ASK RICK --
I have been
doing still photography for more years than I care to remember, but I thought
it was about time I tried my hand at video. After several months extensive
homework, I decided to purchase a JVC VHS-C GR-M7 Pro camcorder. It has all the
features I require, but when recording something as simple as people walking in
the street the result on the television screen are disappointing. In sunshine the subjects have a white band
on one side and a black shadow on the other.
In overcast conditions similar results have a black shadow all around the
attempt to correct this problem I have tried adjusting the white balance,
exposure control and shutter speeds, along with various other things.
Am I doing
something wrong, or am I asking too much in comparing the results with a still
If you try
and compare the quality of a video recording with a photograph you certainly will
be disappointed, but the shadows youíre seeing sound somewhat excessive. Itís
difficult to diagnose from a distance, it could be any one of a number of
effects, including ringing, smearing or vignetting, some of which are inevitable
on video recordings, but are usually so slight they go unnoticed. What you need
to do is establish is whether this effect is a fault, or simply you being
overly critical, and the best person to do that is an engineer who can give the
machine a thorough health check. Alternatively, send us a recording and weíll have
let you know what we think.
I own a
Panasonic NV-G1B camcorder, NV-L20B VCR, Camlink VMX2000 and a Video Tech VTG
228 titler. Iím considering updating my
camera and I quite favour either the JVC GR-AX55 or the GR-AX75.
please advise me if either of these is compatible with my current equipment?
have any problems connecting either of the two JVC camcorders to your
post-production equipment and video recorder. JVC, in common with all other
VCR, camcorder and accessory manufacturers maintain compatibility by using
internationally agreed video and audio signal configurations. Such differences
as there are, are mostly concerned with the types of plugs and sockets used to
connect the equipment together. JVC favour combining audio and video signals on
one miniature DIN connector, almost everyone else uses phono type connector,
however, itís not a problem as these days you can get ready-made leads with
just about every possible permutation of plug and socket.
I have a
Sony CCD F350E camcorder. By removing
the unit from an inexpensive toy radio controlled car, which operates a
relay/switch, I can plug this into the remote socket and operate the camera
questions are: is this the wrong use of this socket and what are remotes for,
socket youíre referring to is the famous Control L or LANC socket, which can be
used to connect the machine to an edit controller. Technically speaking Control
L is an open-collector, bi-directional serial bus carrying, amongst other
things, control signals for the tape deck and tape counter information. In the
arrangement you describe youíre short-circuiting the bus to ground, and thatís
not a very good idea, donít do it!
concerns editing, in particular how to get accurate edit points. I have a Canon E6 which I appreciate is not
the best starting point but although I have done some basic copying/editing
onto VHS it has been very hit and miss.
Page 31 of
your September issue says that RCTC can be added to tapes after they have been
recorded. How and what equipment do I
only a handful of top-end Sony camcorders and one VCR have the capacity to add
RC time codes to previously recorded tapes, and you will still need an suitable
edit controller to read the codes, so by the time youíve got all the equipment
together you wouldnít see much change out of £2000, even for a basic system! Unless youíre going into
video movie-making on a professional basis I doubt very much that you need
timecode equipment. However, you do have a problem with your current machine
which is incapable of working with an edit controller, so youíre stuck with
manual editing. Donít get me wrong, manual editing is fine, and with practice
thereís no reason why you shouldnít be able to achieve quite a high degree of
accuracy, but if you want to progress then youíre going to have to think about getting
another camcorder. Several have their own built-in edit controllers, notably
JVCís AX range, or the Sony EM series, or you could get one fitted with an edit
terminal -- most Panasonic and virtually all Sony machines have them nowadays,
and these can be used with suitable edit controllers for automated assemble
A year or
so ago I purchased a Camlink VMX5000 Video Edit System which Iíve found
satisfactory with one exception. The
system boasts a Split-Screen function but how ever much I try, Iím unable to
split the picture on the screen.
I wrote to
Camlink, explaining the problem and asked if they would explain, in writing,
just what I should do to obtain the split-screen effect and, if, with their instructions,
I was unable to split the picture I could then assume that there may be a fault
within the system. There was no reply.
might have the answer...
Oh dear, I think
I see whatís gone wrong here. The split screen facility on this device is probably
not what youíre expecting. We normally think of a split-screen as a picture
divided into two, with a different image each side of the dividing line.
However, in this context it means a single image, with a moveable divisor that
shows the before and after effects of any video processing.
own a Ferguson FC23 camera and a Philips VCR.
I wish to improve my editing abilities and want to get down to frame
accuracy. I realise that to do this I
have to write time code signals to my tapes.
Iíve been told that the camera is unable to do this as the required
circuitry is not in my camera - although some outlets are willing to sell me a
Philips time code generator and assure me that it will work with my camera.
eventually like to have a system whereby I could generate an edit decision list
and then use this to control titling, effects, etc., all with frame and time
accuracy. I own a Dell 286 IBM PC and
am considering upgrading to an IBM Blue Lightning.
is requested in pointing out the way forward.
I donít wish to change my camera and have no particular budget in mind,
but Iíd wish to buy hardware/software as and when funds allow.
thing to do is forget any notions of frame accuracy using domestic video
equipment, itís simply not possible. Even with timecoded recordings and a
suitable source machine you would still be unable to control the record deck
with the necessary accuracy to guarantee frame-accurate edits. Your biggest
problem however, is the Ferguson camcorder, unfortunately it doesnít have an
edit terminal, that would allow it to communicate with an edit controller, so
itís not much use as a source machine in an automated assembly edit system. Incidentally
your Dell PC is not really up to the job either, most editing software will
only run successfully on a machine with a 386, 486 or Pentium processor; the
Blue Lightning PC will be ideal. Iím afraid that if you want to progress any
further with this kind of editing youíre going to need a new camcorder, or a
VCR that has an edit terminal.
newcomer to the gentle art of video production I have purchased a Panasonic
NVS85 camcorder and HD-FS200 VCR to use with my existing Panasonic NV-F65 VCR.
I now wish
to purchase an Edit Controller but have found the choice baffling. The Videonics ĎThumbs-Upí has been favourite
because of its VITC feature. However,
two questions still bother me: the Video Camera buyers guide says the
ĎThumbs-Upí has no S-Video
compatibility, yet Bandridge say this is an error on your part - who is
what is the benefit of having the camcorder with its VITC feature individually
numbering every frame when it does not also feature single frame advance to
enable you to find an individual frame in the first place? If edit points have to be selected Ďon the flyí do I really need a VITC
right, weíre wrong about the S-Video sockets, sorry, wonít do it again,
promise... Itís true Thumbs Up doesnít
support frame advance, but you can modify edit points once the scene has been
logged, so it is possible to specify the cuts to within a single frame. However,
variations in the timing of the operation of the record VCR mean single frame
accuracy is not possible in practice. Whether or not you need a VITC controller
only you can decide, edit accuracy will definitely be better than on a non
timecode system, and a lot more consistent, especially if youíre assembling
widely-spaced scenes, or segments from more than one tape. I say, if youíve got
it, use it...
On a recent
trip to the UK I went shopping for a Panasonic NV-S85 to replace my old
MS50. To cut a long story short I ended
up buying an ex-display model of the old Panasonic NV-S7 which, the salesperson
told me, had a similar level of performance to the NV-S85.
the NV-S7 has a poorer contrast ratio than the MS-50. With scenes of only average contrast, highlights appear burned
out on the NV-S7. Could the automatic
iris be at fault? The effect seems
worse on the normal VHS setting, but is also evident on S-VHS recordings. It can even be seen in the viewfinder. Maybe the smaller size of CCD reduces the
findings typical for the performance of the NV-S7, or have I bought a rogue
sample? Also, is its overall level of
performance truly similar to the NV-S85ís, as the salesperson said?
back at reviews of the two machines wouldnít have said there was a tremendous
difference between them as far as record and replay quality are concerned. On
that basis I feel that there may be something wrong with your sample. That
said, however, there will be differences between pictures recorded on the MS50 and
S7, though not perhaps, as dramatic as the oneís you mention.
I wonder if
you can throw any light on a problem I experience when using a Sony TR8
the much-heralded new battery technology; the suggested recording time is quoted
as 50 minutes per charge. In fact, I
find it difficult to get half of this after charging the battery fully as per
the manufacturerís instructions. I
realise 50 minutes is a guide line under near perfect conditions.
original battery may have been faulty, I purchased another - this performs
exactly the same way and at £50 a time itís not cheap.
I spoke to
Sony who said they were not aware of any problem in this respect. Are we users doing something incredibly
stupid, or is there a problem of which Sony should be aware? Incidentally,
after a full charge the battery indicator in the viewfinder shows an almost
immediate drop down the scale.
have expected a little more than 25 minutes from the battery under normal
conditions, though not much. Of course, there could be something wrong with the
charger, or maybe even the camcorder itself. Assuming itís still under
guarantee I recommend that you take it back to the dealer to have it checked
out, at the very least they should be willing to swap the charger with another
one, and see if that makes a difference.
the Video Head Clogging warning came up on my Panasonic NV-S7B camcorder. Following unspooling/respooling, it cleared
so I assume it was either an intermittent fault of there was something on the
head which was subsequently dislodged.
the manual I noted that Panasonic make no reference to head cleaners. They state that the heads can get
contaminated over long use and if the Heads Clogging Detection is activated
then the unit should be returned to qualified service personnel.
imply that Panasonic donít approve of head cleaners, either because they
believe they are ineffective, or they can possibly cause damage?
that a head cleaner canít clean the heads as thoroughly as a service engineer,
but surely its use is beneficial?
We spoke to
Panasonic about this. A spokesperson told us that whilst they donít necessarily
object to head cleaners, they are concerned that users may not follow the instructions
to the letter, which could lead to more serious problems.
please explain the full meaning of the ratings for performance and value for
money on your technical reports and on your brief summaries on all current
models at the end of the magazine?
just purchased a Sony CCD TR8E for £709; I presume that this would vastly
improve your value for money rating of 7, but donít know how you arrive at
related only to other cameras within the price band - in this case up to
£1,500? If so, in view of the price we
paid, would your performance rating also be uprated if it were compared to
other cameras in the up to £750 group?
recently requested a copy of your original Jan 93 review, but what we really
need is a book more fully explaining our cameraís non-basic features. Can you suggest anything, as Stuart Dollinís
Home Video Handbook (whilst helpful in
general terms) didnít really cover Hi8 and S-VHS-C?
for money rating is based on the manufacturers recommended selling price. Whilst
we acknowledge the Ďstreet priceí may be lower, it would be impossible for us to
take into account the myriad of discounts and promotions that occur during the
life of a camcorder. Everyone is in the same boat, so itís as fair as we can
As far as
the performance rating is concerned, this is taken from the actual review of
the machine. Itís a general appraisal, encompassing all aspects of the machines
operation and is weighted according to comparisons with machines in the same
broad price band, with a similar specification. At the risk of being accused of
nepotism the book you seek is The Camcorder, written by our own dear Editor,
Chris George and published by XXXX, all yours for the princely sum of £8.99.
recently purchased a Sony FX700E camcorder and a Bilora Favourite 830 tripod
which has a fluid head, I thought Iíd achieve smooth pans and tilts. With my combination, however, this is not
the case, especially when tilts are involved.
is that the tripod thread on the camera is forward of the centre of gravity
thus causing the camera to tilt back unless the tripod tilt screw is almost
fully tightened. The problem occurs with
all batteries, but is more acute with the heavier, long life types.
this could be solved by the use of a sliding adapter plate so the position of
the camera could be adjusted according to the weight of the battery, but my
local Tecno store said that this is a problem I would have to live with.
Is there a
solution to this basic problem?
I canít see
anything wrong with your idea, a sliding adapter plate would seem to be the
obvious solution. Providing everything is safely secured you should be able to
cancel out the imbalance by varying the position of the camcorder along the
past review in Video Camera on Cine-Video transfer units, I decided to purchase
the Bandridge unit to use in conjunction with my Sony CCD FX500E camcorder.
practice, photo/picture transfer works well, but the cine transfer is
completely useless. As soon as the
projected picture reaches a bright sequence the recorded picture oscillates
from bright to dark. As there is no
manual control of the aperture on the FX500 Iíve been unable to resolve this
problem. I have spoken twice to Sony
about this and they have been most unhelpful.
Can you offer any suggestions? I have tried various filters without much
thereís nothing you can do to override the FX500ís lively auto exposure system,
which will inevitably respond to changes in brightness. The Ďoscillatingí
effect suggests to me that the autoexposure system is being overloaded, and is
straining to cope with the amount of light going through the lens. Try reducing
the brightness of the projector bulb, a thin coat of Tippex typewriter
correction fluid on the bulb might do the trick.
PAUSE FOR THOUGHT
I have a
Ferguson FC23 camcorder and a Panasonic NV-F70 VCR which has a pause syncro
control socket at the rear of the machine.
The FC23 also has a pause syncro control which is functional through the
8 pin mini socket.
of the VCR shows that the input from a camcorder is through the BNC and phono
connections at the rear of the VCR when switched to line in. I am assuming the pause syncro will not work
when using the SCART connection.
Are both machines syncro compatible? If
yes, Iíll obviously need a different cable - where can I get one?
systems used on JVC and Panasonic equipment are different, and were designed to
work with camcorders and VCRs of the same make and vintage. Thereís a possibility
that they may work together -- Iím fairly sure they both use a simple open-circuit
switching system -- but I canít recall having tried this particular combination,
so donít blame me if one or other of the two machines goes up in a puff of
smoke... Even if it does work youíre
likely to encounter a timing discrepancy between the two systems, and the cut
points you specify using the camcorderís tape memory function may be a long way
off on the copied recording. Weíve trawled through the lead catalogues and canít
find a suitable lead, though one could be made up. You should be able to use
the AV lead supplied with your machine though, I seem to remember that they had
syncro edit plugs attached, though you will probably need an armful of adaptors
to get the right plug and socket combinations. If you have any luck let us
years ago this month I reviewed the very first VHS-C camcorder to reach the UK. It was the Ferguson C3V41, a clone of the JVC
GR-C1, which didnít arrive until a few
weeks later. Back then Ferguson had a
habit of pre-empting JVC launches, much to their annoyance. For the record the
3V41 cost a whopping £1000 (remember, this was late 1984...), it used a Saticon
picture tube with a low-light sensitivty of 15 lux, it weighed almost 2 kilogrammes
and I recall grumbling about the rechargable battery, which lasted for only 20
minutes, when the instruction book said it was good for 30. Nothing changes....
” R. Maybury 1994 1011