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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?


Margate, Kent


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.


P. Stammers

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.

A.J. Phillips

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.

B. Whitehead

Chard, Somerset


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?

G. Gration

Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancs


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, appear white.


L. Beard

Meopham, Kent


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 effect.



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 subject. 


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.


K. Parkinson

Clitheroe, Lancs


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.



I  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 microphone?


Natahsa Chambers

London N12


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 stick mike.



R. Maybury 1997 1501





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