Keep Students Organized with the Dot System

Dot to Dot

As a library media specialist who teaches a video production class, I’m always looking for ways to keep equipment and students organized. We’ve acquired a number of different camcorders during the years. I use colored adhesive dots (purchased from any discount or office supply store) to label camcorders with their matching batteries, power converters, cases and tripods. This system allows students to easily put together the necessary items when they’re taping or taking equipment to a classroom for a teacher to use.

Linda Cornelius

Ottumwa High School

Ottumwa, IA


8mm Label Idea

I have found VHS, disc and CD labels readily available from store shelves but not Hi8/8mm cassette size labels. However, after searching the stationery label supply stores, I found an ideal label size on which to identify and print my many 8mm cassette titles. Using computerized label printing software designed for printing mailing labels, I now make neat labels that nicely fit the narrow spine of the cassette cover and also the face of the cassette itself, without hiding the tape reels.

The ink jet labels used are 3 7/16″ x 2/3″ and come in multiple colors. The different colored stripes allow for quick and easy identification and separation of subjects (trips, events, etc.) and the labels provide ample room for printed titles and descriptions.

Ian Robertson

Vancouver, B.C.


Basic Voiceover Setup

As a new subscriber, I am learning a lot from your great publication. Your Getting Started column in the May 1999 Videomaker mentions using a simple VCR-to-VCR editing configuration with an RF output to a monitor. I also took note of the letter in Your Tips about using an audio mixer to mix the audio from a built-in camcorder microphone with the audio output from a CD-player.

I combined the ideas from these two articles to go one step further. I mix a voice-over narrative using my camcorder’s stereo microphone in parallel with a VCR playing the video I want. The secret to making it work without a mixer is simply using the video out from the VCR and the audio feeds from the camcorder. This allows me to use my Hi8 camcorder to voice over the recorded tape. The setup is fairly straightforward (see diagram).

Benton Jacks

Seattle, WA

Thanks for the tip, Benton. We should note that this works well only for those who have a playback deck, or second camcorder, of the same format as their primary camcorder. In other words, your playback deck needs to be compatable with what your original footage was shot on or you need to transfer it to VHS to play in your VCR.

–The Editors


Recycling Tapes

I run a small video production house on the business principle, "What doesn’t cost is profit." Quite often, I am required to send my clients preview tapes of 15-20 minute duration. Since keeping a low overhead is important, I do not want to use entire 120-minute tape or buy shorter duration VHS tapes in bulk. Fortunately, I have found a very workable solution to my problems–charity book drives.

Every few months, some organization in my area has a charity drive where used books are offered for sale. Invariably, people also donate videotapes. These tapes are not blockbuster movies, but instructional tapes included with exercise machines, food processors, new cars etc. These tapes are from 15-30 minutes in length, have only been used once and are often still in their original shrink-wrapped paper case; perfect for my use. I have been able to purchase a grocery bag full for one dollar. In addition, the case can be cut along the seam line, turned inside out, released and used as a perfectly fitted shipping container.

While my idea may sound like the ultimate in frugality, it is technically sound, ecologically pure and the savings more than cover my yearly subscription to Videomaker. What more can you ask for?

Steve Pribish

Dayton, OH

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