You are here

Edit Suite Edit Controller is Finally Available from Videonics

Edit Suite Edit Controller. JVC GR-SZ9U S-VHS-C Camcorder.

Edit Sweet

Edit Suite Edit Controller
Videonics
1370 Dell Avenue
Campbell, CA 95008-6604
($699)

The Edit Suite A/B-roll edit controller from Videonics has finally arrived. This long-awaited editor offers multi-format and multi-protocol editing at an affordable price point. This unit gives videomakers professional-level editing power without setting foot in a professional studio.

The Edit Suite supports a wide range of VCRs and camcorders. Used as a stand-alone device, the Edit Suite will control up to four video source machines and one record deck. When used in conjunction with Videonics' MX-1 Digital Video Mixer, the Edit Suite effectively delivers A/B/C/D-roll transitions and special effects. Edit Suite is also compatible with third-party mixers and titlers, offering two programmable GPI (general purpose interface) ports. If your VCRs are up to it, the Edit Suite can do audio and video split edits, video edit preview/review, and separate audio or video inserts.

The Edit Suite supports Control-L, Panasonic 5-pin (Control-M), RS-232, RS-422, and infrared (record deck only) control protocols. The unit also recognizes Sony's Rewriteable Consumer Time Code (RCTC), vertical interval time code (VITC) and longitudinal time code (LTC) for improved editing accuracy.

In Control

The Edit Suite is a laptop-sized editor with a comfortable, ergonomic design. The unit is easy to use for long periods, thanks to its built-in palm rest and large control buttons. The Edit Suite's keys and their corresponding legends are color coded, making editing decisions easy to execute. Hook-up is simple, the unit comes equipped with three Control-L and Control-M cables, a GPI cable and an infrared wand for control of a record deck.

The Edit Suite has the capability of storing an EDL with up to 250 edit segments. The Edit Suite stores all of your edits in memory, retaining them even when you power the unit down. You can delete the stored edit decision list (EDL) with the push of a button. Using the Edit Suite in conjunction with the Videonics MX-1 mixer or TitleMaker 2000, the EDL will also store GPI events to scroll titles or perform transitions at specific times within your video production.

The Edit Suite will adapt to different editing situations, depending on the equipment that you have. For instance, if you have only two camcorders or two VCRs with Control-L or Control-M, jacks you will still have the ability to edit one scene at a time using one camcorder or VCR as the source and the other as the record deck. On the more sophisticated side, Edit Suite allows connection to a variety of high- end consumer and broadcast-level VCRs and camcorders.

The Edit Suite offers a jog/shuttle wheel for accurate control of videotape location, whether advancing at forward and reverse shuttle speeds or by jogging frame-by-frame. A 40-character backlit LCD displays the EDL, setup parameters, status information and error conditions. The LCD's backlight allows the user to see the display in low-light environments. A built-in contrast control improves character visibility, accommodating a wide range of viewing angles.

Easy Edit

The two most common ways to use the Edit Suite are through standard Assemble and Auto-assemble editing. Standard assemble editing allows you to build your production on the fly, one scene at a time. The Edit Suite will create an EDL as you go, automatically storing edit points every time you start and stop the recording videotape. This is a great feature when you are simply off-line editing. Later, you can recall the saved EDL and export the edit data to a computer. The Edit Suite offers a CMX 3400-compatible file export, a useful feature if you plan to transfer your off-line EDL to an on-line editing suite.

Auto-assemble allows you to enter a series of edit points all at once into the EDL. In order to perform the edits, the Edit Suite then takes control of all connected VCRs and production equipment, starting and stopping them according to the EDL.

The Edit Suite maintains EDL data with full frame accuracy. But because VCRs are mechanical devices, they vary in their response to the Edit Suite's control signals. Therefore, different recording decks will perform edits with differing degrees of accuracy. You can easily reconfigure Edit Suite is to compensate for VCR slip and mechanical inconsistency.

When using the Edit Suite as a stand-alone editor, performing single-source A-roll edits is a cinch. The Edit Suite allows you to cut between scenes using a single source VCR or camcorder, recording the edits onto tape one after the other. Remember, for best results, use a recorder equipped with flying erase heads.

Using two or more source VCRs at once, you can assemble a sequence of scenes from multiple tapes. Keep in mind that any record VCR is capable of recording only one video signal at a time--without the hardware to perform transitions, these types of edits would be simple cuts only. So although the Edit Suite will control up to four source decks and a recorder, you'll find that adding a video mixer is the key to really harnessing the Edit Suite's power. By connecting a mixer or switcher to the GPI ports, transitions from one scene to another are possible.

To the Test

Configuring the Edit Suite to your equipment is easy, thanks to a thorough "calculation and configuration" section in the manual. For my test, I first performed 10 edits with a source tape striped with RC time code. Using the Edit Suite's EDL as a reference, I could track the accuracy of the Edit Suite's edits.

Initially, I found that my record deck was lagging by 12 frames when performing an edit. In order to compensate for the lag time, I simply followed the instructions in the manual, going to the Edit Suite's menu section and choosing configuration. After tweaking the numbers a bit, I had the Edit Suite triggering edits with true frame accuracy within ten minutes. Amazingly, performing edits without time code was almost as accurate. The Edit Suite performed edits within about four frames using only the real time counter. Using the infrared wand to control the record VCR worked very well.

I successfully configured the Edit Suite with three different record VCRs and six different source VCRs. The Edit Suite assumes that you are using the MX-1 mixer, so you will have to enter the configuration window and disable this switch if you don't have the MX-1.

About the only gripe I had with this unit was the on-board LCD. A larger LCD is certainly preferable to the tiny one supplied with this system. The small size of the Edit Suite's LCD hampers the ability to look ahead at your EDL.

Overall, the Edit Suite edit controller performed very well. The unit's ability to work with many VCRs is a very big plus. From simple to the complex editing, this system offers great editing functionality. As a stand-alone controller, Edit Suite offers simple editing options for the beginning videomaker. Connected to a mixer and titler, it becomes a truly advanced editing system. This is one sweet edit controller.

Technical Specifications

Videonics Edit Suite Edit Controller

  • Control protocol
    Control-L, Panasonic 5-pin (Control M), RS-232, RS-422, GPI, infrared
  • Time code support
    Vertical interval time code (x5), RC Time Code (x5), LTC
  • Edit decision list (EDL)
    Capable of up to 250 edit segments
  • Control outputs
    8-pin mini DIN connector (x5), GPI (x2)
  • Display
    40-character LCD
  • Computer interface
    CMX 3400-compatible file export, computer interface data import/export feature
  • Other features
    Four-source A/B/C/D-roll editing; sequential, random, or cuts only assembly; jog shuttle wheel; auto-build EDL and auto assemble; edit preview and review
  • Dimensions
    12 (width) by 3.9 (height) by 9.5 (depth) inches
  • Weight
    4 pounds

Features Galore

GR-SZ9u S-VHS-C Camcorder
JVC
41 Slater Drive
Elmwood Park, NJ 07407
($1799)

With the introduction of the GR-SZ9u, JVC adds a little more to its already feature-packed GR-SZ line. For serious video production, this little camera offers lots of extras.

The GR-SZ9u offers a high-resolution 1/3-inch sensor boasting 570,000 pixels. As you might guess, resulting image quality is very nice. Providing 400 lines of horizontal resolution and great detail is a challenge that the GR-SZ9u handles easily.

The GR-SZ9u has a strong digital zoom, with both 20x and 100x modes. Resolution loss is minimal up to 15x, thanks to the high-res CCD. Don't expect the greatest resolution from the 100x digital zoom mode. Remember--this isn't a telescope.

JVC offers a fast f/1.2 lens that has excellent low-light sensitivity. In moderate lighting, the GR- SZ9u records images with no visible noise.

A zoom lever located perpendicular to the lens axis controls a 10x lens with two zoom speeds. Both zoom speeds are easy to select and hold. The GR-SZ9u also has a built-in lens cover, a nice feature.

Also included with this camcorder is a tele-macro feature that allows you to fill the screen with a 4x5 centimeters subject from a distance of approximately 50 centimeters. This is a nice function, but the lens may go out of focus easily depending on your zoom position.

Iris and focus are the only manual image controls on the GR-SZ9u. You can adjust the iris by pressing the exposure + or - buttons while shooting. Unfortunately, this is only a "relative" manual iris control. The auto-iris continues to function, with the manual setting acting only as an offset.

You control manual focus with a small knurled knob on the front of the camcorder. This knob is easy to use and very responsive. An inset button found in the middle of the knob selects auto or manual focus.

For beginners, full-auto will get you up and shooting right away. More advanced shooters will tap into an extensive menu system that controls most of the camcorder's functions. The menu is very complex, but with a little practice I found it easy to navigate.

The GR-SZ9u offers a total of 14 in-camera effects. These include three classic film modes, sepia, sports, twilight, three cinema modes, monotone, video echo and three strobes. The JVC also offers 17 different fades, wipes and dissolves. In addition, two Auto Select modes automatically generate fades or wipes whenever you start or stop recording. These are excellent tools for giving your shots added variety. Dissolves freeze the last frame from the previous scenes, simulating an A/B-roll dissolve.

For the advanced users, a Variable Preset mode allows you to select which five transitions and effects you need access to while shooting. All of this can be rather confusing if you don't get your feet wet and practice. Having these options available is no great advantage if you don't know how to integrate them into your video footage.

Another effect that the GR-SZ9u offers is Snap Shot. This function freezes the image you are recording and creates a white photographic border. It even animates a shutter closing and opening over your video, while at the same time adding the shutter click of a still camera onto your audio tracks.

Very Smart

White balance modes include continuous auto, manual hold, sunny outdoor, cloudy outdoor and halogen. This camcorder uses an automatic color temperature system which senses the color temperature of the ambient lighting for automatic white balance adjustment. If an object being recorded is near shades of the same color, or when predominantly brown or red objects are being recorded outdoors, use the camcorder's preset filters for white balance adjustment. This camcorder can also memorize three "personal" white balance settings.

Picture control is a nice feature with the GR-SZ9u. It provides adjustments for color level, tint and sharpness. Having control over these functions offers great flexibility when recording to tape. You can fine tune images for the desired effect without having any actual lens filters in place.

The video quality of the GR-SZ9u is exceptional. Color reproduction was especially impressive, as were resolution and noise performance.

The LCD color viewfinder was good, with adequate resolution for consistent manual focus. I found the diopter adjust to be way too sticky and difficult to train for my eye.

The JVC's manual controls are within reach and easily operated. I was particularly comfortable holding and operating the GR-SZ9u thanks to its design and construction. JVC has added a new coating that feels tough and provides a better grip than the slick finish found on most camcorders.

Like its predecessor--the GR-SZ7--the GR-SZ9u has a shifty autofocus. Excessive hunting caused me to shut it off and use manual focus instead. I found JVC's Electronic Image Stabilization system (EIS) to be effective, providing good compensation for larger camcorder movements.

Audio performance was very good. JVC added a headphone jack with the GR-SZ9u, which will allow you to monitor the unit's stereo recording quality. Good move, JVC.

Unfortunately, the GR-SZ9u has no VCR mode; this unit cannot record from line inputs. This isn't a big deal unless you plan to use the unit as a record deck in your editing projects. When it comes to shuttling tape, the GR-SZ9u is painfully slow. It takes nearly 8 minutes to wind from one end of a 30- minute tape to the other.

I found the JVC's digital effects and transitions to be amazing. The GR-SZ9u offers quite an extensive digital arsenal, especially considering its size and price. Yet in spite of its professional features, the JVC is still a good point-and-shoot camcorder for beginners.

Technical Specifications

JVC GR-SZ9u S-VHS-C Camcorder

  • Format
    S-VHS-C (VHS-C compatible)
  • Lens
    10:1 optical zoom, 5-50mm focal length, 2 zoom speeds, f/1.2, inner focus, tele- macro
  • Image sensor
    1/3-inch CCD, 570,000 pixels
  • Viewfinder
    0.6-inch color LCD, 113,000 pixels
  • Focus
    TTL Auto, manual
  • Maximum shutter speed
    1/500th of a second
  • Exposure
    Auto, manual override, Program AE
  • White balance
    Auto, 5 presets, manual
  • Digital Effects
    14 picture effects, 4 fades, 12 wipes, 1 dissolve
  • Audio
    hi-fi Stereo
  • Inputs
    Microphone
  • Outputs
    Y/C video, composite video, stereo audio, headphone
  • Edit interface
    None
  • Other features
    Digital image stabilizer, record search, infrared remote, in-viewfinder zoom meter, 20x digital zoom, 100x digital zoom, shuttle search, audible alarm
  • Dimensions
    4 (width) by 4.5 (height) by 7.25 (depth) inches
  • Weight
    1.8 pounds (sans tape and battery)
  • Video Performance (approx.)
    • Horizontal resolution (camera)
      440 lines
    • Horizontal resolution (playback)
      400 lines
  • Performance times
    • Pause to record
      0.5 second
    • Power up to record
      3 seconds
    • Fast forward/rewind
      (30 min. tape) 7 minutes, 50 seconds

Simple Shooter

Master 8-862 8mm Camcorder
Minolta
101 Williams Drive
Ramsey, NJ 07446
($1433)

Minolta makes it easy to shoot video with the 8-862 camcorder. The latest in their 8mm line, the 8-862 offers a different look than the earlier 8-812.

With this model, Minolta establishes what it calls "Sightless Operation." Each control button has a different and unique shape, so that you can easily locate the different functions by feel. In addition, all of the controls now sit on the back of the camcorder. Your left hand easily reaches the different functions while your right hand remains comfortably in control of the camcorder. This system is very simple and convenient.

Your right hand also has easy access to other critical control functions, like the record/pause button and power zoom rocker. The power zoom rocker sits opposite the cassette carriage in the middle of the camcorder. While shooting video, the camcorder feels stable and balanced.

Functions

The 8-862 features a nice 12x (4mm to 48mm) optical power zoom lens, though the single speed zoom is rather slow. If you need a quick and close look, you can trigger the unit's 1.5x instant digital zoom button which sits in the middle of the zoom rocker itself. The response time is quick and the picture resolution at 1.5x is quite good. This feature is ideal for obtaining a quick close-up without having to readjust the focus.

The 8-862's 2x digital zoom allows for an additional enlargement to the 12x optical zoom lens. The total zoom range becomes 24:1; there is minor loss in picture quality at this high zoom level. At this level of magnification, camera shake is also very intense. However, with Minolta's electronic image stabilization on, the picture steadied significantly. Compensation for both small and large movements was good.

The instant zoom, combined with the optical 12x zoom and digital 2x zoom, allows for a maximum zoom range of up to 36x. Resolution loss is significant at this point, and EIS is almost useless. Use this maximum zoom sparingly or not at all.

When shooting in the digital zoom modes, I recommend using the manual focus. Instead of a wheel control, Minolta offers focus control buttons. The focus buttons are within easy reach of your left hand.

For beginners, the 8-862 is an easy camera to master. The autofocus is good; despite some minor hunting, the system works well. Auto exposure and white balance worked equally well.

Low-light situations were not a problem for the 8-862. Even without a separate gain control, the 8-862 recorded some nice video. Minolta offers an optional DC camera light that attaches to a light hook on the right side of the camcorder lens.

Effects

The LCD viewfinder on the 8-862 offers good color and fair resolution. The viewfinder also allows for color, brightness and tint adjustments. Making adjustments is easy--the three controls are on the LCD handle itself; you adjust them with a small screwdriver.

A built-in character generator allows you to create titles with up to 32 characters (two lines of 16 characters per line). In addition, the 8-862 offers auto date and title recording options. With these features, the camcorder will automatically record the title or date once a day for 10 seconds when you first start shooting.

Another neat feature that the 8-862 offers is the ability to power the camcorder with AA-size alkaline batteries. You simply insert 6 AA batteries into the power supply attachment holder for up to 35 minutes of shooting time. While the NiCd battery pack is recharging, you can use the AA-size batteries as a back-up power supply.

A three-way digital fader offers professional-looking scene transitions. The fades include a white, wipe and zoom fade. I was impressed with how easily I could control these functions with my left hand while recording. At the same time, I was able to activate the 16x9 recording mode from which I could create a cinema-like wide screen movie effect. Nice touch, Minolta.

Editing with the Minolta Master 8-862 requires an optional AV dub/synchro edit cable. It's not included with the unit, though it should be. The unit does offer audio and video outputs for connection to your VCR or television. Although the built-in microphone is mono, audio quality was good. Unfortunately, the 8-862 offers no headphone jack nor external microphone jack. These key features should not have been ignored.

Overall, the Minolta 8-862 is a good camcorder. I liked the 12x optical power zoom coupled with the digital 1.5x instant zoom feature. However, I can't help but feel that the price of this camcorder is a bit high for a standard 8mm unit with these features.

Technical Specifications

Minolta Master 8-862 8mm Camcorder

  • Format
    8mm
  • Lens
    12:1 optical zoom, 4-48mm focal length, f/1.6, inner focus, macro
  • Image sensor
    1/4-inch CCD, 250,000 pixels
  • Viewfinder
    0.7-inch color LCD
  • Focus
    TTL digital autofocus, power manual focus
  • Maximum shutter speed
    1/4,000th of a second
  • Exposure
    Auto
  • White balance
    Continuous auto
  • Digital effects
    None
  • Audio
    Mono AFM
  • Inputs
    Composite video, audio
  • Outputs
    Composite video, audio
  • Edit interface
    Synchro edit (requires optional cable)
  • Other features
    1.5x instant zoom, instant review, electronic image stabilization, infrared remote control, character generator, 3-way fader (white, wipe, zoom fade)
  • Dimensions
    3.7 (width) by 4.75 (height) by 9 (depth) inches
  • Weight
    1.9 pounds (sans tape and battery)
  • Video Performance (approx.)
    • Horizontal resolution (camera)
      300 lines
    • Horizontal resolution (playback)
      240 lines
  • Performance Times
    • Pause to record
      0.5 second
    • Power up to record
      1.5 seconds
    • Fast forward/rewind
      (30 min. tape) 1 minute, 40 seconds
Tags:  December 1995
David
Brott
Fri, 12/01/1995 - 12:00am