I see a lot of confusion regarding capture glitches and switch settings using the PYRO A/V Link. I looked at Canopus and others before I bought this one because it fit my budget. After I bought it I went through the glitches and the Support system of ADS Tech problems that others are experiencing.The settings I use worked on my Vista 32 bit laptop and without a hitch when I got my Windows 7 64 bit desktop using PE7. I"m sure they will work for PE8. I have a ton of VHS tapes that I am working with so my point of reference is for VHS capture. I am also using NTSC.
If you are ordering one what you will be ordering is an API-558-EFS. Or maybe you are using one of the API-550 units. Thjis information should work fine for the 550. There is NO API-558 unit unless this has changed since I bought mine. The BOX with an API-557, a power cord, and an outdated API-550 user manual is what constitutes an API-558. I know this because an irate ADS Tech rep told me. I emailed to find out why I didn't get an API-558 and that is what I was told. "We no cheat you. You got what you pay for".
I checked for updated drivers and info from ADS Tech and found a REVISION E. You can go online to their website and print it off if you like but I will dialog on this revision in the switch settings. I tried to get the ADS Tech rep to give me a serial number break as to when they changed from the 550 to the 557 units but did not get an answer. I think he said REV.E started with the API-557 but who knows seems to be answer.
Switch settings: I use #1 DOWN #2 UP #3 DOWN #4 DOWN and here are the reasons why.
The API-550 booklet/user manual shows a few windows versions. I refer to Windows XP because Vista and Win 7 seem to be offshoots of XP.
SWITCH NO. 1 for the API-550 (the API-557 and Vista and Win 7 are not in there) says DOWN for NTSC and Up for PAL . REV E says this has been changed to a black level (Color IRE) down being 0 IRE and up being 7 IRE(default). The ADS Tech rep told me the new unit Automatically detects NTSC or PAL. Do I believe him? Not at this point in time.
SWITCH NO.2 was not changed with REV.E UP for XP, Vista, and Win 7
SWITCH NO.3 was not changed with REV.E DOWN for XP, Vista, and Win 7
SWITCH NO.4 was originally (for the API-550) DOWN for LOCKED AUDIO and Up for Unlocked Audio. REV E. changed this to Down =12-bit/32kHz and Up =16-bit/48kHz Audio Sampling Rate
At this point in time I believe I have an API-550 with an API-557 sticker on it. My reasoning is that I import one long stream (60 to 90 minutes) of video from VHS into PE7 without stopping and after making a DVD where the video and sound separated further and further to about 5 minutes off at the end. I went back to switch #4 LOCKED AUDIO. I also didn't care about black level so I set the #! Switch DOWN fo make sure of NTSC. Depending on which unit you think you have you can experiment with the first and last switches. It is possible on short video you might not notice the video/audio separation. ALSO PE7 identifies the unit as an API-550 at the top of the capture screen/panel.(Capturing Device) Whether or not this is the result of windows drivers I don't know.
Connections I have a VHS/DVD Recorder unit with HDMI and Component Video (3 Video and R & L Audio) output. The PYRO AV link has Component Video IN which I use and the Canopus did not as I recall. I don't know what the other various units have as they were over my spending limit. The quality of Video I get seems really good.. If you are thinking about upgrading your VHS player look on the Back of the unit you think you want to buy and see if it has the Component Video output. The users guide says for DVD player out on my machine but works fine for VHS out. To connect the Pyro to computer you need Firewire as others have said. No USB connection.
One Major Glitch; Get off the Internet (as others have said) before you start trying to do video. This is even more important with an underpowered computer. My laptop had a switch I would flip to disconnect. My desk top Internet connection has to be disabled. or unplugged from router, or turn router off if you don't need it for other computers. If you don't know how to watch your task manager learn how to bring it up and watch it to see cpu and memory usage and the ammount of processes being used. RESTART the computer maybe more than once. What you will notice will be the number of processes being used will drop and the ammount of memory being used will drop. Restarting seems to dump all the Internet garbage at least till you get back on again and surf around and collect it again. I used to leave mine off the internet for several days and the movie making went smoothly. On my laptop it took up to 10% of the memory and the desktop takes 6+% of 12GB just to be on the internet. I started noticing this early on when things would lock up and I would have to restart anyway.
Starting; After you get off the internet, restart, bring up the task manager, and watch till things settle down to about 0 cpu usage, start PE7 or whatever Video program you want. Watch the task manager again and when everything is down to about 0 cpu usage, start a new project in the welcome screen. Where you want to put your project and how you name it is up to you. I make a new folder and put Everything in there. If you use an external hard drive make sure you dont forget to have it hooked up and on when your video program goes looking for projects the next time you open one up.
After you push ok and the selections come up for what type of video you are working with Click on the NTSC DV and it will give you a choice of 4:3 or 16:9 Wldescreen. I use the standard 4:3 because all of my footage is old and when playing a DVD later on, the newer TVs seem to be able to widen it out and on older TVs things look normal anyway. I click done and when mainscreen comes up select Get Media. I again select DV ( Camcorder) and the capture Window opens up.
I fire up my VCR, put a tape in and plug in the PYRO unit. I don't know if that's bad or not, I just got tired of pushing the teeny power button on the unit so I just plug or unplug the PYRO power cord. If the red light is not on the front of the PYRO push the button next to it and hold briefly. When you let go the Red light should be on for Analog. When you hook up one of these to the computer Windows may install a driver. Some firewire devices say you don't need a driver. With the PYRO TURNED ON, if you open up DEVICE MANAGER you will see the Pyro show up under IMAGING Devices. Imaging Devices does not show up in my machine until the PYRO is plugged in. Then when Imaging Devices shows up mine says AD API-550. Click on properties,then driver, and windows shows a driver. Says its an older driver but it works. If you don't see it listed before you try to import video you may have other issues.
Play some video through your VCR and make sure the light stays Red on the Pyro. You should see the Video in the Capture Window and also hear the audio. I let my VCR do some auto tracking, play and rewind and zero the counter when I reach the point I want to push the capture button. After a few times you can pretty much tell where the tape needs to be at the point you push capture. When capturing it will say capturing and a red line will appear around the window. If you push pause, that segment is pretty much a done deal. If it didn't capture enough video you may have to rewind and capture again and leave the first capture out of your project.
If you have glitches or the capture is screwy you may have to exit the project (save it if you alrerady have existing material in) RESTART and try again, or delete and start over. Once you learn what you want to do you shouldn't have that problem. I also learned early on to NEVER push the close button in the upper RH corner to close PE7 as you would normally do to close a window or program. PE7 didn't like that. Always use File and EXit.
Always wait for PE7 to settle down on each step before you try to do other things or you are going to lock things up depending on how fast your machine is. I have the Task manager to always be on top of other windows (under options at the top of Task Manager window). If it gets in the road I minimize the window and bring it back up whenever I think things are moving slow or I want to check something.
I have used this procedure for other movie programs and capture always works. Hope it works for others using PYRO. Hopefully I was to the point and this makes sense. Bill Hunt suggested I maybe post this to Muvipix but when I visited the Muvipix site there was Pyro stuff all over the place and I wasn't sure where to post. Maybe after he reads this he may not want me to post. Or If he thinks its ok material maybe he can scoot it over to Muvipix for me. Thanks again. I will watch this post to see if I was unclear on anything. Or if you guys clear up any mistatements you think I made.