ASK RICK --
I want a
camcorder principally to make unobtrusive indoor recordings including sound
tracks. Iím concerned about picture and
sound quality, editing capability etc. but not too worried about size, weight
or battery life.
have a Toshiba V-813B four head NICAM stereo recorder with two SCART sockets, a
Toshiba 2939 TV, a Compaq 386 PC and I have some basic questions:
tempted to go for a full size S-VHS machine such as the Panasonic NV-MS4. Will the MS4 work with a PC editor, such as
Video Workshop for Windows?
or Hi8 formats lose much quality when transferring recordings to ordinary
domestic VCRs such as the Toshiba V-813B?
What is the
weakest link in the picture chain - camcorder, video recorder or PC editing
number of video lines the best general guide to picture quality?
Do you have
personal preferences for either a full size VHS camcorder or a PC editing
any other factors that I need to pay attention to when considering what to buy?
I have a budget of about £2,500 for a camcorder and suite.
believe in getting your moneyís worth! Eyes down for a full house:
Panasonic MS4 has an editing terminal so yes, it can be used with a PC based
editing package such as Video Workshop for Windows, running on your PC, but I
wouldnít call the MS4 exactly Ďunobtrusiveí, though its low-light performance
is quite good.
there will be a reduction in picture quality when you copy or edit video
recordings using domestic equipment, though if you start out with high-band
material (Hi8, S-VHS etc.), and copy to standard VHS then the resultant second
generation recording should still look better than a VHS original, all things
no one weak link as you put it, every component in the replay and recording
chain, including the tape itself, has
an effect on the video signal. The simple way to reduce quality losses is to
not cut corners.
Resolution, or a video systems ability to resolve fine detail is only part of
the picture quality story. In fact the eye is far more sensitive to noise in a
TV picture, and this is the main culprit in the reduction in picture quality
when recordings are copied or edited, so look past the specs boxes, and pay
heed to comments about picture noise when you read test reports.
5, 6, 7
& 8. There are only two full-sized VHS machines still in production, the
MS4 which weíve already mentioned, and the Panasonic M40; the MS4 is the better
specified, from an editing point of view. However, itís worth asking yourself
why you want a full size VHS machine? The only advantage it has in this
context is longer uninterrupted
recording time of up to 4-hours, but only when itís powered from a high
capacity battery belt or mains supply.
You can get comparable AV performance and editing facilities from Hi8
machines which can record for up to 2 hours on a single cassette, and S-VHS-C
camcorders though maximum recording time in that case is only 45 minutes; these
machines are a lot smaller, and thereís a much wider choice. Something like the
Sony TR750 should meet your needs, or, if continuous running times are not
important then check out the Panasonic NV-S90. As far as the PC editing suite
is concerned, weíre very impressed by high-end systems like Video Workshop for
Windows but theyíre really designed for serious and semi-pro users and I doubt
youíd need so many advanced facilities. Video Director from Gold Disk might be
more appropriate, and itís a lot cheaper.
A GLITCH IN
ran off a VHS to VHS copy of a holiday video from a Sony SLV 815 VCR, recording
on a Toshiba V854B. Within 15 minutes
of the end the copy suddenly produced 8 equally spaced glitches of short
duration affecting picture and sound and then cleared itself.
was made on to a new Panasonic E180 tape which had previously
run to its end on fast forward and back to the beginning as recommended. What was the likely cause?
similar matter, I sometimes find that edited tapes which are perfect when
viewed on my VCR equipment are less than perfect when viewed on somebody elseís
equipment, i.e. ripples along the base of the picture. Is this to be expected?
similar Ďglitchesí have occurred on other recordings made using your equipment
the most likely cause is a manufacturing defect on the tape itself. The only
way to confirm this would be to make another recording over the part of the
tape where the problem occurred. If so then youíd be perfectly entitled to take
it back to the shop and ask for a replacement. Failing that send it to your
local Panasonic distributor.
In theory a
VHS tape recorded on one machine should play perfectly on any other one using
the same system; in practice there are differences in the alignment between
machines. Most of the time it doesnít matter and small errors are corrected by
manual or automatic tracking adjustments,
but when you get two VCRs that are at the extremes of the tolerance
ranges, or one machine is severely mis-aligned, then there will be noticeable
picture disturbance. You might be able to see which one is most at fault by
replaying a commercially recorded tape, and looking for ripples.
I have the
following video kit: Sony TR705E camcorder, KV-X2562U TV and SLV E90 VCR. Having selected the video connection on the
TV menu Iíve been trying to make use of the TVís S-Video connection, plus left and right audio when replaying from
my camcorder. I am inputting this way
as the E90 doesnít have an S-Video input, and it seems to me a reasonable
assumption, to obtain the best recording to connect this way. This is via the YC-3 connector which has the
S3 symbol. To download this on to my
VCR I assume the output to be via YC2.
Having set the VCR to L2 I go through the record sequence, then try
playback - nothing! I then I assume I
need to re-set the input and output menu of the TV. I have tried many permutations and once got success but I just
canít follow the Sony logic. Can you
please tell what I should see on the TV menu video connection format for both
recording and playback using the S-Video connector. If I canít make use of the S-Video connector please advise.
advise what L1, L2 and L3 input selections are each used for on the E90 as the
manual does not cover it?
I am considering buying a stereo
microphone with mixer and on/off switch to enable me to cut off the camcorderís
stereo mic, say, during high wind noise.
I intend to add sound later to the mono VHS tape. Can you advise on a suitable mic?
complicated ... I think I understand what youíre trying to do. Youíre feeding
the S-Video output from your camcorder into the TV, and attempting to record a
composite video signal from the TVís SCART AV socket, on the assumption that
the TV will do a better job of converting the S-Video signal to composite
video, than your camcorder... Quite frankly I donít know if this rather bizarre
and incredibly convoluted set-up works or not, but Iím, fairly sure the
composite video output from your camcorder will be a lot cleaner than one which
has passed through your TV, moreover you wonít be able to use your TV to monitor
the recording being made by your VCR, unless of course you have a second TV. I
suspect you will get better results recording direct from the camcorderís video
composite video output, rather than trying to convert the signal externally.
As I recall
the L1, 2 and 3 input selections refer to the three AV Ďlineí inputs, L1 and L2
are the two rear-mounted SCART sockets, and L3 is the front-mounted phono AV
cut off the camcorderís on-board microphone as soon as you plug in an external microphone,
so from that point of view any one will do. If youíre concerned about wind
noise get a muffler, or monitor the sound when recording, so you can avoid it
happening in the first place. Microphones with a mixing facility will only
allow you to mix sounds whilst recording, not later during post production, you
will need a proper desktop mixer for that.
ON THE MENU
91 I purchased the Sony CCD V700E and have had excellent results, but I would
like your help on a couple of points:
What is the
Menu for and what does it do? I need a remote connector for a wired remote
control unit. I also need to update my
current system comprising a Sima screenwriter, Camlink Edit Baby, Sanyo VHR
4160E, Marantz CD player and full hi-fi
system. Itís so complicated, I donít
wish to waste vast sums of money. Can
you advise me on a system under £2,000 as there are no dealers here who have
the faintest idea and all equipment has to be ordered.
Four and a
half years and you still havenít read the instruction book, or
get one with your machine...? The on screen display menu system is clearly
explained on page 9, but in case youíve lost the manual, hereís a quick
run-down of the highlights. Pressing the menu button on the top panel brings up
the display in the viewfinder, selections are made using the three arrow
buttons on the control panel, and set using the execute button in the middle.
In record mode there are three choices: mode set, custom preset and demo mode.
Mode set is for selecting recording speed (SP or LP), recording mode (8mm or
Hi8), enabling or disabling the IR remote control and switching the custom mode
setting on or off. Custom presets allow you to adjust the colour intensity and
hue of recordings, though as far as I can remember thereís no need to deviate
from the factory settings. In the playback mode the menu gives the same
mode-set choices plus edit mode on/off, stereo sound output (right, left or
stereo), and a picture adjust option for stabilising still and slomo replay.
instruction book will also explain what the remote socket does. Itís the famous
Control L/LANC terminal that we prattle on about so regularly; you can use it
to connect your machine to an automated edit controller, or a wired remote
control unit, though Sony donít market them any more. Itís also used by wired
remote control systems fitted to underwater housings, tripods and pistol grips.
Sorry, I canít advise you on how to spend £2000 without knowing a lot more
about what you want from your video movie-making and hi-fi systems. Judging by
the equipment youíve already got the only thing missing is an edit controller,
something like the Thumbís Up would certainly fit the bill, and it only costs
around £200 or so.
for a camcorder to shoot sport and wildlife and have around £1,000 to
spend. Can you recommend any and also
where I can try some?
features that should be on your wish-list are top-notch AV performance, a
powerful zoom and/or the facility to fit a teleconverter, and provision for an
external microphone. If you could raise £2500 or so I would point you in the
direction of the Canon EX2 or Sony VX1. However quite a few machines costing
£1000 or so fit the bill; the ones to look at first would be the Sony TR750 or
Panasonic NV-S85. Sorry I donít know the Stafford area but I suspect your local
Dixons and Comet stores will have a fair selection of models on display,
failing that look up your nearest Sony and Panasonic dealers in Yellow Pages.
Iíve had a
JVC GR AX35EK camcorder for some time now and decided to add narration and
sound tracks to my films.
As with all
camera recordings I had the problem of noisy backgrounds on my films, so I
tried various VHS-C tapes like JVC and Maxell but all the same I was still
getting low hissing noises, even when adding music.
Is the type
of tape used by the BBC, for instance, available to VHS-C users, or any other
make for that matter?
come a day when we will be able to film without getting hissing from various
makes of tape?
hiss is an inevitable by-product of the noisy VHS mono linear audio recording
system used on your camcorder. The soundtrack is recorded along the edge of the
tape by a stationary head. Noise and other factors, like frequency response,
are largely determined by the speed at which the tape passes over the recording
head. In the case of the VHS format itís a snail-like 2.339 centimetres per
second, or just over half the speed of an audio tape cassette, which as you
know is no stranger to hiss. Using better quality tapes can help lower the
amount of background hiss, but in the end the only way to reduce it to what you
might call Ďhi-fií levels is to use a camcorder with an AFM (8mm and Hi8) or
DFM (S/VHS/C) recording system, or better still, one with a digital audio
recording facility. Quite a few current camcorders have stereo hi-fi audio
systems, Sony have produced a couple of machines with digital PCM sound systems
but youíre going to have to wait a while until that becomes a commonplace
feature, probably on the next generation of digital camcorders.
A HITCH IN
I have a
JVC GRM7 camera and HR J815EK video deck.
I also have a Hitachi VT-F860E deck.
Could you please tell me if the JVC multi brand R.A. Edit remote control is compatible with
JVCís liaison department and they didnít know either.
else who hasnít got, or read their instruction book? It must have been one of
JVCís off days, theyíre usually pretty good with enquiries like this. According
to the book it should work, though I have to admit Iíve not used this
particular combination, but the IR code you need is 06.
GRAX2 camcorder boasts an assemble edit function and my Philips VR522 VCR
boasts a syncro edit function. Are the
two compatible at all and if so where can I purchase the necessary connecting
edit function on your JVC camcorder is basically a proprietary syncro start
facility, thatís designed to assist copying single scenes to suitably equipped
JVC VCRs (and clones). You can get a lead from JVC for that purpose but Iíd
strongly advise against using it on a Philips VCR.
I have an
EX1 camcorder. Whatís the best way to
add soundtracks to my tape? I want to
be able to cut away and keep the soundtrack running. Is it worth buying the EX2 to facilitate its timecode?
you cannot audio-dub 8mm and Hi8 recordings as the sound and vision signals are
recorded together, on the same section of the tape, and you canít change one
without affecting the other. There are exceptions but these concern pro and
semi pro decks, and those with digital sound systems. The only ways to achieve
the effect you want using domestic video equipment involves editing or copying
your recordings to a VCR. You can mix or dub the soundtrack how you want, or
you could use a VHS VCR with a video insert edit facility, that will allow you
to drop in new video sequences, without affecting the mono linear soundtrack.
please tell me where I can get a new tube for a Citizen M329 Mk II LCD colour
video monitor and the approximate cost?
Iíve had a bit of bad luck with mine.
what you mean by the Ďtubeí. If itís the actual LCD screen thatís broken it
will cost you £70 to have it replaced. If youíre referring to the backlight tube,
then that costs £22. Neither part is user-replaceable as in both cases it
requires the use of special jigs and test equipment. The people to talk to are
Citizen Service, PO Box 5503, Newbury, Berks RG14 6YP. You can call them on
(01635) 550025. By the way, the prices weíve mentioned are inclusive of VAT and
years of manual editing from my Sony TR55E camcorder to my Akai VCR I decided
to upgrade to a NICAM VCR.
limit of £500 I decided to purchase the JVC HRJ715EK and have now been informed
by JVC that the assemble edit and remote pause are incompatible with my Sony
camcorderís Control L socket. I would
appreciate it if you can think of any way they can be utilised to assist
together, the control protocols used by the VCR and camcorder are completely
incompatible and thereís no way of linking them together. Your only option,
apart from manual editing, is to use an external edit controller. One like the
Thumbs Up can control both machines, though any one with a Control L facility
and IR remote commander compatible with your JVC video recorder will do.
I have a
few tapes of my family I want to show to my American cousins later this year.
The trouble is last time I visited them, when I put my tapes on we got
sound but no picture. This happened
with 2 or 3 different video recorders, so what can I do this time? Is there somewhere I can get my tapes transferred
to USA tapes?
is youíre trying to replay PAL standard 625-line recordings on 525-line NTSC
equipment, it canít be done! The only way your American cousins can get to see
your recordings is to have them copied and converted to NTSC standard, or, ask
them if theyíve got, or can get hold of a multi-standard TV so you can replay
your original recordings directly through your camcorder on their television,
via the AV input sockets. You will find a number of companies who can do the
standards conversion work for you in the back of this magazine, call a couple
of them for quotes, it shouldnít be too dear. Alternatively find out if your
cousins know of any firms in their locality who do video conversions, you never
know, it might even be cheaper to have it done when youíre out there.
I use a
Sony V-800E and Sony E5 cassettes. On a
recent holiday to Florida, filming on the beach under particularly bright
conditions and without an ND filter, the resulting sequence of shots suddenly
completely broke down on playback. The
exposure of the shots before break-up and from what I could discern during
break up, seemed to be perfectly satisfactory.
I continued filming with the ND
filter in position. The camera wasnít
used for about 15 minutes after which the ND filter was removed and filming
resumed under the existing bright conditions.
No further problems were encountered.
thoughts, but not, Iím afraid, any definite answers. Iím inclined to think that
fitting the neutral density filter and the break up in the recording are
coincidental. The V800, like pretty well all camcorders has TTL (through the
lens) exposure systems. Adjustments to the iris and video circuits are based on
the amount of light in the image that is formed on the face of the image
sensor. The camcorder has no way of knowing if thereís a filter, of whatever
type, fitted to the front of the lens, not that an ND filter would have much
effect anyway. However, the point is that a filter simply restricts the amount
of light going through the lens, and the exposure systems compensate
accordingly. The only factor that might
tie in with what happened is temperature. The machine might have overheated if
it was in direct Florida sunlight, prior to and during shooting. This could
have upset the machine or the tape in some way. The subsequent 15-minute
cooling off period -- possibly in a shady spot? -- may account for the return
to normal operation. If it happens again in a cooler climate have it checked
Why is it
that when I put a VHS-C tape into a JVC CP 2U VHS cassette adapter, and play it
back on an Akai VS-12 VHS video recorder, it jumps straight into LP playback
mode, even though the recordings are made in standard play mode? The recording was taken on a JVC GX N7E
camera and HR-C3EK portable video deck, which doesnít have an LP recording
the VCR is okay and it doesnít happen with any other tapes, thereís a number of
possible causes. VCRs automatically sense the speed at which recordings were
made by analysing the pulses coming from the control track, recorded along the
edge of the tape. Itís possible that
the control track is not being recorded correctly on your C3 deck; run a good
quality cleaner tape through it. There could be mis-alignment problems, erratic
control pulse recording, it could even be a tight tape, or excessive friction
in the cassette adaptor, though this is not very likely as the VCR would
normally sense the condition and stop replay to prevent damage. Try the cleaner
cassette first, but if that doesnít work thereís not a lot more you can do and
it will need expert attention.
I have a
Panasonic HD700 VCR, 486-SX33 computer and a Sony EVC 45 as a player. I bought a Gold Disk Video Director 2.0 for
editing: this was supplied with a smart
cable to connect and control each item.
is difficult to mount the infra red head as the drop down flap on the video
prevents it being mounted; also it would obscure some of the buttons on the
flap. I have been told that there is a
cable called Edit Link 2000-DT which would connect into the VCR and the Control
L/LANC socket on the EVC-45.
tried Jessops and Techno but they donít know of this cable. Could you tell me if this, or any other
cable would give control of the VCR instead of the infra red and where I could
mount the infra red head in front of the flap but I havenít tried this as Iíve
not taken the smart cable from its sealed packet in case it could be exchanged.
” R. Maybury 1995 3103