NightShot Roundup

I can’t believe it. I recently heard a rumor about Sony’s "infrared-see-through-clothes camcorder," and your Web site already had a special report on it. Sony’s Web site didn’t have anything. That’s really being professional. I love your magazine, now I love your Web site too!



NightShots at Mardi Gras

In spite of what Sony released, it isn’t necessarily the sheer material that works best to bring out the "see-thru" shot. A thick, tight fitting material that radiates the heat appears to work well. (Perhaps that’s why they are saying that swimsuits give the same results?)

Having outlived my old Sony HandyCam, I purchased a new Sony TRV615 the day before leaving on my annual pilgrimage to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Not familiar with the switches on this camera, I accidentally switched on the NightShot feature from time to time during the week.

I took video of a Mardi Gras participant on a Bourbon Street balcony in full sun, from across the street with the TRV615 in NightShot mode, zoom on, using only a TIFFEN 37mm UV Protector lens. To the naked eye she was wearing a totally black bikini top with no distinguishing marks. When I panned the balcony with the camera in NightShot mode, I was bewildered enough to switch NightShot off. She was once again wearing a totally black bikini top. With NightShot on, her features once again became visible. I thought it was just a fluke and unfortunately did not record in non-NightShot mode. Hope this helps Technical Editor Jim Martin solve the mystery of the NightShot camcorder!

J. Bonner


When we heard about Sony NightShot’s undocumented features, our interest was piqued. After some laborious testing (with our very unattractive all-male editorial staff) however, we found that the see-thru abilities of the NightShot have been very exaggerated. See last month’s Quick Focus for a more detailed report.

–The Editors

Routes to Roots Hit the Mark

Thank you for focusing on the topic of family history videos (most recently, Jim Stinson’s article Routes to Roots in the August 1998 issue of Videomaker). Using video technology to record the sights and sounds of one’s past, as well as the life stories of a person’s loved ones is, in my mind, the best use we can make of this technology.

I am, by profession and passion, a personal historian who works primarily with video technology, but I sincerely encourage everyone to learn as much as possible about the medium and the personal/oral history methods, to create the best family/neighborhood/school videos they can.

Believe me, there is enough work (volunteer and paid) to go around. So, get out there and make history.

Audrey Galex

Atlanta, GA

One Last Shot at VHS

I thought your response to Mr. Query’s comments on the dismal quality of VHS was flippant and uncalled-for. Blockbuster Video isn’t successful because of the VHS format; on the contrary, I would say that it is successful in spite of it. If the industry would quit dragging its feet and fretting over recordability and licensing/copyright issues, we consumers could have been enjoying a far superior video format in our homes five years ago.

Ted Vertner


There are more factors than bootlegging keeping the industry from switching–like the fact that consumers fear having to switch formats every five years.

–The Editors

Correction: On page 24 of September’s Edit Suite, we mis-paraphrased Gertrude Stein as saying there are no oak trees in Oakland. What she really said was "There is no there, there." Our apologies to Mr. Stinson.

–The Editors

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