(GTH Note: This review naturally takes the videomaker's viewpoint. However the ACE works with ANY video source and will also correct other people's mistakes or equipment faults! Home Cinema owners wanting perfect results also find it ideal.)
Ask most video movie-makers what features they really want from a video processor and the chances are it wouldn’t be too different from what the GTH Electronics ACE has to offer. The trouble with a lot of so-called video processors is that they don't go far enough. In fact, almost any post-production device with a brightness and colour control is dubbed a video processor these days.
The ACE, or advanced colour enhancer, goes all the way, using the latest Philips and Xilinx digital processing microchips to provide a very full range of adjustments and effects. Needless to say, it has all the basics, but it's the other functions that make it so interesting - that and the price, which at £250 brings it within reach of most movie-makers.
The unit is designed and built in the UK, the nondescript plastic instrument case with aluminium panels front and back being a bit of a give-away, as Far Eastern products generally look a lot flashier - but don't let that put you off, as it's what's inside that counts.
The front is festooned with knobs and switches, and to be honest it looks a bit daunting, but once you've had a play with it, it's all quite manageable. The top row of six knobs adjusts colour saturation, colour balance, colour shift and red, green and blue colour levels, for correcting white balance errors.
The colour shift control is extremely useful, compensating for annoying colour displacement effects, generated by a fair few camcorders and VCRs. In the middle there's a row of push-button switches, which control video by-pass, video and colour invert, wipe patterns, wipe/fade mode, red or blue fields and a set of colour bars. At the bottom are controls for contrast brightness, wipe/fade, sharpness and a 'paint' effect.
The fades and wipes are fairly basic and only to black, but it has a range of 15 wipe patterns that can be engaged manually or automatically. The range of the contrast and brightness adjustments are most impressive - beyond what is normally possible on video processors or TV/monitors.
The invert function and colour controls can be used to transfer photographic negatives to video and the colour tasters and bars are a useful setup facility.
ACE appears to be largely transparent to the video signals passing through the processing circuitry. There's no additional noise, or evidence of any digital artefacts and all functions operate very smoothly indeed.
OK, so it's not the prettiest piece of kit we've seen lately, but it does the job, and does it very well indeed. The number and range of adjustments and effects far exceeds any other video processor in the same price bracket, and puts quite a few dearer models to shame.
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