TECH TALK BY MIKE BERMAN: NEW VIDEO EDITOR A CUT ABOVE

TECH TALK BY MIKE BERMAN: NEW VIDEO EDITOR A CUT ABOVE

Anyone that takes part in the Sunday televised football ritual has seen what professionals can do with video editors. But what would you do if you had the power to add that capability to your home video system? That was the question I posed to myself when I began playing with the new Draco Casablanca Avio video editing system ($1,495 and $1,795 depending on model and features).

This is Draco's first foray into the home or consumer market and this definitely won't be their last. The Avio was really easy to use, and, after going through the video-taped tutorial which comes with the editor, I found myself manipulating video clips like a pro.The process is fairly simple. I hooked the editor up to my VCR and TV set using standard video and audio cables and was up and running in about 15 minutes. Then I decided to see if I could improve upon any of the video-taped movies that were lying about the house. That was when I became addicted!

I was pulling scenes from the tapes, rearranging them, editing out old soundtracks and putting in new ones, and adding and deleting titles and other text. All of this was stored on the editor's hard drive, which, depending on the model you purchase, can store up to 12 hours of VHS quality video or 3.5 hours of digital video. Then all I had to do was transfer my masterpiece to a blank video tape.

The editor comes with a smart card reader so upgrading the software is as easy as installing new programs on your home computer. It also comes with a trackball giving it more of a home computer 'feel'.

Other features include:

* Either a 12 or 20 gigabyte hard drive

* Integrated graphics and video display on a TV or monitor

* The ability to handle three stereo tracks

* RCA or optional firewire connectivity

* A full range of transitions and effects, including fades, blurs, slow motion, backwards motion, stutter effect and freeze frames

* Generates all effects in 'real time,' including titles and audio edits

* A full range of scalable fonts with unlimited color combinations

* A smartcard reader that can handle memory cards ranging from four megabytes to 64 megabytes

* Two USB ports for a trackball and keyboard

* A 233 MHz Pentium processor.

There are also some new - and more expensive - Draco editors on the horizon so, if you're into this sort of thing, you may want to opt for the more expensive KRON, which will have even more features that were one only available to professionals and DVD capabilities.

What PC-related subjects would you like to see covered in this column? Need help deciding what software to use? Hardware? Contact Mike Berman at mberman@ joc.com., mberman@bigfoot.com, or call him at (212) 837-7140.