ASK RICK -- SEPTEMBER
RING OF TRUTH
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
company told me I could have one
specially made, but
couldn't remember their name. Can you help?
Barnsley, W. Yorks
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.
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.
have a JVC HR 906 VCR and use a good quality tape deck with a
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?
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
X-ray search at every one of the four plane changes and I wish to know
you're aware of any potential damage to camera or equipment
caused by these. If there is, what precautions can I take?
St. Austell, Cornwall
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.
I would love to buy a Mitsubishi HS-C35
camcorder as it has wide
as well as telephoto shooting capability, but have been
that this model will not allow
me to use any of my
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
told again that even that wouldn't work because this
doesn't really have a manual focus to allow
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!
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.
purchased a Sony Handycam (CCD
F445E) whilst working in New
which was supplied with a RFU
adaptor and an AC power
adaptor. I was able to play back my recordings
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.
would be grateful for your advice and assistance to enable me
playback through a TV and to edit the recordings to
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
encountering great difficulty in using my
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.
Sutton Coldfield, W. Midlands
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.
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.
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
If this is possible, where would I be able to
purchase said lens?
Antrim, N. Ireland
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
audio dubbing a new sound track
to replace the original
sound the end result is quite good quality
sound, but very quiet.
not loud enough to compete with
the original sound track
dubbing is completed. Am I using the correct impedance
Can you please help?
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.
you please tell
me where I can get
a waterproof bag,
with a flap which goes right over the top which has
room for 6 batteries and my
Ferguson FC23 camera with a
the moment I'm using a Photax
bag which is ideal, but
afraid of what might happen if I get caught
in really heavy rain.
have a Vivanco bag as well,
which is beautiful but it's just
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
TERMS OF ENDEARMENT
the end of last year I decided
to take up video after
years of cine and after reading
various issues of
Camera I made my choice and purchased a Sony
I have managed to do some simple editing but
now want to move on
more advanced things such as buying an editor and adding and
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
However, in more recent issues, I now see that you
mention this as a feature.
Which is correct?
you show the audio system as FM
stereo - the instruction
book says it's equipped with a Hi Fi stereo
have come to the conclusion that
I cannot add or take
sound on my existing footage as video and
sound are overlaid and
one can't carry out sound
modifications to either my
original 8mm tape or any copy on full size
if I were to purchase a video editing machine, which one
would you recommend?
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
newcomer to video I purchased a Panasonic NV-G202B. The
is excellent and I'm very satisfied with the picture
on playback with the cassette adaptor there is a twitch
the top 1/4 of the picture.
I've been advised that this is
because my television (a Hitachi CPT2176)
requires a modification
2 resistors to
accept tapes made by other
than the TV
not seen this sort of problem mentioned in any
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
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.
a Sony CCD-F550 Handycam and am very pleased with it but,
like a lot of people, have trouble with the
your May issue I read that the
biggest power drain is fast
winding and switching the deck on and off and
that using standby
another magazine it says to either switch off,
of go to
whenever you're not
actually shooting so
viewfinder is off.
On my camcorder when in the standby mode the
viewfinder is on!
can you tell me what to do? Should I
go to standby
(viewfinder on) or switch off (viewfinder
Tel Aviv, Israel
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.
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
Can I safely leave it connected to the standard clip
battery and discharge the unit
as a whole, or will this
in imbalance or
over discharging of
one of the
I look forward to reading your advice.
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.
Having recently bought a Hitachi 8mm
camcorder, VME-316, I
confused when unpacking it by a packet of
something called silica
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
Can you please explain what these are, or why they were included
with my camcorder?
St. Leonards on Sea, Sussex
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?
Have you any idea how to avoid 'blooming'
whilst transferring 8mm
cine film to tape? I have a lot of film to
and to get this done professionally would cost a great
deal of money.
have tried reducing the projector lamp's brightness
but on my
Canon E100, when there are bright shots such
as waterfalls and the
illuminations, they still turned
out as white
Although I'm only using the simplest form of
projection, I hope
you can throw some light on the subject for
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.
have been experiencing some
difficulty in filming peoples'
on bright days using my Hitachi VM 2300 and Panasonic G1
Unless I'm virtually on top of them their
become white and have little definition.
have a manual iris on the Hitachi and can sometimes adjust it
alleviate this problem; the Panasonic doesn't have
iris - is there a filter I could use to
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
with multi type
fittings but none would
Are there any other makes available?
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
copied some of my Super 8 cine home movies onto video
would welcome your advice on a couple of
using a Panasonic NV-MC5 with a Eumig sound projector along
with a Sima copy kit: how do I overcome the effects of reflected
from white objects,
such as a wedding
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.
the video's focus be set at manual or auto when copying
how can I overcome the sound of the shutter noise being
up my camera's microphone - it can't be
switched off. Would it be a good idea to insert an audio mixer?
If so, which one?
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.
R.Maybury 1993 0707