VIDEO CAMERA 1997

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HEAD

CHARACTER BUILDING

Carefully designed titles can add a real sense of professionalism to a video movie, but it can also go the other way and by over-using them itís just as easy to make an otherwise tidy video production look decidedly amateurish. Titles should always be used sparingly, with restraint in the choice of fonts and special effects. That makes the Videonics TM-3000 a very dangerous weapon indeed, especially in the hands of the over-eager movie-makers. This sophisticated title-generator offers a choice of no less than 51 fonts, each in four different sizes, with a wide range of background colours and effects, transitions and borders, with a palette of one million colours to play around with!

 

The TM-3000 is a slightly unusual design; it comes in two parts, with a laptop PC style mini-keyboard linked by curly cable to a small system unit, that handles all of the processing, graphics and input and output connections. In common with most other stand-alone title generators the TM-3000 has a built-in genlock, so that titles can be superimposed over moving video; to that end it has both composite and S-Video inputs and outputs. It also has audio I/O connections, though sound passes through the unit without being affected in any way; (itís mainly a convenience feature, to help simplify cabling).

 

Titles are stored in a non-volatile memory, that can hold up to 16,000 characters. Page layout is very flexible, and itís possible to create multi-page presentations or ĎProjectsí, for use as automated visual displays, in shops, showrooms and hotels. Additionally thereís a GPI trigger interface, that will allow the TM-300 to work in conjunction with compatible edit controllers and other types of post production equipment

 

Creating a title sequence is very straightforward. Text can be keyed in first, or styled on the hoof as you go, using the top row of buttons on the keyboard, to select font and style, character colour and pattern, outline colour and pattern, border colour and style, background colour and pattern, and effects or transitions. Each key press brings up a simple graphical menu, controlled from a set of cursor arrows. Page display times, effects duration plus text movement (crawl or scroll) are also controlled from the menu displays.

 

Pages are automatically indexed and stored. Thereís a small range of text editing functions, including copy, move and delete; mistakes can be easily corrected using the Ďundoí function.  Time and date displays can be added to the display at will, and the finished page, or page sequences can be shown at any time by pressing the play button.

 

Graphics quality is clean and transitions are very smooth. Video passing through the TM-3000 emerges without any additional noise or change in colour levels. The Titlemaker is a most impressive piece of post-production equipment, however, there is a Ďbutí coming. Thatís the price, it costs £700, which is a fair whack for a piece of equipment that, when it comes down to it, does only one thing, that on most video movies will last just a few seconds. Nevertheless we concede there are those who will consider it fair value.  Itís closest rival in terms of flexibility and performance would be a PC title package; however, a credible system with all the necessary genlock facilities could easily cost twice as much. The automated display function is has plenty of uses outside video movie-making and itís a cost-effective rival to other commercial presentation systems. We reckon itís probably a little too sophisticated for most family video movie-makers but its  many and various talents will certainly be appreciated by enthusiasts and semi pro users.  

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model                  Videonics Titlemaker TM-3000

Guide Price                   £700

Features                       video genlock/superimposer,  51 fonts in 4-sizes, 4-background options (solid colour, pixels, rainbow, live video), borders, 24 transition effects, 16,000 character memory, 1 million colours, clock and date superimposition, Ďprojectí (auto page display) function, remote trigger  

Sockets                        monitor out & AV in/out (phono), S-Video in/out (mini DIN), GPI trigger (minijack)

Dimensions                   290 x 145 x 25mm (keyboard), 320 x 220 x 55mm (system unit)    

Distributor                     Hama UK., telephone (01256) 708110

 

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   8

Terrifically talented,  tip-top titler

 

HEAD

CUTTING COMMENTS

Cullmann, once one of the best-known and busiest companies in the video accessory market went a bit quiet a couple of years ago but theyíve popped up again, this time with a smart-looking edit controller, called the Concept C3. Itís a mid-priced design, selling now for just under £280. The C3 is one of only a handful of third-party controllers that can be hard wired to both the player and recorder decks , using Control L or Panasonic 5-Pin protocols. Culmann have also given it an infra-red remote control system for the record deck. A relatively small library of pre-programmed commands, for around 60 machines from 14 manufacturers, are stored in the controllerís memory.

 

If youíre planning to use IR control itís important to check that your VCR is included before you buy. There are some large gaps, with big names like Ferguson, Philips and Sanyo missing from the list; other manufacturers are only briefly represented, with just one or two machines. The good news is that the library contains a very large selection of S-VHS video recorders.

 

The controller can work with both counter information and time-codes, it supports the Sony RCTC system and will work with VITC coded material, provided the player deck is equipped with a ĎNew Edití socket, that carries the timecode data. It will store up to 99 scenes and it has a GPI trigger interface, that can be used to switch in special effects or a titler on a suitably equipped processor. Layout and design are commendably simple. The top panel is dominated by a large shuttle dial, which operates in two modes giving coarse or fine control over tape speed and direction. To the left of the dial thereís three large coloured buttons, the blue oneís for selecting cut in and out points, the red one is for edit start/stop. Above the shuttle dial thereís two mode buttons, for selecting jog or shuttle operation, and recorder or player control. On the left side thereís four mode buttons, and a small illuminated LCD panel. This displays mode information, cut details and the edit decision list (EDL), one line at a time. Incidentally this is the only display, there are no video connections to the controller, so it canít make use of on-screen graphics.

 

Set-up operations are confined to telling the controller what machines itís going to be used with, by inputting the appropriate control codes, and setting trim times; this takes a couple of minutes. An IR emitter is built into the back of the console, beaming commands to the record VCR. This might be inconvenient in some installations, in which case an optional IR wand, on the end of a long cable, can be used instead.

 

Basic editing functions are reasonably simple. The first step is to locate the beginning of the first scene, either with the tape running, or by stepping through the recording a frame at a time, (though not all camcorders will support this facility). Designating the edit point is equally simple. The display shows the scene number, and in or out mode, but not the tape counter or time code reading.

 

Once the edit points have been stored they can be changed by going back into the edit list. Itís not possible to actually alter the counter or timecode reading -- our preferred method -- instead the cut has to be re-made, though the controller helps by winding to the original in or out point. Scenes can be moved, copied or deleted quite easily, though without being able to see the whole edit list, this can be quite a cumbersome process. The controller has a non-volatile memory that will store the edit list, even when it is switched off, but for long-term storage itís possible to download the list onto a PC, using an optional interface kit and software.

 

Edit accuracy is very good, with care it should be possible to get to within a couple of frames using a time-coded master recording and good quality record VCR. However, itís not the friendliest controller weíve used, nor are the controls or operating software particularly intuitive. We would also have liked a simpler way of editing the EDL, rather than having to re-make each scene. Nevertheless, if youíve got Sony or Panasonic equipment -- with appropriate editing terminals -- or youíre after a competent, no-nonsense controller that doesnít look like the flight deck of the Space Shuttle, then itís definitely worth considering.

 

SPECIFICATION

Make/model                  CULLMANN CONCEPT C3 CUT

Guide Price                   £279

Features                       PC serial connection (optional) IR extender (optional) 

Control systems            Control L/LANC, Panasonic 5/11 (player), Control L/LANC, Panasonic 5-pin, IR (recorder)

Timecodes                    VITC, RCTC

Edit memory                  99 scenes

Edit accuracy                +/- 2-frames (timecode recordings, hard-wire decks)

                                    +/- 12 frames (non coded recordings, IR control)

Sockets                        player & recorder control, GPI (minijack), DC socket

Dimensions                   260 x 175 x 40mm

Weight              950 grams

Distributor                     Bandridge Ltd., telephone 0181-543 3300

 

VIDEO CAMERA RATING   8

Simple to use, but not very friendly

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R.Maybury 1996 2812

 


 

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