SUNSET VIDEO GETS IMAGE CONSCIOUS
Just when I thought I'd seen every possible use for the Spectrum, Sunset came along and turned it into a camera.
The Sunset Video Digitiser takes still images from a video camera or video recorder and displays them on screen - and costs £128.50.
Once the picture is in the Spectrum you can manipulate it by altering the grey scale - each pixel is stored at one of sixteen levels - and print it to a printer. This last feature was omitted from the review model but all you have to do is Copy the screen.
As the Spectrum cannot display the whole of a normal video picture you can select a part of the incoming image, roughly two thirds, as the picture.
Generally speaking, the whole process is fairly automatic. You control the overall grey scale but basically you must input a still frame, press a key, and in theory the picture appears.
In practice it proved a little more difficult than that. The first attempt worked find first time, while the second took half an hour to achieve only a poor quality picture. The problem is that you need a high-quality picture and a home video recorder usually isn't up to it.
For the enthusiast, with the necessary video hardware, the Sunset Digitiser is a must. You could create all sorts of images, load them into a graphics program and end up with some stunning pictures.
For the home user, think carefully before you buy.
Sunset, 3 New Road, Tongham, Farnham, Surrey. Tel: 01-681 8702.