Video Speaks Louder Than Photos and Words
Parking in New York, as in most major cities,
is quite expensive–especially if your car gets towed. When the Dept. of
Transportation towed my legally parked car recently, I tried to proclaim
my innocence before a judge. She rejected my still photos of the "evidence"
because they did not reveal the street address and parking regulations sign.
I returned an hour later and swore to tell the truth for me and my Sharp
Viewcam. The judge got a kick out of seeing the evidence on my camcorder’s
4" LCD monitor. Because the video showed that I had definitely parked
my car in a legal zone, she granted me a refund of the towing fee. Thanks
to my video camera, I saved $215 and justice did prevail.
New York, New York
Dropping Out of Sony Tape
Videomaker is an invaluable source of information
for novice, semi-pro and professional video production people alike, but
you have not given one very important subject the attention it deserves;
namely, the quality of blank videotape stock. The plain truth is: Sony makes
the best video equipment and the worst videotape.
I recently mastered a 30-second commercial on Sony VXST-120VE S-VHS stock.
I always record 10 minutes or so of color bars on blank tape and play it
back to check for drop-outs before proceeding with the production. On this
particular occasion, I had to search through 37 minutes of tape to find
a one-minute section that was totally free of dropouts, and even then, a
dropout developed during the course of production.
Because of the unmatched quality of Sony video equipment, I had always assumed
their tape to be of equal or superior quality and faithfully used it for
years. Before switching to DV (Sony DCR-VX1000) I had the same problems
with Sony Hi8 tape. Even the DLC line of E6-MEAD metal evaporated tape had
enough dropouts to make me tear my hair out.
Since switching to TDK XP ST-120XPSP S-VHS tape stock, I have not seen even
one dropout in dozens of productions.
I sincerely hope you print this letter and save countless other video enthusiasts
years of avoidable headaches.
In Search of Homemade 3D
Thank you for a wonderful magazine. I am
17 years old and am very interested in video productions. I’m the director
of my school’s closed circuit TV system and plan to be a cinematographer
in the future. Recently I’ve been experimenting with 3D on my computer,
namely the anaglyph and polarization effects. However, I can’t find any
material about adapting 3D technology to video use. It would really make
my videos go to a higher level of creativity and entertainment, both for
personal productions and for school use.
Thanks again for a great magazine. You’ve taught me how to add more channels
of audio, select a video mixer, and how to join in the digital revolution.
Thanks for the kind words, Marcin. The device
you need is an encoder; with an encoder, you can output your 3D animations
or stills to videotape. Check the March ’98 issue for a complete list of
desktop video encoders. Keep up the good work.
Let ’em Fry
I had to send you my comments regarding
the Quick Focus item (December 1997) on random product returns. It’s a 7-billion-dollar
headache the manufacturers deserve. I custom-built my computer to work around
particular hardware and I’m tired of buying new hardware and software packages
that don’t work. The effort to get started with PC video took the fun out
of the pursuit.
I don’t accept the "Oops, sorry we didn’t tell you about incompatibility"
excuse anymore, especially from the Gates Empire. If the manufacturers listed
problems on the outside of the box, then the consumer wouldn’t buy their
products and that would solve part of the $7 billion return problem. Maybe
the sales people can sit down with the customer service people and have
a business lunch. Maybe some consumers should go as well.
Sooner or later consumer expectations for computers are going to resemble
that for automobiles, VCRs, camcorders and wristwatches. They are complicated
but they should work. The year 2000 computer debacle will be a great teacher.
Let ’em fry. I’ve got money to spend, but not to burn.
James R. Fegan