Desktop video direction good for computer buffs

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 April, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 April, 1993, 12:00am

WHO is the local Hongkong distributor of Gold Disk's VideoDirector? Does VideoDirector allow you to edit from VCR to VCR in addition to Videocam to VCR? I would like to produce titles for my video clips, perhaps using a drawing program. I have seen ads for these programs which convert personal computer graphics to NTSC or PAL video signals, but can cost US$2,000. Is there an inexpensive way of producing video titles? Name and Address Supplied Desktop video is an interesting area, and allows you to edit full-motion video on your computer. Sophisticated programs give you total control, with features such as frame-by-frame editing and special effects. The final result may be viewed directly on the computer screen or transferred to videotape for playback on conventional video equipment.

There are a number of outlets in Hongkong where VideoDirector is available. A spokesman for KPS Video, which stocks the software, said all orders were made by them directly to the overseas-based company: Gold Disk, P. O. Box 789 Streetsville, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, L5M, 2C2. According to the KPS spokeswoman, you can edit from VCR to VCR. Another product, also available from KPS, called EcoMedia I, will allow you to produce titles with sound for your video clips.

It sells for HK$9,299. EcoMedia I is used professionally and results reflect this. Another product from the same distributor, and also available at KPS, is AniVideo. This unit is what EcoMedia grew from. It is less expensive at HK$2,899, carries no soundand the results are not so professional.

While on the subject of video editing, you might be interested to learn about a novel new video camera I spotted during my recent vacation in the United States that can work well with the video editing programs you are interested in.

Made by the US company VideoLabs, the FlexCam is a marvel to look at, while it's looking at you. As with many ergonomically engineered devices, FlexCam could pass as a work of art. The 3.25-centimetre circular colour camera sits atop an 45 cm flexible rod.

The rod bends easily for precise camera positioning. It extends into a weighted, 17.5-by-17.5 cm base that contains all the electronics. Also built into the circular camera are a power indicator light and a pair of stereophonic microphones. A single cable carries the power, video and audio to and from the camera and the computer.

Rotate the lens to focus FlexCam's high quality video output, which complies with industry standards. These standards make FlexCam compatible with all video-input computer products, such as Microsoft Video for Windows and VideoSpigot for the Macintosh. In fact, any device that accepts standard video input, even your VCR, will work with the FlexCam.

FlexCam will work just as well for video conferencing functions as it will with ordinary video recording or editing functions.

FlexCam sells for US$595. For more information, or to order, call VideoLabs Inc in the US on (612) 897-1995.

I'VE read your columns about commercially available collections of type faces. After buying several collections, I've noticed that there are many similarities. I'm looking for some fonts that will make people sit up and take notice.

PETER WONG Kowloon Bay This is a tough one to answer, because what might impress one person could be a yawn for another. However, two companies recently released some clever fonts for IBM compatibles and the Macintosh.

Kidtype, selling for US$59 from DS Design, contains three handwriting fonts by children aged five to eight in crayon, paint and marker. You can transform your output into the scrawled penmanship of a child just learning to write.

Li'L Bits font packs, $19.95 each from Bitstream, offer lettering styled after the Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation TV shows. Included are Star Trek symbols and Klingon lettering. Looney Tunes, Flintstones and Jetsons font packs are also available.

These type faces are certainly attention grabbers.

For more information on Kidtype, call DS Design in the US on (914) 263-8394 For details on Li'L Bits, write to Bitstream at Athenaeum House, 215 First Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142. You can call the company on (617) 497-6222 or fax it on (617) 868-0784.

I'M confused by all the different CD formats around (except audio CDs). Can you explain what they are and do? TONY TUCKER Pokfulam CD-ROM is the most used format right now for computers and video games. It is read-only, which means you can't write data to the disk.

Also known as Interactive CD, CD-I is a technology invented by Philips. Really just an improved variation of CD-ROM, it, too, is read only.

There are only two recordable CD formats available. The first, CD-WO, allows you to write just once to the disk, while the second, CD-R, lets you write to it multiple times.

Finally, CD-XA refers to Extended Architecture. This format is used in the new Sony Portable Multimedia Player, and it compresses audio and holds more than 600 megabytes of data. CD-XA is downwardly compatible with CD-ROM, but only if modifications are made to the CD-ROM software.