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Pinnacle Bungee review
Capture in style without the need for high end data storage!
By Red Squirrel

If you do video capture with a typical card such as the ATI TV-wonder, you probably realized how much space it takes for a few minutes of video. It is tremendous! Also, it is usually very hard on resources while itís capturing, and if you have a crappy computer, you will loose lot of frames and end up with jumpy video. Not to mention the crappy 240x320 resolution you are most likely capturing at, because any higher gives you horrible errors. (I donít miss my old capture cardÖ)

With the pinnacle bungee, this is not the case. Why? Because the device does all the work before the data actually gets to the computer. This is the pinnacle bungee itself:

IceTeks article - Pinnacle Bungee DVD

All the compression is done in there, and then sent to the computer via usb, which makes installation very easy as well since you simply plug it in. The bungee can capture video trough the front composite jacks (red/white/yellow jacks) and as well as a coaxial cable TV in back, so you can even hook up an antenna if you want, and leech air waves from around the world with your computer (ok, maybe not). There is also a jack for S-video. If your input device (VCR etc) has this Ė use it. You will get better quality. By the look of the deviceís casing, it also seems that you can flip the chip inside so that the composites are behind, this is a good idea for a setup that is permanent so you donít get wires on both sides. However, I have never tried it, so donít come running after me if you messed it up!

Capturing is quite easy. Simply open up the PCTV vision software and you will get something like this:

IceTeks article - Pinnacle Bungee DVD (Vision capture dialog)

While making this tutorial, when I took the screen shot, I discovered something very trippy. I thought Iíd share that. Usually when video is displayed on your screen, it uses something called ďoverlayĒ. I never really studied that or knew exactly what it was, but all I know is that it canít be captured by taking a screen shot. For example, when I took that screen shot, the screen was showing what was being fed to it (in this case, my VCRís blue screen with the channel in the corner), but as you noticed, itís black. When I pasted it in Photoshop, it was blue, but if I moved it around, the blue section stayed exactly where the actual program was left when I minimized it. I opened it back, and moved it, and sure enough, the blue in Photoshop moved with it. If I played something, it showed it in Photoshop! By playing around with it, I came to the conclusion that the black is actually the color # 0F000F, which is a very dark shade of purple. I decided to just blank out the document and the blue was gone. I used the color #0F000F to draw with the paint brush, sure enough, where the program had been left when I minimized it, the brush magically was painting blue, and if I would play something, I could see it play wherever I had painted. This was quite trippy!

Now, back to the review. The capture process is quite easy. Simply select the source, press record, and press play on your input device, your camcorder or VCR for example. Note that this process is a little slow, like the recording might not start till a few seconds and stuff, be very patient and donít play around too much. This is the only thing I donít like, this program is very fragile, it does not take much to make it crash Ė to a point where you have to reinstall it. Once you want to stop, press stop. To find your video, you can download it from the gallery using the right click / save as feature on the clip, or you can go find it in the programís directory (%program files%\Pinnacle\Bungee DVD\Vision\TV Capture). Note: there is an option to change this. DO NOT change it! This, for some reason, cause the program to crash next time you press record. It was say something like ďthis program has generated errors and a log has been createdĒ. Thatís great, but where are the logs? A mystery that is one-of-a-kind. So to avoid this, donít change that folder. In fact, if you rather it go to a different partition (ex: one that is bigger) install the software there.

The quality of this video is incredible. I captured about an hour of video and it was about 2GB. That is not a lot at all compared to the ~1GB/minute I used to get with my Tv-wonder at like 240x360 resolution! The secret of this is the high quality mpeg compression. This compression is efficient as it also keeps the quality high. It is DVD quality (well thatís what the salesperson saidÖ) and the resolution is 480 x 480. Strange aspect ratio, and even more strange when you play it (youíd expect a perfect square butÖ itís not really that!). While this stretches things, it is not an issue if you are doing video editing, as most programs will force it back to the 3/4 you want when editing. My theory behind this method of saving files is that it catches more horizontal lines when capturing so when squeezed, you get more quality.

The Pinnacle Bungee also comes with other software such as WinDVD(watch DVDs) and Trex (to watch TV).
Pinnacle Bungee DVD installation disc

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to make high quality video editing or simply capturing.

-Red Squirrel
IceTeks webmaster and owner

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