Debut Video Recording Software Professional Version from NCH Software turns your computer into a flexible, capable video capture and recording device. It can record video from a wide range of sources, including VHS VCRs, and save it in many formats; it can also capture screenshots and save them as JPEG stills. It will even capture and record video playing on your PC's screen. When all else fails but you've just got to save that clip, Debut can save the day.
Debut detected our video capture and playback devices, but it will automatically configure itself as a screen capture tool if no such devices are present. A full-featured, up-to-date interface let us not only capture and record video but also schedule and manage recordings. We pressed the first button on the toolbar, Webcam, and immediately our system's camera became active and started recording video. Clicking Device accessed a VHS video recorder via the line-in jacks on our video card; clicking Screen displayed our current screen view. The Schedule and Recordings functions needed no explanation, but the Selections tool proved more intriguing. This let us drag open a rectangular capture window on our desktop, or capture an entire window, and save only our selection, excluding the rest of the desktop. This greatly simplifies editing screen-captured video displayed in a small window. The program's options are basic for the genre, though we could configure snapshot quality, select a camera shutter sound, and defeat Debut's window in video recordings to prevent mirror effects. Debut also works with NHC's BroadCam live video streaming software to stream your video online, a capacity we didn't test.
Recording VHS video with Debut proved as easy as recording any video input via our system's video card (hooking a VCR up to a PC is the tricky part). We consider the results excellent: VHS-to-PC is limited by the quality of the source, which in this case is far inferior to your PC's screen. However, your digitally dubbed tapes will look normal when played back at the correct resolution on your TV. The ability to work well with a wide range of such devices sets Debut apart from less capable shareware and freeware video recording tools.
Editors' note: This is a review of the full version of Debut Video Recording Software Professional Version 1.49. The trial version is limited to 14 days.