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Desktop Video AGOCG Report


The present report is the result of a brief evaluation of desktop video (DTV) undertaken by HUSAT on behalf of the Advisory Group on Computer Graphics.

The term desktop video can be applied to at least two different areas. In the first, the computer's desktop environment accommodates a software editing suite, used to control external video recorders. The functionality offered by such a configuration is akin to that of more conventional hardware editing controllers. It is used to control the video players and recorders during the compilation of video clips into a new `programme'. As a half hour programme could have several hundred individual scenes, the computer provides an ideal tool to log the position and duration of each clip in an `edits decision list'.

The second main area incorporates video material, from one of several potential sources, into a desktop display. It can be freely intergrated with digitised sounds and sophisticated graphics. This is the familiar multimedia video-in-a-window approach.

There are now appearing software packages that combine both of these approaches. The original video material is captured to (extremely high capacity) hard disks which allow near instantaneous replay of any part of any video clip in a video window on the desktop of the PC. With the video source in digital form, a variety of mixing, zooming and distorting effects can be applied to it before it is once more written out to video tape.

While both approaches merit serious consideration, the focus of the present report is centred on the multimedia perspective.

The project aimed to produce a survey of existing products, based on the literature and on-line databases, with consideration given to possibilities for the future of the market. It has concentrated primarily on the Macintosh and PC platforms, with a discussion of CD-ROM drives and other hardware components. Software considerations have been discussed at a systems level as support for applications of DTV.

As part of the project a survey has been conducted which aimed to assess the different configurations of hardware and software currently being used in the marketplace and to gauge users' reactions to them.

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