output, VGA and video input (both 15 pin HD D-sub, inputs via adapter cable)
InternallyDaughter board options as above.
HardwareSelect a suitable (free) I/O address. This was another card that clashed with the heatsink and, therefore, had to go in one specific slot. Connect the adapter cable between the VGA output and Screen Machine input, connect monitor to Screen Machine output (no drop in screen intensity).
SoftwareFirst attempt at installation wrote 0 length expanded files - corrupted some DLL's in the Windows directory (probably not checking for existence/date and overwriting with corrupt and/or of date versions of the same file).
Therefore a manual installation was performed. A few more problems were encountered before getting the card working properly:
Capture timesVirtually instantaneous for capture (Note: will capture from moving source images), so these times are for the saves.
ObservationsThe capture software provides three main modules : TV; camera; dark room
TVprovides a scaleable window; captured still images can be saved in a number of formats.
Cameragives a fixed window and saves the captured images to a 'film strip', which can then be saved. Note : this is in Screen Machine∆s own FLM format.
Darkroomused to 'develop' films, i.e. process the images in FLM format to other formats, colour depths, image size, rotation, resampling etc.
Both TV and Camera allow source setup (now they tell you!) which includes video input and type, composite colour on/off (for greyscale images), time base correction, prefilter, sharpness, noise, bandpass and hue filters (all 0-4 range). They also have control over the image brightness, contrast, saturation and RGB values, and size. But, although they both read the same settings file, only the TV module appears to be able to save these settings.
The manual briefly discusses the effect of the controls on image quality if they are not immediately obvious (e.g. explains that 'row correction off' will give higher resolutions from still image images). The 'Basics' chapter of the manual also briefly covers such issues as lossy compression, printing, colour models, palette optimisation, etc.