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I have a JVC GR-DV1 digital video camera, which I find produces superb recordings. It's light and fairly easy to hold in my rheumatic hand, but I have one gripe. It's those BN-V712U batteries the camera uses; they just don't last very long, especially if one does a lot of zooming. Is there a battery pack or belt that I could use, to give it a bit more juice? I know I could buy more batteries, but at 55 each, and with a life expectancy of only around a year, they are an expensive business. Failing that can you recommend another lightweight digital video camera with a longer battery life?

Peter B Whiting,

Pevensey Bay,

East Sussex.


You're right, the running times of the GR-DV1 battery pack is pretty abysmal by today's standards, 10 to 15 minutes if you're lucky. That's one of the penalties of buying first generation hardware, these days most recent DV camcorders can record for around 30 to 40 minutes between charges, though the LCD screens on some machines can halve that. However, you can run the DV1 from an external source, such as a belt pack, using the DC input socket on the front of the machine. Unfortunately the socket is not in a very convenient location and the plug can interfere with the handling. The machine runs off a 6-volt DC external supply and suitable belt packs that would give you several hours of recording time cost from around 80. Have a chat with Keene Electronics on (01332) 830550. Incidentally Keene also stocks a replacement lithium ion pack for the DV1, it has a slightly higher capacity than the JVC original and it sells for just under 40.



I have recently acquired a camcorder, so please excuse my lack of knowledge.  I have around 5000 feet of silent cine film, which I want to transfer on to video. To have this done professionally would cost me a great deal more than I could manage, so I would like to know if you can suggest a way for me to copy my cine film to video. I have a Bolex 18-5 projector and a Canon UC 5000 camcorder.

Denis Wolohans




Before you dip into your pocket try this. Have a go at shooting directly from the projector screen. You can minimise parallax errors that can distort the image, by making sure the camcorder is as close to the centre line of the projector lens as possible. You may also have to fiddle around with exposure settings and the projector lamp brightness, but it is possible to achieve very good results with virtually no outlay. Don't forget you can record sound as well, so add a commentary or music whilst you're at it. Failing that there is a number of cine to video transfer devices on the market, prices start at around 40 for an enclosed box type unit. Hama has a couple of models in their range that is worth trying, you can get more information by calling: (01256) 374700



I read with great interest the recent article in Video Camera (Back To Basics, Part 6, September issue) about timecodes. However, I am still somewhat confused about Control L and Synchro Edit editing control systems; are they compatible? I record and edit with a Canon UC9 Hi8 camcorder and copy with a Panasonic NV-HD660 video recorder, using the infra-red controller in the camera. The accuracy fairly good but I wonder if more control is possible with a direct wire coupling, i.e. Control L on the camcorder to Syncro Edit on the VCR? I am also thinking of buying a JVC HR-S7500 Super VHS video recorder and the IR control will have to be adjusted for the new machine, so a direct connection would be much more convenient. The Canon instruction manual says they do not guarantee the results, unless the equipment has the LANC symbol; the Panasonic VCR manual suggests that Syncro Edit and LANC sockets are compatible, is this true?





LANC control on the HD660 is actually an unsupported feature, Panasonic make no promises and it appears that it doesn't work properly with some camcorders though I'm not aware of any issues with the Canon UC9. However, I am fairly sure that it's not going to be much use to you, if you're using the built-in edit controller on the UC9 as meant to be used for single scene transfers. The alternative is to use a stand-alone edit controller. That will give you much greater flexibility and improved accuracy -- compared with the UC9 controller -- plus it can be used with almost any video recorder. There's plenty of excellent edit controllers on the market, that would suit your particular set-up, starting with the good old Thumbs Up, currently selling for less than 150.



Although all of the equipment I use is stereo, I am unable to obtain stereo sound when dubbing music to my VHS tapes from the hi-fi system. The hi-fi has no sound output sockets so I connect up to the earphone socket, using a lead with a 3.5mm jack plug on one end and two phono plugs on the other. The sound is fine, but in mono only. Is it because I'm narrowing down to a single plug, if so why do I get stereo sound in headphones? The hi-fi is an Aiwa NSX-V200, my VCR is a Toshiba V-856 the TV is a Toshiba 214DB and I have a Samsung VPK 80 camcorder. Everything is working perfectly in stereo, other than this little problem.

William Cooke




You have eliminated almost every possibility except the connecting lead and the jack plug. Are you absolutely sure it is a stereo jack? There should be two conductors on the shaft, the tip and a second metal band, separated by an insulator. If not it's a mono plug. The plug or the wiring inside could be faulty though it's unlikely one of the leads is open-circuit or you would be only getting one channel. The cure is simple, get a new lead, and double check that it is a stereo to stereo type.



I brought a Panasonic NV-S70 camcorder and NV-HS800 video recorder but only after carefully reading the reviews in Video Camera, to ensure they were compatible. Now I have got quite a collection of tapes; I want to start editing them and I need to decide between the Hama Easy Cut and the more expensive Vivanco 5034 or GSE MPE 200SX Lite edit controllers. My main criteria are that there must be no reduction in picture quality and I want to be able to use timecodes. The latter needs some explanation, as my camcorder does not have a timecode function. This would have to be provided by the editor; I assume that editors with a VITC write facility means that the timecode is added to the tape. Alternatively, could I use RCTC instead? If timecode is not an option there would be less of a case for the more expensive edit controllers. Please advise.

M.R. Carter,




None of the edit controllers we've tested over the years have had any noticeable impact on the video signal, in most cases it just passes straight through the unit, so that isn't a concern. You seem to be a little confused about the various timecode schemes, so here's a quick recap. In case you were wondering VITC stands for vertical interval timecode and the data is normally written on to the master tape, by the camcorder, at the time of recording. VITC data lives inside the video signal and cannot be added retrospectively, however, it is possible to make a copy of the original recording and at add a timecode to the copy during the transfer, using the VITC write facility you've mentioned. The tape with the code is now a second generation recording, which means the final edit copy -- made from the coded recording -- will be a third generation tape so the quality will probably be quite poor. RCTC or rewritable consumer timecode is exclusive to the 8mm and Hi8 formats. The main difference between RCTC and VITC is that some 8mm/Hi8 camcorders (and VCRs) can add a timecode to existing recordings, thus you can edit from a coded master and the recording you end up with is a good-looking second generation copy and quality losses are minimised. Unless you plan on buying a new Hi8 camcorder RCTC is not an option for you, and neither is VITC, unless you are prepared to suffer the quality losses. The Hama Easy Cut should do everything you need, though the Vivanco VCR5011 might be a better bet as it can handle timecoded recordings and costs only a little more than the Easy Cut.



I shoot video on a Panasonic NV-S88 camcorder and edit on a Pentium II 266 PC fitted with an Iomega Buz capture card, MGI Video Wave software, together with a large IBM UDMA hard drive and a Hama SM516 stereo mixer, all of which I am very pleased with. Formerly I used a JVC GR-S707 camcorder and an HR-S5800 Super VHS video recorder but the camcorder has developed a fault and the VCR will now only record in standard VHS mode, although I have to say that the quality is still excellent. I would like to buy a new S-VHS video recorder and I wonder about the Panasonic NV-HS099 or 950, both of which give me compatibility with my camcorder and synchro edit, should I need that facility. I am not sure if there is much to choose between them? Is the performance of the 950 better than the 900, and enough to justify the price difference? Would they be compatible with my JVC video recorder, for making copies?

Dawn Cante-Ha

Cwm y Glyn,



Excellent machines, both of them, and in terms of AV performance there's really nothing to choose between them. The HS900 is the older of the two and lacks one or two of the more up to date convenience features, but if the price is right we'd certainly be very happy to use it. That said however, you might also like to consider an even cheaper alternative, and that's the recently launched JVC HR-S7500, which is currently selling for the remarkably low price of just 350, and it's no slouch when it comes to picture quality either. You've no need to worry about compatibility on any video recorder; even your old JVC machine can copy from an S-VHS machine, though you'll probably have to use a composite video feed -- as opposed to an S-Video connection -- if the VCR is no longer able to make S-VHS recordings.



R. Maybury 1998 1809   












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