VIDEO CAMERA 1994

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ASK RICK -- OCTOBER

 

INSTANT UPGRADE

I am currently considering upgrading  my camcorder and have been looking at the Canon EX1/2 Hi and Sony CCD VX1.

 

Clearly, Hi8 seems to produce the best picture, but if you compare my five year old Canon A2Hi with the two £2,500 plus machines, is there any noticeable difference in picture quality?

 

After all, I would be spending around £1,500 extra for the upgrade, Iíd expect it to be instantly obvious from the results that I had switched to a more sophisticated machine.

 

J. Craske

Gretton, Northants

 

A1

No, you would see little difference in off-tape picture quality, but maybe youíre missing the point. On the two machines you mention youíre paying for specific facilities, including an interchangeable lens in the case of the EX1/2, and the triple CCD image sensor on the VX1 (for improved colour accuracy and off-camera resolution). Thereís comparatively few performance gains left to be squeezed out of the current analogue video recording formats, certainly as far as the hardware is concerned. There may still be a little bit to go with tape technology, but for you at least thereís probably no immediate benefit in upgrading, unless you want those extra facilities.

 

TITLE MIS-DEEDS

I have made some titles using my IBM PC compatible 486 DX33 computer and am having problems transferring these to VCR tape.

 

I have tried a few external units for transferring computer to video without success.  The best was the VideoKey III which gave a good picture on the TV screen, but when recorded and played back from video tape produced severe colour bleed and smearing.

 

Although I donít have a great need for genlock facilities to overlay titles on video pictures, I would be prepared to consider any unit which would produce a high quality image from VCR tape.

 

My equipment consists of a Sony V800 camcorder and KV-X2152U television and a Panasonic NV90FS-B VCR.  All are equipped with S-video connectors.

 

Any help in this matter would be appreciated.

 

N. Sykes

Ludlow, Shropshire

 

A2

The root of your problem undoubtedly lies in the conversion of the computerís video output to PAL. As you have discovered results can be variable. The technology has been around for a while but prices have only just begun to fall, and the performance of some early products has been questionable. As a precaution check also that your VCR is  working properly, and that itís not just computer-generated material that itís having trouble with. As far as recommendations are concerned, weíve had good results using the Vine Multigen (aka Hama Trilock).

 

MALEVOLENT MITSI

Earlier this year I purchased the JVC AX55 and have been pleased with its performance.  It has the added advantage of an edit controller which I hoped to use with my Mitsubishi HS B12 VCR.  The coded system in the controller worked perfectly on all functions until it came to Ďpause.í

 

The VCR went on recording everything, including the menu.  The B12 has no pause connector so I was using the pause connection on the controller.  I tried again, but editing manually was the only possibility.

 

Am I now faced with the option of buying an edit controller, changing the VCR or is there some simple process in the equipment Iíve overlooked?

 

R. Sheekey

Tetbury, Glos

 

A3

There are gaps in the IR command code libraries on multi-brand handsets and as JVC point out itís impossible for them to keep up with every new model, though that doesnít excuse them in your case as the B12 came out long before the AX55. We havenít tried it but there is a very slight chance that one of the other command codes in the handset might work the B12, so try them all. Failing that Iím very much afraid youíll have to get a new VCR or resort to manual editing. I questioned JVC about the possibility of updating handsets but they told us itís not something they can do at the moment, but would look into it.

 

SLIPPAGE

I have recently taken up home video making and have found that the programme editing facility on my Panasonic HD700 VCR is useless.  There is too much slippage (about 1 second per minute) which makes a nonsense of the mark-in and mark-out points.

 

This means I have to use the one scene at a time technique and have no means of storing the chosen scenes.  If I have to alter an earlier scene in length, I have to re do all the subsequent editing.  The VCRís manual is hopeless and all Panasonic could suggest was that I bought a new HD700.

 

What would you suggest to overcome this problem?

 

H. Thompson

Huntingdon, Cambs

 

A4

The HD700 doesnít purport to be a professional editing system but timing errors of one second per minute seem excessive, and weíre surprised at Panasonicís reaction to your query. However, before you return the equipment to the dealer as faulty, which from the sound of it you are perfectly entitled to do, try a couple of things first. Fast wind the source tape from beginning to end, before you start editing; this should remove any slack and tension in the reels that may have built up during recording.  As far as possible shoot your scenes in a logical sequence, so you wonít be forced to edit scenes at opposite ends of the tape, and build in a little more leeway at the beginning and end of each shot.

 

BUBBLE TROUBLE?

Six years ago I purchased three batteries for my Bauer 526 VHS camera.  Lately Iíve noticed that one battery, when on charge, is making a bubbling noise.  Could this be dangerous?  Iíve not used the camera very much, but I always keep the batteries fully charged.

 

H. Snowball

Donaghadee, Co.Down

 

A5

The pack in question is a 12 volt/2.3Ah battery, widely used on Matsushita (Panasonic) sourced portable video decks and full-sized camcorders. A six year life is about as much as you can reasonably expect. The bubbling noises youíre hearing are not good and indicate the battery has had it. Thereís little chance of anything nasty happening, but donít charge it again, and donít forget to dispose of it properly, preferably by taking it to a video dealer.

 

 

ALL MIXED UP

I have a Panasonic NV-S6B palmcorder and have recently purchased a Vivanco EVM288 accessory mic. There are times when Iíd like to record commentary and have read that a lapel mic would be best for the job.  I fear, though, that I would not adequately record the sound from the main source of the action.  Is it possible to have 2 of these in position at the same time?  Is there an adaptor to do this or is it electronically inadvisable?

 

G. Schreiber

Cambridge

 

A6

The Camlink CCM700 could have been designed just for you, itís a directional mike, with a built-in mixer, and it comes with itís own lapel microphone. The alternative is to buy a microphone mixer and lapel mike, though this would probably work out dearer than the CCM700.

 

 

PONDERING PANASONIC

Iím thinking of buying a Panasonic camcorder and edit machine.  Could you please let me know which ones are compatible with TV and satellite stations and not too dear?

 

B. Cross

Oldham

 

A7

Eh? Are you sure youíve got the right magazine? I havenít got the foggiest idea what youíre on about...

 

SOURCE OF CONFUSION

Having recently purchased a Camlink VMX2000 stereo video processor I now have a problem getting music from a CD or tape to the VCR via the Camlink.

 

When I press the Aux buttons on the amplifier  the source shuts off.  Can you please advise?

 

J. Chadwick

Eccles, Manchester

 

 

A8

Why on earth are you pressing the auxiliary button on your amplifier? Itís an input selector switch, Iím not surprised that your audio source disappears. Leave it set to CD or tape, or whatever source youíre using.

 

 

OVER KEENE

The July issue of Video Camera ran an advert for Keene Electronics.  It stated that their BPA30 adaptor will allow 6 volt batteries to power Panasonic machines that are designed for 4.8v batteries.

 

I wrote to Panasonic about this and they said the NV R50 will not take 6 volts and that 4.8 volt batteries must be used.  It would benefit me a good deal if these adapters would work with the R50 as I also have a Panasonic S8 camcorder which runs on 6 volts.

 

I would appreciate your advice.

 

A. Brook

Yeovil, Somerset

 

A9

The DC jack on these machines is connected to a voltage regulator circuit, which can easily cope with a small increase in voltage like this.  However, the battery connections on the back of the machine are not regulated, and there can be problems running these camcorders from a  6 volt supply, which explains why Panasonic are not keen on the idea. The adaptor in question is fitted with a resistive load, so that when the camera is operating the battery voltage drops to around 5 volts, which should be within the camcorders safety limits. Keene tell us that there have been difficulties with the NV-S85, though, which has additional power saving circuits, so theyíre now fitting more precise voltage regulation circuits to the adapters.

 

 

LASER LIKENESS

I have taken some shots of my daughter on video which I would like on photographs.  I understand this can be done with a computer and laser printer.

 

As I donít know  anything about computers I would value your opinion and advice very much.

 

Maggie Clark

Alcester, Warks

 

A10

All this is possible, but unless you have a specific need to print a poor quality black and white or manky colour image, I have to ask why? Be warned, if youíre starting from scratch it could turn out to be one of the worldís most expensive photographs!  You will need an IBM PC (or Mac or Amiga) computer with a suitable video interface card and image manipulation software -- that little lot is likely to cost you around £1000; plus another £1000 or so for a black and white laser printer, or up to £4000 if you want a colour model. This sort of set-up will enable you to import moving video into the computer, freeze a frame, save it as an image file, and print it out. But even with all this expensive equipment the picture will still look awful, not even comparable with the sort of picture youíd get with a cheap disposable photographic camera.

 

You can get quite passable pictures from video using a video printer, but theyíre still quite expensive, (circa £1000), though you may find that your local photographic or video shops offer this as a service for between £5 and £10 per print. Alternatively you could simply take a photograph of the TV screen, itís quite easy to do and the results can be fairly good, the only thing to remember is to select a shutter speed of less than 1/25th of a second, to avoid patterning or bars across the picture.

 

EDIT ALTERNATIVES

I recently purchased the Sony TR805 camcorder and would like to edit my recordings, to put that final polish to my films but am confused with the vast array of alternatives on the market.

 

My current VCR is a JVC HD540 and my camera writes the RCTC code, so I would like to use this facility.  What edit controllers would be appropriate for frame accuracy?  Could an edit deck VCR be a viable option? 

 

I also own a 486DX PC - is there a software/hardware package that would suit my needs when adding my own titles?

 

N. Elliott

Bexley, Kent

 

A11

Youíve made a good start your camcorder and VCR form the basis of a very competent editing system. I would suggest that as youíve got a PC you make use of it as an edit controller, as well creating titles. In addition to the software you will need a PC to video card or genlock, and again the Vine Multigen would suit your needs. The Video Director package from Gold Disc is a good editing package and it reads RC timecode. You can use any WP package to create simple titles but if youíre looking for something a little more ambitious try PC Titler from Maze Technology.  By the way, even with time-coded recordings youíre not going to get frame-accurate edits, itís simply not possible on domestic equipment due to unavoidable timing errors occur in the record (or destination) VCR

 

---end---

R. Maybury 1994 1207

 


 

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