VIDEO CAMERA 1994

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MINITESTS

 

THE WRITE STUFF

Donít you just hate it when the sticky labels on your video cassettes are full up? And when you try to peel the old ones off youíre left with those annoying sticky bits... Once again technology has come up with an answer, though this is no late twentieth-century miracle solution, itís a good old-fashioned piece of lateral thinking. The Remarkable video tape marking system will be immediately familiar, itís a clever re-incarnation of those Ďmagicí writing pads we all had as children. Basically itís a sandwich of plastic films that turn black (actually dark grey), when you apply pressure to the topmost layer. When the layers are separated the marks disappear; in this case thereís a tiny wiper bar that slides from one end to the other. Each pack contains a writing stylus, which has a little key to move the slider. The panel has an adhesive backing film and attaches in place of the normal label, itís quite a bit thicker than a normal paper label but this didnít seem to concern the half dozen or so VCRs we tried it with.

 

Legibility is reasonable, at least as readable as dark grey on light grey can be, and provided itís not disturbed any writing seems to be quite stable -- a month and counting on our test sample. We suspect that the marks might fade over time, though this wouldnít necessarily be a problem on frequently-used time-shifter tapes, weíll keep you posted.

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model       REMARKABLE 5-PACK

Guide Price        £5 (10-pack £9)

Features             Cassette label with re-writable surface

Package              5-labels and pen/slider key

To fit                    standard VHS cassette

Distributor         HAMA Unit 4 Cherrywood, Chineham Business Park, Basingstoke, Hants RG24 OWF. Telephone (0256) 708110

 

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   9

Temporary tape tabulation for time-shifters

 

CHARACTER BUILDING

Time was, almost every camcorder had some sort of on-board title generator, these days itís left up to the accessory companies to fill in the gaps, and a pretty good job theyíve been doing, but now theyíre under threat from increasingly sophisticated and affordable computer-based titling systems. The Camlink Vision 300 colour video titler appears to be a partial response to this challenge, in fact inside the box thereís a fair amount of computer hardware, including one mysterious custom chips; Camlink have gone to extraordinary lengths to hide its identity, by grinding away its identification number.

 

Whether or no anyone would want to emulate the operation of this device is debatable, but weíll come to that in a moment. Back on the outside the titler is built into the by now familiar sloping console used by the rest of Camlinkís Vision range. The keyboard follows the standard QWERTY layour but the keys are small, rubbery and lack feel, moreover thereís no pound or dollar signs, or any special characters. The titler has a full set of AV inputs, including S-Video sockets, though resolution doesnít get much above 350 lines.

 

Creating a title is simple enough, and adding attributes, to change the colour or style of the title is easy enough. Up to 8 pages can be created and this is where the Vision 300 gets a bit too complicated for its own good. Pages can be shown in sequence, and assigned a display mode (scroll, crawl etc), but to do this you need to press a sequence of buttons and enter a string of commands. The problem is thereís no verification or comfirmation display, so thereís no way of knowing if you get it wrong, and no opportunity to try or preview the various options. The instruction book actually suggests the user tries the display modes for themselves, but doesnít go on to explain how. In short if you stray from a simple one page title itís far too easy to get into a tangle, and without the instruction book youíre lost!

 

The titles themseleves are reasonably sharp, though thereís only two charcter sizes, and only one font, though thereís just enough flexibility and options for character colour and background to make it interesting.

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model       CAMLINK VISION 300

Guide Price          £170

What is it?           Colour video title generator

No pages               8

Page layout          12 lines x 26 characters

Character sizes    2

Character styles  8 colours/3 modes

Background         8 colours/superimpose

Effects                  sequence, line by line, crawl, scroll (2-speeds)

Accessories           mains adaptor, 2 x sets AV leads, phono to SCART adaptor

Dimensions          170 x 305 x 55mm        

Distributor APEX RETAIL DISTRIBUTION 4 Apex Point,Travellers Lane, Welham Green, Hatfield, Herts AL9 7HB. Telephone (0707) 266222 

                    

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   7

Good results but cumbersome to use

 

WORLD CLASS

You donít see too many TVs on these pages, thatís because very few are designed for the convenience of video movie-makers, and lack even basic facilities like front-mounted AV terminals. Thatís clearly not a problem with the Grundig P27-649/12, which is so camcorder friendly it would give your machine a big wet sloppy kiss, if it could. Portability is the key feature; itís small, with a nine-inch (23cm) screen, and all-up weight is just 7kg, just the right size in fact for caravanning or camping. It will run off almost any power source, from a car battery (a battery cord is supplied) to any mains supply, anywhere in the world, and it has a tuner to match. Itís a true multi-standard TV, operating on PAL I/B or G, NTSC and SECAM transmissions, selectable from the on-screen display.

 

The all-important frontal AV socketry includes a pair of phonos, for composite video and audio in, and thereís also an S-Video socket -- unusual on a set of this size. In addition thereís a headphone socket, for private listening. On the back panel thereís a fully configured SCART socket, with RGB connections, AC and DC power sockets, and an aerial connector. The S-Video and RGB connections mean the P27 would make a useful monitor, for both editing and movie-making purposes, and for computers and video games, is there nothing this telly cannot do? Well, there is one thing, it doesnít have a fastext decoder, though there's a set of text buttons on the remote handset, but even that is possible as it can be retrofitted with a text decoder.

 

As you would expect picture quality is good, mainly because TV pictures on small screens  always look bright and sharp. Surprisingly picture quality from an S-Video source isnít that wonderful and the display can only resolve 330-lines or so, but colours are crisp and vibrant, and thereís plenty of contrast. The tuner is a top rate design, sensitive and selective, and the two metre-long telescopic antenna can pull in a picture in all but the most arduous reception conditions. Grundig have wisely avoided using a sweep tuner, (the type that automatically searches out transmission), as this would inevitably skip over marginal signals; instead the tuner set-up is controlled manually, from the on-screen display, which also generates a station ident, every time the channel is changed.

 

A real gem of a TV, and donít be put off by the price. Youíre paying for versatility and flexibility, itíll work just about anywhere, but itís just as happy staying at home, as a second set in the bedroom, or earning its keep as a monitor or computer game display.

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model       GRUNDIG P27-649/12

Guide Price         £330

Screen size           9-inches/23 cm

 

Power supply      12-12 VDC/110-240V 50/60Hz AC 

Features              multi-lingual on-screen display, 99-minute sleep timer, 49 channel tuner, child lock, fastext upgradeable

Sockets                front: composite video and audio (phono), S-Video in, headphone (minijack); rear: AV in/out (SCART), AC in (Telefunken), DC in, RF in (coaxial)

Dimensions          270 x 250 x 340        

Weight                 7kg

Distributor          GRUNDIG INTERNATIONAL Mill Road, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV21 1PR. Telephone (0788) 577155

 

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   9

Portability par-excellence

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model      

Guide Price         £

Features             

Sockets               

Dimensions        

Weight               

Distributor          

 

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   X

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model      

Guide Price         £

Features             

Sockets               

Dimensions         

Weight               

Distributor          

 

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   X

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model      

Guide Price         £

Features             

Sockets               

Dimensions        

Weight               

Distributor          

 

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   X

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model      

Guide Price         £

Features             

Sockets               

Dimensions        

Weight               

Distributor          

 

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   X

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model      

Guide Price         £

Features             

Sockets               

Dimensions        

Weight               

Distributor          

 

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   X

 

 

 

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(c) R.Maybury 1993 1203

 


 

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