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Gadget of the Week – Dazzle Video Creator Plus

We all know that pretty much everything has gone digital these days, but that doesn’t mean that analog no longer exists. What about all of those family videos that were recorded on VHS tape? Or that special news segment that features your child's school play? Or the wedding video? Is there anything you can do to convert those to digital?

Well, you could send them out to be converted but at around $8-$10 per tape that can get expensive, especially when you add in shipping charges. If you have the right kind of digital camera, you can use it for input, but if yours doesn't have this feature then you’re out of luck. Or you can get a Dazzle Video Creator Plus from Pinnacle Software.

The Dazzle Video Creator Plus is a black box device that you attach to your computer via a USB port on one end and to your camcorder, VCR, DVD player, or almost any other video device on the other. You can then convert your analog signals to digital and record them on your hard disk or directly to a DVD. It comes with all the necessary software and a quick-start poster to get you up and running right away.

The Dazzle provides you with two methods of converting your videos. The first is called Instant DVD Recorder, a software product that features one-click recording. It takes your video source, converts it to a digital format, and records it to a DVD complete with menus and chapters, all without storing anything on your computer hard disk.

The second method involves the included Pinnacle Studio version 12 standard edition. It contains everything you need to make home movies and will work not only with Dazzle-generated recordings but also with all the personal videos stored on your computer.

It contains themes, templates, and all the graphics you will need to create multi-layered effects, including animated graphics and titles. You can insert music and still photos, as well as clean up and rejuvenate old audio tracks. It will also help with the removal of noise and fix poor lighting. It has the ability to burn DVDs and CDs, as well as upload directly to web sites like YouTube and Yahoo! Video. You can even enjoy your movies on your Sony PSP, Apple iPod, and 3G cell phones.

One drawback with the Dazzle Video Creator Plus is that none of the required RCA or S-Video cables are included. This is something that the first-time user needs to be aware of or you will soon be heading back to the store!

Other than that, at $89.99 plus tax, the Dazzle Video Creator Plus is very easy to use and works as advertised. If you don't want the editing features, there is also the Dazzle DVD Recorder, which just records directly to DVD. But if you need to convert your VHS or other analog videos to digital and you think you might want to edit them, then you should check out Dazzle Video Creator Plus.

Comment by claude stark, posted 5/11/2010, 3:29 PM:

SORRY! my dazzle video creator plus is not what i planned on. After 8 tech. calls regarding my dvds being in the fast forward & not real time, i will probably have to scap my efforts.My software version is 12.0.1 but my computer after installing shows 25.0 & now the techs tell i should have the 26.0 version.I cant get them to send me any thing. Its not been fun for something thats suppose to be simple?
Comment by Judy, posted 4/1/2009, 9:56 AM:

Good info. We need to do this with a couple of our VHS tapes!
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