ASK RICK -- MAY/JUNE
The article on computer editing (Video Camera
February '97 ) was a lifeline to me but I don’t know what to buy. Could you
help me please? My present computer is an Olivetti PC33, 80386/33MHz with 4Mb
of RAM and a 40Mb hard disc. I use Windows 3.1. The article refers to a ‘wealth
of PC software’, though presumably most of it is for more machines more
advanced than my own. Maybe you could point me in the direction of software
suitable for my (now small) computer.
John Ryan, Dunlaoghaire
As you’re aware your PC is now getting on a
bit and most desktop video software is designed to run on much faster machines.
If you’re keen to go down this route then your money might be better spent on a
new computer. Normally I would suggest an upgrade but your Olivetti PC uses proprietary
components, that can be expensive and difficult to obtain. A typical 386 ‘clone’
PC on the other hand, could be fitted with a fast Pentium-class processor and
motherboard for less than £150. Add a bigger hard drive and extra memory and
you’re in business for less than £300. However, assuming that you have a
camcorder with a Control L/LANC editing terminal, then your best bet would be to
get hold of an early version of Video Director, which will run quite happily on
a 386 PC. You might also come across some old DOS titling programs, though
unless you buy a VGA to PAL output card, or genlock, you’ll have no way of
getting the graphics out of the PC, and on to tape. Several companies that specialise
in old or discontinued software advertise regularly in magazines like Micro
Mart and PC Mart.
I am about to change my six year old Sony Video
8 camcorder and am thinking of either the Canon UC9Hi or Sony TR860, reports on
both seem very good. I have a Sony 25F2 NICAM TV and Sony SLV-8l0 VCR; my query
concerns playback and copying from a Hi 8 camcorder. As you probably know,
whilst my TV has an S-Video input, the VCR does not, both however have AV (phono)
and SCART inputs.
How should I connect the equipment together,
and bearing in mind that I’m not planning to edit my recordings, would the RCTC
facility on the Sony camcorder be wasted?
A. Burns, Leyland, Lancs
You will have to use the composite video
output from the camcorder to the SCART AV input on the VCR, but there’s nothing
to stop you connecting the S-Video output to the TV, so you can watch what you’re
copying with the best picture quality. Your VCR can only make a low-band copy
of your Hi8 recording, though it should still look pretty good. When playing back
the copy the VCR and TV should be linked together using a SCART-to-SCART lead, this
will carry a composite video signal. A feature like RCTC is never wasted, you
might not want to edit your recordings now, but in a year or two’s time, who
SPEND, SPEND, SPEND...
Having recently been presented with a Samsung
VP-U10 camcorder to replace my standard 8 cine (not used in decades), the need
to edit became apparent very quickly. Video Camera has provided me with a lot
of info, and some confusion... I have been unable to decide what my particular
camcorder could or could not work with. I have asked several purveyors of editing
kit for details, but this has only provided more despair as I have come to
realise that this is a business where add-ons rule and worse - my Camcorder did
not have the required magic interface.
The next chapter begins after a salesperson tried
to convinced me that I should purchase a PC, complete with a Hauppage Win-TV
card. He assured me that I would be able to edit my video recordings on it,
though I would need some ‘special’ software, that I would have to buy
elsewhere. I almost fell for it. However, I casually asked the assistant the
crunch question ‘how do I download the edited recordings’? This is when I
discovered I needed a special I/O card costing
around £400, failing that I could buy a writable CD ROM deck costing £2000, or
something called a ‘Zip Floppy’, that would hold around 10 minutes of edited video.
I haven’t the budget for all this nonsense, so where do I go from here?
Kenneth Hodge, Aberdour, Fife
Buy a new camcorder, and make sure it’s fitted
with either a Control L/LANC or Panasonic 5-pin editing terminal. Better still
get some experience with manual editing using your Samsung machine, then you
can move on to bigger and better things. The PC equipment you’ve seen is way
too sophisticated. Even if you could afford it we would still advise you to
steer clear of desktop video until you’ve got the hang of using your camcorder and
some basic editing techniques.
Like many stills photographers I am now
moving into the moving image and have recently brought a Panasonic NV-DX1. The
results so far are truly excellent and I am now waiting for Panasonic to come
out with a domestic edit controller. In the meantime, if I want to put music
over the top of my recordings, I understand that I need a 3.5mm jack that goes from
the camcorder to the line out of my hi-fi unit. However, I have been advised
that because the noise levels that come out of the hi-fi unit are so high, I
would also need a some kind of a resistor fitted to the lead. Panasonic UK have
not been able to give me details of the exact requirements for such a lead -- I
can’t understand why they don’t make a custom-made lead. Can you help?
A. J. Darby, Yelverton, Devon
You can audio dub one of the DX1’s stereo soundtracks
but this machine doesn’t have a line audio input, so the only way to get new
audio onto the soundtrack is either through the on-board microphone, or the
external mike socket. This is configured for a high-impedance signal; if you
connect it to the low-impedance line
output from a hi-fi system, then you will get horribly distorted sound and run
the risk of blowing the camcorder’s input stage. There’s various ways around
this, a resistor in the audio lead is the least elegant. A mixer microphone
with a line input will work much better, something like the Hama 46120 and 46123
or IQ SDX800 should suit your needs.
THREE INTO ONE?
I would like to use three camcorders as cameras,
powered by their AC adapters or lead acid batteries, with no tapes loaded. The
outputs would be fed into my MXl digital mixer, and then on to a recording
VCR. The sound would be recorded by separate
microphones. My question is, if the event lasted two hours or more would this
harm the camcorders in any way? Should the camcorders be in the record or VTR
mode? Would the Video signal be reduced if the cable run from the camera to the
mixer was more than 20 yards?
John A Young, Farnborough, Hants.
A lot of camcorders will automatically ‘time-out’
if they’re left in the record-standby mode, or without a tape, for more than a
few minutes. One solution, that works on some models, it to leave the cassette
compartment open. If that works, then you should cover the hatch, to prevent
dust or airborne contaminants getting into the deck mechanism. Assuming that
you’re using good quality, low-loss coaxial cable, then a standard 1 volt
peak-to-peak composite video signals should suffer little or no degradation on
cable lengths of up to 50 metres, after that you may need to use line
amplifiers, to boost the signal and reduce the impact of noise.
Ó R. Maybury 1997 2603