HARDWARE REVIEW: THE SAM REALTIZER by Richard Karsmakers
Before I start with this article, I must extend my thanks to ST
Club Eindhoven (for purchasing it), the Strike-a-Light group and
Adrie 'Commando' van der Weyden (the latter two for experimenting
a lot with it, and digitizing just as much).
When I visited the PCM Show (some months ago - a full report can
be found in an earlier issue of ST NEWS) I had already seen a
digitizer that enabled the digitizing of 25 frames per second. I
had glanced at it, and thought it to be amazing. You could
actually walk in front of the camera and see yourself walking on
the ST color monitor - real time! It must have been a gag of some
kind, I thought.
But I soon quite forgot about the whole until I recently saw this
device connected to Adrie's computer. While annoying his wife
about her over-weight (SHE seems to think she's over-weighted,
anyway) and annoying him about his supposed Commando-past, he
demonstrated the digitizer and the only thing I could do for the
next quarter of an hour was saying "Shit", "Jesus" and dripping
from my mouth into his Commando neck.
What I actually saw WAS TV quality, and he digitized some of the
TV pictures while making remarks about Willeke (that's what we
usually do - Frank and myself visit Adrie nearly every Wednesday
evening and all we talk about it his wife's overweight, his
Commando background and my hopeless love, whereas we also
sometimes let Adrie's very agressive bird loose that immediately
and violently starts attacking poor Frank). The program that
happened to be on the television ("Countdown") currently
displayed Chris Rea and even the word "Fender" on the head of his
guitar could be plainly read (!). The quality was indeed amazing
and I think none of you will believe before you have actually
seen it yourself. No worry: A picture taken from the TV series
"The Master" will be included in our "Nice Picture Show", that is
to be launched within one or maybe two months. So you can decide
The actual hardware consist of a ROM port plug-in device (about
as deep as your ST and 15 centimetres wide) containing an
astonishing amount of ICs and the like. A simple chord can
connect the thing to your TV or to a camera. A thing I didn't
like about the hardware is that you have to open it to adjust
horizontal screen width, contrast and brightness - they should
have put some potentiometres on the device.
While digitizing with the supplied software (the only
disadvantage of the software is that different modes are left
using different keys/mousepresses which makes it a bit unhandy to
start with), the program constantly stores 26 pictures per second
in memory (the current picture and the 25 before that). Of
course, you can buffer less pictures on a Half Meg ST, and up to
122 pictures can be stored on a MEGA ST4. The speed is just as
incredible as the quality.
The software allows several kinds of playback (forward, bounce,
keys, all with different speeds), several ways to display
(reverse/normal, all with different color palettes), the storing
of a picture or even a complete sequence on (hard-)disk and much
more. Loading these pictures or sequences is also possible, as is
the formatting of a disk and several other options. Pictures can
be stored in Neochrome-, Degas-or Degas Elite format (though the
latter are NOT crunched).
No doubt, the "SAM Realtizer" ("SAM" stands for "Silicon
Animation Machine") is the best digitizer available at the
moment, even out-performing the "PRO 87" from Print & Technik. It
should be, anyway, considering the astounding amount of money you
have to pay - 899 Dutch Guilders (though members of ST Club
Eindhoven can actually get it cheaper - for info, call Hubert van
Mil at 040-112840).
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.