RICK -- JUNE
have an S-VHS camcorder and wish to buy an S-VHS editing VCR with animation
facility. Would you please suggest a
few such VCRs in the domestic and semi-pro range?
really depends what you mean by animation. If
youíre asking are there any Super VHS recorders that can make single
frame recordings, then the answer is a guarded yes, but we have to say that
none of them are domestic models, and the function Iím thinking of is not actually geared towards animation as
such. The machines in question are designed for video surveillance, and the
single frame facility is used for time-lapse recording. Theyíre expensive too,
Mitsubishi have one for around £1700, the others you donít want to know
about... Regular domestic S-VHS VCRs made by JVC and Panasonic can be persuaded
to make short duration recordings of around a second or 25 frames, maybe less,
but thatís still too long for serious animation work. Pro decks, with hard wire
edit systems may do a little better but again youíre talking big money, the
cheapest Panasonic S-VHS edit decks are in the £2500 to £3000 price bracket.
High quality animation is possible with PC based non-linear desktop systems,
though weíre into big money again. It should is also possible to make single
frame recordings using digital video gear and several camcorders have this
recently bought the MX1 Videonics digital video mixer and Video Title Maker
2000. Together with a Panasonic
NV-HD660 and an old Hitachi M840/DA4 video recorder this makes my current
is a problem with the letter quality of the recordings on the Panasonic. I have good picture quality, but my video
title maker is very disappointing as it suffers from grainy letters to an
extremely bad colour bleed/smudge effect.
I would like to improve the titles and have tried swapping my cables to
S-Video with no joy.
do I go about cleaning the heads of my Panasonic video and will purchasing a
video processor improve the quality? I
have a feeling that there is an incompatibility between my Videonics and
as you say, the Panasonic VCR is performing well with other sources, that itís
unlikely thereís any problem with the heads, though a regular wash and brush up
with a good quality cleaner cassette certainly wonít hurt. Incompatibility is
probably too strong a word, though itís possible the signal from the title
generator is overmodulated -- i.e. too strong -- which is one possible
explanation for the whiskery graphics --
particularly if other signals are being cleanly recorded. The thing to
do is to make some test recordings using your Hitachi VCR, and see if it
happens there. If that suffers too thatís a good indication that the title
generator might require attention.
purchased a Sony TR680 Hi8 camcorder at Christmas and am more than happy with
it, even though I found out it is more than two years old. After reading the
January issue of the magazine I now want to start buying the right type of
editing equipment. I want to buy the best equipment I can afford; my only
concern is that there is a lot of different types of equipment on the market -
some include a colour corrector - can it be bought separately?
there a need for a colour corrector, or
can similar results be achieved by simply buying good tapes to begin
an ideal world you wouldnít need a colour corrector at all. However, the auto
white balance systems on camcorders can and do make mistakes, and recordings
suffer from noticeable colour errors. Unfortunately your machine doesnít have a
manual WB override. The most likely causes are poor light, fluorescent tube
lighting and other forms of artificial light. Most of the time the errors are
not too serious, and you can live with them. However, if youíre editing, then
differences in colour balance between scenes, or shots taken at different times
of the day, can become significant, in which case a colour corrector can help.
On balance however, I suspect that itís a facility you will need to use only
rarely. If the equipment you buy has it, fine; if not, then itís not the end of
have owned a Canon E600 for 3 years and have always been disappointed with
picture quality, after copying to VHS tape.
From reading the magazine it seems obvious that it would be better to
upgrade either to Hi8 or Super VHS or wait for DVC to develop further. I would like to ask several questions
I buy a Hi8 or S-VHS camcorder will an S-VHS VCR accept recordings from a Hi8
camcorder and does the tape in the high band VCR have to be of Super VHS
quality, or will ordinary VHS do?
have recently bought a 486DX PC with 4Mb Ram.
Is it better to use the PC with either a VGA to video conversion card or
an external module, such as the Aver or go for something like the Vivanco
far as the VCR in an editing system is concerned, it is dealing with a video
signal. Providing the signal conforms to accepted standards the VCR neither
knows nor cares where it comes from, what cassette format the source component
is using, or even if it is a camcorder or some other device. Copying from a
high-band camcorder, to a high-band VCR has to be carried out using S-Video or
Y/C connections. This ensures maximum signal integrity and minimise quality
losses, suitable leads are normally supplied with camcorders and VCRs. High band, i.e. S-VHS video recorders can
record on any kind of VHS tape, but S-VHS tape is specially formulated, and the
cassettes have ident holes, that tell the machine to record in the high-band
mode. In other words, if you use VHS tape, you get VHS quality, only S-VHS tape
gives S-VHS quality recordings. As far as
performance is concerned thereís really not a lot to choose between
internal and external VGA to PAL converters, editing systems and processors; in
the end itís a matter of convenience and budget, something that only you can
purchased a Sony EVS 9000 last May and am experiencing a persistent and
annoying fault. At the very top of the
picture there is a green band extending the whole width of the screen. It disappears if I repeatedly press pause
then pause again. It re-appears on the
next scene which necessitates repeating the whole process.
is most noticeable on orange or beige backgrounds - in normal outdoor shots it
changes colour and is hardly noticeable.
spoke to Sonyís service department - no
one has any idea what the problem is.
share Sonyís lack of insight, it could be any one of a number of things. The
point is, it is virtually impossible to make a diagnosis by letter, or over the
phone in a case like this. Thereís clearly a fault -- probably not a serious
one, if thatís any consolation -- but your machine needs to be looked at, on
the bench, by a qualified engineer.
noticed a couple of letters in a recent issue of the magazine asking questions
about a Control-L socket connected for editing. I checked my Canon A2Hi and could only find a REM socket - the
manual doesnít mention its use - is this in fact a Control L socket? Am I right in believing that such a lead
could connect my camcorder with the JVC HR-J725EK VCR but not to the Panasonic
VCR NV-FS90 that I use for recording my camcorder footage?
I also right in believing that the Control L lead causes both camcorder and VCR
to be controlled with one operation and avoids the time difference, thereby
avoiding the hit and miss cuts I get attempting to offset the start of both
camcorder and VCR, or is it simply a technique to start both units at the same
time with one press of a button?
reading the February issue I was amazed to read of the use of the PC for
computer editing. Are there really PCs
able to access the VCR/TV - and with what success? I use a Commodore Amiga 1200 computer with 2 or 3 titling
programmes and sincerely believe it laughable that a PC could match picture
quality - if it can, at what price?
Ďremoteí socket on your A2Hi is in fact a Control L/LANC editing terminal.
Since you ask it is a bi-directional serial communications bus, that an
external edit controller uses to operate the deck mechanism and read counter
codes generated by the camcorder. It can sometimes have a secondary function,
as a remote pause, but it has no business being connected to your JVC and
Panasonic VCRs. Iím not sure what you
mean by Ďtime differenceí, but when a
camcorder is being used as the replay deck, in an editing system, and itís
being controlled, by an edit controller, then it is possible to achieve a high
degree of accuracy and consistency with the cuts -- generally to within plus or
minus half a second or a dozen or so frames. The controller also operates the
recording VCR at the same time, controlling the machineís record-pause
function, automating the whole editing process. So yes, in most respects it is
better than manual editing.
obviously a big Amiga fan, and good luck to you. Youíre right, PCís cost a lot
more than Amigas, and it has taken the industry a while to catch up with some
of the things that Amigas were doing five years ago, but the world has moved
on. Commodore who made the Amiga have had a very troubled history and support
for the system and format is waning fast. Like it or not PCs have become the
de-facto standard for desktop editing and thatís where all the time, money and
effort is being spent on development.
months ago I brought a second-hand JVC GR-AX5 video camera; although I donít
know much about video movie-making, I have considerable experience in
electronics. I am now faced with a problem, which I admit I didnít consider at
the time of purchase. The camera has no iris control or external microphone
socket, which is a real pain. I recently tried to record a band in concert, but
the sound was only as good as the internal microphone, and the changing lights
sent the iris crazy. Could you tell me, is it possible to have these two things
added to my machine, and if so, by whom, and how much would it cost?
it is technically possible I doubt very much you will find any engineers
willing to undertake such a task. Obviously if anyone out there has the
technical knowledge to carry out such a conversion, please get in touch with us
and weíll pass their details on to Stephen.
have been a keen video enthusiast for about six years and have acquired a fair
amount of equipment. I am now looking to buy a video projector, but I am having
difficulty in obtaining any information. Perhaps you could help?
projectors accept tapes directly, or do they have to be connected to a VCR? Can
projectors receive off-air TV programmes, from BBC and ITV etc.? And is it
necessary top have a special screen. Local dealers have been unable to
answer any of these questions.
of the video projectors Iím aware of are stand-alone devices, that have to be
connected to an external video source or PC, in the case of models with VGA
inputs. None of them have tuners -- so they canít pick up TV programmes -- and most of the oneís Iíve seen have only
rudimentary audio systems, that are generally used for monitoring purposes.
With most projectors you can get away with an ordinary projection screen, the
same sort used for slide and cine equipment. Cheaper models, with lower light
outputs, do benefit from specially designed, high-performance screens.
Projector prices start at around £700 for basic single element LCD projectors,
but if youíre serious about quality you should be thinking of spending in the
region of £2500 to £3500 on a high performance single or triple element models.
If youíre considering larger screen sizes -- up to 200 inches say -- then £5000
to £8000 is a more realistic budget. For more information about whatís
available you should try your nearest Sharp and Sony dealers, both of who have
a good range of models this year.
recently rediscovered a JVC GR-C1 camcorder, that I brought in 1983 for £1200.
Thatís equivalent to around £3000 at todayís prices. I hadnít used it for about
ten years and was very surprised to find that it was still in perfect working order,
except for the batteries which were incapable of holding a charge. I have been
trying, without success, to get original JVC replacement batteries (NB-P5U and
NB-6GU), Can you help? Also, is there a collectors market for old camcorders,
as for still cameras?
originals are a bit thin on the ground, in fact they tell us that only the
NB-6GU is still available. You can get them from their main spares outlet,
Willow Vale, for £43 each (including VAT); you can contact them on (01734)
876444. Several accessory firms still carry supplies of compatible 9.6 volt
packs, including Keene Electronic (01332) 830550, and firms like DSM (01942)
272730, can replace the dead cells in your original battery packs. As far as
camcorder collectables are concerned, itís probably still a little too early.
Some machines are undoubtedly sought after, but you only have to walk around
your local car boot sale, to find five and ten year old machines selling for
just a few pounds. Maybe itís time to start collecting!
often come across terms like frequency response, signal to noise ratio, jitter
and line resolution. Could you explain what they mean, and what we should be
looking out for, when making purchasing decisions?
would take rather more space than we have available, to fully explain all of
those technical terms, but hereís the abridged version. Frequency response,
when applied to an analogue video recording, playback and display systems, refers
to the maximum amount of information that various components, from the image
sensor to the monitor screen, are able to process. In the real world frequency
response equates to picture detail and colour. In other words, images derived
from systems with a higher frequency response will contain more fine detail and
have sharper, more clearly defined colours. Signal to noise ratio is a way of
relating the amount of wanted information in a video signal, to the unwanted
component, which is noise. Noise is generated at all stages of video
processing, recording and transmission, by magnetic tape and even connecting
leads. Clearly the more signal there is -- in relation to the noise -- the
better. Jitter is simply that, a vertical instability in the picture, usually
brought about by poor or low grade synchronisation pulses, and errors or
inefficiencies in synch pulse processing circuitry. Synch pulses are a bit like
the sprocket holes in movie film; if theyíre worn, elongated or missing, then
the picture is unstable. The same thing applies to synch pulses, and any
degradation shows up as picture instability. Finally line resolution. Thatís
related to frequency response, and is a way of defining how much fine detail a
video system can resolve, record and reproduce. Resolution can be measured
using an electronically generated test signal, made up of a calibrated pattern
of fine vertical lines. In the pattern the lines get progressively closer
together, and the point at which they merge -- i.e. the system can no longer
differentiate between the fine lines -- indicates the systemís maximum
resolution. In other words, if we say a
VCR has a resolution of 250 lines, that means you could make out every one of
250 fine vertical lines, if the pattern stretched from one side of the screen
to the other.
have recently purchased a Sony TR510 Handycam and found not one, but two
notices with it warning that the warranty would not cover replacement or repair
of parts or damage, due to the use of nickel metal hydride batteries. As I have
been successfully using a NiMh battery on my old Sanyo machine, I was wondering
why Sony are taking this stand? Is it a device to persuade us to use only
Sony-made nicads, or is there something we should know about this type of battery,
that the other manufacturers are not telling us?
sorry to quash your splendid conspiracy theory but thereís nothing at all
sinister about those warning notices. The official, and quite understandable
line from Sony is that they do not endorse third party accessories like
batteries, over which they have no control. Admittedly itís very unlikely, but
a freak over-voltage condition could fry the delicate microcircuits inside the
camcorder, Sony clearly wouldnít feel obliged to repair the machine under those
circumstances. Nickel metal hydride batteries also have different charging
characteristics, and itís possible they may not perform to spec on original
equipment chargers, not designed for the purpose. Again, thatís nothing to do
with Sony, who say that they design their camcorders to work with their
batteries, and no-one elseís. In practice the risk is very small, and weíve
been using Sony camcorders with a huge variety of NiMh packs for years, without
any problems, but as they say, you have been warned!
” R. Maybury 1997 2603