Well, I'm pleased to report that after sinking an excessive amount of time into this project and stumbling through all of the gotchas detailed in the previous two installments, I finally hit upon a set of products and a work flow that resulted in really nice quality output as follows:
- I've purchased and installed Turtle Beach's Video Advantage PCI - Great hardware at a reasonable price. I'm afraid that besides the ADFullCap capture application and the driver itself, the rest of the software bundle wasn't worth the disk space, but there's nothing unusual there. PowerDirector's MPEG-2 output was really grainy and Audio Surgeon literally crashes whenever the app is doing something and losesregains focus. ADFullCap however is a tight little app that fired up on first boot with the perfect settings for pixel-perfect interlaced or deinterlaced captures of my analog VHS output to 720x480 YUY2 type-2 DV-AVI files that worked great with every editor I use. Zero sound synchronization or frame dropping issues observed even on long captures. On the hardware side, the card has a full assortment of inputs for a variety of equipment and though the driver was not WHQL signed, I have not had any serious issues to report with it to date.
- I relied primarily on Adobe Premier 1.0 Elements to edit and render the DV-AVI content to DVD as the Adobe editor allowed me to easily create and arrange multiple layers of video and audio tracks. I see that Premiere can export the videos for use on the web as well but I haven't yet experimented with their output.
As I stumbled through all of this, I found I was following in the footsteps of a great many others who had experienced all of the same issues I had with these various products... In the end, the whole experience told me that while many of the scenarios I was working through aren't yet ready for the masses, the Longhorn planners really are on the right track for the next release of the world's preeminent consumer desktop operating system. It's the right time to bring together all of the advancements in hardware, software, and media and wrap it up in a package that is easy enough for my mom to use. Thanks to all who offered advice and help along the way.