As an educator in video production I am disappointed with the slim selection of full-size VHS camcorders still on the market. Most of the models available don’t have the basic features vital for teaching students how to properly shoot good video (and audio). My question deals with overcoming the lack of one of these features — a simple headphone jack.
I try to teach my students that to get good audio you must consistently monitor the microphone. Unfortunately, with no headphone jack this is somewhat difficult. Is there a relatively easy (and inexpensive) way to "add" a headphone jack to a camcorder? Is there a way to simply change an audio line-out to a headphone signal?
Niagara Falls, NY
A lack of a headphone jack is a problem that plagues many consumer-oriented camcorders. Although it varies from camcorder to camcorder, many camcorders will send a signal to the RCA audio plugs while recording. You can check to see if your camcorder does this by hooking up the audio and video to a monitor that has speakers. If your camcorder’s audio gets feedback when you plug the audio jacks into the monitor, your camcorder sends the signal while recording. If it sends a signal, you can buy an adapter that goes from RCA plugs to a mini headphone jack. A variety of companies make audio adapters that have RCA plugs on one end and a headphone jack on the other end. You could probably find one at your local electronics supply shack, or order one from a catalog.
You are doing a great job by publishing so many articles pertaining to videos and video editing. However, I do not remember reading anything that explains how to send the edited video clips via Internet e-mail.
If you want to send a video clip via e-mail, you need to send the clip as an "attachment." The method of attaching a file depends on the e-mail program you use, but you basically need to find the "attach file" command. This will prompt you to specify what file you want to attach. Select the MPEG (.MPG), QuickTime Movie (.MOV) or Video for Windows (.AVI) file you want to send from your computer’s hard drive, then address the e-mail and send it. Your recipient might not appreciate it if you send them clips that are larger than their Internet Service Provider (ISP) allows. If you want to make the video files smaller, you can either render them to a smaller resolution than full-screen, or run them through a streaming video encoder to compress them even further before sending.
For more information, look for a full story on video e-mail in next month’s Video Out column. Alternately, consider starting a Web site and posting video clips on it.
I found the article on streaming video interesting and reassuring. This is something that is easy to do. I would like some advice as to what software you recommend for the streaming. I have the digitizer card, camera and hardware, but would like your suggestion for software. Is it possible to write to a CD using the same software?
For streaming video, you basically have a choice between RealNetworks’ RealProducer and Microsoft’s Windows Media Tools and Media Encoder (formerly NetShow encoder). Both are fine products with their own separate sets of fans and detractors. The latest version of Apple’s QuickTime (QuickTime 4.0) also supports streaming, so now Apple’s a major player too. If you are going to pay someone to host your video, you’ll probably choose them by the type of streamed video they serve. Put yourself in your viewer’s shoes, and see how each of the company’s player plug-ins work.
Once you have encoded streaming video clips, you could burn them onto a CD-R or CD-RW. You wouldn’t use the streaming software, you’d use the software you normally would use to write data onto your CD-R drive. You could do this for archiving your streamed video and maximizing use of space on the disc, but for higher quality, you would be better off writing the higher-quality MPEG, QuickTime or Video for Windows files onto the CD.