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,
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
Ó R. Maybury 2000, 0409