edit controller have been a bit thin on the ground lately, but this one from
Hama has definitely been worth the wait. Rick Maybury has been trying out the
Video Cut 222, and heís quite impressed...
edit controllers look like they belong in the Space Shuttle, and you need a
degree in computer engineering to use them right? Wrong. Some of them might
give that impression, but most of them are reasonably easy to use, once youíve
read the instructions, and used them for a little while.
The Hama Video Cut 222 suffers from a an
entirely different sort of image problem, it looks far too simple to be able to
do anything worthwhile, but as we know, appearances can be very deceptive. The
222 is actually one of the most sophisticated edit controllers on the market,
itís also the cheapest stand-alone three-machine controller, though with a
retail price of just under £700, perhaps we should say itís least expensive....
specification covers a lot of ground, hereís the highlights:
operation (RCTC, VITC, Rapid)
on-screen display and edit decision list
* 20-page title
generator (24 characters per line, max 12 lines)
* AV fader
jog/shuttle control for supported decks
format (VHS/S-VHS-C, 8mm/Hi8) compatibility
composite/S-Video compatibility and conversion
PC interface for EDL management
Itís off to
a good start, but it gets better. The 222 has hard-wire machine control for all
three decks, (two source, one record), plus stored-command and learning IR
remote control for the record VCR. The options are Control L/LANC, Panasonic
5-Pin, PC-VCR and a new one, JVC. Thatís right, itís possible to use JVC
camcorders as source decks, though before you rush out thereís a couple of ifs
and buts. To begin with it will only work with machines fitted with a
particular remote socket, youíll find a list of known compatible machines below.
Secondly, it only works on VITC coded source tapes. The 222 can write VITC
data, so second generation source tapes could be used, though this will entail
some quality loss as the final recording will be a third generation copy.
The ease of
the initial set-up and configuration is entirely machine dependent. If the
source and record decks are straightforward mixture of Sony or Panasonic machines,
no problem. More obscure VCRs might require some messing around with learning
IR codes, and we suspect one or two odd-bods may not work at all, so check before
you buy. The various options are selected from the on-screen display, and these
include manual or automatic setting of pre-and post-roll times. Auto
configuration is the simplest, it takes just a few minutes, once thatís done itís
ready to use.
screen shows everything you need to know, superimposed over the source image.
Compiling the edit list involves selecting the define scene menu, this brings
up the tape counter or timecode displays for the edit in and out points, the
first cut-point is found, using the jog/shuttle dial, and the red cut button
pressed. The source machine controls all forward speed modes, and still, and
cuts can be designated on the fly, or entered whilst the tape is stationery. Unfortunately
the controller doesnít support reverse still, frame advance or play, which is
available on some machines, and is very useful for quickly pinpointing a
cut-in point has been stored the counter cursor moves to the edit-out field. Again
find the point and press the cut button.
The display then changes to a simple title display, so the scene can be given a
name or ident, if needed. This is then added to the edit decision list, and the
display it moves to scene two, and so on.
EDL has been compiled itís possible to move, copy or delete scenes, though surprisingly
not directly alter cut points. They can be changed, either by dumping the EDL
onto a PC, using an optional interface kit, or by re-running the scene and entering
a new cut point. This rather awkward, not to say time-consuming process seems
slightly incongruous on what is otherwise a very slick and easy to use system.
on the subject, there are a couple of other minor gripes. Getting the source
deck into play mode requires a bit of fiddling about. First the jog shuttle
button has to be pressed, then the spring-loaded shuttle dial turned to the
play position, if itís released the deck returns to play-pause. To lock the
play mode -- to review a longer scene -- itís necessary to press and hold the
enter button for a moment or two. The instructions are a bit long winded in
places, in others it skirts over what we would consider to be fairly important
functions, like the wipe generator, for example. The 222 has 30 patterns, but
nowhere could we find a graphic or description to show us what they were. The
only way to find out is to select a pattern (requiring several button presses
on the EDL menu), and watch a demo. A simple crib card would be very useful.
In a word,
outstanding. This is the first controller in quite a while that has actually
managed to achieve frame-accurate cuts over our standard 10-scene test sequence.
This was using a Sony Hi8 camcorder, with RCTC source tapes and Sony VCR, ideal
conditions in fact, but it shows it can be done. Substituting a Panasonic
camcorder for the source machine, and a JVC VCR resulted in a small reduction
in accuracy, to around +/- 5 frames on VITC tapes, and +/-25 using the source
deckís counter, but these are still very good results, and equal to anything weíve
seen on high-end systems.
not look much, and £700 is a lot of money for an edit controller, but this is a
very serious piece of kit. Edit accuracy can be excellent using RCTC material,
though bear in mind what weíve said about ideal conditions. Even so, with a
typical mix and match system it can still show most other controllers a clean
pair of heels. Itís our duty to point out that there are cheaper controllers on
the market, some of them are very good, but if accuracy, consistency and two-machine
control are a prime concerns then this controller comes very highly recommended.
BOX COPY 1
GR-S707, GR-S99, GR-S70, GR-S90, GR-S50, GR-S77, GR-60, GR-SX9, GR.323, GR-M5,
GR-M3, GR-AX7, GR-AX10, GR-AX50, GR-AW1, and Ferguson clones, SC16 and SC23
Video Cut 222
Guide price £699.99
memory 150 scenes
Systems Source deck:
LANC/Control L, Panasonic 5-Pin, JVC Remote & PC-VCR
deck: learning infra-red, LANC/Control L, Panasonic 5-Pin, JVC Remote &
systems RCTC, VITC & RAPID
features save and delete, preview, preset effects
wipe patterns, AV fade, cut, 30-page title generator, external device control
in/out (phono & SCART), S-Video in (mini DIN), Control L and IR wand (mini
DIN) DC power in
accessories mains adaptor, Control L lead, Panasonic 5-pin (x2), IR
supply 12 volts DC (adapter
x 258 x 60
accuracy frame-accurate on RCTC material. +/5 -frame VITC, +/-
” R. Maybury 1995 2507