Turning your PC
into a Production Studio
The marriage of the
home PC and the home theater, also known as "Convergence," is
marching along at breakneck speed.
One of the latest
examples is MGI VideoWave, a nifty "video publishing" application
with which you can edit your home camcorder movies into something less
likely to cause neighborhood ennui or, if you have more lucrative pursuits
in mind, to create corporate videos and Web site presentations.
MGI VideoWave (Windows
95 CD-ROM), brings to your desktop many features you may have seen only
in professional studios a couple of years ago, and its a real hoot
Your cinematic masterpiece
is laid out in a very straightforward, storyboard-type "storyline"
that displays each of your shots, scenes, or transitions, linearly from
left to right across the top of your screen. It's in the storyline that
you position your elements, dragging them into whatever order most pleases
your artistic bent. You can re-arrange them at the drag of a mouse, experimenting
at will until you achieve that perfect cut - or your eyes cross, whichever
You store your various
elements in "Libraries," and drag them into the storyline or
the main editing window, from which you can tweak the colors, edit them
for length or even add animated text. Pressing the "Play" button
beside the screen lets you preview the havoc you've just wreaked on the
source material before applying the changes and forever writing them in
Depending on the hardware
you have, you can capture shots from TV or other video sources. Likewise,
you can capture audio via your sound card - and therefore from your favorite
audio CD (assuming you have a CD-ROM drive).
Considering the capturing
capabilities, you'd probably be wise to remember the words "copyright
infringement" and the fuss they could bring if you help yourself
to the wrong clips...
Remember, too, that
these clips, especially the video ones, take up a horrendous amount of
hard disk space, so you'd better have a few hundred megabytes sitting
idly by for just such an emergency. Canadian-based MGI says you can get
away with 100 Mb of "workspace," but they recommend an entire
We'd kill for a spare
Once you have your
masterpiece ready to go, you merely click on the "Produce" button,
step through a couple of wizards, then go and have lunch while MGI VideoWave
chugs away, turning all the pieces of "film" into an .AVI, .MPEG,
or QuickTime file. The program crashed during our first two attempts at
publishing - which is why you should always "save as you go"
- but our subsequent attempts worked fine.
There are quite a
few audio and video clips included with MGI VideoWave, and we used some
to produce a "video commercial." The results were a little rough,
but more because of our inexperience at video publishing than a flaw in
the software itself.
MGI is really pushing
the market envelope with VideoWave. It's priced low enough to entice the
consumer market, but is hefty enough to work for the small business that
needs an entry level "virtual video production suite." The latter
will probably be the bigger market for now - at least until more consumers
computers have the video capture cards that are a huge part of the whole
Which, thanks to "convergence,"
will undoubtedly happen sooner than we can imagine.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think