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I wonder if you could help me with some rather simplistic information on the Sony TRV110E Digital 8 camcorder. This machine appears to be fairly similar to the TRV510 that was reviewed in a recent edition of Video Camera. In the article it was stated that a serial connecting lead and image processing and archiving software is supplied on CD-ROM. The TRV110 of course does not have this as standard, but can it be purchased separately and used with this machine? The manual is not very clear on this matter.


My second question is that the manual mentions an iLink cable for dubbing a tape, but this has to be purchased as an optional extra. Does this improve the quality significantly? Does the VCR need a special input or is it standard on most VCRs. What other DV products would one use such a cable with?

P.K. Nandi, Bathampton, Bath.


Unfortunately the TRV110 doesn't have an on-board flash memory for storing still images. Consequently it has no RS-232 serial port for outputting data to a PC, so the answer to your first question is no, the PC kit supplied with the TRV110 will not work with the TRV510. In any case it's not available separately.


ILink, which is also known as FireWire, or more formally as IEEE-1394 is a high-speed serial data link and in the context of digital camcorders it carries the raw datastream from the camcorder to other compatible devices. They include digital VCRs, digital camcorders with enabled digital inputs, suitably equipped PCs and specialist digital editing devices and systems. Ordinary analogue VCRs, and by that I mean VHS and S-VHS video recorders, cannot handle digital signals and are not fitted with iLink connectors. In theory when an iLink cable is used to copy or transfer a recording to a compatible digital device there should be no reduction in picture or sound quality since the cable is carrying digital data, basically a stream of numbers. In other words the copy will be an exact clone of the original.



I am writing to you in the hope that you can explain why a problem has developed with the fader facility on my Hama 128 AV processor. It is approximately four years old, has had only light use and is still in first class condition. Although I can get some fading to black approximately 50% -- this does not commence until some half way into the operation of the slider. This is most disappointing since I have been extremely pleased with it and the fader facility worked well until now. I have tried all of the checks I can think of but to no avail. Every other function on the processor is working perfectly. I have written to Hama in Germany but as yet have had no reply. Do you have any suggestions, have I overlooked something or has the processor developed a fault? If so how can I get it repaired?

B.K. Fuller, Holland On Sea, Essex


I can't think of any operational reason why the fader should behave in this way so it's probably fair to assume that a fault has developed. My first suspicion would be the slider itself since these can become intermittent or noisy, however the symptoms are usually erratic operation. Nevertheless, if might be worth investing in one of those 'blower' aerosols of compressed gas, and give the slider slot a quick blast. However, if, as I suspect there's a more deep-seated problem you should send the unit for repair to Hama's UK division. It might be a good idea to give them a call first, to get an idea of the likely cost etc., Hama PVAC Ltd. can be contacted at: Unit 4 Cherrywood, Chineham Business Park, Basingstoke, Hants, RG24 8WF, telephone (01256) 374700



In the October issue of Video Camera there is a letter from a Mr A. Maynard of Kent regarding copying Super and Standard 8mm-movie film on to video tape. He refers to a gadget, which he brought from Argos, but no such product is included in its latest catalogue. I wonder if it is still possible to purchase such a device and if so, what sources of supply are still available?

L. S. Wrigg, Haxey, North Lincs


I'm fairly sure the gadget Mr Maynard was talking about is a slide/cine to video copier or transfer unti, sometimes known as a telecine converter. Basically it's a small box with a mirror inside, there's a small translucent screen at one end onto which the image is projected and a lens at the other, that couples up to the camcorder lens. They are not as popular as they used to be presumably why Argos dropped it from its range but they are still available. I spotted a couple of them in the current Keene Electronics catalogue costing 40 and 50. Keene can be contacted on (01332) 830550 or visit its web site at:



I have a disability resulting in limited use of my right hand. I would be most grateful if you could advise me of any manufacturer who produces a camcorder which, with minimum adaptation, be operated by the left hand?

John Bowman, Sale, Cheshire


I've been asked similar questions several times in the past and as far as I'm aware only one company Panasonic -- ever made a camcorder than could be used equally well in both right and left hands. That was about ten years ago and it was never launched in the UK. Sony used to make a neat pistol grip, with a plug-in trigger that connects to the machine's Control L/LANC socket but alas that went out of production several years ago. I have a little bit of good news, though. I've tried a few experiments with some of the latest 'upright' sub-compact camcorders from Sony, Panasonic and JVC (DCR-PC3, NV-EX3, GR-DVX7) and found to my surprise that they can be held reasonably comfortably in the left hand, and the thumb can get to the stop/start button. The only major control that's inaccessible is the zoom lever/slider, however depending how much use you have in your right hand -- you may be able to adjust zoom directly, or control it from the supplied remote control handsets. In any case it's worth a try and you should pop down to your local video store and ask to try them out.  



With reference to that wonderful device, the Sony GV-D300 I can see how it is possible to make 'loss-free' copies via the FireWire connection (DX100 to GV-D300). However, I am a little puzzled as to how I could use my Vivanco 5034 (multi-speed fader, audio mixer etc.) when the only possible connection is via an S-Video lead?


Yet another puzzle. I understand how you can connect a high band analogue camcorder to the GV-D300 to get DV recording quality but an I correct in assuming that there will be little or no improvement in copying pre-recorded analogue tapes to this machine?

P.W. Deeley, Ambleside, Cumbria


The answer to your first question is that you can't use your Vivanco processor, or any analogue video processor come to that, whilst the video signal is in digital form. The only time you can use it will be when copying or editing from a digital source to an analogue VCR. You have highlighted one of the few shortcomings of digital video, in that there are no 'domestic' stand-alone digital video processors, nor do I expect to see one anytime soon. In fact the only way to manipulate digital images without converting back to analogue -- is on a PC editing system, or a device like Casablanca. There should be less need for video processing as far as things like noise reduction and image enhancement is concerned and most digital camcorders have lots of effects. However, the bottom line is if you want to do fades and mixes and other fancy tricks you'll either have to invest in some digital editing kit, or save them until you edit or copy to analogue tape.


Your second query concerns copying analogue footage on a digital VCR. There can be no 'improvement' or increase in picture quality that's impossible on any video recording system -- but the point is there should be no reduction in quality, as normally happens when making analogue to analogue copies. 



In the September issue of Video Camera Steve Parker's interesting article (In The Frame) talks about adding a commentary during editing, which requires a VCR with audio dub facility. I edit using my Sony SLV-815 and E90 stereo VCRs and can only add commentary to the mono linear soundtrack of the VHS copy tape. This means that I can only play back both mono and stereo tracks using the VCR's audio mix facility. This is not very satisfactory and useless if I want to send copies to friends and family who do not have this facility on their VCRs. My question is, do more modern VHS VCRs have an audio dub facility for post-production editing, with audio mix?

D.M.Barclay, Verwood, Dorset


The short and simple answer is no, I am not aware of any current VHS VCRs with a mixing facility on the audio input. However, there is no reason why you cannot add the commentary to your movie, after the final editing stage, by audio dubbing the mono linear soundtrack. You can then run off as many copies as you want from this master tape on the second VCR, for your friends and relatives. Just remember to set the audio output on the source machine set to mix mode. The mono and stereo soundtracks on the copies will all carry the mixed output and can be played on any VCR mono or stereo.



I have been reading Video Camera for the past year, I have never owned a camcorder but I know my way around a stills camera. I have had a keen interest in computers since the early 1980s. I'm after some advice. I want a digital camcorder that can also take good quality stills for publishing on the Internet and printing on an inkjet printer. I would like to be able to edit DV footage, what are the options and what sort of PC will I need? Could the resulting recording be put onto a CD or DVD for distribution to family, If so what kind of setup would I need to do this?

Normal Wall, Highham, Derbyshire


Look for features like progressive scan and a serial/RS232 output port, they are a good sign that a DV cam is going to have better than average still photo performance. You should also check up on the pixel count on the camcorder's CCD image sensor, the more the merrier. However, whilst stills shot on digial camcorders are fine for PC-based applications it has to be said that no digital camcorder can match the resolving power of the better 'megapixel' digital still cameras, which are fast approaching the quality of 35mm cameras. If you want good quality photographic prints on paper you are better off with film, or a high-end digital still camera. The PC spec is simple; you need the fastest Pentium II/Athlon machine you can lay your hands on, with bucket-loads of memory and a monster hard disc drive. The Buyers Guides in our sister magazine Computer Video will fill in the details. Downloading video to CD (Video CD) is possible and DVD Video recorders should be with us early next year but it's a rather elaborate, not to say expensive way of distributing home movies to members of your family, and that's assuming they all have suitable disc players. It would be a whole lot easier (and cheaper) to make copies on VHS tape, and there's a better than average chance they'll all have VCRs.



R. Maybury 1999 1410









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