Go-Video GV-8020 8mm/VHS Dual Deck VCR
14455 N. Hayden Road, Suite 219
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Committed to the dual deck concept from the beginning,
GO-Video offered quality VHS to VHS decks. Now, GO-Video
answers the call for an 8mm to VHS deck you can use both
as a dubber and an editor. The result is the GV-8020
8mm/VHS dual deck.
Two in One
This is a dual VCR deck containing an 8mm transport on
the left side (as seen from the front) and a VHS
transport on the right. Front panel controls on the unit
are simple and easy to use. A single button will start
the dubbing process. Another button assigns the front
panel controls to either the 8mm or VHS side.
The unit comes with a remote control that will operate
every function including some–like tracking–that are
not deck controllable.
Even more useful are the menus that superimpose over
your video each time you hit a control button. The menus
advise you of transport actions and tape counter numbers,
among other things. Unfortunately, the menus disappear
from the screen in about 4 seconds, long before you can
You can lock them on with the remote control, which
calls up other menus to set the clock, record a time and
date stamp, prepare for Automatic Assembly editing,
adjust Timer Recording and so on. You can program up to
eight Timer Recording events (TV shows) on the VHS side
of the unit.
In addition, there is a menu which will allow you to
superimpose titles over any signal coming from the 8mm
side. The mix records on the VHS side. You can compose
two lines of up to 14 characters each. All characters are
white with black outline. Start the VHS side recording
while sending a signal from the 8mm side (tape, camera,
or TV) and a button on the remote will superimpose your
message for 10 seconds.
A large LED screen on the front panel tells you what the
GV-8020 is doing at all times. The info provided appears
cluttered; it is sometimes difficult to understand what
you are looking at, or looking for. The screen displays
the audio levels of the VHS side; there are no level
controls, so the only value of these levels is to
indicate any distortion in the audio signal.
This LED readout has a rather odd feature I’ve never seen
before on any piece of video gear of any level. The whole
LED panel readout goes dim between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Apparently Go-Video thinks you should be sleeping during
this time–not using this machine. Whether you can still
see the LED screen depends on how much light there is and
how much glare obscures the screen. If you still want to
use this unit after 10 p.m., you must go back into the
menus and reset the clock to the wrong time.
Both 8mm and VHS will advance single frames when you
push the pause button again after an initial pause. You
must push play to get out of pause.
Each side of the GV-8020 operates independently; you can
use only one side at a time unless you are editing or
dubbing between them. You can only output 8mm from the
unit by sending signals through the VHS side.
Oddly, the VHS side boasts two hi-fi tracks (and one
mono track), while the 8mm side has only a single AFM
track. This is a serious flaw for those who wish to dub
or edit 8mm stereo tapes. Inputs for the 8mm deck grace
the front panel under a doorway. VHS inputs appear at the
Picture quality from the 8mm side is much like that of
any mid-level 8mm deck. The VHS side proved a
disappointment, with horizontal resolution of second
generation recordings falling off badly on playback.
There was also some chroma bleed and other artifacts.
The company promotes the editing abilities of this unit.
Indeed its Automatic Assembly editor, which stores up to
8 assembly edits in memory, is accurate within 4 or 5
frames each edit. The unit also has a Sync Edit button
which allows control of each individual edit.
Unfortunately, in neither of these edit modes can you
move the VHS transport between edits. This gives you less
control when using the Sync Edit function.
The biggest surprise of all: no flying erase heads. This
omission makes for some dirty footage. Color roll, snow
and glitches mark every edit attempted either in
Automatic Assembly mode or manual Sync Edit mode. A big
disappointment in a deck promoted for its editing
Our sample unit from Go-Video included a promotional
flier stating that flying erase heads will be available
in the future, along with jog/shuttle remote control, Hi8
playback capability, mike and headphone jack, manual
record level adjustment and 8mm stereo audio. Also to
come: record sequencing and external edit controller
Go-Video plans “…minor electrical and cosmetic
improvements” for future versions. The company also
claims that its model GV-8080 will be available in the
fall, featuring all these additions. Considering the
price of the GV-8020, you could buy two other decks with
higher editing quality.
Or you might want to wait until the GV-8080 is
Go-Video GV-8020 8mm/VHS Dual Deck VCR
Format: 8mm/VHS dual deck, Record/Playback heads (VHS)
Video: 4 rotary heads
Audio 8mm: AFM single track
Audio VHS: Stereo hi-fi, mono
Video: 2 rotary
Inputs: 8mm Composite video, stereo audio, VHS Composite video, stereo audio, Other Antenna
Outputs: 8MM None, VHS Composite video, stereo audio
Video signal to noise ratio Better then 43 dB
FF/REW time (120 min. tape) Less than 6 minutes with T-
Tracking: Auto digital, manual
Other features: Automatic assembly editing, sync edit, on-
screen menus, 181 channel tuner
Dimensions: 4 1/8 (height) by 17 (width) by 16 (depth) inches
Weight: 14 pounds, 13 ounces
Sony UVW-1800 Betacam SP VCR
Park Ridge, NJ 07656
Betacam for the People
Sometimes manufacturers offer professional equipment
priced within the grasp of consumer Videomakers. This is
the case with Sony’s UVW-1800 Betacam SP deck.
But is this deck of great benefit to the consumer? To
answer this without getting too technical, let’s first
look at the differences between consumer and Betacam
Betacam uses a helical scan recording/playback system
just like consumer gear, which mounts the heads on a
rotating drum. Like the 8mm and Hi8 formats, Betacam SP
also uses metal particle tape which allows recording
higher bandwidths with increased signal to noise ratios.
Overall, the tape allows a much sharper and cleaner
recording and playback.
Consumer recorders–VHS/8mm and so on–record color by
separating the color signal from the incoming video
signal and converting it down (from its original
frequency) for recording. Later during playback, it’s
converted back up to its original frequency. We call this
system “color under.”
But why go to the hassle of converting and reconverting
the color frequency? Because recording the color signal
directly to tape at its original frequency causes
pronounced, pulsating interference with the luminance
signal during playback.
Betacam recording uses an entirely different approach.
Incoming signals separate into luminance (black and
white) and color signals. As we said earlier, S-VHS and
Hi8 combine the luminance and frequency-shifted color
signals when recording to tape. Betacam actually splits
the color signal in two, and records these color signals
on a separate area of the tape from the luminance signal.
This helps eliminate crosstalk between different tracks
and greatly improves color accuracy. To accomplish this,
the deck uses four record and playback heads and two
flying erase heads.
The net result of all this is very evident on the UVW-
1800. Second-generation tape recorded on the UVW-1800
from Hi8 camera original showed almost no chroma noise or
NTSC artifacts. Resolution of this tape remained close to
the original 400 lines.
Noise in the reds appeared in the second-generation
tape; color smear was almost nonexistent. Red noise was
very smooth when recorded directly from the camera; I’m
certain that the camera caused most of the artifacts
observed. In a word, the video quality is fabulous
compared to most consumer equipment.
The deck is very straightforward. A front panel cover
hides switches that include time code int/ext selector,
video in selector, time code selector and a remote/local
selector. The remote/local selector must be in local if
you want to operate the deck from the front panel.
Inset, front-mounted controls allow you to match the
UVW-1800’s timing and color to the rest of your system;
this way it will work properly with special effects
generators (SEGs), switchers and other gear.
You need a reference signal to operate the built-in time
base corrector (TBC) properly. If you bring in video from
a stable sync source, such as a camera or corrected
video, you can fool the reference input by looping video
through the reference signal connectors. If you use a
less stable reference signal, it impairs TBC operation.
A front panel LED screen displays plain-English messages
to the user. These include no input reference signal,
threading, unthreading, play, stop and a host of other
information. The video 2 output (marked super) on the
rear of the unit will superimpose these English displays
onto the monitor screen.
Many more menus are available through a four-way set of
buttons under the front cover to access them. You choose
different setups and save them this way.
The UVW-1800 is a low-level Betacam SP editor. It acts as
a record deck in both straight cuts and A/B-roll editing.
Full assembly or audio/video insert editing is available.
The deck features independent audio record level controls
on the front panel with LED level indicators.
The deck has two AFM channels, and two longitudinal
channels used in audio insert editing. These channels
incorporate switchable type-C Dolby NR processing and
sound quite good.
The deck’s RS-422 connector allows connection to any
Sony edit controllers such as: the PVE-500; BVE-
600/800/910/2000/9100 editors; the RM-450; and other
editors using the RS-422 protocol. The unit will read
longitudinal time code, and write it using an external
generator. There is also a Control-S connector on the
Has the price of this equipment dropped far enough to
qualify as consumer gear? Almost. The not-so-portable
deck won’t work as an acquisition unit, except within a
studio. So any interest the consumer would take in this
unit would be as a record deck in dubbing and editing.
If you are a consumer with mostly Hi8 or S-VHS
equipment, you may not want your finished master in
Betacam SP. Ask yourself if the protocol and quality of
your editing equipment is good enough to drive this unit.
On the other hand, if you’re a prosumer and intend to
copy and distribute your masters, this deck would be
ideal for your editing suite. If you shoot a lot indoors,
or encode a lot of computer work to tape, this deck would
give you much higher quality originals.
Either way, let’s not lose sight of the most important
thing here. Which is that some professional equipment has
dropped far enough in price that we prosumer Videomakers
can nearly afford it.
With any luck prices will continue to fall–and
manufacturers will continue to recognize the needs and
wants of consumers.
Sony UVW-1800 Betacam SP VCR
Format: Betacam SP
Tape speed: 118.6mm/s
Record/Playback heads: 4 record and playback heads, 2 flying erase heads
FF/REW time 180 seconds or less
Luminance: bandwidth 4MHz
Video: S/N ratio 52dB
Control protocol RS-422, Control S
Audio: Two AFM tracks, two longitudinal tracks with Dolby
Audio: S/N ratio 70dB
Tracking: Digital auto
Video inputs: Reference video, NTSC video (x2), component
12-pin connector, component BNC (x2), S-video, time code
Video outputs: Reference video, NTSC video (x2), component
12-pin connector, component BNC (x2), S-video, time code
Audio inputs: Balanced XLR (x2)
Audio outputs: Balanced XLR (x2), RCA monitor out
Other features: Setup menu, external sync input, built-in
Dimensions: 16 3/4 (width) by 7 5/8 (height) by 18 5/8
Weight: 42 pounds
Panasonic PV-IQ604 VHS-C Palmcorder
1 Panasonic Way
Secaucus, NJ 07094
The PV-IQ604 VHS-C Palmcorder is the latest in
Panasonic’s line of comfortable and easy-to-use VHS-C
mid-sized palmcorders. Panasonic advertises this unit as
a simple point-and-shoot model–one of the features
stripped away in the name of simplicity and affordability
is the stereo sound offered in earlier PV models.
With just a little practice, you’ll find the PV-IQ604’s
controls easy to locate and use during shooting. The zoom
buttons are right at the fingertips. The lens is a 12:1
zoom with a focal length of 5.4mm to 64.8mm set by what
appears to be a 3-speed zoom.
Iris control is fully automatic, which can prove
limiting. You might gain some control by using one of the
three back lighting settings featured on the top panel;
this too seems a less-than-desirable option. It would be
more effective simply to move your subject to a better-
lit environment than to use the third setting.
The lens also uses an auto shutter speed called auto-
hss. This automatically adjusts the iris between 1/60 and
1/250, depending on the brightness. If this is not
enough, speeds of 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000, 1/4000 and
1/10000 are available from another top panel switch. Most
of these speeds produce noticeable and distracting
strobing, especially in wide-angle lens settings.
The PV-IQ604 incorporates Panasonic’s digital electronic
image stabilization system (EIS), which helps minimize
“the image shakes” when you move the camera.
Unfortunately, when you pan across a subject, the EIS
responds somewhat slowly. Likewise, it overreacts when
it does finally kick in. This handicaps the start and end
of any kind of camera movement.
Such problems worsen when you mount the PV-IQ604 on a
tripod. Fortunately, at the flip of another top panel
switch you can turn off the EIS.
As with most stabilization schemes, EIS proves to be
most helpful at telephoto lens settings. The rest of the
time you might as well leave it off.
The top panel controls also include: fade, which fades
both sound and video when you hold it down; a
still/strobe effects switch; and tape eject. A display
switch causes time/date characters to appear in the
viewfinder; there’s also a switch for SP or SLP speeds.
The PV-IQ604 offers a digital zoom that extends only to
20X, resulting in minimal pixel enlargement and image
distortion. You access the zoom through a final top panel
With the PV-IQ604, focus can be automatic or manual.
Automatic focus kicks in rather slowly, leaving shots
soft for as long as a second or more.
However, manual focus performs nicely, since the lens
has enough depth of field to be forgiving on wider shots.
Unfortunately, the manual switch and focus adjuster fall
just under the front of the lens, making them rather
difficult to access. (The palmcorder has a small door
that automatically covers the lens when not in use.)
The bad news: the palmcorder has an auto reset mode that
returns all settings to automatic operation in five
minutes. This may irritate you, especially if you need
more time to shoot a special setup. The good news:
reestablishing such setups shouldn’t take long.
The 0.7-inch liquid crystal color viewfinder uses around
200 horizontal pixels. The color is accurate and the
image looks good. Located under the viewfinder, the VCR
controls are easy to find and use.
Playback of the PV-IQ604 in the SP speed reveals an
average VHS-quality image; horizontal resolution ranks a
bit below average at about 220 to 230 lines. The color
exhibits some red spectrum noise, but little bleed or
smear. Overall image quality is good.
Stored in a slot in the body of the palmcorder is the
remote control. It provides full transport control over
the PV-IQ604 in both playback and record modes, but its
small size makes it easy to lose. Note: the rewind is
The PV-IQ604 comes with a 5-watt shooting light that
mounts just above the lens. The light enhanced the color
of subjects within six feet, but proved of little use
beyond that distance.
Also included with the unit is one battery, a battery
charger/AC adaptor, one compact-to-standard VHS adaptor,
a shoulder strap and cables for hooking up to other
Point and Shoot
Panasonic bills its new PV-IQ604 VHS-C palmcorder as a
point-and-shoot model. And indeed, built-in presets make
it ready to shoot right from turning on the power. This
unit is small and easy to use; if you’re looking for a
simple palm-sized camcorder, you might do well to
consider the PV-IQ604.
Panasonic PV-IQ604 VHS-C Palmcorder
Lens: 12:1 zoom lens, F1.6 with focal length 5.4mm-64.8mm
Digital zoom 20X
Focus: Auto or manual
Iris Auto with switchable backlight settings
White balance: Auto
Outputs: 1 video 1.0 V p-p, 1 audio
Other features: Auto white balance, SP and SLP VCR
speeds, nine shutter speeds, digital freeze and strobe,
remote control, battery, A/C adaptor, charger
Dimensions: 4 1/8 (width) X 4 5/8 (height) X 6 7/8
Weight: 2.0 pounds
Horizontal resolution (camera) 300 lines
Horizontal resolution (playback) 220-230 lines
Doug Polk is Videomaker‘s technical editor. Send e-mail
to 71161, firstname.lastname@example.org.