VIDEO CAMERA 1997

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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.

 

CRASH AVOIDANCE

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 locally. 

T. Jowls, Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire

 

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.

 

VCR VARIETY

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.

 

NATIONAL ASSET

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.

 

BATTERY BENEFITS

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 two anyway.

 

DIGITAL DILEMMA

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?

F. Shaw,  Blyth, Notts

 

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.

 

SOCKET SENSE

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.

 

PROJECT YOURSELF

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 music legally.

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.

 

SORRY SAMMY

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 sell. 

 

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.

 

MAGNETIC MEMORIES

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? 

 

K. Trott

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 become unplayable.

 

As far as obtaining licences to use copyright recordings are concerned, see the answer to P. Whiting’s question ‘Protect Yourself’.

 

SKIN FLICKS

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.

 

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Ó R. Maybury 1996 1311

 

 

 

 


 

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