SpigotPower AV Q&A


Q: What is SpigotPower AV, and with which Macs is it compatible?

A: SpigotPower AV is a video data compression/decompression card that is compatible with the Centris/Quadra 660AV and Quadra 840AV when using the Spigot AV 1.1 software (or the Spigot AV 1.1.1 software, not yet released as of this update) and QuickTime 2.0. It is also supported with the Power Mac 7100AV and 8100AV when using the SpigotPower AV 1.0 software and QuickTime 1.6.2. There is insufficient space in the Power Mac 6100 AV to install SpigotPower AV. SpigotPower AV compresses the data on the way in to get it down to a manageable level and decompresses it on the way back out. The result is smooth, 30 frames per second, 60-field video. SpigotPower AV is not recommended for use on Power Mac AV systems with QuickTime 2.0. Users may find that using either the Spigot AV 1.1 or 1.1.1 software with QuickTime 2.0 on PowerMac Systems may adequately meet their needs, but these configurations will remain unsupported.

Q: Is SpigotPower AV compatible with QuickTime 2.0 or 2.1?

A: Yes, SpigotPower AV now requires QuickTime 2.0 when using Spigot AV 1.1 software on the Centris/Quadra 660AV and Quadra 840AV. Use of the Apple Multimedia Tuner 2.0.1 is also recommended when using Adobe Premiere 4.0.1. SpigotPower AV is not recommended for use with Power Macintosh AV's using QuickTime 2.0, and remains untested and unsupported with QuickTime 2.1 in any configuration.

Q: Is SpigotPower AV compatible with System 7.5 or later?

A: SpigotPower AV is compatible with System 7.5 or later when using Spigot AV 1.1 software on the Centris & Quadra 660AV and Quadra 840AV. However, a full installation of System 7.5 is not recommended. If you experience problems using System 7.5, disabling unnecessary control panel items and extensions is advised.

Q: How does SpigotPower AV connect?

A: SpigotPower AV uses the AV Mac's DAV slot and one NuBus slot. In a Quadra AV, the DAV slot is directly in line with the upper NuBus slot, so when you plug into one, you automatically plug into the other. With the Power Mac AVs, Apple moved that AV hardware off the logic board and onto the AV PDS card. You still use the NuBus slot, but the DAV connection is made via a ribbon cable running from the top of SpigotPower AV card to the top of the Apple AV PDS card. There is only one version of the SpigotPower AV card for both Power Macintosh AV's and Quadra AV's; you use or don't use the ribbon cable depending on which Mac you have.

Q: When, why, and how does one select one Spigot AV CODEC over the other?

A: The CODEC, "Spigot AV-JPEG," is a straight JPEG Compression/Decompression algorithm that is best when your final output is going to be to an RGB display, either for live playback from the hard drive or for multimedia distribution via CD-ROM. It allows for 640x240 output with vertical interpolation to 640x480 and 320x240 output with no interpolation. The alternate CODEC, "Spigot AV- Interlaced JPEG," is a variant on JPEG that has been optimized for NTSC or PAL output. The result is true 640x480 NTSC or 768x576 PAL interlaced output with no interpolation. A 320x240 size is really more suitable for CD-ROMs than NTSC display unless you are using SpigotPro AV when outputting to NTSC. You select one CODEC or the other based on what your final output is going to be; the selection is made via your editing application when you make the movie. They are selected just like any other CODECs within your video editing application.

Q: I can't seem to use my SpigotPower AV card because my software can't find the board in my Mac, or says the CODECs are unavailable. Why is this happening?

A: You must make sure that the SpigotPower AV card is firmly seated in the slots. In the 660AV and 840AV, where the NuBus slot and the DAV slots are directly in line, the card MUST be firmly seated in both slots. The 660AV also requires the use of an Apple NuBus adapter. It may also be necessary to zap the PRAM of your Macintosh in order for the SpigotPower AV card to be recognized.

Q: How does SpigotPower AV compare to VideoVision Studio?

A: SpigotPower AV is not a capture device. It is part of a hardware-based CODEC system that utilizes Apple's AV architecture. As such, it is limited to a maximum pixel depth of thousands of colors on output to Macintosh RGB displays. A higher-end, self-contained capture and output device, like VideoVision Studio, will give a maximum pixel depth of millions of colors and offer lower compression rates for better quality video. While VideoVision Studio is best for off-line editing and near-broadcast quality video, SpigotPower AV is best for CD-ROM production and suitible for industrial quality off-line editing.

Q: What are the storage and hardware requirements of the SpigotPower AV board?

A: For optimal performance, SpigotPower AV requires a hard drive with a sustained data throughput of 2.0 MB/second under QuickTime. A SCSI-II card is not optimal, nor recommended since SpigotPower AV currently conflicts with some of these cards, and the internal SCSI bus is adequate. While such arrays will perform adequately up to 1400k/sec, higher rates will drop frames. Most importantly, when using QuickTime 2.0, the SpigotPower AV card is supported ONLY in Quadra AV Macs.

Q: Is the SpigotPower AV a capture card?

A: Technically, no. It is a compression/decompression card. SpigotPower AV uses Apple's AV architecture, but does not change or modify it. It just works with the data to produce superior end results. Apple's AV hardware is still doing all the input and output, but it's able to do it MUCH better with SpigotAV hardware installed.

Q: What sort of software comes with and is required by SpigotPower AV?

A: Since the SpigotPower AV board is not a capture device in itself, it does not come with any capture/editing application. You may wish to consider QuickFLIX!, Premiere, VideoShop, or VideoFusion for use with your SpigotPower AV. Also, AV Macs ship with FusionRecorder, which will work as the capture application. In terms of it's own software, SpigotPower AV comes with (1) the Spigot AV Extension, (2) the Print to Spigot AV plug-in, (3) the Spigot AV Player application, and (4) the Spigot AV XCMD, for accessing and controlling the board via Macromedia Director, in addition to QuickTime 2.0 software. The Spigot AV extension contains the data for the card's codecs, Spigot AV-JPEG and Spigot AV-Interlaced JPEG. The Print to Spigot AV plug-in is for use with Premiere when exporting your final video product to RGB or tape from Premiere. Spigot AV Player is a simple movie player that allows for quick and easy playback of any SpigotAV movie.

Q: I have a 20" monitor and am trying to use SpigotPower AV. I know that my AV system will support millions of colors - which means I should be able to use SpigotPower AV in thousands of colors - but every time I go into the Monitors control panel, the maximum number of colors is thousands. This means I can only use SpigotPower AV in 256 colors on my Macintosh RGB display. How can I use SpigotPower AV in thousands of colors?

A: This depends on which 20" or 21" monitor you have. If the monitor is a fixed frequency monitor, you may not be able to use your monitor with the SpigotPower AV card, since the maximum supported RGB resolution is 832x624. If the monitor is a multi-frequency monitor, a different cable or adapter may be needed to display resolutions of either 640x480 or 832x624 in order to correctly use the SpigotPower AV card.

Q: Why does the Quadra 660AV's RGB Macintosh display only 256 colors with SpigotPower AV?

A: This has nothing to do with the SpigotPower AV card when displaying video to your Macintosh RGB display. Apple uses a technique called double frame buffering with its AV hardware. The result is that video output is always one step down from video input and your normal display mode. On supported CPUs other than the 660AV, if you have enough VRAM for millions of colors display under normal conditions, your video output will be in thousands of colors. On the 660AV, since you only have enough VRAM for thousands of colors display, your output will always be 256 colors. This is due to Apple's AV architecture, and there is nothing the SpigotPower AV card can do about it. You must also keep in mind that Apple basically took a 32-bit data bus and split it equally for audio & video -- 16-bit for audio, 16-bit for video. Again, this is not something the SpigotPower AV card can alter.

Q: Does the SpigotPower AV support cropping the capture window to different sizes?

A: Not entirely. Do not crop the video capture window or use capture sizes other than full or half screen NTSC or PAL sizes. Otherwise, it will process the capture using the built-in VDIG and frame rates will suffer. Instead, use the Crop filter in Premiere and render the movie at either full or half screen NTSC or PAL sizes.

Q: I have an RGB monitor attached to a graphics card. Every time I try to use a capture window displayed on this monitor, I get poor performance. Why is this happening?

A: The most common reason for this occurrence is that the SpigotPower AV card will not function correctly unless the AV Macintosh's VRAM is being used. Depending on your Macintosh, the capture window must be on the monitor attached to the built-in video or AV port. It is also possible to capture while in NTSC mode. However, be sure you are not using the flicker filter option, as this is unnecessary and will significantly reduce performance.

Q: I have the SpigotPower AV running on my Macintosh monitor, but every time I try to Print to Spigot AV, I never get an option to output to NTSC (for a VCR or TV). How can I do this?

A: You need to go into the Monitors control panel and switch your monitor setup via the options button to NTSC. On a Centris or Quadra 660AV and Quadra 840AV, you will have to restart your Macintosh. Be sure to turn flicker control off when outputting to NTSC using SpigotPower AV.

Q: When I choose "Get Info" from the File menu to identify the version of the SpigotPower AV extension I'm using, it reports version 1.0b6. Does this mean I have beta software?

A: This is not beta software, but some copies of the initial release of the SpigotPower AV extension are mislabeled 1.0 b6. You can continue to use this version without concern, or you can download the official release version from our software libraries on America Online, AppleLink, CompuServe, eWorld, internet (ftp.radiusvintage.com), and the Radius BBS (408-541-6190).

Q: I am not seeing video in the digitizing window. What is happening?

A: If digitized video does not appear in the video capture application window check for the following: Correct cable connections; Be sure the display is connected to the AV's video output connection; Reduce the number of colors in the monitors control panel to activate the computer's built-in digitizer (the digitizer's supported bit depth is one bit depth less than the maximum supported.)

Q; I am trying to print to tape using SpigotPower AV and I have switched my monitor to NTSC. Every time I try to play the movie, all I get is a black screen or slow playback. What is happening?

A: Check the Monitors control panel to see if you have the flicker filter turned on. If you have this turned on, the performance will be dramatically reduced. You must turn this feature OFF for SpigotPower AV to perform correctly. Since you should be using the Spigot AV-Interlaced JPEG CODEC to output to an NTSC display anyway, the flicker filter would, at best, be redundant and would degrade the quality of the Interlaced image.

Q: I have zapped the PRAM several times and my capture application still does not show the Spigot AV digitizer. What is happening?

A: Sometimes the Macintosh will not update the AV system to recognize the SpigotPower AV card. (This can be identified in the capture application by selecting the Source pop-up menu from the Video Input VDIG window. If the only digitizer listed is "Built-in," the SpigotPower AV card is not being recognized.) This situation may be corrected by moving the SpigotPower AV card into the middle NuBus card slot and zapping the PRAM again, then reinstalling the card back into the first NuBus according to the instructions in your installation manual.

Q: I am not getting smooth playback of movies when using SpigotPower AV. What should I do?

A: If the video files are not smooth during playback check for the following:

(1) Make sure the Spigot AV extension is in the System Folder's Extensions folder;

(2) Be sure the correct CODEC is being used, also change the quality slider if needed;

(3) Use the Spigot AV player or the Print to Spigot AV command in Premiere to play back the movie;

(4) Remove non-standard extensions or control panels from the system;

(5) Be sure the hard drive sub-system is optimized and capable of maintaining a sustained QuickTime transfer rate of 2.0 MB per second;

(6) Be sure the drive has been formatted with SCSI Manager 4.3 compatible software;

(7) Check to make sure the playback window is not straddling the RGB and NTSC screens in a two-monitor setup. Finally, remove any additional cards that might be affecting the performance of the SpigotPower AV card. The SpigotPower AV card may perform better without certain other cards installed in the Macintosh.

Q: When I try to preview a movie, play a QuickTime composite movie, or play the beginning of QuickTime movie, I often will see green or pink flashes and incorrect playback. Why is this?

A: It is often not possible to accurately preview movies using Adobe Premiere with SpigotPower AV. A green flash or discoloration may occur while previewing transitions. In order to view a movie without the flashes, make a sample QuickTime Movie. Make sure you make a QuickTime Movie and not a QuickTime Composite.

Q: I have a Power Macintosh AV, and I find that when I try to capture video via the Composite, (or RCA) jacks, I can't get any video. Capturing from the S-Video input works fine, however. Why is this happening?

A: When using the Composite, or RCA, jacks to capture or output video, make sure the correct cable extender is being used from the DAV connection on Power Macintosh AV systems. The markings on the cable extenders will identify which extender connection should be used for composite input or output.


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