I enjoyed reading Steve Yankee’s article in the January edition of Videomaker on the subject of
transferring movies, slides and photos. Essentially, I have been following this technique for the past 12
years–with some variations.
I record movie images directly from a white poster board (dull side) with my Hi8 camcorder. I recording everything on the film, and make notes along the way. I find that about 40 percent of the film I’m given is not worth transferring because of faulty camera work or the poor condition of the film.
Secondly, I prepare a blank VHS tape on which I’ve pre-recorded graphics, introduction and titles.
Then I transfer the raw footage from my Hi8 camcorder, editing out the bad stuff. Next, I dub music or a
narrative to the final tape, appropriate to the scenes, or as the customer prefers. Without audio, movies,
slides or photos would be extremely dull to watch.
As a final touch, I add a minute or two of live video of the customer (the “Executive Producer”)
addressing his or her audience.
Providence, Rhode Island
Music Rights and Wrongs
Well, I didn’t listen. I just had to find out for myself. I’m referring to all the articles I’ve read in
Videomaker about the pitfalls, and high costs, of trying to get usage rights for copyright music in
Many years ago, I made a Super-8 film that was inspired by a popular electronic music piece, and
therefore integral to the film. This year, I wanted to do a re-make on Hi8, and since I had intentions of
entering the video in a contest or two and possibly getting it shown on local cable, I asked for permission,
stressing that it was totally non-profit.
The short story is that after filling in all the forms and accepting the fact that I must pay to use someone else’s work, I was shocked to find out that the cost would be $750 for three years! I was also told that I would have to negotiate separate rights with the record company that made the recording.
This is nuts! I was willing to pay a nominal sum of $100 for this old piece of music. By making the cost totally unrealistic for independent small-time videomakers like myself, I can’t show my film to the public (their loss), I can’t get the glory of showing my film to the world (my loss) and you guys will never get to see the film in your contests (your loss). The rights holders don’t get their music played in public for others to hear, and they don’t get the $100. Everybody loses.
Times have changed, but the gluttonous record companies, music publishers, etc. have not gotten out of their paradigm by accepting the whole new world of amateur video. Think how many videomakers would fork over $100 for a basic rights package. If the rights holders were smart, they would see this as an opportunity to increase their cash flow by tapping this new market.
I would like to see all those companies dealing with video (magazines, equipment manufacturers, resellers, etc.) get together as a group to lobby the music people for a better deal for us all.
Why So Long?
I’ve been a regular subscriber now for a while. I really like the magazine for its simplistic approach to
complex videomaking information. It’s always good to see this in a technical magazine.
I’ve been noticing, however, that there has been much information that is either missing or less
than on time. For example, the Ultimatte system for image compositing has received little or no coverage
in your magazine. Another more recent example is the Panasonic AG-1980 VCR, sequel to the AG-
I’ve always thought of having information about products a year before they are available useless,
except maybe to investors and product developers, but is there a good reason why you wait so long before
reviewing equipment, and avoid some altogether?
We appreciate your comments. However, our magazine can devote only so many pages to new
product introductions and reviews. We must select the products we review with an eye to keeping the low-
end consumer as well as the prosumer/professional videomaker involved. Ultimatte image compositing
systems, for example, fall well outside the price range of most Videomaker readers.
Nonetheless, if a product is an important one, be sure you’ll see it in our pages–usually
sooner rather than later. (For a run-down of the AG-1980’s features, see this month’s VCR buyer’s
An Exciting Year
Has anyone been following the discussion in the rec.video, rec.video.production and rec.video.desktop
Internet newsgroups pertaining the Sony DCR-VX1000 and the Firewire? It looks like we are now able to
move the digital data from DV camcorders to the PC or Mac formats. Wow! No degradation! Just pure
digital video to video!
It looks like the next year is going to be very exciting in the world of digital video. I am looking forward to it.
DTV forum, http://www.videomaker.com