As mentioned in the earlier list of features the RT 2000 Mega Pack 3.0 is capable of capturing both analog and FireWire signals. Its FireWire capture interface is compatible with the following DV formats: DV, DVCPRO, and DVCAM. It is also compatible with cameras/decks that use the new Digital 8 hybrid consumer digital format. It is also able to capture DV footage in both the 4:3 (Television Standard) aspect ratio as well as the 16:9 (Widescreen) aspect ratio.
With analog footage the RT 2000 Mega Pack 3.0 can capture via the RCA (composite) connection or the S-Video (Y/C) connection. When capture through the analog connectors you have the option of capturing your footage using the DV codec or the MPEG 2 codec. When capturing MPEG 2 footage you have the choice of using the I-Frame format or the IBP format (same format used with DVD video). If you intend on editing your footage you must use the I-Frame format as the IBP format is more highly compressed and cannot be edited. IBP is designed strictly as a distribution format.
When capturing analog footage you also have access to some very limited video input color correction. This feature is useful but is definitely not professional quality.
With the RT 2000 you have two options on how to capture your footage either using the capture utility included with Adobe Premiere or using the including Matrox Media Tools. The biggest advantage of using Matrox Media Tools is the ability to have the software automatically scan the tape (DV only) for stops or breaks in order to mark capture in and out points. This is very handy if you have a lot of footage that needs to be broken into smaller more manageable chunks. The other big benefit of Media Tools is the ability to easily grab still images from your video footage.
Of course Premiere does allow you all the basics expected from a capture utility including the ability to log in and out points, create batch capture lists, and easily do straight “raw” footage captures.
Both capture utilities give you very smooth deck control (DV only) that makes zipping through your footage and picking out what you want to capture a snap. Unfortunately you will not have any deck control using an analog capture device unless you purchase a third party control interface Premiere plug-in such as VTR Pro.
When capturing to my test system I found that the RT 2000 Mega Pack 3.0 was generally very good at keeping the audio and video in sync. In over a month of usage I only had to re-capture two clips of video that did not have proper audio sync.
When capturing to MPEG 2 (either I-Frame or IBP) you will have a choice of image quality levels that you wish to capture at. With I-Frame the available data rates range from 10 Megabits per Second (MBPS) to 25 MBPS. With the IBP format the data rates range from 3 MBPS to 10 MBPS. Remember the IBP format can generate better image quality using lower data rates but is a non-editable format. Having these choices of data rate allows you to use lower image quality settings if your project doesn’t require the best image quality.