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                        CSAReview: Vidi Amiga 12 RT
  G. O. Jones                                      gi@gj-Cent.demon.co.uk
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PRODUCT NAME

  Vidi Amiga 12 RT

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

  Full Colour Video Digitiser, Real Time capture (ie.  no freeze frame
  required)

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

  Name:       Rombo
  Address:    Kirkton Campus, Livington, Scotland
              EH54 7AZ

  Telephone:  (44) 0506 414631
  FAX:        (44) 0506 414634

LIST PRICE

  I paid around 139 UK pounds for mine, although the prices are much
  cheaper now.

DEMO VERSION

  None

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

  HARDWARE

    2MB RAM required.  More is recommended.
    Video hardware, NTSC, PAL or Secam.

  SOFTWARE

    AmigaDOS 1.3 or greater.

COPY PROTECTION

  None.

MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

  Amiga 1200, 2 MB Chip RAM, 4 MB Fast RAM, 50Mhz 030 CPU.
  Workbench 3.0.

INSTALLATION

  Uses a custom script: an icon is dragged to the target directory and is
  double clicked.

REVIEW

  The Vidi 12RT hardware plugs into the Amiga parallel port.  It is a
  fairly large unit which causes some irritating problems.  First, due to
  its width, the serial port on the A1200 is obscured by the right hand
  side of the case, meaning you will have to remove your modem or MIDI
  interface each time you wish to use it.  You can get around this problem
  by making an extention cable.  There is an order form with the unit for
  this cable but I feel it should have been included free.  The second
  problem involves powering the unit.  Due to its power requirements, you
  need an external power supply.  Yet again this is not included and so you
  will need to purchase one.

  The Digitiser has 3 inputs.  The first 2 are standard composite video
  inputs and the other is a Super VHS input (or YC).  You can select which
  input to use using the software so you don't need to fiddle with switches
  on the unit itself.  Big Box Amiga owners may have a problem plugging in
  the digitiser as the parallel port is lower down than on the A1200.  The
  extention cable will come in handy for this problem too.

  The software that comes with the digitiser consists of a Grabber, a
  simple Image Processor and a basic Animation arranger.  The Grabber page
  has all the controls for grabbing images: you can alter the Hue,
  Saturation, Brightness and Contrast of the images, select the input to be
  used, and even set it to grab images in a loop with a time delay between
  each grab.  There is also a trigger function that will grab an image each
  time a joystick button is pressed: handy for a simple security system. 

  The Image Processor contains the usual features found in most Amiga
  graphics programs.  You get Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Blur etc.  These
  functions are fairly useful, but a dedicated program will do this much
  better.

  The Animation arranger allows you to arrange your stored frames into an
  Animation.  It displays thumbnails of the images which can be selected
  and moved around, deleted etc.  You can then save them as an IFF ANIM
  file.  The Vidi software doesn't seem to like palette changes or loop
  frames so you may have to convert the Anim using another program before
  it will work with certain programs.

DOCUMENTATION

  64 Page manual, laser printed.

  The manual is reasonable.  It has example images, a tutorial, setup
  instructions for the hardware, and most importantly a troubleshooting
  section.


LIKES

  Quality of grabbed images are good.  S-VHS input, PAL/NTSC and SECAM are
  autodetected,


DISLIKES AND SUGGESTIONS

  The case obscures the serial port and won't connect to Big Box Amigas
  without an extention cable.  Needs external power supply.  Software
  doesn't use ASL filerequesters.

COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

  ProGrab from Gordon Harwoods seems to be better supported.  It has a
PCMCIA option for A1200 owners for faster grabs.

BUGS

  There seems to be a bug in the Grab page.  After selecting the Mix
  function to convert to the image to a lower colour mode, returning back
  to the Grab options resulted in a guru.  There is a V2.0 of the software
  but this isn't a free update.

VENDOR SUPPORT

  Rombo have released PC versions of their Digitisers, however they still
  sell their Amiga version and even still sell their Atari version.  There
  is a help hotline mentioned in the manual.

WARRANTY

  None mentioned in the manual.

CONCLUSIONS

  Although the ProGrab 24 from Gordon Harwoods is more popular than the
  Vidi, you can buy a Vidi 24RT for less than a ProGrab, which makes it a
  good value.  The Vidi 12RT's picture quality is good and the software is
  useful.  A1200 owners may want to consider the ProGrab and its PCMCIA
  option, or the recently re-released Videomaster.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

  Copyright 1996 G. O. Jones.