Still video capture recommendations?

Robert Horton horton at
Mon Oct 18 16:22:26 EST 1993

Dear Netlanders;

We are trying to put together a system for digitizing still images from
a video camera. It will be used for analysing electrophoresis gels
(biochemistry stuff). We have access to FREE Macintosh software that can
analyse the images (complements of the U.S. taxpayer, thanks)
once we capture them in TIFF format (plus some other formats I haven't
tried and don't remember).

We have a "store-bought" system that we've been using; it's a 80286-powered
frame-grabber-equipped custom gizmo with photo-quality thermal printer output
made by UltraViolet Products. This is a very basic unit; it is operated
entirely with a little mouselike button gizmo, and doesn't even have a
keyboard. It has a TV screen/monitor? that shows either the live image or
the "grabbed" image. It will "integrate" frames (sum over time, analogous to
using a longer exposure), but it doesn't do any actual analysis or manipulation
itself (we copy the files onto a Mac using Apple File Exchange for that.)
This thing costs over $10k.

We want another system, and several people have voiced the suspicion that we
could put together such a thing for considerably less than $10k (i.e., we
paid "Pentagon pricing" for the one we have now...). We're thinking we 
could put a frame grabber into either a Mac or a PC clone for "just" a few
kilobucks, and end up with a niftier system (Ethernet connectivity, etc.).
Plus we'd have another computer for general use when nobody's grabbing frames.

Our problem is that nobody here has experience with frame-grabbing hardware, 
so I am seeking the Wisdom of the Net. Specifically, I'd like to hear comments
on the use of the following for grabbing still video images to at least 8-bit
depth (16 would be better), in a "standard" format (such as TIFF) that can
be analysed on a Mac:

1) Video spigot for Macintosh.
2) the new AV Macs (can you grab still frames? I've been reading comp.sys.mac.
	hardware, but nobody ever mentions still video capture with an AV. Is
	this just because its simple/trivial and boring, and everyone just
	wants to capture animated sequences?)
3) frame grabbers for PC clones.

Your comments are eagerly anticipated!

Bob Horton (Ph.D.!)   /\ "Crash programs fail because of the theory that
U. of Minnesota, CBS  || with nine women pregnant you get a baby a month" 
1479 Gortner Ave.    /||\   -Werner von Braun.  Disclaimer:"Bob who?"
St. Paul, MN 55108    ^^   horton at 624-3790

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