VIDEO CAMERA 1995

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VIDEO ON PAPER?

I am interested in using still images (taken from moving footage) from a Canon UC8Hi camcorder in desk top publishing on a PC, for output by high quality laser and inkjet printers.

 

Can you tell me: what resolution would the image be, once on the PC?

Would the resolution be high enough for use in a magazine style publication?

Are the example pictures used in Video Camera magazine taken by a camcorder? If so, which ones and what tape format were they filmed on?

 

Many thanks for your help.

 

C. Walker

Harrogate, N.Yorks

 

A1

We have occasionally used captured images taken from camcorder recordings, to illustrate articles, though it has to be said that itís usually fairly obvious as the quality is noticably inferior to normal photographs. The final quality of the digitised image will depend on the capabilities of the digitiser hardware and software, but the main limiting factor is the source material. Put simply a PAL video image is made up of 625 lines, of which fewer than 600 are actually used to make up the picture. Horizontal resolution, or the amount of detail that can be crammed onto a single picture line  -- even on a high-band machine such as yours -- is no more than 400-lines (and thatís on a good day) therefore the maximum theoretical vertical resolution will be 600 x 400, though by the time itís been through the mangle itís going to be significantly less. A good digitiser card will yield a printable image -- fine for simple documents, newsletters, ID cards etc -- but you will need something a little more sophisticated, (a scanner, and photographic source material),  if you want to do any serious desktop publishing.

 

 

TIME TO CHEWS

Could you please recommend a VCR, as my Panasonic VCR decided to chew up the VHS tape and then my daughterís Hitachi wouldnít work with my Sanyo EX33 editor.

 

It received the signal to record but would not pause at the desired edit points, so now I am faced with the dilemma of buying a compatible VCR - or should I not bother finding a compatible VCR; perhaps this editor is just a cheap gimmick of no real worthwhile use?

 

My budget could just stretch to a low priced S-VHS model but should I not progress to Hi8?  Would this then be a waste of money or would I receive better picture quality as compared to 8mm to VHS?

 

I have just purchased your magazine and find it to my liking, but I find it difficult to understand the jigsaw puzzle of equipment available.  Perhaps this could be explained in future issues with the beginner in mind.

 

D. Bailey

Lancs

 

A2

We spoke to Sanyo about your problem and a spokesperson told us there were no known difficulties with Hitachi VCRs, working with the EX33 camcorder, so maybe itís worth going back to check on the set-up routines. The editing system on the EX33 is quite basic, but itís by no means a cheap gimmick, within its limitations it works quite well. As for your next VCR, thereís nothing to be gained by buying a S-VHS or Hi8 VCR for this sort of application. You would do better spending your money on a decent VHS machine. Hopefully you havení t been put off Panasonic equipment, theyíre usually pretty good for editing, so too are most other top-end VHS VCR made by other major brands, take your pick from Hitachi, JVC, Sony, Toshiba etc., look out for machines with extra editing features, front-mounted AV sockets are usually a good sign, and go for a stereo model, rather than a mono one as they usually have better deck mechanisms.  The only ones to avoid are the very cheap models, which normally have picture quality to match. For the best results use a good quality high-grade tape for your copies.

 

 

PRINTS POSSIBLE?

My Panasonic camcorder has a snapshot function and I understand that it is possible to make colour prints from the camcorder by using a Panasonic colour video printer - NV MP1.

 

As I am a relative newcomer to camcorders, I would appreciate any information you may have on this subject and whether it would be financially viable to go to the expense of purchasing a printer.

 

A. Smith

Bridport, Dorset

 

A3.

The MP1 is just one of a number of colour video printers. Most of them work in the same way; they take a video signal (still or moving), store it in a digital frame store or microchip memory, then split the image up into its colour components. The seperated colour signals are then fed to a kind of sophistciated fax machine that uses a thermal printing head to transfer colour dyes from a roll of coloured film, onto the prining paper. It makes several passes over the paper, building up each colour as it goes; the finished print usually take around a minute to complete. This process is called dye sublimation, and depending on the make of printer, can work out at between 30 pence to around £1.00 per print.

 

The results can look quite good, though the image source -- your camcorder -- is simply not capable of resolving anything like the same amount of detail as a photographic camera -- less so in the Ďsnapshot modeí on your machine -- so the pictures will look a bit fuzzy. The bottom line is, if you want to take a picture of something a cheap camera, even one of those throwaway types, will produce a clearer sharper image than any video set up, at a tiny fraction of the price. Video printers have their uses, though, and the main advantage is immediacy, and the facility to select the image to be printed, but at their present stage of development theyíre not a viable alternative to conventional photography.  

 

BATTERY LIST?

This matter may have been aired before but if so, I missed it!  Is it possible to print a list of camera makes that use similar batteries?

 

I have a Sanyo VMD6P which I wish to replace.  I have  accumulated several batteries including a belt, so I wish to purchase a new camera that will accept these batteries - is it only Sony and Sanyo?

 

R. Buckingham

Guildford, Surrey

 

A4

Youíve got to be joking! Even hardened accessory dealers and manufacturers flinch at the mention of camcorder battery compatibility charts. The last time we counted there were over 80 different types of  battery, to fit several  hundred different makes and models of camcorders sold since the mid 1980ís. Fortunately the NP style batteries used on your machine are the most common, theyíre used on a wide range of badge-engineered machines, as well as Sony and Sanyoís own. You can also get adaptor plates that will suit some combinations of equipment, but in the end the only safe way to check is to take one of your batteries with you, and try it out, when youíre out auditioning new camcorders.  

 

EDITORS CHOICE

I have just bought a Panasonic NV R11B camcorder.  Could you please advise as to the best mixer/editor in the lower price range and how to make the best use of the built-in 5 pin edit function on the camcorder.  My VCR is a Panasonic NV-G7.

 

Incidentally, I tried to buy a UV filter for the camcorder and Panasonic do not yet have any available for this model.  This seems odd that they should herald their new models before making sure the accessories are available.

 

E. Newton

Dukinfield, Cheshire

 

A5

Thereís quite a few new edit controllers on the market in the £170 to £200 price bracket, that can be used with your camcorder and VCR, Check out the IQ Edit Studio, Hamaís Easy Edit. Also consider our old favourite, the Videonics Thumbs-Up. Panasonicís own budget edit controller, the VW-EC1 is very basic, having only a 4-scene memory, but it is quite cheap at £150 or less.

 

The R11 has a 37mm filter thread and just about every accessory manufacturer has a wide range of filters and adaptors that will fit, which is probably one reason why Panasonic donít bother, they would be hard pressed to compete.

 

SIMPLE SANYO

I have a Sanyo VM EX30P camcorder with 5 cut random assembly edit facility, Sony SLV 415 VCR with control L and Hitachi VT 410E VCR.  By hard wiring the SLV 415 and IR linking the VT 410E I can control both VCRs producing 2 first copies of the same tape.

 

The 5 cut edits are somewhat limiting so Iím thinking of getting a Thumbs-Up edit controller, but I think this will not give me RAE on first copies.  Can I combine the RAE capability of the VM-EX30P with the extra capacity of the Thumbs Up to give me the best of both instruments?

R. Hems

Witney, Oxon

 

A6

From the sound of it youíre trying to produce two second-generation copies simultaneously, using two different VCRs, but I canít understand why you would want to do such a thing. Once the cuts are stored in an edit controller you can reel off as many consecutive copies as you like, thatís the beauty of controlled assemble editing, itís repeatable. Making one copy at a time is obviously not as fast, but thatís hardly a problem, unless youíre going into mass production, in which case you need something altogether more sophisticated. You can use the Thumbs Up with your machine, it has a Control L edit terminal, and a 62-scene memory but Iím fairly sure you canít use it to control more than one VCR at a time, unless they are both the same make and model and will operate from the same IR commands.

 

 

QUALITY QUEST

Although my Canon E110 does a good job for the type of camcorder it is, I would like to have better picture quality, especially after editing.

 

Should I start to consider the Hi8 system and a possible change to, say, the Hitachi VME510 or the outgoing Sony CCD FX700 ( I donít fancy palmcorders).

 

Having researched the subject I find that my fairly new Panasonic NV-F77 VCR may not be able to take full advantage of the better quality produced by a Hi8 camcorder.  Is there any worthwhile benefit to be had by changing to Hi8?  If so, which camcorder up to around £1000 with plenty of manual control would you recommend please?

G. Trim

Dorchester, Dorset

 

A7

Whenever you copy or edit video recordings, on domestic analogue equipment, there will be a noticeable reduction in picture quality brought about by an increase in noise. The best way to minimise the effects of noise is to start out with as good an original recording as possible, which in your case would mean moving up to a high-band camcorder, either Hi8 or S-VHS-C, it makes little difference. Second generation records made on your Panasonic VCR should look a lot better, but if you want to minimise picture degredgation even further you should think about editing to a S-VHS VCR. As for reccomending a specific machine, it would be helpful to know what you want to use it for, and why you object to palmcorders. The FX700 was a very good machine, and well worth considering if you can find one at a reasonable price.

 

DELIVERY PROBLEMS

I have a Toshiba VCR, model V-854B.  One of its features is a programme delivery control system which controls the recorder should a scheduled programme be broadcast at a modified time.

 

I have tried this a few times with programmes which were scheduled to run late: the recorder still seems to come on at the specified time in the timer.  This is with the PDC enabled.  I have tried all TV stations in my region.  Is this system on line in the UK?

 

The only technical reference I can find about video control signals is from a

Philips data sheet from 1986.

 

Your advice would be appreciated.

 

P. Thompson

Liverpool

 

A8

PDC or programme delivery control, originally known as Startext,  is now a common feature on many new VCRs built within the last year. It is designed to automatically correct VCR timer settings, for late programme changes. Until recently only Channel 4 transmitted the necessary data codes though now we understand the BBC and other ITV companies are conducting trials. It works like this: a VCR with PDC, set to make a time-shift recording, will not begin the recording until it receives the correct Ďgo-codeí for that programme, transmitted by the broadcaster, in the teletext data stream. The tuners in these VCRs remain active, scanning the channels, incidentally one of the spin-offs of this technology is automatic clock set and time adjust, another increasingly common VCR feature.

 

SLOW WOE

I am quite happily making films using a very basic assemble edit method with an AV mixer and audio cassette link up, I would sometime in the future like to try some stunt film work, which requires slow motion and only certain VCRs have this facility.  Why donít camcorders have this this slow motion facility more readily available?  I read that the Sanyo VM EX370P 8mm at £650 has this facility.  Can you please tell me just how good this feature is and how many camcorders currently available have the same slow motion facility?

 

T. Wheatley

Hinckley, Leics

 

A9

The simple answer is that the kind of slomo effect youíre after is not possible using current domestic analogue video equipment. The slomo replay on 8mm and VHS equipment -- no matter how good it looks on TV -- is not recordable on another VCR. You will just end up with an unstable mess. Slow-motion replay on VCRs (and a few camcorders), relies on on the fact that TVs can display what amounts to a garbled image, because of their superior picture synchronisation circuitry. Itís possible to incorporate this technology into VCRs, but would anyone pay for it? Weíve conducted some experiments using a DVC camcorder with slomo and this does work, though the effect is quite jerky on the SonyVX1000, and thereís no speed control; maybe you should wait a while.

 

YOU WEAR IT WELL

From the point of view of performance and head wear, what is the difference between Hi8 Metal Particle and Metal Evaporated tapes?

 

Secondly, I have a Canon UC8 Hi8 camera, a Screenwriter Titler, a Vanguard 305 Processor/mixer and a Toshiba V-711B VCR running into a Toshiba 2112DB TV (I know that for Hi8 I should have S-VHS equipment, but give a working chap time).

 

The problem is that when they are all in line there are faint but visible verticle wavy lines on the TV screen.  Having gone through all of the equipment, disconnecting and reconnecting, it is the Screenwriter that is seemingly generating the lines.  They appear with just  the screenwriter and

TV together.  I have tried changing the power output source as suggested in the instructions to no avail and changed round the in-line sequence of the equipment.

 

Have you any idea what I can do?

 

J. Cunningham

Scarborough, Yorks

 

A10

Early metal evaporated (ME) tapes had a reputation for causing accellerated head wear, though manufacturing techniques have since been refined and in theory they should have the same qualities as metal particle (MP) tapes. In fact video tape is meant to be slight abrasive, in order to keep the tape path clean and the polished. As far as performance is concerned the magnetic coating on ME tapes can store more information than the coating on MP tapes, this gives a cleaner, sharper picture, with less noise, at least that the theory. In practice, on some Hi8 machines, thereís not a lot of difference between the best MP tapes and ME formulations. Itís difficult to generalise, though, my advice is to conduct your own trials and find the tape that best suits you and your equipment.

 

I canít fault your detective work tracking down the source of interference, unfortunately I have no instant remedy. Itís just possible thereís a peculiar interaction between the Screenwriter and your TV, does the wavy line appear on recordings, have you tried it on another TV? If the problem persists then Iím afraid thereís not a lot you can do, apart from trying to exchange the unit.

 

---end---

 

R. Maybury 1995 0711

 

 


 

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