occasions whilst making a video recording, and at different locations, my JVC
GRS707 suddenly recorded sound only. Viewing the recording later I got the
impression that the tape hadnít been used even though the sound track was
At first I
assumed that Iíd done something wrong during recording, but I was assured this
wasnít the case. On the third occasion
this happened I took the camera to the repair centre where they kept it for a
few weeks. On its return I was told
there was no fault found.
later it went wrong again and it went back to the repairers, together with the
recorded tape. Again no fault was
found, although it was suggested that the head was picking up tape debris. As I only ever use new JVC S-VHS tapes of
the best quality I donít see how this could happen.
I would be
most grateful for advice on a possible cause of this malfunction.
difficult to say what has happened but intermittent faults like this one are a
real pain to track down, though Iím rather surprised that the engineers
couldnít find it after a Ďfew weeksí, and their suggestion that it was somehow
caused by debris on the head smacks of a fob-off. The only circumstances when
this machine can make an audio-only recording is when it is in the audio-dub
mode. Itís unlikely you would be doing that by mistake, so we have to assume
that the fault is either a failure somewhere in the video recording section, or
some kind of switching problem, concerned with that facility. In either case
thereís not much you can do about it, it will need professional help again, but
maybe you can make it a little easier for the engineers. Make a note of the
following. Are the blank sections completely unrecorded, in which case there
will be a screen-full of random noise, or is there a video signal present --
the screen will be plain black or grey. Turn up the brightness on the TV to see
if thereís any trace of a picture.
see if the stereo soundtracks are there during blank recordings, if they are
then the at least some parts of the head scanner circuitry and mechanical
assembly is probably okay. See if you can instigate the fault by gently tapping
the machine, especially around the control panel on the right side of the
machine, close to where the audio-dub button is situated, and if you do manage to make it happen
again, note the circumstances, and whether or not thereís any disturbance to
the image in the viewfinder. By the way, as the fault was still present when
the machine was returned to you, you should take it back and insist they fix it
free of charge as the original repair was clearly unsatisfactory.
Iím your average home movie maker just wanting to record memories and tidy up
my films, before saving it to VCR using titles, etc.
I bought a
JVC GR-AX55 and have added an optional remote control handset and I am very
pleased with the overall results.
However, I feel that some form of enhancement is required when
transferring the original recording to my VCR which is a Sharp VC-A5011HM, as
there is some loss of quality.
advise if all enhancers can be used when copying VCR to VCR and recommend a
reasonably priced one?
this straight, making copies of video recordings, using domestic equipment,
results in a noticeable reduction in picture quality, mainly caused by
additional noise generated by both video decks, the tape and copying leads to
name just a few. Nothing can alter that fact, at least not until we get digital
VCRs and camcorders. Video enhancers cannot replace the information lost to
noise during the copying process, what they do is increase the amplitude of the
video signal, in the hope that it will reduce the impact of the added noise in
the picture. This process sometimes makes the image look very slightly sharper,
but more often than not the effect gives the picture a harsh, ragged
appearance. The best thing you can do is minimise the degradation in the first
place, before you resort to enhancers, and that means using the very best
quality video tape for both the original master recording, and any subsequent
copies. Both machines should be maintained in tip-top condition, you might find
decent quality head cleaners will improve picture quality as well. The Sharp
A50 is a good machine for time-shifting and watching pre-recorded tapes but
itís fair to say itís not the best machine for copying, if youíve got the money
why not think about upgrading to an edit deck?
At the end
of this year I shall be spending three months travelling around the world. I had decided to purchase the Panasonic S85,
then the S90 came out and I decided to go for that instead. I had also thought of buying an edit
controller compatible with the Panasonic NV-FS200 video recorder.
am starting to have doubts as to whether Iím going in the right direction. Even though I never normally use the LP
facility when recording I thought it would be more convenient when abroad to
cut down on the number of tapes I would need to purchase. I see that the S90 doesnít have an LP
recording mode and Iíd be interested to hear your comments on LP picture/sound
quality on the S85.
S70 is getting glowing reports - should I be going for that and purchase a
production mixer instead of having the facilities on camera?
If I am
going to spend £1200 on a camcorder I want to be sure that itís the best one
for my purposes. Would I have problems
charging up batteries abroad with a standard adaptor?
the LP performance on the S85 is reasonable the deficiencies will become very
obvious when you makes copies or edit from master recordings. There will be
increased noise, reduced resolution and possibly unstable colours. Forget LP recording, except in emergencies.
Yes, youíre going to have to buy a few more tapes but they neednít take up too
much space, you can always mail them home every so often. Blanks are available pretty well everywhere,
you can even use tapes designated for NTSC machines, and as a bonus you will
get slightly longer running times than stated on the box. The chargers supplied
with most camcorders (and all Panasonic machines) will work virtually anywhere
in the world without adjustment, provided thereís a mains supply, from 110 to
240 volts AC 50/60 Hz.
If you can
get a good deal on the S70 take it, but remember this is quite an old machine
now, and more recent models are slightly smaller, plus they have improved
picture quality, and facilities.
a new but greatly reduced Sony TR707 camera and I am very pleased with it. My problem is the built-in microphone which
picks up background sound which distorts what Iím filming.
It has been
suggested that I purchase a bracket and separate microphone which fits in the
tripod hole and the mic-in jack plug.
Both together will cost £80 which I canít afford. Is there a cheaper way of doing this?
have to spend anything like £80. You can get accessory brackets that clip
between the battery and the camcorder for less than £10, and stereo microphones
start at around £25. If you want some recommendations take a look at the stereo
mike survey we carried out last year, in the June 1994 issue. If you havenít
got it then you can order a reprint, or a copy from our backnumbers department.
puzzled as to why itís impossible to perform insert edits on 8mm recordings
with PCM sound. I understand why with
VHS itís possible to perform insert edits and audio dubs as the linear
soundtrack and video signals are recorded separately and so can be edited
according to various articles Iíve read, it is possible to audio dub PCM sound
on 8mm recordings as the PCM sound and video are also recorded separately, so
why isnít it possible to perform insert edits whilst leaving the PCM sound
untouched? Can you please explain?
technically possible for the reasons that you mention but Sony, who make the
only domestic camcorders and VCRs with PCM stereo sound, choose not to offer
this facility; they say itís to do with the way the 8mm format is configured,
and rub salt into the wound by reminding us that they make pro machines with
dubbable FM stereo soundtracks. However, we have heard of a modification which
will switch off the PCM audio heads during insert edit recording, we understand
this is available to fit certain 8mm decks (EV-S550 and EV-S1000) but we
havenít tried it and as itís not made or approved by Sony, it will inevitably
invalidate the manufacturers guarantee.
years Iíve had a JVC video recorder HR-D725EK.
The results editing to it from my Panasonic NV-S7B without the benefit
of S-VHS seem as good as direct from the camera to TV with S-VHS input.
itís beginning to fail in one or two areas now. For example sometimes the sound fades away and the remote has
just about had it. On top of this, itís
a nuisance having all the sockets at the back.
So what do
I do with it? Would the new Panasonic
NV-HS1000 give me as good results and has it all the abilities of the old
upon Thames, Surrey
Retire it to
the bedroom, or give it to the kids, itís probably still got a few years left
on the clock. If you can afford it the HS1000 would make a splendid companion
for your S7, they could have been made for one another. The HS1000 is a highly
specified Super-VHS machine, so youíll be able to make excellent copies, with
minimal reduction in picture quality. Most importantly, it has a built-in
10-scene edit controller, and if used with the optional VITC decoder, is
capable of near-professional results. It also has a full set of AV connection
on the front, so no more messing around with wonky sockets. All you need now is
to the world of video editing I purchased a second-hand Videonics Direct Ed
Plus which I assumed would be the answer to my problems.
I have a
Sony CCD F385E and Mitsubishi HS-M59. I
have encountered various problems with the positioning of dubs on library
tapes. Also having selected cuts to
make a movie the unit seems unable to find a cut sometimes. In a few cases it has even given up trying
Direct Ed literature there are warnings to switch off any memory which could,
it says, mean switching off the tape counter. Is this possible with the M59 and
could I have an incompatibility problem?
first appeared, around five or six years ago, Direct Ed was at the cutting edge
of editing technology (no pun intended), and it offered many features
previously unavailable outside of professional editing suites. The problem is
that it was designed for the VCRs of the day, and for obvious reasons the
manufacturers could take no account of the machines that came after it, hence
there can be compatibility problems. We asked Brian Evans at Bandridge, who
distribute Videonics products in the UK,
if theyíd ever come across the symptoms you describe and he came back
with a number of suggestions for you to try.
down the picture sharpness control on your VCR. You canít turn off the counter
but you should make sure the counter memory is switched out (thatís the memory
they were referring to in the instructions). You should upgrade your library
tape on a regular basis, Videonics suggest every six months, thatís to
compensate for any changes in the characteristics of your VCR, caused by
general wear and tear etc., and finally, switch off the blue screen mute, as
this could be confusing the system if it comes on during unrecorded portions of
the tape. They also tell us that some Mitsubishi and JVC machines have
high-speed rewind systems that can sometimes confuse the Direct Ed as they
shift into top gear.
still having problems Bandridge say they will be only too happy to test your
Direct Ed out for you, which will at least tell you if your Mitsubishi VCR is
the source of the trouble. You can contact them at: BANDRIDGE LTD, Premiere
House, 18 Deer Park Road, Wimbledon, London SW1 3TU.
Telephone 0181-543 3633
E60 camcorder is almost three years old.
Whilst editing through my VCR several intermittent horizontal shimmering
lines travel from top to bottom of the screen interrupting sound.
camcorder tape is a new Sony Metal MP90 and the lines commence after some 60
minutes of my latest recording and appear at intervals of about 5 minutes or
so, each enduring 1-2 seconds.
can advise me of the likely cause.
very much like a manufacturing fault on the tape. Have you tried another one?
If so then the only thing you can do is make a copy of the recording, editing
out the shimmer, and return it to Sony and see what they have to say about it.
I own an
Atari 520 STE upgraded to 1040. I
currently use Video Editor and Video Master and would like to know if there are
any more programmes I could use as Iíd like to put titles onto the picture as
the Amiga and PC. Are you going to
include any programmes for the Atari?
You have a
number of options, though all of them involve you buying extra hardware as
thereís no way I know of to mix computer generated images, titles effects etc.
from the Atari, with video from an external source, without a genlock, or a
video mixer. The Atari STE is a fine machine but sadly poorly supported when it
comes to this kind of application. If anyone out there knows of any useful
video-related programs, utilities or hardware then weíd be only too happy to
pass them on to the many Atari fans we know are out there. However, in the end
we have to say youíre going to have to think about getting a PC or Amiga if you
want to do any serious PC-based video editing or post production.
I have a
Panasonic NV MS4 video camera and NV SD30B VCR. Iím thinking of buying the VTG 228 Title Generator from
please advise me which would be the best Editor for me (around £300) to
really only one worth considering in that price range, taking into account the
equipment youíve already got, and thatís the ubiquitous Thumbís Up from
Videonics, which should leave you with enough change from your £300 to buy a
half-decent audio mixer.
a Sony TR805 camcorder mainly to achieve as good a picture quality as possible
within my budget.
I find that
when using Hi8 ME tapes to record, or in playback, frequent cleaning of the
heads is required every 15 to 20 minutes.
I also usually have to use the head cleaner every time I insert an ME
tape for playback.
instruction book that came with the Sony states that the video heads will be
damaged of I use a commercially available wet type cleaning tape. Although I already had a Vivanco wet type
video 8 head cleaner I hesitated to use it and so purchased the recommended
Sony V8 25 CLH dry type head cleaner.
recommendation by Sony a con or will the use of my wet type cleaner really
damage the video heads of the TR805? If so, how?
problem with wet cleaners is that users do not always read the instructions. It
takes several minutes for the isopropyl alcohol cleaning fluid they use, to
evaporate. If a tape is inserted immediately after use, while the head drum is
still wet, thereís a very good chance the ultra-thin tape will stick to the
drum and tangle, resulting in a very nasty mess. This is even more of a problem
on ME tapes which have a history of sticking problems on some machines.
Iím a little concerned that you need to clean your machine so often, and wonder
if thereís some other problem that needs attention. Under normal circumstances
I wouldnít expect it to need cleaning more than once every 10 to 15 hours of
use. I presume the machine is still in guarantee, in which case ask your Sony
dealer to have a look at it.
copying from my Canon UC15 camcorder onto VHS I use the assemble edit
method. Could you suggest a suitable
copy onto a Mitsubishi HS 306B which is a hard-wired remote control. I also own a Ferguson FV 31R which has an
please explain how to connect an Enhancer/Mixer, Vari-speed fader between
camcorder and VCR?
edit terminal, so no edit controller. These days Canon fit Control L/LANC edit
terminals to almost all of their machines but, sadly, not the UC15, so thereís
no way to automate the editing process. Thereís nothing to stop you using other
items of video and audio post production, like the audio and video
faders/mixers you mention, and these will connect between the AV output of your
source machine (UC15) and your record VCR, using the audio and video input
connections. Itís simply a matter of having the right cables and connectors,
which in your case will be phono-to-phono (camcorder to processor) and phono-to-SCART
(processor to VCR). Suitable leads are obtainable almost everywhere for less
than £10; quite a few processors these days come with lead sets. The
connections are clearly explained in the instruction books of both the UC15 and
whatever device you use. By the way, the remote socket on the Mitsubishi VCR
isnít much use for editing (or anything else for that matter), unless you have
a second Mitsubishi machine with the same facility.
several tapes using my Panasonic NV-S85 camcorder I now wish to edit and
re-record them onto S-VHS tapes and VHS tapes.
My TV is a
Philips Matchline and the VCR is an old Mitsubishi which is due for
replacement. Iím considering a
Mitsubishi HS-M1000 - will this combination be compatible and allow me to
produce the edited tapes in both formats and will I need anything else?
Some of my
tapes suffer from an undue amount of wind noise. Is there any way of removing or disguising this when I edit and
re-record? What should I do in future
to prevent this happening again?
will do everything you want, youíll be able to make both high and low band
copies or edits, and it will function happily with a wide range of edit
controllers that use IR control for the destination deck. The only rider to
that is, if you think youíre going to be doing a lot of editing then a VCR like
the Panasonic HS100 might be worth considering as it has a built-in edit
controller that can be used with your camcorder.
thing to do with wind noise is dub over it, add music, or a commentary. In
future avoid pointing your camcorderís microphone into the wind, monitor the
sound through headphones or an earphone, and maybe invest in a wind gag or
speculating about disc-based digital video recorders for years but now someone
has gone and done it. Itís called the Geutebruck Multiscope and itís the first
commercially available stand-along video disc recorder. Itís based around a
standard 540 megabyte PC hard disc drive, that can store almost 30,000 frames
of full colour video, using JPEG compression. The Multiscope has been designed
for security and surveillance applications, but it can record several minutes
worth of VHS-quality real-time video, or over two weeks worth of time-lapse
recording. The software can actually address up to 256 gigabytes of hard disc
storage, thatís enough for up to 6 days of continuous recording! The only
problem is the price, the basic Multiscope £5,200, plus VAT, but give it
” R. Maybury 1994 2102