REPAIR OR RENEW?
As a recent convert to video making, I
purchased a Samsung VP U10. I am now
keen to edit and add commentary, background music, etc. Whilst in Singapore I purchased a Sony
RM-E33F Video Editing Controller only to find that it is not compatible with my
camera, which is only capable of infra-red remote control.
However, I do have a VCR which is capable of
remote control, via a wire and would, I suspect, be capable of operation by the
editor. This is in addition to my
current VCR which would of course be required as the recorder of the edited
version. I appreciate that this
arrangement would require the 8mm original to be transferred to VHS prior to
editing. The wire controlled VCR is
currently unserviceable and would cost £45 to repair: can you confirm that the
Sony editor would control the VCR which is a Saisho and is it worth spending
that money on a repair which would improve my copying options in addition to
the editing facility?
J. Taylor, Bedford
Even though you forgot to include the model
number I’m fairly confident that no Saisho VCR has ever been fitted with a
Control L/LANC editing terminal, the type that would be compatible with your
Sony edit controller. The wired remote control socket you describe is simply
that, and not the kind of two-way data bus that is required for automatic
assemble editing, by an external controller. I’m also of the opinion that £45
is a lot to spend on repairing a Saisho VCR, and depending on its vintage, may
actually be more than it’s worth. There’s no simple solution to your problem,
other than persevere with manual editing, or think about buying a new
camcorder, with a Control L facility.
At present I own a Canon UC8 Hi, Toshiba
television with S-VHS input terminals and a Ferguson FV321 VCR. Until now I have contended with ‘crash’
editing and have ended up with fairly acceptable results.
I am considering updating my VCR to a
Panasonic NV HS900 and also purchasing a Vivanco VCR5034 editor. Could you please advise me as to whether my
suggested system would be compatible.
Or maybe you could suggest another suitable set-up. Being a pensioner I have to get it right
first time around. Also living out in
the sticks advice from high quality retail outlets is not available
T. Jowls, Gatehouse of Fleet,
The Vivanco 5034 is a fine controller, it has
a good combination of useful facilities, and it will work perfectly well with
your camcorder and chosen VCR. It might be a tad over qualified though, if you’re
only going to be using it for occasional small-scale productions. There’s quite
a few cheaper controllers on the market, like the Bandridge Montage, IQ Studio,
Hama Easy Cut etc., that sell for under £200.
I bought my first camcorder, a Canon UC 2000,
and am now looking towards some form of editing system. I started to consider a
mid-range edit controller, then noticed that some VCRs have editing
facilities. As I’m thinking of
replacing my Ferguson Videostar would buying one of these VCRs be the best
route to take?
M. Harris, Amersham, Bucks
The word ‘editing’ is used rather loosely by some
VCR manufacturers, it can mean a lot of things. Unfortunately few, if any of
them are of immediate interest to you,
unless you have around £1000 to spare. What you need is an edit controller, a
device that can operate your camcorder, to replay selected scenes, and at the
same time control the record-pause function on a VCR. Your camcorder can be
controlled via its LANC/Control L editing terminal but to date only one VCR,
the mighty Panasonic NV-HS1000, (still
available for around £1000), has a built-in Control L compatible edit controller.
Other machines, with on-board edit controllers have come and gone. They can
only control themselves though, replaying selected scenes, whilst at the same
time operating a second VCR. Clearly this would only be of use to you, if you
copied your 8mm recordings to VHS first. However, your final edited tape would
be a third-generation copy, which would end up looking a bit whiskery. Forget
VCRs with so-called editing facilities, get a decent controller, there’s plenty
around that would suit your particular set-up, selling from around £150 upwards.
I have recently acquired a National NV-M7EN VHS camcorder. However, I haven’t got a user handbook. Can you tell me where I may purchase one?
T. Routliff, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan
Panasonic are better known as National
Panasonic or simply National in many other countries around the world, and the
machine you’ve brought is similar to the NV-M7 sold in this country, from mid
1988 onwards. The ‘EN’ in the model number indicates that the machine was intended
for the Middle Eastern market, which suggests it is a PAL model. That means you
can connect it to a British TV using an AV lead, and play back tapes on UK VHS
video recorders, but the RF converter probably doesn’t work. All other
functions, however, should be the same as the UK model.
Instruction books for the NV-M7, and spares
for most other Panasonic and Pioneer products are available from SEME Ltd, who
can be contacted on (01280) 823523. One for this particular model will cost you
£6.77, including post and packing.
I am a
newcomer to camcorders and I should like an answer to the
following: as with most hobbies, I
presume that there is a ‘closed season’ during the winter when apart from
weddings and birthdays, it goes a little slack. What about the batteries?
Obviously they are put in a dry
place wrapped in cellophane bags, but is there a hard and fast rule as to their
charge and storage?
R. Harvey, Weston super Mare, Somerset
The usual advice is to store nicad and NiMh
battery packs in a discharged condition. My feeling is that it probably doesn’t
make a huge amount of difference one way or another, the cells used in these
batteries self-discharge, and will go flat of their own accord in a month or
At present I edit from a Sony V6000 via an
Amiga 1200 with GVP G-lock, an MX1 to a Panasonic FS90. I suspect that like a lot of people I am
very interested in the new digital format, but cannot afford to upgrade completely. Would you advise first purchasing a DHR
V1000 VCR to maintain the Hi8 quality without loss of V6000 level, or
alternatively buying a VX700/1000 to start with a better quality to edit to the
FS90? Would I need to up-grade my
genlock to a G2 and would all connected be okay remaining S-Video?
Just how much better is the VX1000 over the
VX700 for another £1,000?
P. Hooper, Hampton, Middx
Given such a choice I would go for the best
source camcorder I could afford, on the basis that original footage cannot be
re-shot, but you can upgrade editing equipment at any time. It’s harder to
choose between the VX700 and VX1000, the 3-CCD image sensor does make a
difference to colour fidelity, but it’s arguable that it makes a great deal of
difference by the time recordings are copied, edited and displayed using domestic
video equipment. Unless you’re planning to plough a lot more money into your
system the VX700 will almost certainly meet all of your needs for the foreseeable
future. Unless you’re planning to go 100% digital then you will have to stay
with S-Video (Y/C) video interconnections.
PANNY POWER PROBLEM
I have a Panasonic NV-MS70B and a power
supply problem. The camera operates on
6 volts DC and I normally use it with either the camcorder’s nicad battery pack
or the Panasonic Charger/Power Supply.
However, I recently tried to power it using a
Yuasa 6 volt 7 ampere-hour non-spill lead-acid battery, via the power input
socket. The camera will switch on and
after about 2 seconds the low battery sign shows and the camera shuts off.
Panasonic’s Technical Helpline said the
battery was ‘too powerful’. As the mains power supply is labelled 6VDC, the
camera input is labelled 6VDC why will 6 volts from another source not
work? Surely it would work from a lead
acid battery powered belt so what’s the difference?
It has nothing to do with the lead-acid
battery being too powerful, the camcorder has no way of knowing the capacity of
the supply it is connected to, but it does respond to the voltage, and that is
almost certainly the root cause of your problem. Nicad batteries have a fairly
sharp discharge curve; the voltage remains fairly steady until the battery is
almost exhausted, at which point the voltage dips quite sharply. However, in
order for the battery to have enough power left to enable the machine to shut
down safely -- unlace and eject a tape etc. -- the low voltage battery warning
kicks in quite early on the discharge curve. In other words, it takes only a
small drop in voltage -- a fraction of a volt in fact -- for the machine to
register a ‘flat’ battery. Lead acid batteries have slightly different
characteristics to nicads, but your machine doesn’t know that, all it sees is a
battery whose voltage output is at or below the cut-off point of a nicad pack,
so it deems it to be flat. Sorry, there’s no a lot you can do about it.
I am new to the video scene and own a Sanyo
VM-EX220P camcorder which does not have a Control L socket, and a Philips video
recorder. Could you please advise me on
a suitable editing equipment which would be compatible with my equipment?
U. Tucker, Kingsbridge, Devon
You already own the only edit controller
compatible with your camcorder and VCR -- your index finger! Without
an edit control terminal there’s no way an edit controller can communicate with
your camcorder. True, some controllers have infra red control systems for the
source deck, but without some way of accessing the source deck’s tape counter,
the edit controller has no way of knowing where it is on the tape, consequently
cut accuracy can only be to within a few seconds at best, which is next to
useless for all practical purposes.
I find myself in a position where people from
various clubs in my area are asking to show the videos I make. I have always said no as I do not know
enough about the quality of pictures that are obtainable from video projectors
up to £2000. Such information is very
difficult to come by in this neck of the woods.
The second problem is music on videos. I am fully aware there is plenty of
copyright-free music available, but I would like to know how to use copyright
P. Whiting, Pevensey Bay, E. Sussex
Video projectors costing less than £2000 tend
to be designed mostly for domestic purposes, consequently they’re less powerful
than models intended for larger audiences and public displays. There’s also a
clear correlation between price and image quality, but a lot will depend on the
size of the screen, and the viewing conditions.
As far as obtaining clearances to use
copyright music is concerned, the best place to start is Phonographic
Performance Ltd (or their sister company Video Performance Ltd, if you want to
use copyright video recordings). They issue licences for material used on
personal recordings, for parties, weddings, special events, that kind of thing.
A licence for up to 4 videos, that last for one year, costs £18 (plus VAT). It
operates on a sliding scale, and a licence for 25 videos costs £100. If you
contact PPL on 0171-437 0311 (ask for the Music Systems Department) they will
send you the necessary paperwork. If you’re thinking of making tapes
commercially -- i.e. producing multiple copies of recordings containing
copyright material -- then you also need to speak to the Mechanical Copyright
Protection Society (MCPS) on 0181-769 4400.
I bought my first camcorder, a Samsung VP
E807 and have been trying to buy an editor, but most dealers tell me to scrap
it and get a new machine as mine will not link up with the editors they
Would it be possible to connect up with the
Vivanco VCR 5034 as shown in the September issue. If not is there another editor I could use?
L. Palmer, Sale, Cheshire
Deja Vu... Scrapping the Sammy seems a bit
harsh, but those dealers were right, you can’t use your camcorder with an edit
controller. The Vivanco 5034 can control source machines using learnt IR
commands, but accuracy will be abysmal, so bad in fact that you’d be better off
doing it manually. If you want to automate your editing then you’re going to
have to get another camcorder.
My partner and I have started to shoot videos
of weddings. My questions are about
tape storage and overlaying commercially copyrighted music.
I’m telling my clients that I will keep their
master tapes (Hi 8) for a period of five years during which they can have
copies made. Can I be confident that
the recordings will store for this long without noticeable fading and under
what conditions I store tapes?
Secondly, can you tell me to whom and how
should I apply to obtain a licence to use copyrighted music?
Boroughbridge, N. Yorks
If the tapes are neatly racked in cool, dry
conditions, far away from any sources of magnetic radiation, heat vibration or
bright light, then they should still be in fine fettle in five years time. It’s
difficult to say exactly how long they will last; it’s more likely that the
equipment needed to play them will have disappeared well before the tapes
As far as obtaining licences to use copyright
recordings are concerned, see the answer to P. Whiting’s question ‘Protect
I have a Sony TR705 Hi8 camcorder, that I use
to film my work; I am a tattooist. This gives me something better than a photo
album, to show my clients. I play the recordings on a VHS VCR after having made
a copy of my original recording, using a Matsui VX2500. Now I want to make
further copies, which I can give to my customers. I’m thinking about investing
in some titling, processing and editing equipment. In your opinion is my
camcorder up to the job of making what I guess you’d call semi-professional
movies, or am I wasting its high-band capabilities by using third generation
VHS copies. I have around £1500 to spend, would you recommend the money is
spent on a better camcorder, or even wait a couple of years, for the new
digital format, or are they only worthwhile if copies are made on a digital VCR?
John Foster, Birmingham
If it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it ... If your
705 is still giving satisfactory results there’s no need to buy a new camcorder,
digital or otherwise. I suspect the weak link in your present set-up is that
Matsui VCR, which, to be kind, is not the first machine that springs to mind
for copying or editing. Get yourself a decent VHS stereo VCR, you can’t go far
wrong with models from the top European and Japanese brands and top-end Panasonic
VCRs in particular. Something like the Vivanco 5034 has everything you need to edit
and lick your recordings into shape.
Ó R. Maybury 1996 1311