NOVEMBER ASK RICK
Iíve been thinking of upgrading from my 8mm
Sanyo VM-EX25P to a Hi8 model for quite some time and with my budget of around
£800 it finally came down to either the Canon UC8 Hi or Sony TR780.
I finally decided on the Sony mainly because
I could use the batteries I already had for my old Sanyo. One of these was a Ni-Mh
battery; however, having read the instruction book and warranty I find that any
damage caused by this battery isnít covered. Does this mean that these
batteries can damage my Sony camcorder?
No, your nickel metal hydride batteries should
be fine, the voltage is the same. You may find the charge/discharge
characteristics slightly different, and some NiMh packs can have difficulty
reaching a full charge on standard nicad chargers. Often they cut-off, leaving
the pack only partially charged. The trick is to take it off the charger for a
few minutes after the charge light goes out, then put it back on again, it
should then go on to a full charge. NiMh batteries are less likely to develop a
Ďmemoryí, and donít mind top-up charges so much.
Iíve had a Canon E100 since 1993. I have had many failures and it has cost me
lots of money to repair. Can you please
tell the production year of this camera?
Is this model considered a failure or a success?
Rishon Le Zion, Israel
The E100 first saw light of day in the Autumn
of 1991, so itís been around for a while. Weíre not aware of any particular
problems with this model, and in general Canon camcorders have a fairly good
reputation for reliability, though there will always be the odd lemon. Itís
difficult to say whether or not it was a success or failure; Canon were
particularly prolific during the early 1990ís and their model range was
regularly updated. According to our records it was replaced by the E200 in mid
Having just purchased a Canon UC8 Hi, I would
like your advice on a set-up to go with it: i.e., editor and VCR in the low to
medium price range.
I would also like to transfer my colour
transparencies onto video so could you please recommend a transfer unit
suitable for the Canon camcorder?
The UC8 Hi doesnít have timecode capability,
so thereís little point buying a high-end edit controller; any of the current
mid-range models from Bandridge, Camlink, Hama, IQ or Vivanco will do just
fine. As far as a VCR is concerned donít skimp with a cheapie mono model. The
quality of your final edits will depend just as much on the performance of the
VCR as the camcorder. Assuming youíre not going to be making multiple copies
thereís no need to buy a S-VHS model; look at NICAM mid-rangers in the £350 to
£450 price bracket from Akai, Hitachi, JVC, Mitsubishi, Sony and Toshiba and
you canít go far wrong.
Before you rush out and buy a transfer screen
or box just try shooting the screen directly first. Line the camcorder up with the
projector, to reduce parallax errors, and you might find it necessary to reduce
the wattage of the projector bulb. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results;
if not drop me a line, letting me know how much youíre prepared to spend and weíll
look at your options.
I recently bought a second hand Sanyo VMD66P
and it gives good results. I now want
to buy a suitable editor capable of editing both audio and video. At present I have an Amstrad HQ VCR, but
would be prepared to change it if itís unsuitable for editing.
The D66 is getting on a bit, it first appeared
in late 1991, and it was one of the first Sanyo models to sport a Control L/LANC
editing terminal. This means it will work with a wide range of edit
controllers, including most budget and mid-priced models. You really do need to
think about replacing that Amstrad VCR, picture quality on the D66 is fair, but
by the time itís been through the Amstrad mangle it will probably come out
looking a bit whiskery. You didnít say which one it is, but I seem to remember
the backspace edit facility was none too clever on several models in the range.
You should be aiming for a mid-range VCR from one the better known
manufacturers; a stereo machine is preferable as you may well want to upgrade
to a stereo camcorder at some time. In any case it will enable you to watch and
record TV programmes in stereo as well.
I own a Panasonic NV M10 and am looking for
some post production equipment. Please
could you advise me on the most accurate editing system, audio mixer and
processor I can get for around £1000.
Canvey Island, Essex
We seem to have more than our fair share of
golden oldies this month. The M10 was -- and hopefully still is in your case -- a lovely machine, good AV
quality and very dependable; no wonder it became a firm favourite with wedding
videographers. Sadly though, it doesnít have a timecode facility, so a
high-degree of edit accuracy is not possible. The best you can hope for with
the counter code system used on this machine is plus or minus half a second or
so. You can get most of what youíre after in one box. Take a look at the
Vivanco VCR 5034 (£500), this is a combined edit controller, titler, audio
mixer and processor.
Is there a device that will prevent someone
making copies of my tapes via aerial or SCART?
I want to protect the images. If
there is something where can I find it and how much does it cost?
When reading some descriptions of video
mixers, does mixing video mean dissolving two video inputs? I know that Panasonic WJAVE7 dissolves but
does the Panasonic WJAVE5 and Videonics MX1 do that?
First, regarding protection. There are a
number of anti-piracy systems on the market, used by commercial film
distributors, to protect against copying. The best known one is Macrovision and
this makes simple VCR to VCR copying very difficult. Most systems work by
interfering with synch pulse levels, that doesnít affect a TV but usually
drives the copying VCR mad. However devices which counteract anti-copying
systems are widely available and thereís little you can do to prevent a
determined pirate. I note youíre writing from Portugal so I am not sure about
the legal position in your country but in the UK the laws of copyright and
intellectual rights apply to any creative work. At the very least you should make
sure thereís a clear copyright symbol on your titles and end credits. If youíre
seriously concerned about this matter it might be worth your while seeking
professional advice locally.
As far as video mixing is concerned, this
involves combining two separate video sources, whether by fade, dissolve or
wipe, all of the devices youíve mentioned can do this.
TELL TALE TALLY
I purchased my first camcorder, a Samsung VP
H65, in January and as a complete novice I have a question for you. In the February issue of your magazine it
stated in the text of your on test section for the above camcorder that it has
a ĎTally Lampí in the additional features.
I am rather perplexed as to what this is. I hope you can answer my query.
The Ďtallyí lamp is on the front of a
camcorder. Itís a small red light that comes on whenever the machine is recording.
Itís simply a way of letting the subject
know that the camera is rolling.
I use a Canon UC8 Hi with a Panasonic NV-HS650
VCR. The main loss of picture quality
in editing seems to be through not being able to use the S-video output on the
Is it likely to do any good if I can get a
lead to go from the S-Video socket (on the camera) to Panasonic 5 pin (VCR)
rather than using the composite leads?
Yikes! Donít do it! You cannot record
component or Y/C formatted video signals on your VCR, it only accepts a
composite video input. The 5-pin socket you refer to on the VCR is purely for
control signals, that allows the VCR to be used with an edit controller. Do not
go squirting video signals into this socket, you could damage both pieces of
equipment. If you want to retain as much picture information as possible when
copying or editing from your camcorder then you will have to use an S-VHS or
Hi8 video recorder.
I purchased a JVC GRSX1 camcorder and the
Panasonic NV-HS1000 edit station after much research. Upon using the Panasonic edit station I noticed that recorded
scenes exhibited high colour saturation, the picture suffered from colour drop
out-in narrow bands across the top half of the picture.
I returned the machine to the retailer and
they kindly replaced it but the second machine showed exactly the same kind of
defect. Panasonicís engineer said the
problem was caused by the differing head sizes between camcorder and video deck
and the best thing was to buy a second full size deck for editing. These problems only occur on the NV-HS1000
only on the replay side, with all editing on my other VHS machine (Hitachi
F150E) being successful and all replayed video footage with the camcorder as
source machine being of superb quality.
My only option now is to pay for a Panasonic
registered engineer to come to the house and say Ďthereís the problem - fix ití
and probably get a huge service bill.
Any help would be much appreciated.
West Horndon, Essex
Iíve not heard that one before. There should
be no compatibility problems between VCRs and S/VHS-C camcorders that use small
head drums. S/VHS-C equipment has to conform to the same set of rigid
specifications when it comes to recording the signals on the tape. Problems,
such as the one you describe are not unheard of though, and may be due to one
of both of the two machines being at the edges of their respective tolerance
bands. However, since it appears youíve changed the Panasonic VCR it seems that
the camcorder may be to blame, and that your Hitachi VCR is simply more accommodating.
Presumably the camcorder is still in guarantee, if so have it checked. It might
also be worth trying a AV processor -- any device with variable brightness,
contrast and colour saturation will do -- that may be able to sort
out any discrepancies in the video output levels from your camcorder.
My wife and I had have a friend in Australia
who sends us tapes and we want to reciprocate. We had a leaflet through our
door recently for the Samsung VP-U10 which is within our price range - but what
about the VP-U12 or the U15? What are
the differences and are they easy to operate?
Then we read the review of the Canon UC2000 - is it for us?
What we really want is a camcorder that can
take a few home movies and I would prefer it with an external mike socket and
earphone socket - we have a 12 inch gun mike and infra red headphones. Looking at the reviews the Sanyo VM-EX370
and the Canon 900 have all these features but the price is a little higher, at
£650 - is it worth it? Is it easy to
Buckhurst Hill, Essex
I must just clear up one point first. You say
your friend in Oz sends you tapes, and youíre in the market for a camcorder. I presume
that your friend is sending you VHS or VHS-C tapes, that you watch on your
homedeck VCR. All of the camcorders youíve mentioned are 8mm machines, in which
case you must check to make sure your friend has an 8mm deck, so they can watch
your tapes, or you will have to edit or transfer your recordings to VHS first.
Hope that makes sense.
In either case some editing facilities will
be an advantage, which really rules out the Samsung machines. The Sanyo 370 is
quite good, and it has a Control L/LANC socket, so too has the UC2000, but of the
machines youíve mentioned the UC900 would be the one Iíd go for as it has itís
own built-in edit controller.
HIT AND MITSI
Iím new to video and own a Sony CCD-V800
camera, XV-A33F sound mixer, a Mitsubishi B82 video and a Hitachi VT-8700E
Normally I transfer the signal from the
cameraís cassette onto Super VHS tape and then do what I would term to be rough
editing onto the Hitachi. As my present
method is a bit hit and miss Iíve been reading about the capabilities of the
Sony RME500 Editor.
I had thought of buying such a machine, but
being a pensioner with limited means, I wondered whether or not I could connect
this up to my Mitsubishi video recorder as this doesnít appear to have a LANC
Should the Sony RME500 be incompatible with
my Mitsubishi video recorder could you please advise me on the makes of editing
machine I should be considering?
A Sony RME-500 should slot easily into your
system. It can control both the V800 and your Mitsubishi VCR, (as the record
deck) via infra-red commands. This will give you high-band (S-VHS) edit
masters, that can be copied to normal VHS using your Hitachi VCR.
” R. Maybury 1996 2307