Q. I have a problem trying to video insert on blank sections of tape. These blank areas resulted from my removing the tape for viewing and then reinserting it. I can insert on recorded tape with no problem. What gives?
Waterloo, New York
A. The video insert function on a VCR does just what it says: it inserts video only. A videotape signal includes, among other things, video, audio and in the VHS family, control track. Control track is part of the signal recorded during assembly edits or regular recording, but not during insert edits.
Because the control track synchronizes several crucial functions in the VCR, it must already be there for the video insert function to operate. There is no control track on the blank sections of your tapes, so you cannot insert edit there.
There’s one way for VHS users to dub over unrecorded sections of tape, but it will cost you a tape generation. Lay continuous control track on a new tape by recording its whole length with the lens cap on. Now dub your old tape onto the new tape with the audio/video dub buttons, both at once. This new copy of your old tape will now accept video inserts.
Q. My SLV-R1000 Sony deck had some problems with the Control-L/Synchro Edit functions. This circuitry would not control the camcorder when pressing the Synchro Edit button after setup by the book. It would start the VCR but not the camcorder, which stayed in the pause mode. Pressing the button a second time would cause the camcorder to play, and the SLV-R1000 would stop. Also, when it finally did work the VCR left black and white traces at the end of the edits. Sony exchanged the VCR and now the new one is doing the same thing. Why?
A. This all raises a lot of questions, so I’ll try to deal with them all in order. First, you easily mix the terms Synchro Edit and Control-L in your letter. Synchro Edit and Control-L have nothing to do with each other, so the first place to look is at your cabling. Make sure your cables are going to the right inputs and outputs. Do not hook up both Control-L and Synchro Edit at the same time.
Second, if you’re using Synchro Edit, your SLV-R1000 must act as the source machine, not the editor. This will require either your camcorder or another deck with a flying erase head to act as the editing recorder.
Also, when you use the Control-L system you must go into the menu of the SLV-R1000 and set the deck to master (“M”) or slave (“S”) in the LANC MODE menu depending on the setup you want. (See page 58 of the owner’s manual.)
Black and white streaks at the end of an (assemble) edit are normal. Here’s why: when you stop recording in assemble mode, there is a length of tape between the stationary erase head and the video heads that has been erased but not recorded on. During playback this section of tape causes the black & white streaks you see. (Check page 61 of the manual to deal with this problem.)
Q. My Sony CCD-TR500 Hi8 camcorder has an external mike jack labeled “Plug-In Power.” Can I use my Azden wireless mike, or any other consumer audio gear with this camcorder? My dealer says it requires special Sony equipment.
A. This input accepts a 2-conductor “stereo” plug, but it’s not for stereo mikes. Instead, the center of the stereo plug sends a small voltage down the mike cable to power any condenser mikes that may need external power. You can plug in any (mono, not stereo) mike-level signal using a regular mini phone plug and get good sound. Using such a mono jack disables the Plug-In Power circuit.
You can use line level signals, if you use an attenuater to drop them to mike level.
Q. When transferring Hi8 or regular 8mm tapes to VHS (SP mode), many of the images seem unstable, i.e., waving lines and tearing. I don’t seem to notice this problem when transferring to 8mm tape. What gives?
Glen Burnie, Maryland
A. I’m assuming that you’re talking about the images you see on playback. You didn’t say whether you use the same VHS VCR each time. If so, then the wavy lines might result from two different things.
These waves, most evident on vertical lines which pass from light to dark parts of the image, can result from signal problems due to an overly sensitive record or playback circuit.
Another cause of wavy lines, especially when you experience tearing in the picture, is worn video heads. Try using another VHS deck. If the problem clears up, then you’ll know your deck needs checking out.
Doug Polk is Videomaker’s technical editor. Send e-mail to 71161, firstname.lastname@example.org.