Laptop Users


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Video Jump Discussion Board: Video Jump Discussions: Laptop Users
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By bcorson on Wednesday, June 5, 2002 - 12:02 am:
Message from Zdenek Kolman posted by bcorson

During weekend I tested something, that I was looking for long time. It
is external USB Capture device from AVERMEDIA: "AVER TV USB" I tried VJ
during the competition and it works perfectly!!!
I worked with my notebook switched to 640x480 on full screen. I could
freeze picture both from real wiev and from only screen wiev, no problem
and nearly no difference. I have not tried yet trick timing but I think
it will work well with small picture. The price of this HW is only about
100 USD. I will test VT soon and report on later.

The most interesting matter at the end: it is declared like WDM system
and at the bottom of the picture window during VJ running is written:
MICROSOFT WDM CAPTURE DRIVER
Originally I wanted to gave up testing, when I read the manual. I tried
at the end expecting no function but it works PERFECTLY !!!!! Why? I
have OMniBook XE3 HP computer with WIN98.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By robinnichols on Monday, June 24, 2002 - 11:11 am:
Hi Friends,
I guess everyone else knows but I have just found that the Hauppage USB external WINTV device (about 50/$70) plugs into the USB port of my lap top and with no fiddling gives a full screen display from my camera and pressing ctl/c puts it on the clipboard with no time delay and it then pastes on the VJ. You can also watch local TV between rounds of jumping!!!
I think the device is readily available world wide, is relatively cheap and all you need is a USB port.For a person like myself with limited computer knowledge it simply plugs in and works.
Regards Robin Nichols


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Geoff Davis on Thursday, October 10, 2002 - 05:56 am:
I am trying to use a VJ programme on my laptop. I have a digital capture card but no overlay. Can I bypass the overlay requirement with a firewire connection between camera and laptop or do I still need to use an overlay? I know that using Vid Jump I need the overlay but do I need it for the VidCap programme?

Also if I am using the Vid Jump programme is there a way of using an overlay which is a USB connection to the laptop?

The laptop (Sony) I have is very up to date, plenty of speed and RAM with plenty of hard disk. I am running windows XP.

Any help will be much appreciated. There must be someone out there using the Jump programme on a laptop. Hopefully we have been down this track before and all my prayers can be answered!!!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Dave Clark on Thursday, October 10, 2002 - 05:58 am:
Yes indeed there is VJ on a laptop. And you can run it either with the built-in "Generic capture" (one-shot-freeze) capability, or with the VJVidCap front end program as a partner -- this is what I would recommend. This VJVidCap program runs with real-time video input and capture, and allows you to capture a short clip of the landing, and then scroll forward and/or backward to isolate the exact frame which portrays the first contact, and then in turn hands that specific image into the VJ Measurement program through the windows clipboard.

Now here are some experience-based suggestions that will help you make this work.

Don't mean to contradict Bob here, but horsepower is not an issue with a laptop for our purposes -- the problem there is the inherently slower data pathes through which the video image must pass. The rates across a Parallel port or USB port or PCMCIA interface are far slower than the internal PCI bus in a desktop system. Consequently, the need for that video image to be pre-compressed before it gets put through that interface bottleneck is the issue. And so all of the USB external capture devices I've seen have their own hardware compression capability, built right into the device.

You've got to match a specific video capture device, with a specific Windows version, and then use appropriate settings for that combination in order to get you what you want.

I don't have any history working with "Firewire" devices and so I can't speak to them -- but I believe this requires some kind of interface device that attaches to the computer either via PCMCIA or USB -- so these would be subject to the same issues either way. Unless there's a direct firewire interface right into the laptop ... if so what does it connect to? Is firewire a new connector type? The Toshiba I got just 8 months ago doesn't mention anything about firewire, so I suspect this requires some external device to translate that signal into USB or PCMCIA. Hey you tell me on this wavelength.

Anyways, I'll confine my remaining observations to the USB or PCMCIA device arena, where I have some concrete experience. There do not seem to be many PCMCIA video capture devices out there -- I've only found one recently and it's price was high and performance was poor. So I'd recommend a USB capture device for a laptop. Now many of the USB Video Capture devices I've seen out there have a 320x240 image size ceiling, and while that would be OK for tricks, this will not meet the precision specifications needed for ranking list jump events. So you need to be sure that the device you get will support 640x480 capture (or 768x576 for PAL), and at some rate up to say 10-15 fps or so.

The only two that I've personally experienced that provide this 640x480 capture capability, are the AverTV USB by Avermedia, and the USB Instant Video by ADS. Both are widely sold at prices around $60-70 (US). The AverTV USB hasn't got Win2k or WinXP drivers available yet, so this one is only good for Windows 98 -- but for that OS Versions it's quite good. For Win2K or WinXP, I'd have to recommend the USB Instant Video. I actually used one of these for the World University Championships over in China back in August for jumping, and it worked just fine.

Now the key to success in getting a decent capture with one of these USB devices, is to recognize that the bottleneck is the data path between the capture device and the laptop, and so the video compression needs to be done in the device itself, before the data is passed into the laptop. Once that compressed video stream is passed in, then it's just recorded on the hard drive in that externally-compressed format, so there's really no horsepower issues involved in capturing from a USB device. I found the AverTV USB gave just as good performance on my old P2/233 CTX laptop, as it does on my new P3/1ghz Toshiba.

With laptops the bottleneck is the USB or PCMCIA interface, and even a very slow pentium laptop can cope fine with that externally-compressed data. Now if you want to watch real-time TV in a large-screen format on your laptop screen, then there's some horsepower issues involved -- since the CPU has to run software in real time to decompress the externally-compressed video and display it in real time. But this isn't a need for our application -- the need there is to get the clip captured completely -- and then the frame selection will be done at a more leisurely pace.

So that's what I can tell you today. If you find some USB device other than the above at a good price and find that it's both XP compatible as well as having 640x480 (or larger) capture capability, then please give us a review so we can pass that information on to others.

It's always an adventure -- don't hesitate to follow up with questions as they arise, Geoff.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
By Robin Nichols on Thursday, October 10, 2002 - 06:00 am:
Like yourself and no doubt many others, I invested this spring in a shiny
new powerful lap top with a 15 inch screen which I have been delighted
with. I bought a "Hauppage" WinTV USB external TV box for 43 =$66, here in
England. Since the Company is American it must be available in the states
and world wide.
The box is not much bigger than a cigarette box and has a cable out to a
USB port and 2 inputs. Either a TV aerial or video S or composite from a
camera or VCR plus of course a CD for the software. I found it worked
straight away with no problems. I also us XP Home which seems to ease the
installation.
You get the VJ program running and then the WinTV program from the Hauppage
software. Make sure the display in both programs is 800x600. Display the
camera picture as full screen (if you wish) and then in the usual way when
the skier has landed, press "ctl + C" to capture the frame. Minimise the
WinTV and back on the VJ program select "paste" in either the setup or
measure screen of a current version of VJ and there you are. I experience
no delay in the capture - it happens when you press the key.

In the usual way I run the camera picture through a VCR to the Hauppage box
and if a landing has been missed or needs reviewing you can always play it
back. I have used the lap top at smaller jump events and at standings list
events as a second computer and display for second boxes with no problems
and it saves having to carry around bulky equipment. You can use fully
working cameras but personally I obtain free cameras from an insurance
assessor who keeps cameras that have broken tape mechanisms but are
otherwise OK. Some people use surveillance cameras quite successfully but I
prefer the colour picture and zoom qualities of an ordinary camera. The
trouble with using a new digital camera with a USB output is that the
camera is usually a fair distance from the computer and extended USB cables
are very expensive. The Collins brothers here in England successfully use
radio links from the cameras and these radios are getting cheaper all the
time.

I have tried Bob's VIDcapture program but found the Hauppage easier and
quicker. Of course you can only use VIDCAP if you have a TV input jack for
the laptop which is not common I do have one but its an expensive lap top.

Another neat gimmick to impress your fellow officials is that if you take
along a portable TV aerial when the gap comes between jump rounds you can
sit back and watch the football game or whatever!!