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(Black Widow) Video Snapshot

Video Snapshot

Manufacturer

Devcom

Appearance

Dark grey box, about the size of a mouse (3 x 2 x 1") with a lead that connects to the computer's parallel port (has printer pass-through - can have printer connected at same time).

Connectors

1 video (RCA), 1 S-video and the above mentioned parallel lead.

Installation

Hardware Insert 3 x AAA (UM4) cells, connect to parallel port*, connect to video input.
* The first attempts at video capture were not successful. After trying all the setup permutations within the driver and still failing to get the image to synchronised, the problem seemed to be related to the synchronisation, as the on-screen 'image' would alter (consistently) when slides were changed. Hardware then seemed to be a possible source of the problem: the Viglen has a parallel port which can be set up as standard, ECP, EPP or both ECP and EPP. It was tried with each of the settings but with no success. However technical support at Devcom suggested that it was likely that the parallel port was quite simply too fast for the Snapshot to synchronise with and therefore could not transfer the data back to the PC (the distributors had come across this problem on a couple of other PC's). In this instance the solution was to fit an ordinary MIO card with its parallel port set up as LPT2 (and with serial, FDD and HD options disabled) and capture from that port (a driver option when other ports are detected) this worked fine. This is certainly something to be aware of if you have a fast computer with a fast parallel port. Latest news (1/3/95) is that Devcom are aware of the problem (their devices are designed in Scotland) and a new version of Video Snapshot, due for release around the middle of 1995, should cure this problem and provide other features/enhancements.

Software

Installation of the driver software is probably about as simple as it can be (although see later for prerequisites)
  • change to the floppy drive that has the installation disc in it and type INSTALL
  • installation done. The installation process simply copies a TWAIN driver to the Windows\TWAIN directory (or will create it if it does not exist). This obviously means that you need to be using an application that supports TWAIN devices. As usual things are not quite so straightforward : there's TWAIN and then there's TWAIN. Using Photostyler the Video Snapshot is not even seen; with Photoshop 2.5 the device can be selected but trying to grab an image returns a scanner error. Fortunately we also have Micrografx Photomagic and this had no problems seeing the device or grabbing an image. Devcom offer/bundle iPhoto Plus (an image editing package) that supports Snapshot.

    Capture times

    Depends on the data transfer rate of the parallel port.

    Observations

    This could be a solution for image capture using lap-top/notebook computers.
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