VIDEO CAMERA 1993

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ASK RICK -- SEPTEMBER

 

 

RING OF TRUTH

I'm  finding it very difficult to  find a lens or a step ring  to

fit the 34mm thread on the Hitachi VM E31.

 

Jessops told me there are no lenses or rings to fit this size and

another  company told me I could have one  specially  made,  but

couldn't remember their name. Can you help?

 

S. Richards

Barnsley, W. Yorks

 

A1.

You're right, they are a bit thin on the ground but we've managed to track down one source, SRB Film Services in Luton have a 34mm to 37mm step-up ring in their range. From that you can go up, or down to any of the other common sizes, within reason. That particular ring costs 3.45, (plus 1.50 p&p); they also tell us they can make step-up and step-down rings to order, so if you have any special requirements give them a call on (0582) 572471.

 

 

OCCASIONAL FLUTTER

I have had a small but irritating problem when dubbing music onto

my edited copy.  The music occasionally comes through out of tune

when the original audio tape sounded fine.

 

I  have a JVC HR 906 VCR and use a good quality tape deck with  a

Videotech  enhancer/mixer.   I don't always have access to  a  CD

player - what's going on and,  more importantly,  how can I avoid

this problem in future?

 

J. Thornton

Upminster, Essex

 

A2

Very strange. What you're describing sounds very much like wow and flutter, in other words small speed variations on the source or destination tape deck. The mixer/enhancer couldn't have anything to do with it. VCRs normally have very accurate tape speed control, to within a fraction of a percent, so the most likely culprit is the audio tape deck. The way to check this is to monitor the sound as it is being dubbed, if it sounds out of tune then it has to be the source deck or even the tape itself. If the original sounds all right, but the finished recording is wonky, then it has to be a faulty VCR.

 

RAY OF HOPE

My wife and I are off to the Rocky Mountains in September in  the

company of our Canon VC109, plus plenty of tapes and spare batteries.

 

If previous experience is anything to go by,  we shall be subject

to  an X-ray search at every one of the four plane changes  and I wish to  know

if  you're aware of any potential damage to camera  or  equipment

caused by these.  If there is, what precautions can I take?

 

J. Keats

St. Austell, Cornwall

 

A3

The experts we've spoken to confirm that  X-ray machines used throughout the US are of the low-radiation type and are very unlikely to have any effect on your tapes or video equipment. However, if you're at all concerned ask the security staff to hand-check your belongings. As a boots and braces measure you could keep your tapes in lead-lined film pouches, the kind originally designed for photographic film, one's large enough for camcorder tape are available from most photo dealers for a few pounds.

 

 

TELE-SCOPE?

I would love to buy a Mitsubishi HS-C35 camcorder as it has wide

angle  as well as telephoto shooting capability,  but  have  been

told  that  this model will not allow me to use any  of  my  tele

lenses.

 

I  thought of putting the camcorder into manual focus and  using

them via a step down ring to 52mm (the lens seems to be 67mm) but

was  told again that even that wouldn't work because  this  model

doesn't really have a manual focus to allow this operation!

 

Can you please explain and clarify this?  Perhaps this is why the

camcorder is so cheap.   If this is the case it means that all my

lenses will become white elephants!

 

J. Hamlin

London N7

 

A4

The C35 was first launched over two years ago and we suspect that one of the reasons it is so cheap is that it has been discontinued. This machine has an early type of inner-focusing lens system with a manual focus, but it's the push-button type, which can be rather slow. We've not tried it but as we can't see any reason why you shouldn't use attachments like filters and adaptor lenses, providing you have the correct converter ring.

 

PAL PUZZLE

I  purchased  a Sony Handycam (CCD F445E) whilst working  in  New

Zealand  which  was supplied with a RFU adaptor and an  AC  power

adaptor. I was able to play back my  recordings  using  these

through the television there.

 

Since arriving back in the UK I find I cannot replay my 8mm tapes

on the TV, although I was assured the TV broadcasts in NZ and the

UK both use the PAL system.

 

I  would be grateful for your advice and assistance to enable  me

to  playback through a TV and to edit the recordings  to  another

tape.

 

B. Healey

Camberley, Surrey

 

A5.

The Kiwi's broadcast using the 625-line/50-Hz PAL colour TV system -- essentially the same as ours --  but they use the PAL-B variant, whereas we use PAL-I. The differences are relatively minor, however, and mostly concern the frequency separation of the sound and vision signals, and the channel allocations, which is why the RF converter supplied with the machine doesn't work over here.  Check to see if your RF adaptor has a little switch marked 'I' and 'B', if so move it to the 'I' position. If not, and it's possible that your machine has and RF adaptor specially designed for the NZ market, you will have to get a replacement, compatible with the UK system.  The one you need is part no. RFU-90E,  your local Sony dealer should be able to order one for you. Of course you can still replay your recordings by connecting the camcorder's AV output to the AV input on your TV or VCR, the picture quality will be better too.

 

THE RIGHT CONNECTIONS

I'm  encountering  great  difficulty in using  my  video  editing

equipment and am unable to fathom out the various connections.  I

want to benefit from the facilities of my Sony SLV-825UB VCR  and

also the titling facility of the Sony RM-E300 editor,  as well as

the mixing abilities of the Hama VSM 514.

 

Can you please explain,  precisely, how to connect these together

with my Sony CCD TR705E Hi 8 camera with,  if possible, the right

types of leads - the part numbers for these would be appreciated.

 

N. Barnett

Sutton Coldfield, W. Midlands

 

A6

You've got the makings of a very competent editing system, but I'm a little concerned that you come this far without finding out how to connect it all up; this is explained in some detail in the various instruction books. However, if you're one of those people that have trouble with manuals proceed as follows. The RME-300 controls the tape transport systems of both decks via Control L or LANC interfaces, you should have a set of leads with the controller, terminated in minijack connectors, these plug into the sockets on the camcorder and VCR marked LANC, Remote, or just 'L'. Make sure you get  them the right way round, the camcorder is the 'player', the VCR is the 'recorder'. The composite video output from the camcorder (yellow-coloured phono socket) connects to the video input on the RME-300, and the video output from the RME-300 goes to the video input on the front panel of the VCR. As you have a conventional VHS video recorder you cannot use the S-Video output from the TR705. The audio outputs from the 705 go to the audio input on the Hama mixer, this, in turn will be connected to your preferred audio sources (tape, CD microphone etc.). The audio output from the mixer can either go directly to the audio inputs on the front of the VCR, or, via the RME-300, the former is simpler and requires fewer leads. You're likely to need two or three phono to phono AV lead sets, (cables and connectors for both audio and video) these are widely available from video accessory dealers for a few pounds.

 

 

CLOSE CALLS

I've bought a full size camera,  Hitachi VM-2300E, and would like

to be able to screw an extra lens on at the front to increase the

zoom level from 6 to 10 or 12.

 

Can  you  tell  me how this would affect  the  view  through  the

viewfinder with an extra lens fitted;  would I,  for example,  be

able to see the extra closeness in the viewfinder and be able  to

record same?

 

If this is possible, where would I be able to purchase said lens?

 

R. Arbuckle

Antrim, N. Ireland

 

A7

The image you see on the electronic viewfinder on the 2300 is what is being picked up by the image sensor behind the lens, so if you screw on an adaptor lens, you will see the changes on the viewfinder display. There are no problems using teleconverters, wide-angle lenses or filters with the 2300, it has a standard 46mm filter thread. You will have to focus manually as the infra-red ranging AF system will be affected. Adaptor lenses of all shapes, sizes, strengths and prices, suitable for your machine, are widely available from accessory dealers.

 

 

MIX AND MATCH

After much trial and tribulation I have finally mastered the  art

of video copying.   The one thing I cannot overcome,  though,  is

when  audio  dubbing a new sound track to  replace  the  original

sound the end result is quite good quality sound, but very quiet.

 

It's  not  loud enough to compete with the original  sound  track

when  dubbing  is completed.   Am I using the  correct  impedance

microphone?  

 

Can you please help?

 

S. Foulds

Colne, Lancs

 

A8

What you really need is an audio mixer. They're not very expensive, very easy to use, and some of them come with microphones of their own, so there's no chance of any impedance miss-matches. A mixer will allow you to precisely adjust the output levels, to match the existing audio track, plus, of course, you will be able to mix in other audio sources, from a tape deck, or CD.

 

 

RAIN PROOF?

Can  you  please  tell  me where I  can  get  a  waterproof  bag,

preferably  with a flap which goes right over the top  which  has

ample  room  for 6 batteries and my Ferguson FC23 camera  with  a

battery attached?

 

At  the  moment I'm using a Photax bag which is  ideal,  but  I'm

afraid of what might happen if I get caught in really heavy rain.

 

I  have a Vivanco bag as well,  which is beautiful but it's  just

too big!

 

Any suggestions?

 

M. Kellow

Sevenoaks, Kent

 

A9

Most of the video bags we've come across will keep your equipment safe and dry, even in

the heaviest downpours, providing they're properly zippered up, in any case you could always carry an umbrella as well. If you're happy with your Photax bag but don't trust it then carry out a little experiment the next time you take a shower...  There's so many bags to choose from, in so many different styles, colours and designs that it would be impossible for us to make a specific recommendation. Stop being so lazy, get out there and have a look around for yourself.

 

 

TERMS OF ENDEARMENT

Towards  the  end of last year I decided to take up  video  after

many  years  of cine and after reading various  issues  of  Video

Camera I made my choice and purchased a Sony Hi8 CCD-TR705E.

 

I have managed to do some simple editing but now want to move  on

to  more advanced things such as buying an editor and adding  and

removing sound.

 

After reading your buyers' guide,  I noted that the CCD-705  (the

same as mine I hope) had an insert edit feature.   On reading  my

instruction manual I couldn't find any mention of that particular

feature.   However,  in  more recent issues,  I now see that  you

don't  mention this as a feature.   Which  is  correct?   Further

more,  you  show the audio system as FM stereo - the  instruction

book says it's equipped with a Hi Fi stereo recording system.

 

I  have  come to the conclusion that I cannot add  or  take  away

sound on my existing footage as video and sound are overlaid and

therefore  one  can't carry out sound modifications to  either  my

original 8mm tape or any copy on full size VHS tape.

 

 

Lastly,  if I were to purchase a video editing machine, which one

would you recommend?

 

J. Scott

Tadley, Hants

 

A10

Insert editing on the 705 is fully explained on page 31 of your instruction book, it shows how you can automatically insert a new segment into an existing recording, replacing both the sound and vision. The TR705, like all 8mm and Hi8 camcorders has an FM (frequency modulation) sound recording system, on this model it is in stereo. The 'hi-fi' tag is one of those nebulous marketing terms which in this case implies that the quality is quite good -- which it is --  though we could argue over it's precise definition until the cows come home...

 

There's a huge choice of edit controllers compatible with your machine, which has a Control L or LANC editing terminal. Without knowing how much you want to spend, or what level of sophistication you require we cannot advise you but you could do worse than

look at what Sony have on offer, and may we direct your attention to their 'Family Studio' system, which covers editing, audio mixing and special effects.

 

 

HITCH TWITCH GLITCH

As  a newcomer to video I purchased a Panasonic NV-G202B.   The

camcorder  is excellent and I'm very satisfied with  the  picture

quality.

 

However,  on playback with the cassette adaptor there is a twitch

at  the top 1/4 of the picture.   I've been advised that this  is

because my television (a Hitachi CPT2176) requires a modification

of  2  resistors  to  accept tapes made  by  other  than  the  TV

programmes.

 

I've  not  seen  this sort of problem mentioned in  any  of  your

articles and would be most grateful for your comments.   Has  any

one else come across this slight niggle?

 

By the way, through the viewfinder, there is no twitch...

 

N. Smith

Porchester, Hants

 

A11

This effect was not uncommon on older TV sets, designed before the VCR and camcorder

were commonplace, though we're surprised it should happen on your set, which is a comparatively recent model. The problem is usually caused by the synchronisation pulses in the video signal produced by a VCR (or camcorder), which  are not as sharp and well-defined as those from an off-air TV signal, the 'sync separator' circuits in some TVs have trouble locking on to them. This shows up as 'tearing' at the top of the picture. The cure is fairly simple, and thankfully in your case not very expensive, but before you pay for the work to be done we strongly suggest you have a word with Hitachi's customer care helpline on 081-849 2000 first.

 

 

POWER DRAIN

I  own a Sony CCD-F550 Handycam and am very pleased with it  but,

like a lot of people, have trouble with the battery capacity.

 

In  your  May issue I read that the biggest power drain  is  fast

winding and switching the deck on and off and that using  standby

saves power.

 

In  another  magazine  it says to either switch  off,  of  go  to

standby  whenever  you're  not  actually  shooting  so  that  the

viewfinder is off.

 

On my camcorder when in the standby mode the viewfinder is on!

 

Please  can  you  tell me what to do?   Should I  go  to  standby

(viewfinder on) or switch off (viewfinder off)...

 

Robert Hoenig

Tel Aviv, Israel

 

A12

It could be that you've misunderstood the term standby. That's when you flip the little switch next to the record stop-start button, this puts the machine into a power-saving mode, with the viewfinder switched off. If it stays on there's something wrong with it. In the end, though, all you're going to gain is an extra few minutes, if the running time of your battery is insufficient it's time to think about buying a larger, higher-capacity battery pack.

 

 

CHARGE CONUNDRUM

We often read about the importance of keeping our Nicad batteries

in top condition.

 

As I also use a DSM Handex battery,  what is the best way to discharge

it?   Can I safely leave it connected to the standard clip

on  battery  and discharge the unit as a  whole,  or  will  this

result   in  imbalance  or  over  discharging  of  one  of   the

batteries?

 

I look forward to reading your advice.

 

A. Carey

Wraxall, Avon

 

A13

According to DSM there should be no problem discharging both batteries at the same time, though they recommended their own discharger unit if you're using the standard Handex; if it's the Ultimate model then you can use the Keene and Tecno dischargers as well.

 

CRYSTALS AMAZE...

Having recently bought a Hitachi 8mm camcorder,  VME-316,  I  was

confused when unpacking it by a packet of something called  silica

crystals. 

 

I looked in the instruction manual,  but could find no mention of

this and what to do with it.  The packet says not to eat them, so

I didn't!

 

Can you please explain what these are,  or why they were included

with my camcorder?

 

D. Kilsby

St. Leonards on Sea, Sussex

 

A14

I've checked the date on your letter, and it wasn't written on April the first, so I can only assume you're serious. Small sachets of silica gel have been included in with the packaging of thousands of different sorts of products since the early 1960's. Silica gel crystals are a powerful desiccant, which absorb moisture,  protecting the contents of the packaging  whilst in transit and storage. By the way, did you eat the rest of the packaging, that wouldn't have had any warnings printed on it?   

  

 

BLOOMING NUISANCE

Have you any idea how to avoid 'blooming' whilst transferring 8mm

standard  cine  film to tape?   I have a lot of  film  to

transfer  and to get this done professionally would cost a  great

deal of money.

 

I  have  tried  reducing the projector lamp's  brightness  but on  my

Canon E100, when there are bright shots such as waterfalls and the

Blackpool  illuminations, they still turned  out  as  white

blobs.

 

Although I'm only using the simplest form of projection,  I  hope

you can throw some light on the subject for me.

 

M. Hart

Nuneaton, Warks

 

A15

Can you reduce the lamp brightness still further? It seems as though the E100's exposure system is still having trouble compensating for the brightest parts of the picture. You may find that a proper cine to video transfer unit will help as they have diffuser screens, which also reduce the amount of light on the screen still further.

 

 

SHINING EXAMPLES

I  have  been experiencing some difficulty  in  filming  peoples'

faces  on bright days using my Hitachi VM 2300 and  Panasonic  G1

camcorders.   Unless  I'm  virtually on top of them  their  faces

become white and have little definition.

 

I  have a manual iris on the Hitachi and can sometimes adjust  it

to  alleviate  this problem;  the Panasonic doesn't  have  manual

iris - is there a filter I could use to remedy this?

 

I  have  also  been  trying  to  obtain  an  extra  battery and

charger/discharger  for the Hitachi but there do not seem  to  be

any alternatives to those made by Hitachi.   I have tried similar

equipment  with  multi  type  fittings but  none  would  fit  the

locating lugs.

 

Are there any other makes available?

 

C. Grundy

Bolton, Lancs

 

A16

Try using a neutral density filter on the G1 (43mm size), various strengths are available we suggest you start with an ND4, and see how you get on with that. The 9.6 volt battery pack used on the VM-2300 was an unusual design, and as far as we can determine, was only ever used on a handful of Hitachi models, so there have been few third-party accessories, like chargers and discharger. Replacement batteries are readily available, however, from companies such as Bandridge and Vivanco.

 

 

WHITES TOO BRIGHT

I've  copied some of my Super 8 cine home movies onto  video  and

would welcome your advice on a couple of fronts.

 

I'm  using a Panasonic NV-MC5 with a Eumig sound projector  along

with a Sima copy kit:  how do I overcome the effects of reflected

light  from  white  objects,  such as  a  wedding  dress,  from

'blooming'?

 

The  white dress came out fine on the cine film but on the  video

the colour spread for a few seconds and then returned to normal.

 

Should  the video's focus be set at manual or auto  when  copying

film?

 

Lastly,  how can I overcome the sound of the shutter noise  being

picked  up my camera's microphone - it can't be  unplugged  or

switched off.   Would it be a good idea to insert an audio mixer? 

If so, which one?

 

K. Kemp

Newark, Notts

 

A17

The MC5 is a real old-timer, launched in the Spring of 1987, having said that it's still quite well specified by current standards, and it has an external microphone socket, so you can by-pass the on-board microphone. A suitable mixer would be the Azden Cam-3, which fits directly on to the machine. There are several possible solutions to the over-exposure problem, first reduce the strength of your projector's light output by as much as you can, try using a lower power bulb if you can. Another wrinkle we've come across is to paint the bulb with a coat of Tippex typist correction fluid. The focus on your camcorder should be set manually, this is to stop the AF system 'hunting' if it can't get a lock.

 

---end---

R.Maybury 1993 0707

 

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