VIDEO CAMERA 1995

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SHOP WINDOW -- EDIT CONTROLLERS

 

INTRO

If your camcorder has got an edit terminal it makes sense to use it. In this monthís Shop Window we take a look at stand-alone edit controllers

 

COPY

You donít actually need an edit controller to edit your video movies, but they make life a whole lot easier, and if your machine has got a Control L/LANC or Panasonic 5-pin edit terminal itís well worth making full use of it, after all youíve paid for it... Edit controllers come into their own on productions involving more than half a dozen cuts or scene changes, thatís the point where manual editing can become tedious, it gets difficult to keep track of whatís going on, and almost impossible to make concurrent copies. A controller will also make it easier to include other video and audio post-production effects, in fact some of the controllers weíve been looking at will do that for you too.

 

Right now thereís around a dozen stand-alone edit controllers on the market, ranging in price from less than £200 to well over £1,000. To keep things as simple as possible weíve decided not to include the handful of very basic Ďone-cutí controllers, camcorders and VCRs with built-in controllers, JVCís little XXXXX (see last monthís news), and computer software packages, weíll save them for another day. All but two of the controllers weíve covered will all work with almost any VCR that has infra-red remote control but itís important to stress that in all cases the source machine -- usually your camcorder -- must have a suitable edit control terminal. So-called Ďuniversalí controllers that purport to work with any camcorder or VCR usually entail editing from a second generation master, so the final tape will be a third generation copy, and liable to look rather ragged around the edges.

 

Finally a word or two about edit accuracy. On non time-coded recordings, where the controller relies on the source machineís linear time counter to define edit points, you can expect to get to within about 15 to 30 frames (plus or minus a second or so) of the cut points on a fairly consistent basis, though there are exceptions, that are better and worse than that.... On controllers that can read timecoded material (VITC or RCTC) accuracy improves dramatically, to within +/- 5 to 10 frames on a properly set-up system; frame-accurate cuts are only possible when the source machine has an edit terminal as well and can be hard-wired to the controller.

 

 

CANON VE100  £200

Canon now fit Control L terminals to several of their mid-market camcorders, which is good news, but they donít seem to be particularly interested in edit controllers. The VE100 is their first and only controller to date, it is a very basic design that has been around for yonks. In its favour it is very easy to use, and accuracy isnít too bad but considering the price, limited scene memory and lack of facilities, itís not a very good deal.

 

System (source)                        LANC

System (record VCR)    LANC, IR

Timecode                                no

Scene memory                        4

Other facilities             none

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                8

Ease of use                  8

Value for money 6

 

 

FUTURE EC1000 £600

This is one of only two controllers in this roundup that requires both the source and record machines to have edit terminals, which limits the number of machines it can work with. However, the trade-off is vastly improved accuracy and flexibility, and it can control all available transport functions on both the source and record decks. Under ideal conditions it can get to within a frame or two of the cut points, even on uncoded material as it uses a frame interpolation system to calculate frame numbers, and it also has the facility to carry out audio and video inserts, on decks that support that facility. The EC1000 can be used with an optional PC editing package, called V-Station which costs an extra £250. This endows it with a most impressive range of professional features, and an unlimited edit decision list.

 

System (source)                        LANC, Pan 5-pin

System (record VCR)    LANC, Pan 5-pin

Timecode                                RCTC, (LTC on audio track, with adaptor)

Scene memory                        8 (see text)

Other facilities             AV inserts, GPI trigger, time-lapse, optional PC control

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                10

Ease of use                  8

Value for money 7

 

GSE MPE200SX  £1179.99

Definitely one for serious and semi-pro movie-makers. This is a highly versatile controller that will work with almost any combination of  machines and timecode systems, though it definitely favours Panasonic and Sony-based systems. It can also work with machines without edit terminals, though accuracy and picture quality are compromised as the final copy will be a third generation recording. The controller has a built-in title generator and it is upgradeable. It comes with a keyboard plus a headset, with a boom microphone, so the price isnít quite as steep as it appears. Edit accuracy is excellent and on timecoded material it can consistently get to within a couple of frames of the designated cut points.

 

System (source)                        LANC, Pan 5-pin, IR, PC-VCR                       

System (record VCR)    LANC, Pan 5-pin, IR, PC VCR

Timecode                                VITC, RCTC, LTC, GSE RAPID

Scene memory                        199

Other facilities             video processor, sync-pulse regeneration, 3-channel stereo audio mixer, graphics/title generator, S-Video compatible

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                9

Ease of use                  7

Value for money 7

 

 

HAMA VIDEOCUT 220  £350

This controller is in its element with Sony RCTC-equipped camcorders, it has a Panasonic 5-pin control system, but it cannot read VITC data. Looks are deceptive, itís an advanced design, with a lot of useful facilities but itís hampered by somewhat unwieldy control and display systems.  Accuracy is good, particularly on timecoded recordings.

 

System (source)                        LANC, PAN 5-pin

System (record VCR)    IR

Timecode                                RCTC

Scene memory                        99

Other facilities             jog/shuttle

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                8

Ease of use                  7

Value for money 8

 

 

PANASONIC WV-EC1 £200

This one is only of interest  to owners of Panasonic (or clone) camcorders  equipped with 5/11-pin edit terminals, it does have an IR control system for the record machine, though. For what it is itís rather expensive, the edit memory is very small, and it doesnít have any timecode facilities, or anything else for that matter, so apart from the small size, and ease of use, it hasnít really got a lot going for it.

 

System (source)                        PAN 5/11-pin

System (record VCR)    IR

Timecode                                no

Scene memory                        4

Other facilities             none

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                8

Ease of use                  9

Value for money 7

 

 

PANASONIC WV-EC310  £400

This one seems to have been around forever but itís still worth considering for Panasonic-based systems. It doesnít have IR control so it wonít work with anything else, apart from the tiny handful of clone decks fitted with 5/11 pin terminals. Although it doesnít read timecodes edit accuracy is good, and it is very easy to use, the only real limitations are the 8-scene memory, and the price.

 

System (source)                        PAN 5/11-pin

System (record VCR)    PAN 5/11-pin

Timecode                                no

Scene memory                        8

Other facilities             jog/shuttle

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                8

Ease of use                  8

Value for money 6

 

 

SONY RME-33E  £200

This is part of Sonyís Family Edit Studio system, which also includes an audio mixer and video processor, and it has been designed to be easy to set up and use. It will only work with camcorders that have Control L/LANC edit terminals, preferably made by Sony, itís not so fussy when it comes to the record deck but for best results that should have a Control L terminal as well. The 4-scene memory is the only limiting factor but accuracy is good, though it cannot read RC-timecodes. Worth thinking about if youíre a Sony owner looking for a simple, systematised solution to editing and post production.

 

System (source)                        LANC

System (record VCR)    LANC, IR

Timecode                                no

Scene memory                        4

Other facilities             Family Studio compatibility

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                8

Ease of use                  9

Value for money 8

 

 

SONY RME-700  £800

Now discontinued but still available, if youíre prepared to shop around. Itís a top-end system that will suit ambitious Sony enthusiasts. Rather expensive but it is capable of excellent results, especially with time-coded source material, and it fits in well with other post production systems.

 

System (source)                        LANC

System (record VCR)    LANC, IR

Timecode                                RCTC

Scene memory                        99

Other facilities             twin jog/shuttle, title generator

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                9

Ease of use                  8

Value for money 8

 

SONY RME-500  £700

This is virtually identical to the RME-700 but it doesnít have a title generator, hence the slightly lower cost, though ironically the price has gone up in the last year, so in comparison with other controllers itís not especially good value.  

 

System (source)                        LANC

System (record VCR)    LANC, IR

Timecode                                RCTC

Scene memory                        99

Other facilities             twin jog/shuttle

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                9

Ease of use                  8

Value for money 7

 

SONY RME-1000 £1300

Well heeled Sony users need look no further than the 100 which was launched just under a year ago, but itís not without its foibles. The fact that it comes in three boxes is a little inconvenient, and the on-screen display and title generator are not that impressive. However, the plus points outweigh any minor niggles and this is a very powerful editing and post-production tool, with a good range of audio mixing and video processing facilities. It is capable of  near professional accuracy on timecoded recordings, and a delight to use, but youíre going to need deep pockets...

 

System (source)                        Control L (up to 3 decks)

System (record VCR)    Control L, learning IR

Timecode                                RCTC

Scene memory                        99, with floppy disc storage for EDL

Other facilities             audio and video faders, 2-channel stereo mixer, cinema effect, titler

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                9

Ease of use                  8

Value for money 8

 

 

VIDEONICS EDIT MAKER  £800

Another old timer but still going strong. It was the first universal controller, and in its day one of the most advanced systems on the market. It will work with any combination of decks but it really only makes sense on camcorders with edit terminal. Operationally itís a bit of a handful but persevere and it can be very rewarding. Accuracy can be good, though itís rather expensive, and not as friendly as some more recent (and cheaper) designs.

 

System (source)                        LANC, PAN 5-pin, IR

System (record VCR)    LANC, PAN 5-pin, IR

Timecode                                VITC

Scene memory                        unlimited

Other facilities             title, AV fade, wiper

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                8

Ease of use                  7

Value for money 7

 

 

VIDEONICS THUMBS UP  £250

Donít be put off by Thumbs Upís apparent simplicity, itís an advanced controller that can be used to good effect by beginners and experts alike. It has VITC and RC time-code capabilities, a fader and title facility, moreover it is very easy to use, thanks to the straightforward operating system, on-screen displays and clear instructions. Accuracy can be very good and the price is very fair indeed, especially if you shop around.

 

System (source)                        LANC, PAN 5-pin, IR

System (record VCR)    LANC, PAN 5-pin, IR

Timecode                               RCTC, VITC (read and write)

Scene memory                        62

Other facilities             fader, title insert

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                9

Ease of use                  9

Value for money 9

 

 

VIVANCO VCR 5055  £600

On first acquaintance itís not exactly the friendliest controller on the market, but once you get past the awkward instructions, busy LCD screen and convoluted control system thereís a flexible, well-specified and very accurate controller that has built up a strong following amongst enthusiasts and pros alike. An advanced design that is worth getting to know and slots in neatly with Vivancoís extensive range of post-production equipment.

 

System (source)                        LANC, PAN 5/11-pin, IR, PC-VCR

System (record VCR)    LANC, PAN 5/11-pin, IR, PC-VCR

Timecode                                VITC, RCTC

Scene memory                        99

Other facilities             data archiving, RGB I/O

 

VC RATINGS

Performance                9

Ease of use                  8

Value for money 8

 

 

System (source)

System (record VCR)

Timecode

Scene memory

Other facilities

 

VC RATINGS

Performance

Ease of use

Value for money

 

---end---

R.Maybury 1994 1201

 

 

 


 

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