Rear View Mirror
A telescoping, swiveling inspection mirror is handy for seeing the rear panels of A/V components installed in cabinets or racks. You can use the mirror to reach behind hard-to-access components and see the locations of inputs and outputs. Also, it's much easier to verify cable hookups this way than pulling components out or attempting to reach behind them. These mirrors are available at hardware stores and automotive supply outlets.
Don't Wipe That Drive
I am writing this response to the article in the May 2002 issue, "Breaking the Two-Gig Barrier." This article is very informative but the author missed what I think is an important point. He mentions that upgrading the OS to one that supports NTFS file system is the best course of action (very true). He cautions that doing so will require wiping the drive intended for the NTFS file system for the new OS. This, of course, would cause the user to lose all his or her video files (as well as everything else).
There is a way to upgrade without losing stored data. You can use an upgrade version of Windows 2000 or XP to upgrade the OS from Win9X. The data will still exist on the drive and not be lost. Of course, the drive will still be FAT32 (or FAT16). To resolve this without losing data, you can use the Convert command. This will convert the drive to NTFS without losing any data on the drive.
The command works in both Windows 2000 and XP and the syntax is as follows: Convert x: /fs:ntfs (replace "x" with the drive letter to be converted). This will convert the drive to the NTFS file system. If the drive letter chosen is the drive that the system boots from, it will perform the conversion on the next reboot of the system.
I realize that this procedure is not for the computer novice or faint of heart, but it could save a lot of heartaches and frustrations by not losing precious video just to break the Two-Gig Barrier.
Overcoming Cam Motor Noise
I was going through my Vidoemaker magazine stash and I bumped into the Sound Advice column in March 2002 issue. There you explained how to reduce/eliminate different noises. As I was reading through the article, I saw the word "equalizer" and a description of how to use it to eliminate unwanted noises. I have found a free solution to do this.
I remembered WinAmp my free MP3 player. It has a quite expanded equalizer.
Now I need to record the sound from the video clip, which is easy, because all Creative SB Live! sound cards come with "Creative Recorder."
So, I played (using Pinnacle Studio 7) the video in Preview mode and I recorded the sound. Then, in WinAmp, I inserted the big WAV file and played it. After 25 minutes of playing with the equalizer, I found the perfect settings and saved the preset. My six-month-old sound dilemma was over.
Then, once again, with the new settings, I played the WAV file in WinAmp, and recorded it using the Creative Recorder. I also used this same method to fix my voiceovers. Not only was I able to reduce (but not eliminate) the noise significantly, but I could tweak my own voice making it sound deeper, and less annoying. The SB Live! Sound Card family also has a surround mixer and "Audio Effects" with funky presets, such as Zeus, Alien and Male-to-Female, which will change the tone of your voice accordingly.
Aleskey V. Karmalito
Better Doesn't Have To Be Best
With all the talk of microphones in the magazine, I was always intimidated at the thought of spending a couple hundred bucks on a good-quality mike. I got roped into doing a wedding at the last minute this weekend and in desperation I grabbed a cheap ($15) wired lavalier at the local electronics store. The 5-meter cable was plenty long for headshot interviews, and while the audio quality was probably not up to audiophile standards, it was clear and clean. I tested the quality a bit, unplugging the mike and comparing it with the on-camera mike. While the on-camera mike sounded good, the lav had the significant advantage of eliminating the general hubbub of the reception. Not bad for just fifteen bucks!