ASK RICK -- MARCH 97
Iím interested in animation and at the moment
I use a JVC GR-SZ1 camcorder, linked via a simple electronic on/off timer
switch, to the pause button of a Sony Betamax machine. With this set up I can
record a minimum of 6 frames each time because there is no pre or post-roll, as
on most domestic VHS VCRs.
Can you tell which me of the camcorders in
your buyerís guide have animation facility with no noise between frames? Can you also recommend an S-VHS VCR that
would also perform as well for animation?
Sadly animation facilities are given a rather
low priority by most camcorder manufacturers these days. A couple of machines
-- long since deleted -- had half-decent interval timers. The Mitsubishi C35
could make recordings lasting less than 5-frames for quite smooth-looking
stop-motion movies. However, as far as Iím aware none of the current crop of
analogue camcorders can reliably make recordings lasting less than half a
second, or a dozen or so frames, which is far too many for animation purposes.
I reckon you have two alternatives. The Sony
DCR-VX700 and VX1000 digital camcorders both have single-frame recording
facilities, and the quality should be excellent, but youíre looking at an outlay of at least £2800. The other option is to record on a
camcorder with timecode facilities, and use it with an editing controller and
record VCR, capable of recording sequences lasting just two or three frames. I
suspect you will have to use a VCR with hard-wired edit terminals, which limits
you to Sony or Panasonic equipment. As far as an animation friendly Super VHS VCR
is concerned, Iím not aware of any domestic machines that have any special
talents in this area, sorry.
I have recently become interested in
animation and the possibility of using single shot video cameras to achieve my
goals of adding computer generated graphics to video. I want to build a home workshop that will allow images to be
saved from video camera to computer, edited and output to a video
recorder. Is there a home system that
will allow me to do this, that will not exhaust my limited budget? My first idea is to purchase something like
the JVC Digital Video Camera and add the necessary software/hardware later.
West Kennett, Wilts
Your best bet is to start with one of Sonyís digital camcorders, which have the all-important ĎFireWireí
digital interface, that will enable the camcorder to communicated directly with
a PC, via a plug-in card. JVC are working
on their own PC interface for DVC camcorders, but we understand it involves converting
the digital output to an analogue format, prior to processing, which will have
an impact on the quality of the final recorded output.
Influenced by comments and reports, I
purchased a Canon UC8Hi and a Mitsubishi VCR.
I have been satisfied with the results but am now becoming more critical
and am aware of an element of red bleed, particularly on floral shots. I am
considering additional equipment and would appreciate comments on processing
units claimed to eliminate the fault.
Chichester, W. Sussex
If the bleed is confined to reds only then a
processor probably wonít be much use as they can only shift the colour or
chrominance element of the image as a whole, with respect to the black and
white or luminance information. So by re-aligning the red parts of the picture,
everything else will be shifted out of bonk. It may be worth trying to track
down the cause of the bleed. Does it occur on the original recording, or is it only
apparent on second generation copies or edits? If the bleed is really severe the
guilty equipment should be checked. It
may only need a simple tweak.
Could you give me any ideas on how to stop wind
noise on my Panasonic NV-S88 camcorder, without stopping the sound altogether.
I have tried putting Velcro over the
microphone head but to no effect. I
donít want to use an external mic if I can help it. What would be the best microphone if I have to use one? I have the Hama RSM22 microphone and the
Vivitar VM1 video microphone, both given as presents.
I wasnít aware that Velcro had any special
wind-noise deadening properties... Rather than trying to cure the problem, why
not avoid it in the first place? When shooting outdoors monitor the sound, via
the headphone socket, and keep the microphone out of the wind. Experiment with one
of those furry wind-muffs, thereís one or two on the market, that will fit your
machine. I really canít say which mike will sound best, let your own ears be
the judge, after all itís you, not me who will have to listen to the results.
My set-up includes a Panasonic NVS70 and an
HS900 edit deck. When I put a second
generation S-VHS-C assemble-edit tape into the S70 horizontal glitches become
apparent in areas of high luminance. This
prevents me from creating VHS final products with stereo soundtrack and stereo
music mixed using my second mixer.
Iím told this is due to the S70 having a mini
drum and that the solution is to buy another deck or put up with mono only
audio dubbed soundtracks. The HS900 has
just cost me £600; how can I convince my wife that another video is needed?
I doubt if itís anything to do with the S70ís
mini head drum per-se, but it may have something to do with the replay circuitry
in this machine, which sounds as though itís not coping very well with the
imperfections of a second generation copy. Itís not altogether surprising, the
machine is optimised to replay itís own recordings. Assuming that it replays
original recordings satisfactorily I canít see that thereís much you can do
about it, apart from dubbing in mono, borrowing a friends VCR or buying your
wife a stereo VCR for her birthday....
I own a Samsung camcorder which doesnít have
a manual white balance override control.
Is it possible to fit a filter to correct the colour temperature for
artificial light and if so, what do you recommend? At present all colour illuminations, such as those at Blackpool,
Shooting bright lights against a dark
background can be difficult and is asking a lot of any camcorder, especially one
like yours, with only automatic controls. I suspect your problem has as much to
do with exposure as anything else. Fitting a colour filter to your machine will
probably have little effect under these circumstances, in any case the auto
white balance system will still try to compensate. Rather than trying to capture
the colours of the lights -- which in your case is going to be very difficult
-- why not approach it from a different
direction and use something like a star filter, to create an interesting visual
I recently decided to upgrade my video camera
and purchased a Canon UC2Hi, a Panasonic S-VHS VCR and a new TV.
I was surprised to find my recordings were
less well defined than when I used standard 8 tapes on my Sony camera costing
half the price of my Canon. The colour
registration is poor and all stray colours have bleeding below the
This occurs even when the tape is played
straight from the camera to the S socket on the TV. The pictures are far worse than those taken with the Sony. I would like advice how to remove the
bleeding or at least improve the picture.
That doesnít sound right. Samples of the
UC2Hi weíve tried worked well. Poor definition and excessive colour bleed
suggest the machine may be faulty, or suffering from mis-alignment problems. Thereís
no way recordings made on a top-end Hi8 camcorder should look inferior to 8mm
material. Take it back to the dealer and have it checked.
would like to get into editing once Iíve mastered the use of my Sony CCD
TR3000 and want to know if it is worth looking at buying second-hand editors?
I have been looking at the Sony EC range but
wondered if these were too advanced for a beginner. Could you please suggest an appropriate one which I would not
need to change too soon. I do not
intend to do anything fancy, just basic cutting and tidying up of
recordings. Also, how necessary is a
Without knowing how much you have to spend itís
difficult to make too many specific recommendations but from what you say, Sonyís
HSA-EC1 would probably suit your needs. You might also like to consider the
Bandridge Montage, Hama Easy Cut and IQ
Studio, which are in the same price bracket, and have additional audio mixing
facilities. A microphone will come in handy if you want to add or mix a
commentary; some of the edit controllers/mixers mentioned come supplied with a
” R. Maybury 1997 1501