VIDEO CAMERA 2000

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ASK RICK – OCTOBER

 

GAG THE GALE

After almost 50 years of sustained interest in photography of both still and cine systems with equipment weighing the proverbial ‘ton' I have now graduated to purchasing a Hi8 Video camcorder, a Sony TR515 with which I am delighted for it is comparatively light and has good sound. It is this feature I would like to seek your advice on however, for surely the bane of the videographer is the unseen menace, the WIND! I am therefore surprised that most camcorders are equipped with a very sensitive sound gathering system situated not only to capture an audio representation of the scene, but also due to its location, a fair measure of the wind velocity of the day.

 

A small amount of wind roar can be acceptable and indeed in some scenes can add to the total perception of an audio/visual presentation. But sadly wind roar usually is an unwanted intrusion! In my cine days there was no problem, for sound was beyond my meagre pocket then. Now in the year 2000, wind can still play havoc with the most sophisticated equipment, so have I to just 'put up with it' and try to choose a 'sheltered' location? Not being able to monitor the sound makes it all a hit and miss affair, it seems a bit of a paradox to me considering all the high tech that has gone into producing such a wonderful piece of gear. I would like at least to minimise the effect of the wind, but the location of the 'mic' makes this very difficult. I would welcome any comment.

David Gommo, Crewkerne, Somerset

 

Quite a few camcorders, including I believe the TR515, has provision for an external microphone, so you are not tied to the one mounted on the front of the machine. I also have it in mind that this model has a headphone socket, so you can monitor the sound as it’s being recorded.  There’s a huge variety of accessory microphones available, from highly directional zoom mics, to wireless microphones. A lot of mics also have a monitor facility. ‘Stick’ type mics can be hand-held or mounted on the machine and on camcorders that don’t have an accessory show there are brackets available that attach to the tripod mounting thread. To counteract wind noise many camcorders have built-in wind noise filters, though I have to say that they are not always very effective, though in fairness little can be done when the wind is blowing head-on into the microphone. Another effective counter-measure is to use a wind-gag, a sort of hairy sock that fits over the microphone, and they are also available for models, like yours with integral microphones. Rycote has one that fits in place with Velcro tape; it’s available from accessory dealers such as Keene Electronics (01332 830550) for around £12.

 

WEDDING JITTERS

I was hoping that you might be able to help me with buying the right camcorder for a part-time business, which could become full time, i.e. weddings and other video work.  At present I have a Panasonic S-VHS-C camcorder, but now I would like to upgrade to a DV system. I have an Advent 550 Athlon PC with 128-megabyte memory, 13gb hard drive and an ATI Wonder video card. The two machines that I thought would be suitable are the Canon XM1 or the new Sony TRV20. Would these be acceptable for this kind of work or would I have to buy a more expensive camera?  Are there any books or instructional video tapes to help me with video editing audio dubbing?

James Wilson, Portadown, N. Ireland

 

Whilst selecting the right camcorder will undoubtedly make your life easier and hopefully help you to achieve more professional looking results, I judge from your questions that you really need to concentrate first on the fundamentals. No fancy piece of equipment can turn you into a professional videographer. I recommend you do some homework and spend a few evenings with the following books: Collins Camcorder Handbook by Steve Parker, Teach yourself the Camcorder by Chris George, 101 Essential Camcorder Tips (Dorling Kindersley and John Hedgecoe’s Complete Introductory Guide to Video. Get in as much practice as you can with your current machine, learning the basic techniques, when you’ve got that cracked you can move onto DV. By then you should also have a much better idea about what you want to achieve and which machine will best suit your needs. As far as PC editing is concerned you should also take out a subscription to our sister magazine Computer Video, read the reviews and features and over the course of a few months you should pick up enough to make some meaningful decisions about what you’ll need to get started.

 

SLOW START?

I own a Canon MV20 camcorder and I find the ‘Hello Canon’ and logo, which appears every time I switch on, very annoying. It also occasionally results in the loss of an interesting or unusual scene, because of the 2 or 3 second delay. Is there a way of getting rid of this, so recording can start immediately?

M.C.Moulton, Maidenhead, Berks

 

Unfortunately, even if it were possible, getting rid of the ‘hello’ screen and log wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference. They are simply a bit of harmless window dressing to while away the few seconds it takes for the camcorder in initialise. This isn’t just confined to Canon models, all machines need a few moments to boot up their control systems, run a series of diagnostic checks, get the deck motors up to speed, lace the tape and fire up the viewfinder and monitor displays. In fact it’s a minor miracle that it can all be done in just a couple of seconds!

 

RUNAWAY REMOTE

I have a Canon UC-V10HI for which I have lost the WL82 remote controller and DC950 DC cable. I have tried local outlets without any success; can you suggest where I may obtain them?

J. Simms, Eccles, Manchester

 

If the machine was purchased from a Canon dealer give its spares parts department a ring on:0208 773 6572, otherwise you should be able to obtain those items from your local branch of Jessops or call 0800 6526400.

 

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Ó R. Maybury 2000, 0409

 


 

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