Screen Machine II

The 2nd Generation

Screen Machine II developed by FAST Electronic was a great success all over Europe. Why? Tailor-made software for users and and developers. High image quality. And the impressive service provided by the pioneer in video integration at the computer.

You're sure to take a second look at Screen Machine II. It was a completely new development in its hardware and software modules, providing functionalities that you had come to expect from Screen Machine: high screen resolutions and transparencies, digital effects usually only found in video studios. See for yourself.

The New Hardware

ScreenMachine HW

Super VGA resolutions, even at high image refresh rates

Screen Machine II overcame the resolution limit of 800 x 600 in non-interlaced mode. Screen Machine II was the first video overlay board to support VGA resolutions of 1024 x 768 non-interlaced at screen frequencies of up to 76 Hz in graphics mode. The result? Visibly better picture quality and no flicker. And your eyes would thank you.

Screen Machine II allowed you to select the VGA adapter of your choice. It was compatible to all high-resolution graphic cards. The connection to a feature connector was recommended, but not required. Screen Machine II could also be used without memory mapping in computers with 16 MB RAM and more.

Full PAL Resolution of 576 Lines in Standard 4:2:2
Screen Machine II digitizes full PAL images (576 lines). This was over 10% more than other video digitizers (max. 512 lines). And, naturally, Screen Machine II digitizes in 4:2:2 standard in 24-bit true color (16.7 million colors).

Optimal Display Quality and Digital Video Effects, thanks to Video Machine Chips
Screen Machine II incorporates the Professional Video Scaler and the Video Memory Controller (VMC) used in Video Machine, the desktop video studio from FAST. The scaler increases the display quality of the live video considerably. The VMS provides video effects, including video overlays, such as luma and chroma keying, mosaic, etc. Developers of multimedia applications had a number of new possibilities at their fingertips.

The Software

Naturally, the basic software necessary to begin operating Screen Machine II was part of the delivery package.

The NeXT version of the popular SMCamera software was - NeXT-like - easy to operate. The clear structure of the user interface enabled you to produce quickly the pictures you like best. You had the option of saving your image in Screen Machine FLM format or directly in the widely used TIFF format. Direct printing and cut and paste functionalities of the active video data make your work all the more efficient since you no longer lose time by switching to paint and draw programs. With the digital darkroom, you could process your captured images at any time. It made made no difference whether your system was operated in a color or black and white mode since the pictures are always displayed in true color thanks to Screen Machine's overlay board. This module also enabled you to specify the picture area, color components, compression, image format, and more.

You would soon discover that you cannot do without the small tool for the recording and playback of short video sequences. Already the standard in Apple and Windows, Animate was the foundation of multimedia communciation in NeXT. It was here that stored video sequences are edited. Data compression and a royalty-free player unlicensed enable you to transfer animations to third parties. The unique aspect was that a Screen Machine board was not required for the playback.

The easiest integration of a live video application under NeXTSTEP. Kept simple in concept and design, SM View has all of the functions of Screen Machine. This program could be included in the service menus of all NeXT applications that work with picture data. Problems with image acquisition even from other programs are then a thing of the past.

You know the problem :
Multi-User systems are always somewhat involved. This was where NeXT's features come in. All central data for the correct configuration of Screen Machine II are stored in the NetInfo database. Once specified, all users automatically had the right settings. Moreover, there are no extra configuration files left to overload your home directory.

Screen Machine. The Facts.

Screen Machine Hardware
Screen Machine II was a real-time video digitizer, that digitize images in true color or gray scales (16-bit add-on board). Screen Machine II was also a multimedia board that was capable of displaying live video in any size, at any position on your VGA monitor. Based on the latest digital video technology, all hardware in the Screen Machine range of products combined high-quality image recording, digital video signal processing, and real-time video display on a single board.

Connecting Video Sources
Screen Machine II has video inputs for composite and S-VHS signals (3 x composite, or 1 x S-VHS plus 1 x composite). Thus all camcorders, video recorders, laserdisc players, S-Video, Video 8, U-Matic, and still video equipment in any standard (PAL, NTSC, SECAM) could be hooked up to the board. It also has a digital noise suppression feature for weak video signals and a digital timebase corrector (TBC) for stabilizing signals from mechanical video sources (e.g. video recorders).

System Requirements
486-compatible PC with 16-bit slot; NeXTSTEP 3.2 for Intel or higher; 16 MB RAM; VGA graphics card and analog monitor.

Delivery Package

16-bit add-on board, S-Video, Color keying with connecting cable, input cable for video source, S-Video cable, manual.

SMCamera, image grabbing; SMAnimator, animation software; SMSetup, system configuration; Screen Machine Kernel;
Tools : SMView, FLMConverter

Technical DATA :

Color resolution
24-bit true color (16.7 million colors)

Digitizing time
1/50 sec. field PAL (1/60 NTSC)
1/25 sec. frame PAL (1/30 NTSC)

Video inputs
composite, max. 1Vpp 75 Ohm, AGC
3 inputs, software selectable
up to 4 Screen Machine IIs per PC

Video standards

Video scan rate
14.75 MHz (PAL) with 2x oversampling

Geometric resolution
768 x 576 pixels frame (PAL)
640 x 480 pixels frame (NTSC)
square pixels

digital video effects (e.g., negative,
posterizing, mosaic, continuous zoom,
flip, etc.), look-up table
color keying (via feature connector)
chroma keying (blue box effects) video

RGB with 0.7 Vpp 75 Ohm
15-pin DBX-VGA standard connector

non-interlaced conversion
scaling with digital filtering

640 x 480, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768 (76 Hz)
1120 x 832 (68 Hz) (all non interlaced)
1280 x 1024 (interlaced)


Storage format
YUV 4:2:2 (8 bit)


Here we have the answers to the most asked questions regarding Screen Machine.

Q: Is Screen Machine a hardware?
A: Yes. It was a 16-bit ISA add-on-board with all the cables and documentation you need.

Q: What does Screen Machine do?
A: Screen Machine ll was a real-time video digitizer that digitizes images in true color
or gray scales. Screen Machine II was also a multimedia board that was capable of
displaying live video in any size, at any position on your VGA monitor.

Q: Do I still need a graphic adapter?
A: Yes. Screen Machine II was added to your graphic subsystem. It receives the
VGA output and adds the live video image to the monitor signal by an analog process. Thus, you still had the resolution and refresh rates of your VGA, independent of which mode you use.

Q: How was Screen Machine II connected to my system?
A: You connect the external output of the VGA adapter and the monitor to
Screen Machine II. You donˋt need the feature connector.

Q: What kind of video sources could I use?
A: Screen Machine ll has video inputs for composite and S-VHS signals
(3 x composite, or 1 x S-VHS plus 1 x composite). Therefore, all camcorders,
video recorders, laserdisc players, S-Video, Video 8, U-Matic, and still
video equipment in any standard (PAL, NTSC, SECAM) could be hooked-
up to the board.

Q: Which video standards are supported?
A: PAL, NTSC, SECAM auto detection.

Q: Which scan rate does the Screen Machine run at?
A: Max 14.75 MHz (reached only by PAL) with 2x oversampling.

Q: What are the real geometric resolutions?
A: 768x576 (PAL,SECAM), 640x480 (NTSC) per frame with square pixels.

Q: What screen resolutions are supported?
A: 640 x 480, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768 (all non-interlaced), higher resolutions
only in interlaced mode.

Q: Does the Screen Machine do true color ?
A: Yes, it digitizes 24-bit (16,7 mio. colors).

Q: What was the digitizing time for one frame?
A: Realtime 1/50 sec. field PAL (1/60 NTSC)
1/25 sec. frame PAL (1/30 NTSC)

Q: Which storage formats are used?
A: Mainly we use a professional YUV (4:2:2) format to receive the best quality.
But, of course, we also support RGB formats like TIFF.

Q: What are the system requirements for the Screen Machine II?
A: HW - PC 286 (not supp. by NS), 386, 486 ...
- one free 16bit ISA or EISA slot
SW - NEXTSTEP for Intel (V 3.2)

Q: What software was available for the Screen Machine II?
A: With every board bought, you received the driver and some applications for
capturing and displaying video images as well as controlling the live video.
There was a developer kit for programming your own applications with the Screen Machine II that was optional.

Q: What was the Screen Machine II Developer Kit?
A: It was the developer library which made full use of the capabilities of the
Screen Machine board.
It includes - NXLiveVideoView compatible class (except video out)
- SM Kit, objective C Library
- Palettes for the IB
- Examples with source code
- Documentation

Q: Where could I buy this famous product called Screen Machine II?
A: At your local NeXT dealer. Dealers and distributors were authorized by d'ART Hamburg. Prices are also available through d'ART.

Q: Can I scale the video?
A: Yes, Screen Machine supported real-time scaling on the screen with interpolation.
It didn't clip like the Dimension does.

Q: What fields are digitized?
A: Both fields, even and odd, but you could decide by software which fields should
be used. You could switch to even-field or odd-field interpolated or to both fields,
for slow motion and high quality.

Does Screen Machine II support NEXTIME?
A: NEXTTIME was an environment that supported the replay of sound and recorded video. Its modular design allowed the use of different plug-in-modules (e.g. Quick Time Apple, Wavelet Compression NeXT, M-JPEG FAST). We support our own compression which could be hooked-up to NEXTIME.

Q: What about compression?
A: With the release of NEXTIME there was an additional hardware option available. This hardware, which could be plugged onto every SCREEN MACHINE II, supported real-time hardware compression for video recording.

Q: Can Screen Machine do memory mapping?
A: Yes, even in computers with more than 16 MB.

Qty in the collection: 1 set w/o hardware