VIDEO CAMERA 2000

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A QUESTION OF QUALITY

I will soon be purchasing a Sony TRV900 camcorder. I wish to transfer all of my Hi8 tapes into the digital domain via this camcorder's iLink input, if possible. I own a Sony EVS9000 Hi8 VCR. Would the transfer from this machine to the camcorder's digital input be possible, or would it have to use the analogue (i.e. S-Video output) connection? How much would the image be degraded in this process? Alternatively, if purchased a Digital 8 camcorder and copied across to the Sony TRV900 camcorder, would the output be now totally in the digital domain?

A. Godden, London SW10

 

Copying from Hi8 to digital shouldn’t result in any reduction in picture quality because a DV system has a wider bandwidth than the source recording and will capture all of the information contained in the analogue signal, warts and all. In theory it doesn’t matter where the analogue to digital conversion takes place, the key component in this situation would be the deck replaying the Hi8 material. What you need is the best possible analogue signal from the tape to ensure the cleanest quality digital recording. My feeling is that if your EVS9000 is still in good condition it would be most likely to give the best results, compared with a well-used Hi8 camcorder or even a Digital 8 camcorder, which in any case is optimised for digital recording and playback. Since the EVS9000 has no digital output facilities you will have to use the S-Video connection to connect it to your DV camcorder.

 

CODE CHALLENGE

I currently own a Sony TRV94 Hi8 camcorder, which is an excellent machine, if a little bulky by today’s standards. I am tempted to try a Digital 8 camcorder, for improved definition as I use the old tape-to-tape editing method and need the best possible original before editing. As I now have around 50 8mm and Hi8 tapes it would seem to make sense to go for Digital 8, to save changing tape formats. Having read all of the reviews the main drawback seems to be the lack of RCTC on Digital 8 equipment. As my present camcorder apparently has the facility to imprint an RC time code on previously made recordings, would it be possible to use this method with a Digital 8 tape?

Don Horn, Margate

 

Unfortunately not or should I say fortunately not because life is complicated enough already… In any case it sounds as though you have been getting by quite happily without RCTC until now. Your reasoning for buying a Digital 8 camcorder is sound though, and with such a large collection of tapes it make sense to stick with the format, and now that other manufacturer’s are coming on board it’s long term future seems more assured and it will stand you in good stead if and when you decided to progress to more advanced editing methods.

 

CANON FODDER

I own a Canon E50 camcorder, which I have not used for around three years. I have found that recording and all functions operate except playback. Considering its age do you think that it would be worthwhile to have it serviced or repaired, taking into account that it has not been used much.  Perhaps you could advice me of the likely cost?

A. Kinnell, Leeds

 

Blimey, that machine must be ten years old if it’s a day! I’m impressed that it works at all. I’m presuming that you know it still records by replaying tapes made on that machine in another camcorder, but without knowing a great deal more about the problem it’s impossible to say what’s wrong or how much work is required. However, what I can say is that if it’s anything more than a very straightforward fault there’s a very good chance that the necessary parts may no longer be obtainable. Even if they were, they would probably cost far in excess of what the machine is worth, which I would guess – if it were in fully working condition – to be no more than £50 to £80. If I was you I’d give it a thorough run through with a cleaner cassette, double check the condition of the leads and sockets and if that doesn’t work put it back in the cupboard or advertise it in our classified section. You might find someone willing to give you a few pounds for it for spares or as a fixer-upper.

 

ADIOS AMIGA?

I recently purchased a Sony DCR-TRV9 digital camcorder and I am now contemplating getting to grips with editing my footage into a watchable form. Before laying out cash from my limited resources on an edit controller I would appreciate your comments on the feasibility of using a Commodore Amiga 1200 to do the job? If it is practical do you know where suitable software may be obtained?

J. Barlow, Prestatyn

 

Another blast from the past… Time was – not so long ago either – when the Amiga was the hot desktop video platform. Unfortunately, when Commodore went bust in 1994 support fizzled out, in spite of several valiant efforts to revive the system. It is possible that someone out there has figured out a way to use old editing software and safely interface an Amiga with the Control L socket on a TRV9, and there may even be a few brave souls using it to generate titles and graphics, to mix with the analogue output from a digital camcorder, but it’s a risky business. (If anyone has managed to do it please write in and we’ll happily pass on your details to Mr Barlow). If I was you I would play it safe and stick with proven solutions, which basically means a stand-alone edit controller, or a PC editing package, and before you blanch at the price, you should be aware that you can pick up a basic PC system – certainly one that’s capable of functioning as a edit controller – for less than £400, or not much more than the cost of an edit controller.

 

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Ó R. Maybury 2000, 2003

 

 

 

 


 

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