Live Sports Coverage

Jim Stinson’s column about shooting sports (Getting Started, December 1996) accurately identified the challenges videographers face in the field, and his equipment guidelines were right on. However, his advice was targeted to videos that end up being edited. Here at WSTO, Stoughton Community TV, we don’t have the luxury of editing. Like many public access stations, we cover several different sporting
events live and on a limited budget. What works best for us is to use camera operators who are interested in the sport they are shooting. We train them to follow the announcer’s audio and to shoot above the action from center field or court. Sports coverage (unlike school board meetings) is challenging and rewarding, especially when your team wins!

Dawn Farris
Stoughton, Wisconsin


Video for the People

Thanks for the great “Viewfinder” in the June issue. The control of TV programming by a small elite results in a lack of pluralism in programming and access for us small producers. Your magazine offers a much needed perspective on democratizing the media and promoting the initiatives of alternative
producers. Adelante!

Pablo Newparver
Cochabamba, Bolivia


Five-Pin Dilemma

Our Tech Support line has received several calls related to the Panasonic Broadcast and Television Systems’ new series of VCRs. The AG-750, AG-720 and AG-710 (Gear, October 1996) use an RJ-type
connector and a control interface is required. Panasonic 5-pin controllers are not compatible with these
decks.

Bob Kozlarek
Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems


Analog to Digital

In the August 1996 Viewfinder column, you talk about the next videotape standard. Will existing camcorder models need to be upgraded to accommodate DV tapes? I have a Panasonic AG-455-U, but I
don’t want to buy a DV camcorder because they are more expensive. Will the AG-456-U and other future
analog camcorders have digital jacks or be able to play and record DV tapes?

Jason J. Young
Flint, MI

It would be nice if upgrading to DV were that easy. Alas, it’s not. But don’t worry; the DV format won’t make the analog formats obsolete–at least not anytime soon. The S-VHS format, to which your AG-455-U camcorder belongs, will be supported by camcorder, VCR and tape manufacturers for many years
to come.

–The Editors


Hi8 vs. S-VHS

In Don Keller’s article “The Format Menagerie” (July 1996), he stated that the Hi8 format puts out 415 lines of resolution and is “slightly better” than the S-VHS format. … As one who has both a Hi8 deck (EVC-100), an S-VHS deck (PVS-4366) and access to test equipment, my findings are exactly the
opposite. …

Steve Dirkx
Richardson, TX

Your investigation into the performance of these two formats is commendable, and it brings up an important point. The horizontal resolution and signal-to-noise specifications I listed in the article represent each format’s maximum theoretical performance–not their typical performance–and certainly not the performance for any particular decks.

It would be nice if every piece of video equipment ever made or sold lived up to its
format’s potential, but as you’ve discovered, this is not the case. The EVC-100 deck you tested is the
bottom-of-the-line Hi8 deck. That’s a possible explanation–not an excuse–for its relatively poor
performance.

If you were to test a more-expensive Hi8 deck, you’d probably find that it comes closer to
reaching Hi8’s performance limits. And those limits are slightly higher for Hi8 than they are for S-
VHS.

-DK


Assault on Batteries

I’d like to thank Stephen Muratore for his “Pause” column on battery memory and laziness (June 1996). I was delighted to read his article and amazed that he recommends exactly the opposite of what the manufacturers recommend.

Previously, I had cycled my batteries, carefully following the manufacturer’s directions, and had overcharged them as well, not knowing that leaving them on the charger would be detrimental. After
reading the column, I followed his directions (don’t cycle or overcharge). But on a subsequent shoot,
batteries that should have lasted a total of eight hours exhausted after only one and a half hours.

Which brings me to my question. Once the “lazy effect” due to the gamma form of the crystal
structure has been created, can it be reversed? And if so, how? Do I need to throw them out and start over
again?

Phyl Harmon
Internet

Battery “refreshers” remove those gamma crystals by discharging the battery all the way down to about a volt. This returns the nickelic hydroxide to its beta form which discharges at the higher voltage your camcorder needs. If you’ve got lazy batteries, put them on a refresher for a few cycles of complete discharging/recharging. Battery refreshers, or dischargers-re-chargers, are available wherever fine camcorders are sold.

-SM

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