ROUTE OF THE PROBLEM
Having recently purchased a Canon UC8Hi
camera could you please help me decide the best routes for editing? Should I go
for a Hi8 deck or an S-VHS edit deck? I
also recently purchased a Gold Disk Video Director Home, which seems to work
the camera hard, if scenes are edited out of the original sequence. I would like to maintain the Hi8 quality as
far as possible, but not at any price.
Rishworth, Sowerby Bridge
Generally speaking a Super VHS video recorder
is the more flexible option as it can double up as a home deck, recording
off-air TV programmes and used for watching pre-recorded movies. A Hi8 deck
would only make sense if you were putting together a dedicated timecode editing
system, using a high-end controller.
The replay deck is bound to have to work quite
when shuttling back and forth, editing scenes that are out of sequence. If you’re
asking does this increase wear and tear or reduce the life-expectancy of a
camcorder, the simple answer is not to any significant extent. Clearly a
domestic camcorder would be inappropriate for arduous semi-pro and studio applications,
but good quality machines from manufacturers like Canon won’t be harmed by editing
a few hours worth of material each year.
I currently own a four-year old Canon E60 and
it is starting to cost me money. I
would like to transfer cine onto video, therefore I’m looking for a better machine. What I require is a more robust unit,
something more stable on a tripod, capable of better quality recordings, with a
better zoom, etc. My budget for a new camera is limited to around £1500. I have
my eye on the Panasonic NVMS4B and appreciate I shall require an S-VHS
player/recorder unit too. What advice
can you offer?
Don’t be misled into thinking that bigger is
necessarily better. The MS4 is a fine machine, but not much fun to cart around
if you want to take it on holiday with you. I am not convinced that you need to
spend anything like £1500 on a camcorder for cine transfer, unless you want to
make the jump to digital, in which case I suggest you look at the JVC GR-DVJ1
or Sony DCR PC7, which both fit comfortably inside your budget. There are
several good Hi8 and S-VHS camcorders selling for less than £1000, check the Buyer’s
Guide for the latest details. You only need an S-VHS VCR if you want to edit
your cine transfers, and then make multiple third-generation copies. If you
have to edit, then do it to the original cine material, or edit ‘in-camera’ by
pausing the camcorder during the transfer. If you’re using a tripod then image stability
is down to the tripod, rather than the camcorder, so you may well want to
consider buying something a little more substantial, if it has got the wobbles.
You don’t say what transfer method you’re using, this can also have a big
impact on image quality, and you might want to think about using a dedicated
transfer box or screen, if you’re not already using one.
I am going to buy my first camcorder. The one
that seems to stand out is the Panasonic NV-S88. Would I, as a novice, be better off buying the NV-S90, although
older it can be bought at a better discount.
My video recorder is a Mitsubishi B41, would there be any difficulties
transferring recorded tape onto this machine?
Without knowing how much you have to spend or
what sort of deal you’ve been offered it’s difficult to comment but they’re
both good machines. Your lack of experience isn’t a problem, they’re both very easy
to use in the full-auto mode, with an excellent range of creative facilities
that will stand you in good stead as you progress. All camcorders, irrespective
of format, have standard composite video outputs, that are compatible with all VHS
video recorders, so there’s no problem
whatsoever in copying or editing camcorder footage to your Mitsubishi VCR.
SCREEN BUT NOT HEARD
My family are planning to buy a camcorder for
£800 to £1000. We have a problem though and need your help. We decided that we really want to be able to
dub the sound and it must have an LCD screen.
Also an image stabiliser would be useful. We are not bothered about
anything else, have you any suggestions?
No problems with the LCD screen and image
stabilisation but we’re a bit stumped by the need for audio dubbing. The only machines
to have all three features are digital models, which are outside of your price
range. Unless it is vitally important to be able to audio dub using the
camcorder, why not do it at the copying or editing stage instead? If you go for
a VHS-C machine you can audio-dub the original tape on any suitable VCR.
LOW LIGHT LET-DOWN
Like many others I shoot a lot of material
indoors using existing light. Up until now I have been using the Sharp VL-C690
VHS-C camcorder. I would now like to up-date to a modern palmcorder but the
ones I have tested so far - a
second-hand Panasonic M70 Super VHS-C and the Canon UC 8Hi - have been
disappointing despite having lower lux ratings than my Sharp. Can you suggest
how I can be sure of getting the best low light camera available?
The low light figures quoted by manufacturers
can be misleading. Some of them use sensitivity in the gain-up mode, where the
video signal is boosted electronically, or the image is ‘shuttered’, in which
case movement will look jerky. Nevertheless, recordings made in poor light
always look grainy, with muted colours, irrespective of low-light performance.
You may be better off considering a camcorder
with a built-in video light, or the facility to fit one.
Ó R. Maybury 1997 2407