VIDEO CAMERA 1995

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ASK RICK -- JANUARY

 

SAMSUNG FIT-UP

I have a Samsung VP-E807 camcorder on which I use Sony NP batteries.  I recently acquired a Millenium 4060A multi-fit battery and Iím having trouble charging it on my Samsung charger.

 

If I position the battery on the charger  a certain way, sometimes it will take a charge. However, if the charger is accidentally knocked it stops charging.  The charger causes no problems with my Sony batteries - could the Millenium battery be faulty or am I doing something wrong?

 

G. Taylor

Warrington, Cheshire

 

A1

No, youíre not doing anything wrong, and itís not an uncommon problem. It seems to affect multi-fit batteries more than most, where the mounting lugs on the back of the battery are close to the design tolerances, so the battery can be persuaded to fit several different makes and models of camcorder. Thereís no simple cure, apart from getting a new charger, and or battery.

 

 

EDIT-ABLE ATARI?

Having recently bought a JVC GR-AX55 camcorder I would now like to be able to use my Atari 1040 computer to edit my tapes, used together with an NEC video recorder and Philips monitor. 

 

Would you please advise me as to the software and accessories I will need to purchase?

 

C. Beale

Weymouth, Dorset

 

A2.

Youíve got two problems, the wrong camcorder and the wrong computer! The JVC camcorder doesnít have an industry-standard editing terminal, so it cannot be connected to a an edit controller, whether it be a stand-alone device or a PC-based system. You can of course still use the AX55ís 8-scene Random Assemble Edit system. As far as the computer is concerned the Atari ST range of computers and the 1040 model in particular is more than up to the job of controlling a camcorder, with a suitable edit terminal -- with the right software and hardware interconnections -- unfortunately we donít know of any such system. If anyone has come across an editing package for the Atari ST we would be more than happy to pass it on.

 

However, it has to be said that if youíre interested in computer editing and post production the Atari is not the computer to go for. These days the IBM PC and compatibles has the lionís share of the desktop video market, followed closely by the Commodore Amiga. The Atari user base is simply too small to interest most software developers.

 

AFTER EIGHT?

I read an article in your magazine that says to play an 8mm tape back I have to connect my camcorder up to my television .  How do I record onto a VHS tape for normal playback?

 

Also, has the Canon E400 got a long play mode and if so does the recording still come out alright?

 

G. Smith

London E14

 

A3.

If youíve got an instruction book with your machine all I will say to you is RTFM*,  if you havenít my appologies and proceed as follows. You will need to buy an AV lead, in this case one with phono plugs at one end, and a SCART connector at the other (assuming your VCR was made within the past ten years), you can get them from most video accessory dealers for around £10.  If memory serves me right the AV output sockets on the E400 are behind the Flexigrip handgrip, so twist it to reveal them. Connect the camcorder to the VCR, which should be set for an external or AV input. There may be a switch to do this, or it could be on channel Ď0í. When you set the camcorder to play the output should be shown on the normal VCR channel on your TV. To copy all or part of the video movie just set the VCR to record, using the machineís record/pause function to chop out any unwanted bits or re-arrange the order of each scene. The E400 does have an LP recording mode, and recordings can be copied and edited though picture quality will be quite poor.

 

* RTFM -- an old electronics industry expression which basically means please read the manual...

 

ERRANT EDITOR

I have a GSE 200 edit controller, Panasonic FS200 VCR and and NV-S7 camcorder.  My problem is accuracy, or rather lack of it.  I understand this equipment is of a reasonable standard for home editing but it seems the camcorder is the weak link.

 

After using the GSE Editor in the program mode, the timing is out by several seconds, which makes a nonsense of all this expensive equipment.  Does this mean that accurate editing is only possible with two VCRs? 

 

Your help and advice will be gratefully appreciated.

 

H. Davies

Newport, Gwent

 

A4.

I find errors of Ďseveral secondsí very difficult to understand. If you were using the timecode facilities on the S7 and edit controller, accuracy should be in the order of a few frames or a fraction of a second either side of the designated cut points. Even without timecode assistance it should still be possible to consistently get to within less than a second or so of the edit points. I can only assume thereís a fault, youíre doing something wrong, or have not fully worked through the controllerís set-up procedure, which automatically adjusts the pre-and post roll times to compensate for the characteristics of the VCR. This is outlined in detail in the instruction manual. If you still cannot improve the accuracy -- and the editor is displaying code and counter data correctly  -- I suggest you have the controller looked, as as thereís clearly something wrong.

 

DOWN THE TUBE...

For the past few months when I press Ďoperateí to switch on my Canon E60 camcorder, no image appears in the viewfinder for about 3 minutes.  It just looks dark and cloudy and then it flickers a little and the image will appear.

 

If Iíve been recording something and then turn the camcorder off for 10 minutes or so, and then turn it on again the image will usually appear straight away.

 

I donít think itís a battery fault as I have tried several different ones.

 

Miss K Robinson

Weston, Bath

 

A5.

Youíre right, it has nothing to do with the battery. Thereís a number of possible causes and the first step is to try and localise the problem. You can tell quite easily if itís to do with the image sensor and video processing circuitry, or the viewfinder itself, by connecting the video or RF output from your machine to a TV. If you get a picture straight away, even though thereís nothing on the viewfinder screen, then the camera section is okay. Assuming that is the case, then thereís likely to be a problem with the viewfinderís driver circuits, that power the tube and its scanning coils. It could be that a component has developed some kind of thermal or intermittent fault. Whatever the cause, though, this is not a DIY job and you should return your machine from whence it came for a proper look-see by an engineer.

 

 

SONY SWITCH-OFF

I have owned a Sony CCD-F550E 8mm camcorder since 1991 and up until now it has performed perfectly.

 

When the camera is put into playback mode it cuts out after a few seconds.  When I press the button again it will run for about the same time and then cut out again.  This only appears to happen during playback, not fast forward or record modes. I have tried different tapes, batteries, even the mains adaptor, but the result is just the same.

 

Any ideas please?

 

F. House

Norwich, Norfolk

 

A6.

The machine is almost certainly shutting down automatically, to protect itself from further damage, or it is receiving faulty information from one or more of its internal sensors. The fact that it happens only during playback, and presumably record as well, suggests the problem is centered on the deck mechanism. Thereís little you can do, apart from taking it to a service agent to have it checked out

 

 

RADAR RAMIFICATIONS

I recently took my Panasonic G303 camcorder to Heathrow.  Whilst recording at a distance of 2 miles, the sound of the radar there was picked up by my camcorder.

 

How does radar affect playback and recording?  Is it harmful to video cameras?  How do professional TV crews overcome this?

 

O. Al-Makhadhi

Harrow, Middx

 

A7.

Unless you were within a few metres of the radar antenna itís unlikely that it would harm your machine. The sound youíre hearing is caused by RF breakthrough, energy from the powerful radar signal is being picked up by your camcorder and it finds its way onto the audio and video processing  circuits where it produces a characteristic click or buzz on the soundtrack, and sometimes a momentary glitch in the picture. Itís less of a problem on professional video machines as they normally have efficient internal screening, the casings are made of lightweight alloys or have a much higher metal content.

 

STABLE RELATIONSHIP

I was interested in your ĎSafarií article in the July issue.  Although I donít want to go as far as buying an image stabilising lens, I think a shoulder pod might help my EX1.

 

The problem is those I see in local shops are not strong enough - can you please advise?

 

I. Hydes

Hereford, Worcs

 

A8

The EX1 is quite heavy, up to 3kg, with a big lens attached, but thereís plenty of sturdy chest pods on the market, more than capable of supporting an EX1. Take a look at the Vivanco VS102.

 

 

DOUBLE TROUBLE

I like the idea of the Goldstar 8mm/VHS double deck video recorder, but to my amazement it doesnít have an LANC socket.  My edit equipment and titler have LANC leads.

 

I need an 8mm to VHS lead with the LANC socket incorporated.  Iíve recently bought the Sony EX30P camera and will be doing a lot of editing but I donít want to use my camera.

 

H. Proctor

Manchester 8

 

A9

Strictly speaking the Goldstar R-DD10i doesnít really need a Control L or LANC edit terminal, it has its own built-in 5-scene assemble-edit  controller. You can, of course, use your Sanyo camcorder as a source deck, that does have a Control L socket. If youíre concerned about the extra wear and tear that editing would entail donít worry, over the life of that machine it will have little impact.

 

PRO-FORMAT

What is meant by U-matic tapes - what are they used for?  I am trying to transfer my 8 and 16mm films to video and on any entry for video transmission I am frequently asked for U-matic tapes.

 

Is it possible to copy film of either guage onto U-matic tape, bearing in mind the cost, as this is for amateur productions?

 

J. Guthrie

Clarkston, Glasgow

 

A10

U-Matic is a large high-performance professional video cassette format, introduced in the early 1970ís by Sony, and widely used throughout the video and broadcasting industry, though it is now being superceeded by more recent newer tape formats. The ĎUí in U-Matic refers to the way the tape is wrapped around the recording head drum, in a kind of u-shape. Incidentally the Betamax format was based on U-Matic and it lives on in the shape of Betacam, another professional video tape cassette format.  You can have cine material and video recordings from any other tape format transferred to U-Matic by a facilities house. Check out the ads in the back of the magazine.   

 

SWINGING THE LEAD

Iíd like to know how long a lead acid battery should last under normal working conditions.  My Panasonic MS4 uses a VW-VBF2E battery and I have had three batteries give up on me after only 10 minutes of filming.

 

They have been charged approximately 50 times each and the recommended time of 4 hours, but now they canít hold enough power to put the camera into record mode.

 

They have all been charged from empty directly after use.  Can they be charged overnight, leaving them in the charger for 7 or 8 hours, or should they be removed after the 4 hours?

 

M. Ward

Busby, Glasgow

 

A11

Lead-acid batteries were never very happy in camcorders but you should have got a lot more than 50 charge cycles from each battery. It sounds as though you did everything right, and given that it has happened to three batteries it suggests there may be something wrong with the charger. If the charger is operating correctly it shouldnít matter if theyíre left on for more than 4 hours as it will automatically cut the charge current when the batteries reach full capacity.

 

NINE INTO HALF AN HOUR...

I am a new video camera user and own a PhillipsVKR 6846 VHS-C camcorder.  On our recent visit to England I purchased a copy of Video Camera which has opened up a whole new world for me.

 

Before reading your magazine I didnít realise the exciting potential for producing classy video results.  We are faced with the task of editing nine hours of film taken during our holiday and would like your help in selecting a suitable edit controller.

 

Finances are limited, but I would like to turn out a watchable film.

 

Can you help?

 

K. Simpson

Auckland, NZ

 

A12

I canít find any reference to the 6846, itís possible that model was exclusive to New Zealand, however, I suspect it is closely related to the 3847, that was sold here in 91/92, which in turn was a clone of the Panasonic NV-G1. If that is the case Iím sorry to have to say it doesnít have an editing terminal, so it cannot be used with an edit controller. Nevertheless it can still be used for manual editing, and you wonít need any special equipment for that, just a little time and patience, and maybe an audio mixer, to give your productions a little extra sparkle. You should find out Camcorder School features very helpful.

 

TITLE TROUBLE

Iíve recently purchased a JVC GR-AX35 camcorder and after reading page 60 in the August issue I wrote to FlashFoto about using the Titles on Tape.  I asked them how you get the titles from the video onto the camcorder, but all they told me was which buttons to push.

 

Can you tell me what connections to make between my camera and video cassette player.  I have a SCART socket on the video and an AV out on my camera.  At first I thought that you just play the video and film the titles from the television, but thatís obviously not how you do it.

 

Is there a way that plays the picture from the TV into your camera so that you can film whatever is on the television?

 

P. Stephens

Stevenage, Herts

 

A13

The idea is that you connect the AV output from your camcorder to the AV input of your VCR, using a suitable AV lead obtainable from any good video accessory stockist; the video recorder is connected to the TV in the usual way. Load the title tape into the camcorder and set it to play, load a blank tape into the VCR and set it to external input, to record the chosen title, starting and stopping the recording using the VCRís record-pause button. The tape in the VCR will now have a title sequence recorded at the beginning, and you can then go on to copy or edit the rest of you video movies onto the tape using the same method.

 

BENNY HILL BLUES

I have been trying to do some fast forward editing, similar to the closing scenes in the Benny Hill show with music.

 

When I fast forward and record on my video I get noise bars across the television.  Is there anything I can do?

 

My machine is the Canon UC15.

 

D. Williams

Salford, Gtr. Manchester

 

A14.

Sadly the UC15, in common with most 8mm camcorders, is not capable of noise-free fast picture search. Even if it were itís doubtful you would be able to make a stable recording from it. Thereís no simple way of recording fast play on domestic video equipment, you will also run into problems if you try recording fast playback from one VCR to another as the synchronisation pulses on the original recording will not be accurately reproduced, even though the picture on the TV screen looks steady. Thatís because TVs have more sophicticated sync circuits. The only solution to use a source machine that has a timebase corrector, and even then thereís no guarantee. Youíll just have to persuade your subjects to move faster...

 

IN CONTROL?

I am looking to purchase a camcorder and compatible edit VCR that are flexible enough to fit in with a larger system of edit controllers and mixers as money allows.

 

I have decided to opt for S-VHS-C and to buy a JVC GR-S505.  However, I canít find enough data about the edit capabilities of this camera and the  S707, as I need the time lapse and animation options they offer.  Do they have multi- compatible edit terminals that would enable me to shop around for controllers and introduce a PC or Amiga 1200 into the system?  Or would I have to buy a high end VCR, eg HR S6800, and limit myself to JVC products?

 

Would I have to forego animation on the JVC entirely in favour of the seemingly more edit friendly Panasonic range?

 

W. Campbell

London SW16

 

A15

Unfortunately JVC do not fit editing terminals to their camcorders and neither the S505 or S707 can be used with an edit controller or computer-based editing package. The best you can get from either machine is one-scene syncro editing, using a suitable JVC video recorder. The animation feature you refer to is fairly crude by professional standards and will not produce the kind of smopoth stop-frame motion I suspect youíre looking for, in fact only one machine I can recall could ever do that, and it has long since dissapeared. If you want editing facilities then it has to be a Panasonic-based system, if you want to stick with VHS-C/S-VHS-C, or  any 8mm/Hi8 machine with a Control L (LANC) socket.

 

 

TIMEBASE CONFUSION

I read with great interest about the Videonics MX1 Vision Mixer in the June issue.

 

Can you please tell me if the TBC in the MX1  is up to par with a stand-alone TBC, or at least good enough to keep my S-VHS copies acceptable?

 

Is it possible to copy through the MX1 just to use the TBC - if the answer is yes, then to buy the MX1 you get the TBC for free, so to speak.  Or am I expecting too much?

 

D. Smith

Tadcaster, N. Yorks

 

A16

The timebase corrector (TBC) in the MX1 is there to sharpen up or replace missing and corrupted synchronisation pulses on old, worn or noisy recordings, thus ensuring the stablility of recordings made though this device. The TBC is not switchable and most of the time it sits there, doing nothing, kicking in only when it senses thereís a problem with the source recording. So, if youíre mostly editing from first-generation Super VHS-C recordings youíre not likely to be getting much use out of it.

 

RICKíS FASCINATING FACT

 

 

 

 

 

---end---

R. Maybury 1994 0710

 

Whenever I make copies from first generation tapes the colours occasionally bleed and the images wobble.  I have a Panasonic MV-MS4 camcorder for playing edited copies, a Videonics 1070 processor and Panasonic NV77 home video recorder.  Can you help?

 

I am also looking for a long lasting battery, price range £100 - 150, to use with  the MV-MS4 and  my new NV585.  Have you any recommendations?

 

T. Kusanu

London SE17

 

I have a few questions concerning the volatage and terminals on my Panasonic NV-S70.

 

Firstly, why does the battery have a third terminal marked T?

Why is the mains unit output 6 volts DC when the battery is only 4.8 volts?

As the mains input into the camera is 6 volts, is it okay to use a 6 volt battery supply, Nicad or otherwise, wired up to the DC input socket?

 

And finally, why has the DC input socket got 4 pins?

x

A. Willcocks

Camborne, Cornwall

 

When I use a brand new Video 8 tape in my five year old Sony F-500E camcorder, the machine makes a regular squeaking sound when recording, or on playback, with a resultant disturbance in the form of a judder on the screen.  Yet, when I record or playback any of my old tapes on the camcorder, everything is normal. 

 

Is this fault caused by a new tape formulation introduced by manufacturers, eg thinner tape, or could it be that my Sony camcorder is just getting old like its owner?

 

I. Morton

Leven, Fife

 

I have a Sharp VC-A100HM VCR and a Ferguson FV21R VCR and now wish to purchase an edit controller.  Iíve been considering a Sony RME300 model, but have been told that it might not be compatible with my VCRs.

 

If this is the case, are there any leads I could purchase to make it compatible?

 

C. Radford

Weston Super Mare, Somerset

 

 


 

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