Sony RM-E1000T Editing Controller/Titler
Panasonic AG-DP800P S-VHS Supercam
RM-E1000T Editing Controller/Titler
1 Sony Drive
Parkridge, NJ 07656
The RM-E1000T Editing Controller/Titler is one part of Sony's time-code capable, A/B roll Hi8 production system. This system also includes the EV-S7000 Hi8 editing deck, the CCD-TR700 Hi8 camcorder and the XV-D1000 special effects generator. Combining these components allows you to perform pro-style A/B roll editing, titling and special effects. This is the first concerted effort by any manufacturer to make such a series of products packaged for the prosumer.
The RM-E1000T offers Control L, Control S and infrared (record deck only) deck control. The unit also recognizes Sony's Rewriteable Consumer Time Code (RCTC), which boosts editing accuracy.
Plug Me In, Scotty
The RM-E1000T includes a main control box, an edit controller interface and a separate titling keyboard. Hookup is easy; the unit supports S-video signals throughout. Unlike most edit controllers, all video signals pass through the unit. Inputs for source number three are on the front, allowing quick and simple hookup of another source.
A single monitor hooks up to the editor; the editor switches this monitor to any of the three source inputs or to the record deck. An external special effects generator (SEG) plugs directly into the SEG input/output jacks on the unit. The RM-E1000T will trigger SEGs and other equipment, with either a GPI trigger output or an Edit I/F output. A microphone input on the front panel allows you to add narration or other audio to your edits.
The RM-E1000T is cable intensive, using as many as 34 audio, video and control cables. This can get messy, unless you route them smoothly between the gear. Still, the clearly-labeled connections on the RM-E1000T are easy to make. The titler and edit controller can be as much as six feet away from the main control unit.
The RM-E1000T is the first Sony consumer-level editor to offer A/B roll control capability. Like many other consumer editors, the system uses an edit event list to set up and conduct its edits, allowing you to enter in and out points for each scene. You can enter cuts, A/B roll, titling and transition points on the RM-E1000T. You can change, move, copy or delete any event at any time while you create the list.
Press the Edit Start button; this passes control to the unit, which creates your show based on your event list. The RM-E1000T prerolls the source decks, taking the record deck out of pause mode at the beginning of the edit. If something goes wrong, the unit will abort the edit with a beep so you can fix it.
The RM-E1000T generates the following:
Of these, the fade effect has its own control section on the unit. These are very basic SEG functions. More complex effects require an external SEG.
You can fade both audio and/or video manually, or automatically from the event list. Cinema and monotone effects have their own on/off buttons on the controller. True dissolves and wipes between sources are possible only with an external, frame-synced SEG.
Menu buttons located on the controller panel call up a number of different menus to help set up the editor for various VCRs. Controls include timing adjustments, shuttle mode, remote control systems and infrared set with a choice of compatible decks.
A Data button on the controller brings up a menu of all edits on the event list. You can then change or add to the list. This is probably the most important menu in the unit; here you can create new edit events or make minute adjustments to the in/out points of your edits.
These easy-to-follow menus are sufficient to do the job, with two exceptions: A/B rolls and GPI triggers. When marking these transitions in the event list, the menus do not provide enough info.
The RM-E1000T edit panel includes complete VCR transport control of all source and record decks. A jog/shuttle control offers variable speed search mode in either direction. Unfortunately, the jog/shuttle wheel will only work with Sony products. Mike level, audio mix and all actual editing controls are on this main control panel.
Pressing buttons on the titler will bring up the title list screen. Other titler keys act with the controller menus to add titles to the event list and choose title effects. You can store up to 15 title pages in the RM-E1000T, and you can use up to five of these in a single edit. Titles come in three fonts, four sizes and eight colors; they scroll or slide in any direction, or even bounce into the scene. Titles are clean and pleasing to view; the movement, including bounce, is very smooth. This marks a visible improvement over past Sony consumer editor/titlers.
Control buttons on both the controller and titler feel solid; each button stroke prompts an audible beep for confirmation. The controller's buttons have clear and logical markings, but many of the titler buttons sport bizarre, confusing labels.
A 3.5-inch floppy drive on the main console will save your editing setup. This allows you to load it later, taking you right back to your saved position. This is an excellent feature.
The RM-E1000T does have its flaws. The titler can be difficult to use, due to the many keystrokes needed to add titles to an event. Also, accuracy using RCTC time code on both source decks never seemed better than about +/- 3 frames or more--disappointing with any time code.
Poorly written (or translated) sections of the operation manual make A/B roll editing difficult to pull off. I had to contact Sony for instructions. Although Sony agrees that the RM-E1000T's manual is not the best, the company says it is the final release version. These flaws are not major drawbacks, but they do steepen the learning curve a bit.
Are you considering buying an edit controller and perhaps a titler, and do you have Sony decks or camcorders? Do your decks have RCTC time code? Do you wish to edit using A/B roll? If so, the RM-E1000T will certainly put you in control.
Sony RM-E1000T video editing controller/titler
Record: S-video, composite video, stereo audio
SEG: S-video, composite video, stereo audio
SEG: S-video, composite video, stereo audio (x2)
Monitor: S-video, composite video, stereo audio
Time code support: RC time code
A/B roll edit memory: 99 scenes with RCTC, 20 without RCTC
Automatic assembly editing, on-screen set up menus, complete program revision, floppy disk program save, Titler
Fonts: Three styles, four sizes, eight colors
Transitions: scroll, up, down, right, left, bounce 15 title pages total memory, five titles max per edit
Dimensions (main unit): 2 1/4 (height) by 13 1/2 (width) by 7 1/8 (depth) inches
Weight: 12 pounds, 9 ounces
AG-DP800P S-VHS Supercam
Panasonic Broadcast & Television Co.
One Panasonic Way
Secaucus, NJ 07094
This review of the Panasonic AG-DP800P Supercam continues our policy of examining camcorders for readers planning to invest in pro equipment. The AG-DP800P is a professional, one-piece, full-size, S-VHS camcorder with stunning picture quality and a host of high-end features.
Panasonic sells the Supercam in many configurations. You can purchase the body and viewfinder alone for $7000; or you can choose from a variety of packages which include lenses and batteries. At the top end, you can spend $9900 for the body, viewfinder, 14:1 Fujinon lens, hard-shell case and Anton Bauer/Panasonic logic charger with two battery set.
The top-of-the-line F1.4, 14:1 Fujinon zoom lens option (the configuration we tested) features manual focus and manual or auto iris with override. The zoom has continuously variable speed with a 7.5mm to 105mm range. The lens, which attaches to the body with a standard bayonet mount, will focus to 3.6 feet; a macro setting handles anything closer. On the left side of the camcorder is a gain selector switch, with a normal 0dB setting as well as a high setting providing 9dB, 18dB, 24dB or super high gain. Finally, the switch's AGC setting forces the lens iris into auto mode.
Next to this is an Auto White Balance (AWB) switch, which stores two different white balance settings. A Pre setting automatically sets the white balance to 3200 Kelvin (the color temperature of halogen lamps).
Working in conjunction with this feature is the White balance/Black balance button, located on the front lower panel of the camcorder. A Filter knob lies just above it. The filter knob offers one indoor and two daylight filters, but no neutral density filter. All of these functions have one purpose: to allow you to record natural images with accurate color.
As with most professional lenses, this unit uses an RET button, found behind the zoom rocker. When pushed, the last few seconds of your last shot play back in the viewfinder.
On the left side is a switch which toggles either the camera signal or color bars. Professional tapes should always include color bars at the beginning, so this is a time saver.
The Supercam's red and magenta bars suffer from lots of video noise. Shooting a color bar chart resulted in much cleaner and more stable bars, indicating that the Supercam's color bar generator may have been off in this range.
Next is a three position switch for the Electronic Shutter. The On position allows shutter speed control, adjustable by the + and - buttons found in the time code compartment (more on this later). The range: 1/100 to 1/8000.
The Synchro Scan shutter position allows speed adjustments from 1/61.95 up to 1/253.78. The idea is to lock the camcorder's scan rate with that of a TV or computer monitor, so that the rolling black bar disappears. But no adjustment worked with the monitors we used in our probe.
Two buttons to the right of this group include the power switch with the usual On and Off and a Save setting, which reduces power to conserve the battery. The other is the Mode Check button, which displays the settings of all switches in the viewfinder. Just above these is the Scene file switch. Once pressed, one of six different types of scene enhancements modifies the frame you're shooting. (You preprogram the effects choices.) Next is the Super Iris button, a 2-stop backlight used in Auto Iris mode. It stays on until you turn it off again.
Next to these buttons is a small speaker to monitor the sound with your right ear while shooting. This should save a lot of the audio lost by those who forget to wear earphones. It has a volume knob below it. Further back are the audio controls; an AGC switch allows for auto or manual level control. A limiter circuit on/off switch reduces signal peaks before they cause distortion.
To the sides of this section, knobs with bright white arrows adjust the record level--regardless of what type of audio (hi-fi or normal) you use. Underneath is a 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" LCD mode display. The left side displays the audio level meters, while the right side displays Time Code type, S-VHS recording, the time code or counter count and remaining battery power. A doorway below this reveals switches for the built-in condenser mike or other microphone(s) of your choice. These switches also allow you to choose, set, adjust and start/stop Time Code. The unit generates both LTC and VITC time code.
The Menu On/Off switch on the left-side doorway produces a succession of menus that adjust or set the viewfinder, camera perimeters, VTR operations, time/date stamp, time code, audio settings, battery choice and self diagnosis. Further sub-menus pop up to assist in the chore at hand.
On the rear of the AG-DP800P is the battery connector; below this fall the right and left XLR mike inputs. These are three-pin balanced inputs. The Supercam boasts two hi-fi and two normal or linear channels of audio. The flip of a switch decides which audio channel to record. Also on this panel: a standard 26 pin pro VTR/CCU cable connector and a headphones output jack.
A connection panel on the right side features an S-video VTR output, a composite BNC-VCR output and stereo audio output RCA connectors. Plus a four-pin cannon-style power connector and a power select switch. Toward the front are BNCs for camera out and genlock in.
The AG-DP800P will lock on any NTSC blackburst signal, or even stable video from another camera. A door under these connectors contains Horizontal and Subcarrier phase adjustments, allowing you to match timing and color to another camera.
Under a door on top are the VCR controls for playback. Tape eject is here also. Finally, at the bottom of the camcorder body is a circuit breaker button--in case something goes wrong. One interesting touch: a tally light on the handle for the operator. This proves especially helpful during lock-down shots when you don't have your eye on the viewfinder.
I Can See for Miles and Miles
As with most pro viewfinders, the eyepiece is big; this minimizes fogging and increases the space for the B/W, 1-1/2-inch wide tube and surrounding indicators. The viewfinder underscans the image slightly. This reveals a bit more of the image than you normally see, allowing you to view what appears just out of the shot. It then provides on-screen safe markings for both picture and character generators. Common in professional viewfinders, these markings are important; learn to use them or you'll end up with less picture on your monitor than you thought you were shooting. The viewfinder's horizontal resolution is about 550 lines.
The Supercam boasts a feature few camcorders have: in-viewfinder audio level meters. Thus you can keep an eye on your audio record levels without pulling away from the viewfinder. LEDs just above and below the viewfinder screen indicate audio on, tally on, standby mode, low battery power, VCR on and gain. The top right of the image displays F stop and present battery voltage. For more data, choose the visible on-screen data through the setup menus, available from any video output.
Knobs for peaking (used to enhance focusing), contrast and brightness fall on the front of the viewfinder. Under these are switches for Tally on/off, Zebra on/off (which acts as a limited light meter) and Character on/off (an on/off switch for all the data displayed on the viewfinder screen). The rubber eyepiece adjusts backwards about one inch. This allows you to place your ear over the small monitor speaker opening.
At present, on-board battery choices are limited to the Panasonic AU-BP402 battery and charger, or the Anton Bauer Logic Series interactive battery system. With the standard 4-pin cannon power plug, you can use battery belts and other types of power supplies.
The Anton Bauer battery is a jewel. Each battery carries its own LCD display indicating the battery's charge level. The charger unit will charge two batteries at once. When you put a logic series battery on the charger, it communicates with the charger's internal microprocessors. The charger then decides how to best charge the battery. A special Lifesaver mode cuts in to eliminate heat buildup as well as battery memory effect.
In a bizarre move, Panasonic opted to equip the Supercam with a small head drum. This is common on tiny VHS-C camcorders, but there's no reason the Supercam should have a small drum; there appears to be plenty of room inside the unit. If video stability deteriorates, especially with age, this will probably be the reason. It's difficult to believe this was an engineering decision.
Another fault lies in the AGC menus. While you can obtain good video quality in all different kinds of lighting, it takes somes fancy footwork through the Supercam's complex menus.
The iris and the gain circuit do not seem to work well together. Still, certain settings do provide the best results; you'll have to experiment to find them.
The front-mounted White/Black Balance switch can be a problem, too, if you forget which way to push it. This is quite possible on a switch like this; if you switch into black balance when you want white balance, you may end up with bad colors.
One final bone of contention: there is simply something wrong about the shape of the cushion on the bottom of the unit. The lens hand has to provide more support while the Supercam flops around on your shoulder. Broad-shouldered operators may not experience this.
These observations aside, there's plenty of "pro" in this camera. Regardless of head drum size, the image is excellent. If you're involved in any serious occupational videomaking, and you can afford it, the Panasonic AG-DP800P Supercam proves an excellent choice.
Panasonic AG-DP800P Supercam
Lens (as tested): Fujinon variable speed 14:1 zoom, f/1.4, 7.5mm to 105mm focal length, with macro setting and back focus
Viewfinder: 1.5-inch B/W CRT with data displays
Exposure: Auto, manual, AGC override, adjustable high speed and synchro shutter
Focus: Manual only
White balance: Two manual settings, auto (3200 Kelvin) setting
Black balance: Two settings
Audio: Hi-fi stereo, dual linear mono
Inputs: Stereo audio, microphone (x2), genlock
Outputs: S-video, composite VTR video, composite camera video, stereo audio, headphones, 26-pin VCR connector
Other features: Audio monitor speaker, color bar output, zebra level control, VITC and LTC time code read and write, menu quality control, 2-stop backlight switch, adjustable subcarrier and horizontal phase, hot shoe in handle
Dimensions: 5 (width) x 11.5 (height) x 14 (depth) inches
Weight: 14.7 pounds (with tape and battery)
Video Performance (approx.):
Horizontal resolution (camera) 700 lines
Horizontal resolution (playback) 420 lines
Performance Times: Pause to record, 1.5 seconds
Power-up to record: 9 seconds
Fast forward/rewind (2 hour tape): 3 minutes, 20 seconds
Doug Polk is Videomaker's technical editor. Send e-mail to 71161, firstname.lastname@example.org.