Dubbing with CD, Tape and VCR

I’m interested in dubbing audio over video. I saw a separate piece of equipment that looked like a mixer which you can use between CD, tape and VCR. Is this a good way to dub audio?

Robert Iutzwig

The piece of equipment to which you refer is probably a sound mixer. Strictly speaking, you could
use a mixer to dub audio over video only if your record deck has an “audio dub” or “audio insert” function.
This would allow you to lay down new sound tracks without erasing the video already on the tape. You
could, however, mix audio in real time without this feature. That would mean running all your sound
sources–music, sound effects, sound from source videotape–through the mixer. You would then mix the
sound to your VCR while it is simultaneously recording the video.

I recently added a Sony EV-S7000 to my set up, and was amazed to find that originals shot on my TR-101 had time code already written to them when played in the EV-S7000. I thought the TR-101 wasn’t capable of writing time code, but yet my tapes show the information. Is the EV-S7000 that good, or is the TR-101 actually writing the time code?

Robbie Culver

First, make sure your EV-S7000 is set to read time code rather than show counter numbers (which it will do even in the absence of time code). If it is, celebrate. Your TR-101 has been writing RCTC all along without your knowledge. It is indeed capable of doing so. The EV-S7000 is reading what the TR-101 wrote. If your camera didn’t write time code, however, the EV-S7000 and a few other decks like it could “post stripe” your tapes, that is, write time code on them after they have been shot, without overwriting the original audio and video.

I’m looking for VHS camcorders that I can genlock. I’m working on research that requires that I videotape three different views of an event simultaneously. I don’t have a huge budget, and I don’t have commercial grade camcorders or lots of fancy features. Can I find what I want in an inexpensive, consumer-grade camcorder?

John Cantrell

There are no consumer camcorders that genlock to external sync sources. You may not need to have such, however, to do what you need to do. For example, you might run live video out of almost any three cameras through a special effects generator or video mixer that can handle 3 non-genlocked sources. The mixer would genlock or “frame synchronize” the video from your three cameras for you. You might look at the Panasonic WJ-AVE55 and the Videonics MX1 video mixers. Also, you might look into computer-based genlock cards and multi-function cards that will genlock for you.

I have noticed that the camcorder I recently acquired picks up the motor noise of the tape transport. It has
high quality AFM stereo, and the wonderful 80 dB dynamic range is limited by this noise. I am sure it’s
being picked up by the mike. Is this common for a high quality camcorder?

Terry Mendoza

Sadly, this is all too common. The mikes built into some camcorders are placed too close to the motor, or are insufficiently cushioned and shielded from its vibrations. When shopping for a camcorder, be sure to plug a headphone into every model you try. Shoot, playback, and listen carefully. If you’ve already got a camera with this problem, use an external microphone. This is often a good idea anyway. Truly evil is the camera that picks up its own motor noise but has no external microphone jack.

I have a desktop video system and I’m looking for a video camera that I can leave attached to my photo stand permanently. Right now I have only one camcorder. It’s a nuisance to attach and detach it from the photo stand. Can I buy a video camera that doesn’t have the VCR/tape transport section (i.e. a camera only)? Since I’d plug this camera’s output directly into my computer, I don’t need the
ability to record onto tapes. I thought buying a “camera only” would save me some money.

Fred Hafer
Shillington, P.A.

That would be a fine solution, and you would find the camera element far lighter than a camcorder and probably easier to mount. There are two places to look: sellers of surveillance cameras and those of computer peripherals. Sony, Panasonic, JVC, Hitachi and a few smaller companies make camera-only
units of the first type. Sony also makes PC Cam, a computer camera on a flexible neck. Other companies
like Videolabs make similar small cameras designed for plugging into the home computer.

Stephen Muratore is Videomaker‘s Editor in Chief.

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.

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