Help Hook up my Simple Editing Suite

Needs a Hookup

I have subscribed to your magazine for five years and enjoy making videos for my family. I moved to Wisconsin several months ago and have been trying to hook up my simple editing suite again. How do I hook up my camcorder, stereo audio mixer, VCR, cassette player, CD player and monitor together for simple linear editing? I asked a few retail store clerks about hookup and they didnt know what I was talking about. Can you help? This would be a good Easter present for me. If you cant, I will understand and probably die from stroke. Thank you very much.

Stan Pozniak


Happy Easter, Stan.


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Your wish has come true. Please dont have a stroke! Hooking up your system is really rather simple. Check out the diagram we have provided and follow these instructions.

Plug the RCA audio outputs from the CD player, tape player and camcorder into the audio mixer. Then run the output of the audio mixer into the VCR. Run a video cable (composite or S-video depending on your camcorder and VCR) from the camcorder directly to the VCR. Then run audio and video cables from the outputs on your VCR to the inputs on your monitor. If you are using a TV as your monitor, you can run a single coax cable from the VCR to the monitor instead. With this hookup, you can mix music into the background of your tapes, even if your VCR format doesnt support audio dub. You could also hook a microphone into the audio mixer to add narration.

Whats That Effect?

I am a new subscriber to your magazine, and also a video newbie. I am looking into buying a Mini DV camcorder and I was wondering if theres a camcorder that can create that "dawning on the subject" effect where the foreground (subject) gets zoomed into and the background gets zoomed out (a very good effect when the good guy realizes something). Ive seen this particular effect in many movies like Men in Black and in television shows too. I am not sure if this process is through editing or just straight from filming with a special camera. For years I have been dying to find out how it is done and what this technique is called. So far, no luck.

Jigs Tambong


Jigs, weve got good news for you. The effect you are asking about can be performed with any camcorder. The trick is to move the camera straight away (dolly out) from your subject as you zoom in from wide-angle to telephoto (or dolly in toward your subject while you zoom out from telephoto to wide-angle). As long as you move the camcorder in or out as fast as you zoom out or in, the subject will remain the same size and apparent distance from the viewer as the background appears to grow farther away from or closer to the subject. Some people call this the "Hitchcock zoom" or "Vertigo effect" (Alfred Hitchcock and his cinematographer Robert Burks first used the effect for the movie Vertigo to help convey a feeling of vertigo), but as far as we know, it doesnt have an "official name.

Chromakey Follies

I just bought some new editing equipment and am excited that I can finally use chromakey technology. I constructed a homemade blue screen, taped myself, and captured the footage to my nonlinear editing computer. When I played with the "key color" remover, it would either key out parts of me, like I had "holes" in my shirt, or leave a blue shadow behind me. I was using a flannel blanket for my blue screen. Do you have any suggestions?

K. Smith

Boone, NC

While it might be tempting to immediately blame the flannel blanket blue screen, it is more likely that your problems are wardrobe and lighting. If you make sure your subject wears clothes that are completely different in color from the background, you wont have holes in your star. Next, make sure that you light the backdrop evenly. It helps to aim a light (or two) directly at the backdrop. This way, your subject wont cast dark gray shadows on the blue wall. When you have shadows on your backdrop they will appear around your subject, because the shadowed area will be slightly darker than the color your are keying.

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