Pyro A/V link is a device for capturing and converting video into professional quality
DV format and also supports exporting edited DV content to analog video tape recorders.
Capturing DV from a Digital camcorder is great, but what about all of the video content
you have in other formats (8mm, beta, VHS, DVD)? How do you get that content into
the DV format? Pyro A/V link solves the problem by converting any analog video source
into DV. What if you need to share the video on VHS tape for people who have not
yet migrated to a DVD player? The Pyro A/V link bridges the gap by allowing you to
export DV video to any analog video recorder. Capture and edit your video, then output
to VHS and share tapes that anyone can watch. With Pyro A/V link you can capture
from any video source, including DV camcorders, and mix and match your video content
to create a truly unique video production.
- Component Video In
- Composite Video Out
- S-Video Out
- Composite Video In
- S-Video In
- Mac OS 9/Mac OS X,
iMac/iBook/G3/G4, CD-ROM drive -OR-
- Windows 98/98SE/Me/2000/XP,
Pentium III 400Mhz or better, CD-ROM drive
|Analog Video Format
|Analog Video Signal
||S-Video, Composite Video
|Digital Video Format
|Digital Video Capture
||720 x 576, 720 x 480
|Audio Input Support
- Pyro A/V Link device
- composite audio/video
- S-VHS cable
- 6-pin to 6-pin 1394
- 4-pin to 4-pin 1394
- power supply
- user manual
- Video Studio 7 SE
Software DVD edition for PC
- NOTE: Mac users use
iMovie pre-installed on most Macs
The Pyro A/V Link is a black box that has a variety of input and output ports.
It supports S-Video, composite audio/video, and firewire. It also includes a firewire
pass-through port so that you don't lose a firewire port when the Pyro is hooked
up to your Mac. There is a device control switch on the Pyro that sets importing
to either analog or digital signals. The Pyro comes with all the cables needed to
do your video transfers. The unit is light, small and takes up little room on your
I have limited experience
in doing captures from my DV camcorder to my Mac, and needed a means of capturing
video from my old VHS tapes. After reading the manual (6 minutes) and hooking up
the Pyro (another 5 minutes), it was ready to be put to use. It was very easy to
setup. Just plug in the cables provided and it works. The Pyro comes with software
for the PC, but since I used the Pyro with my iMac, no software installation was
required. I was able to use iMovie to capture and view the video from various sources.
VCR to Pyro to iMac
In order to capture video from a VHS tape, I needed to hook my VCR up to the
Pyro, and then the Pyro to my iMac. I used the provided RCA jacks to connect my VHS
player to the front of the Pyro/AV Link unit, and the firewire cable to connect the
Pyro to my iMac. You also have to press the "Analog" selector on the Pyro
unit (by default, the Pyro is in "Digital" mode for input from devices
such as a digital video camera). From there, it was as simple as starting up iMovie
and doing an import.
During VCR transfers,
there were some occasional breaks and pauses while capturing caused by the buffering
process that the Pyro uses. These spots are easily corrected by rewinding and re-capturing.
This will not be a good solution if you want to do a straight copy of a full VHS
tape to digital, as there will be too many breaks (aka, loss of frames). This transfer
is better suited for capture clips from a VHS tape.
The quality of the
VHS captures was simply outstanding just using RCA jacks (improved video may be possible
by using the S-Video connection). The video captures were easy, and having them converted
to digital breathed new life into my old videos.
In terms of device control, the only way to control the VHS tape is via the manual
controls on the VCR (i.e., press the VCR stop button, rewind button, etc.). It would
have been nice to have the VCR controlled by iMovie the way my digital video camera
is controlled, but the Pyro does not support analog device control. Further, you
need to be careful which manual controls you do use while importing into iMovie.
The normal play mode as well as fast forwarding on the VCR while viewing the VHS
video in iMovie works fine. However, rewinding caused the video to stop streaming
into iMovie and popped up an error message reading "Camera not connected."
Unfortunately, continuing is not as simple as pressing play in iMovie. After rewinding,
you have to press play again on the VCR, push the Digital/Analog button on the Pyro
to switch to analog (for some reason the Pryo goes back to digital mode when you
stop the VCR), and then press Import on iMovie. This can be a bit of a hassle when
you are using rewind a lot to look for specific video scenes. It may be easier just
to import the whole tape, and then navigate through the digitized video (although
you'll then have to live with the breaks presented by Pyro's buffering).
Once I got used to using only the fast forward and play buttons on the VCR, it was
extremely easy and fun to capture video, and the best part was capturing priceless
memories from old VHS tapes.
Hi-8 Camera to Pyro to iMac
Another use of the Pyro is taking video from a Hi-8 camera and importing into
iMovie. I used the S-video cable that came with the Pyro to hook up my Hi-8 Camera
to the front of the Pyro AV/Link. The firwire was still hooked up to my iMac from
the prior VCR setup. This setup provided a very easy capture as well. In fact, unlike
the VCR hookup, I was able to use both the camera's rewind and fast forward buttons
while viewing the video in iMovie. I experienced beautiful results, and the process
was quick and easy.
The Pyro only imports video from the device that is playing, so leaving the VCR plugged
in did not interfere with the Hi-8 set-up. This was nice, because then I could switch
back and forth from each source without the hassle of plugging and unplugging the
MiniDV Camera to Pyro to iMac
To hook-up a MiniDV camera, I used the same set up as with the Hi-8. Of course,
you can plug your digital camera directly into the firewire port of your computer
without the Pyro, but I found it nice to have a video "router" that you
can plug and unplug different video devices at will. This set-up is great for when
you are collecting video sources from a variety of different devices. You just plug
and unplug the devices to and from the Pyro without having to change the firewire
cable that goes into the Mac.
With a digital video
camera in use, not only was I able to use all the camera's controls without interrupting
iMovie, but the iMovie controls also controlled the camera (just like it would if
the camera were directly connected to the Mac). This import resulted in excellent
quality clips with no breaks or interruptions during transfer.
MiniDV to Pyro to VCR
In addition to importing video from analog and digitial devices into your Mac, you
can also use the Pyro to go direct from digital to an analog device. In my test,
I wanted to take digital video from my MiniDV camera and record it on a VHS tape.
To do so, I just had to switch a few cables around. I connected the S-Video cable
to the OUT port on the camera and to the IN port on the Pyro. I then connected the
RCA cables to the OUT port on the Pyro and to the IN port on the VCR. I recorded
5 minutes from Mini DV to VHS with no problems. After the transfer, I switched the
cables back again to have the VCR go into the iMac and viewed the results on my computer.
Once again, this set-up produced beautiful results. This was a fast and easy way
to transfer digital video to VHS tape. It was also nice to know that I could transfer
my video to VHS tapes without my computer.
The Pyro A/V Link is an amazing black box that lets you transfer video to and
from a variety of analog and digital devices, whether a VCR, digital camera, or your
Macintosh running iMovie. I used it with great success transferring analog video
from a VCR into my iMac, analog video from a Hi-8 camera into my iMac, digital video
from a MiniDV camera into my iMac, and even digital video from a MiniDV camera directly
onto a VHS tape. The Pyro is quite easy to setup and use, and produces excellent
results. When transferring video to your Mac, the Pyro utilizes iMovie for importing.
Unfortunately, iMovie's controls do not control analog devices connected through
the Pyro box, so you must rely on the analog device's controls. Using iMovie to import,
you have the option of importing the video and editing on the fly, or simply capturing
all of the video content and saving the editing for later. The latter is preferable
when importing from a VCR, as the Pyro gets confused when using the rewind button
(at least in my tests). The ports are in a convenient location, simplifying the process
of capturing video from a variety of devices. Overall, I loved working with this
product. The Pyro A/V Link is a great piece of hardware, especially for the cost.
I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to digitize old analog video from a variety
of sources, or wanting to easily transfer digital video onto VHS tapes.
- Simple installation
- Variety of inputs
and outputs for analog and digital devices
- Includes Firewire
- Quality of video
capture is great
- iMovie's controls
do not operate analog devices
- Device is interrupted
and reset when rewinding from VCR
- Buffering breaks
occur during VHS video capture
4 out of 5 Mice