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I have a JVC GX-N70 camera and HR 2650 EK recorder.  Iím very pleased with the results, except that they are so heavy.


Can you advise if there are any lighter alternatives with the same features?


T. Dritsas

London NW8



I had to delve deep into my archives -- back to April 1984 -- to remind myself about this portable combo. The all-up weight of the camera and deck comes to a hefty 8 kg, thatís nearly ten times as much as many current palmcorders, so yes, there are lighter alternatives. The GX-70 camera weighs 2.7kg on its own, thatís heavier than any current machine, including the big semi-pro models... As far as features are concerned the GX70 has an 8X zoom, and low light sensitivity of 10 lux (quite good for the day...); most budget camcorders nowadays have 10x zooms and low-light figures of less than 3 lux. About the only feature your set-up has, that hasnít been equalled or bettered on recent mass-market camcorders is a video line input; only a couple of top-end machines, like the Canon EX2 and the old Sony V6000 have them due to prohibitive EU import tariffs.


I note that the cost of your deck and camera was a whopping £1420 back in 1984, that must be equivalent to £2000 or more today, you could buy some pretty fancy camcorders with that!  Joking aside Iím very impressed that it all still works, that says a lot for 1984 build-quality. I wonder how many of todayís machines will still be working in 2004?


Iím sorry, Iím reluctant to make a specific recommendations about what you should buy, without knowing more about how much you want to spend, or what you want to use it for.  I suspect even the most basic of todayís camcorders will be a revelation to you, so get down to your nearest video emporium and try a few for size.



I bought a Sony TR2000E back in July and found it to have bad colour bleed.


Techno in Sheffield changed it for me, but Iím still getting colour bleed, especially with reds and blues.  Is this a common fault with camcorders below  £1000  - I expected a better picture from this camcorder; none of my friendsí machines have this problem.


S. Gryzelka




Youíre obviously not a regular reader... We commented on the FX200ís colour bleed when we reviewed that machine late last year. If itís any consolation itís not a common problem, and certainly not confined to machines costing less than £1000, weíve seen it on £2000 camcorders! Sony appear to have sorted it out, at least we havenít seen it to anything like the same extent on any of their most recent models.




I incorporate a number of still photographs into my edited videos having in the past used a universal video converter with my Sony CCD V800, getting reasonable results.


I have recently received a catalogue from Keene Electronics in which they list a device called a Viewneg.  This doesnít seem to have any colour controls - I understand that colour negatives have an in-built colour filter, which is part of the printing process. My question, therefore, is does the Viewneg have any form of compensation to correct for the effects of the filter and how good will the results be?


D. Aslett




Youíre right, Viewneg doesnít have any colour correction controls of its own, but there are several ways to counter the effect of the orange filter in colour negative film. The simplest is to attach an ATA blue filter to the front of your machine, this will neutralise the blue cast that results from the colour inversion process. Alternatively you could modify the colour of the light source, by placing a filter in front of it. The third option would be to use your camcorderís white balance lock -- if it has one -- to achieve the correct colour balance. Keene now offer a optional blue filter and holder with Viewneg. Look out for a Minitest on this device in the next month or two.




Iíve recently tried my hand at editing and purchased a Videonics Thumbs-up, Sony EV-C45E VCR and Panasonic NV-40100B VCR.  Everything was connected up as per the instructions.


I find that when the TV screen is on the Ďthumbs upí sign is there but the screen keeps flashing from black to white with Ďsnowí and lines.  When I hold down Ďon screen displayí for set up it appears, but I canít read it properly.


I rang Sony and they told me the Thumbs up is at fault - it will not receive the video signal.  I rang Videonics but they said that apart from having both machines at their workshop, there was not much they could do.


Iíve found out that if I set up my camcorder to the video-in socket on the EV-C45 it solves the problem, but the point of buying  the EV-C45 was so that I wouldnít have to use my camcorder.


J. Martin

Uxbridge, Middx



We spoke to Thumbís Upís UK distributor Bandridge about this and they said theyíve come across this problem a couple of times before. In both cases it was the fault of the EV-C45, which was putting out a stronger than normal video signal. A composite video signal should have an amplitude of one volt, but the machines they tested had 1.4 volt outputs, which causes all sorts of problems for Thumbs Up, including loss of synch lock and display instability. Fortunately the cure is relatively simple, and it involves attenuating the output signal from the C45. Thereís several ways of doing this; the easiest, if youíre a dab hand with a soldering iron, is to insert a 47 ohm resistor in series with the video lead connecting the deck to Thumbs Up. If you donít fancy that then get in touch with Bandridge, who say theyíll modify your Thumbs Up for you.




Spurred on by an article in the December issue, Titles on Spec, I managed to find a Sinclair Spectrum computer, together with transformer, joystick etc. 


Being of 1918 vintage, I wonder if you could tell me what leads I would need to connect this all up to  my Sharp VL-C790H camera and Sharp VC-A615HM VCR.  Most of all, having done that, how to operate the Sinclair when IĎve finished...


J. Richardson

Petersfield, Hants



The simplest method is to connect the Spectrumís RF output to the aerial input on your VCR, then tune in a spare channel on the video, until you see the Spectrum display. Compose your title, then record it at the beginning of your video movie; finally copy across the rest of the movie from the camcorder to the titled tape, using normal AV connections.  As far as operating the Spectrum is concerned, youíre going to have to figure that one out yourself. Thereís still plenty of books on the subject, and user groups who will be only too willing to help you get the most from your equipment. You can often find details in the wanted columns in the back of weekly computer magazines such as Mirco Mart




I recently purchased a second-hand Ferguson 3V31 video recorder for editing purposes.  Iím very pleased with its performance and it has all the required facilities, but Iíve noticed a fault.


When I record a piece of footage and then replay on another mono video  recorder thereís a 1-2 second audio rumble after about 10 seconds of clear sound.  After the rumble the sound returns to normal.


If I record for more than 10 seconds on the 3V31, pause for a moment and then resume recording for more than 10 seconds, the rumble only shows on the first section.  This fault doesnít happen on playback on the 3V31 but only on other decks.


Can you help?


M. Crowther

Minety, Wilts



Strange! If he gap between pause and rumble had been just a couple of seconds I might have been able to come up with some suggestions, but the ten second delay is a mystery. So too is the fact that the rumble cannot be heard when replayed on the 3V31. I hope that as youíve purchased the machine recently itís still under warranty, I suggest you take it back to the dealer, to have it checked out.




Having surveyed Video Camera for pointers I purchased the Panasonic NV S70 S-VHS-C camcorder.  I also managed to get hold of a second hand NVS1B S-VHS video recorder and now itís down to the serious video editing and audio dubbing/mixing.


Three questions then:  Is there any visual quality difference between 8mm and VHS-C formats as suggested by persistent sales staff?


Copying from VCR to VCR without the benefit of S-video, is anyone prepared to say which leads will give the best quality?


Finally, If you are lucky to have a stereo VHS camcorder, what do you get on the normal/linear soundtrack and how do you get both tracks back on playback using a stereo VCR?


S. Cardwell

Ormskirk, Lancs



I would defy any normal person to be able to tell the difference between recordings made on comparable 8mm and VHS-C camcorders -- smart Alec camcorder service engineers need not apply. There are some small differences, but you would have to stare long and hard at test patterns to be able to spot them, and in the end theyíre textural, rather than differences in picture quality.


Iíve used literally hundred of connecting leads over the years but in the end the only oneís that I can remember were the bad ones. The best advice I can give is to buy good quality branded leads from a reputable source.


The linear soundtrack of a stereo VHS-C camcorder usually records a composite of both right and left channels. When a stereo recording is re-recorded on a stereo VCR the right and left channels are recorded as-is, and the VCR generates itís own linear mono track from the two hi-fi tracks. Some stereo machines have output track selectors, that will enable you to record the mono track, or either of the stereo tracks separately, or mixed together.




How can I get an acceptable transfer from cine to video?  Iíve tried an optical glass mirror and a ground glass screen but you canít call the result acceptable to a fastidious viewer.  Using a ground plastic screen is a disaster - every grain of ground plastic is visible in the video copy.


A colour processor is essential, although this is never mentioned in any articles.  Without this, you will never get your colours right.  8mm just isnít worth transferring, the results are so bad.  I should mention that I use a Sony CCD-700E Hi 8 camera, Panasonic S-VHS NV-SF90 VCR and Grundig TV to watch the results - all good stuff.


You say how easy it is to make this type of transfer, but does one have to have a £20,000 tele-cine converter, as used by the BBC, or is there another way?


E. Towers

Ramsbury, Wilts



It all depends how you define Ďacceptableí. Iíve seen plenty of cine transfers that I would consider acceptable, but I would judge from your use of the word fastidious that nothing short of that BBC telecine machine will do for you. Iím afraid youíre going to have to lower your standards, or start saving because domestic cine and video are both imperfect and cannot be compared with professional equipment. For the record the best results Iíve seen were obtained using the mirror and ground-glass screen you mention, and without the use of a colour corrector, though of course much also depends on the projector and camcorder. I also disagree with your blanket criticism of 8mm, itís just as suitable for cine transfer as any other video format.




I have recently purchased a JVC GR-AX35 camera from Argos, but I donít know where to order further accessories from.  Iíd like to know more about the infra-red remote control and the wired remote.


Iíve scratched the lens on the main viewfinder and was wondering if itís possible to buy a replacement lens.


Paul Stephens

Stevenage, Herts



The viewfinder eyepiece is replaceable as a unit and the best place to go to get one would be to your nearest JVC dealer, who will also be able to obtain any accessories for you. Give JVCís customer service department a call on 081-450 3282 and they will be able to tell you where to find your nearest dealer.




Some video cameras have a vertical interval time code and it would be nice if I could use my Spectrum computer to read, display and store some or all of these VITC signals.


To do this, Iíd need to know what the signal is, how often itís transmitted and any other information that is necessary.


The computer could then be used to control a video camera and a VCR during editing.


Any thoughts?



Lower Hutt, New Zealand



It probably can be done, but we donít know of anyone who has, yet... The code is quite complex, comprising a 90-bit frame -- see code format diagram -- this will give you some idea of what youíre up against. If anyone has managed to crack the code on a Speccy please let us know and weíll pass it on.




Prior to the birth of our son we purchased a camcorder to capture all those precious moments, such as first day home from hospital, first smile and such.


Now he is over 18 months old we have hit a problem.  He can now walk and run.  Whenever he is doing anything interesting I reach for the camcorder and he immediately runs across and pushes his nose to the lens! 


How can I dissuade him from this practice?


Mrs K Williamson

Hemel Hempstead, Herts



Just about every camcorder-owning parent will be familiar with that one. Personally I gave up trying, and Iím glad I did so because now when we watch those old home videos those sudden extreme close-ups always get a good laugh. The worst that can happen is a smudged lens and a bumped nose. By the age of around two or three they tend to ignore the camera, and by the age of five itís Ďdonít point that thing at me...í. Enjoy this kind of spontaneity while it lasts, itís all part of those unrepeatable childhood memories,  just remember to take a cleaning cloth with you...




How far back does home movie-making go?  Believe it or not back to 1922 when the French company Pathe introduced a 9.5mm wide movie film, the following year they launched a Ďdomesticí camera to use it with. Eastman Kodak brought out the 16mm film format a year later; unlike the professional film of the day it used the cheaper and faster reversal process. It was also non-flammable and thus became known as Ďsafety filmí.




R. Maybury 1994 0908




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