Creating movies is now something we can all do. Even Hollywood blockbusters are edited on Macs these days where the producers can't afford AVID. Terratec has decided to offer mobile users the chance to get a piece of the action and edit their home movies with the TerraTec Cameo 400 AC mobile unit for the laptop.

The device is a PCMCIA Card that you can put into a spare PC Card slot. With this unit you can connect it to anything from a DVD player, games console or camcorder to record and capture from. Devices can be connected either via the three phono sockets or an S-Video cable and Terractec also include a Scart adapter for easy connection to most home entertainment devices. Footage is then captured, converted into MPEG2/1 format and saved onto your hard drive.

The unit couldn't be any simpler and within minutes we had connected an DV Camcorder and recorded our first sample. Better still, because the card is capable of capturing stills we managed to get a couple of pictures for the family album at the same time and everything was incredibly easy to do.

It's all very well capturing the feed, but then what? While the package allows you to use other software that you are perhaps more akin to using, the Cameo 400 does come with an editing and DVD burning solution in the box to get you started: Ulead's VideoStudio 7 SE DVD and MovieFactory 2 SE.

Both are sufficiently capable of the task in hand allowing you to edit files, add overlays, special effects and titles as well as add audio tracks to produce your film masterpiece.

The software also gives you an output for sharing; either to be emailed to friends and family as an .avi file or burnt onto a VCD or DVD to be played in virtually any DVD player. The software if fairly basic and aimed towards the newcomer, but is ample enough to produce results quickly for presentations and the like.

Verdict

Bringing video capture capabilities to the laptop allows you to have the freedom to edit and capture on the fly. The only problem however is that recording vast amounts of footage and then editing it does require vast amounts of hard drive space, memory and processing power, which is something that most laptops don't have an infinite amount of. That said any device that allows you to do what would normally be done on a desktop without all the external boxes and power adapters has got to be great thinking.