VIDEO CAMERA 1995

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There are basically two types of video projector, expensive ones that produce a big sharp picture, and cheaper ones that donít... The new Sony CPJ-100E looks like it might have stretched, if not exactly broken the mould. At just under £1000 itís at the budget end of the market, alongside the Citizen 30PC and Marantz VP500 (£800 and £700 respectively), and like them it can project an image up to 60-inches across, but the difference is, you donít need a special screen or a totally darkened room to watch it. Thatís mainly due to the Sony projectorís 55 watt bulb, which produces a clear bright image, even if there is some incident light in the room. It has something else in common with the Marantz model, it can project a picture onto the ceiling, though instead of just the lens assembly turning through 90 degrees, the whole projector unit swivels on itís base unit.

 

The projector can handle both PAL and NTSC video signals, fed to it by composite of S-Video feeds, it has a stereo audio system as well, though the tiny speakers built into the right and left sides of the unit, and the equally diminutive amplifier are never really going to get the walls rattling, in fact theyíre not that much louder than the twin cooling fans, far better then to use it in conjunction with a hi-fi system, and just use the on-board audio for monitoring, or emergencies. Sony have missed a trick by not giving the CPJ-100 itís own TV tuner, even an add-on one would be useful, so as it stands, the only way it can be used to watch TV programmes, is to use it with a VCR, or Sony Vision camcorder, fitted with the optional tuner module.

 

Thereís hardly any controls to worry about, just a brightness knob on the side,  buttons for switching the unit on and off, and setting the volume, plus a switch for selecting PAL or NTSC operation. Power comes from a rather large mains adaptor. Bulbs last around 400 hours, Sony thoughtfully supply a spare, along with a dust cover and AV leads. Setting the projector up take no time at all, it can be used free-standing, or attached to a wall or tripod, using the threaded mounting plate on the base.

 

Thereís no denying it works best in complete darkness, but even at maximum size the image is still just watchable in a semi-darkened room. The picture is not as sharp as you would expect to get from a three-element (or CRT) projector, and some pixellation is visible, though slightly offsetting the focus helps. Colours are surprisingly crisp, almost natural looking, though like almost all LCD imaging devices colour graduations can be rather coarse.

 

So who would want one of these? Several application spring to mind, starting with the ultimate bedroom TV, though you need a VCR as well. Itís not really up to home cinema use, though itĎs worth a try, giving the big-screen treatment to the occasional dark, moody movie. Camcorder-owning campers and caravanners, who donít want to lug a TV around with them (and have access to a mains supply) will find it useful for watching their video movies, and thereís likely to be considerable interest from clubs, commercial and possibly even educational organisations, looking for a low-cost AV presenter. Sony reckon the fist shipment sold out before it reached the shops, weíre not surprised, quite simply itís the best video projector this side of £1800.

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model                 Sony CPJ-100E

Guide Price                 £1000

Maximum image  60-inches

LCD                              single element, 1.3-inches, 184,000 pixels

Features                      PAL/NTSC operation, on-screen display, revolving projector body, stereo sound, replacement lamp supplied

Sockets                        composite video, S-Video, stereo line-audio, headphones, power jack

Dimensions                    

Weight            

Distributor            SONY UK LTD The Heights, Brooklands, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0XW  Telephone (01932) 816000

 

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   9

 

BASIC ENTITLEMENT

One of the best  ways to give a home video movie a professional-looking finish is to add some opening titles and end credits. Four or five years ago almost all camcorders had their own built-in title generator. Some of them were quite sophisticated but they all suffered from two basic flaws; they were all fiddly to set up and use, and you had to remember to compose and record a title at the beginning of the video movie, because they couldnít be added later on.

 

Only a handful of camcorders have them anymore, which has opened up the market for the accessory manufacturers. Thus far title most generators have tended to be quite expensive -- between £200 to £500 -- though it has to be said that some of the dearer ones can do some very impressive tricks, in any case, superimposing graphics onto a video signal requires a fair amount of technology. Nevertheless,  prices have been slowly drifting downwards, and the IQ Title Generator weíre looking at here is one of the cheapest so far, at only £120. Itís part of their new Studio range, which also includes an edit controller (see this issue) and video processor, which weíll be looking at soon, hopefully next month.

 

The basic specs are as follows. It has a 125-character set, including symbols, punctuation marks and foreign letters; these are available in four sizes, with up to 24 characters per line, and 11 lines per page. Characters can be displayed as solid white, white with a black outline or solid white on black block background,  superimposed on moving video. It has a 10-page memory, rubber calculator-style Ďqwertyí keyboard, 10-page memory and a set of special effects. They include character flash,  3-speed vertical wipe, 3-speed scroll, 3-speed line shift (teletype), and titles can be zoomed in and out, (by stepping through the character sizes).

 

Anyone used to a proper keyboard will hate the one on the IQ Titler, though to be fair youíre not going to write your life story on it, so it doesnít matter too much. Operation and functions are all pretty obvious from the labelled keys, and on-screen display, though you need to keep the instruction book to hand -- at first anyway -- to decipher the various mode indicators, after that itís an absolute doddle to use. The superimposed characters are clean and stable moreover video signals pass through the unit unscathed, with no added noise or interference. It has an internal synch generator -- something some early title generators lacked -- so itís possible to compose a title without an external video input.

 

The titler comes with a full set of AV leads;  thereís two composite AV leads, and two S-Video cables, plus a phono to SCART adaptor. IQ also supply a mains adaptor and a pair of AA batteries, for page memory backup. Input and output connection are very straightforward, and clearly explained in the instructions, though they fail to mention anything about the GPI trigger socket on the back panel. We checked and it appears to be connected.  This means titles can be switched in and out by an external device, such as a edit controller, though not, it seems their own ĎStudioí controller. However, without knowing which protocol is used itís difficult to say exactly what items of equipment it can be used with.  

 

IQ have wisely decided not to go overboard with this one. Too many effects can be almost as bad as too few, and more often than not a fancy title generators end up producing messy and amateurish-looking effects. Take a look at the way the professionals do it. Most movie and TV titles are very simple vertical scrolls, using just one or two fonts and character sizes in solid white, and thatís precisely the sort of thing that this title generator is very good at! Recommended.

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model                 IQ STUDIO TITLER

Guide Price                 £119.95

Display             4 character sizes, max 24 characters per line, 11 lines per page

Page memory              10

Colours                        white -- solid or solid outlined

Effects                          character flash, zoom, 3-speed wipe, 3-speed scroll, 3-speed line shift, black block

Accessories                  2 x composite AV leads, 2 x S-Video leads, phono-to-SCART adapter, plug in mains power supply, memory back-up batteries              

Sockets                            6 x phono (AV in/out) 2 x S-Video, DC Power in, GPI trigger

Dimensions                  270 x 170 x 50mm

Weight             750g

Distributor                    JESSOPS, Jessops House, Scudamore Road, Leicester LE3 1TZ Telephone (0116) 2320033

 

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   8

 

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R.Maybury 1995 2106

 


 

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