Quest for Infinity

Grading the Formats in the September issue of Videomaker was of special interest to me. I have long been concerned with the archivist’s worries about the life of our video images. When you look at some of the videotapes taken just a few years ago on television, you can already see degradation of the picture.

The formats I use are S-VHS and Hi8, and I am pleased with the quality of these tapes. What bothers me is how these tapes will stand the test of time. It’s for that reason that I believe that only the DV format should be considered for those who think in the long term.

On the report card found in Grading the Formats, "Time Loss" should have been a category you included alongside Video Quality, Audio Quality and Generation Loss. Concern for generation loss is important. Concern for the tapes that will be lost for the next generation is much more so.


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J.R. Crookston
Stow, OH

Your comments raise an interesting question. Does DV tape as a medium have a longer shelf life than other formats? The answer is no. DV can be reproduced more frequently with less degradation, thus its high marks in the Generation Loss category. Your comments about archiving are directed more towards a tape’s "signal retentivity" properties. The DV tape itself will suffer much the same degradation over time as other formats. They all have a roughly comparable finite shelf life. Optical media, such as CD or DVD, are the only ways currently available to beat the inevitable breakdown of the magnetic field that threatens the longevity of your videotape.

— The Editors

Video, ‘Bama-Style

First of all, I would like to thank you for a great magazine, and congratulate everyone on your success. My introduction to video was quite innocent. Upon news of the impending arrival of our first child, I purchased my first camcorder. While waiting for the youngster to start his journey, I prepared myself with a new magazine–Videomaker.

That first issue was so interesting and informative, I could hardly put it down. Then, as fate would have it, I came across an ad that said, "You can make money with your camcorder." That was in 1989, since then, my interest in videography has increased. I started my own video service, and now I shoot weddings, commercials, photo/videos and events. This was no small feat, since I live in a small town (pop. 3,500), and the closest person who knew anything about video lived 200 miles away.

Most people around here laughed when I advertised a wedding video service. "I can get my cousin Bob to video it for nothing!" was their usual response. So I offered my services for free. Then, word of mouth got out that I did a great job, "A lot better than cousin Bob."

I was hired to shoot my first paid wedding, and when I received the check, my wife said, "I never thought that you would ever make any money from that camcorder." That was a proud day for me, and today I enjoy success, in part because of Videomaker. Your constant dedication to provide the video enthusiast with information, motivation and praise is very appreciated. Thank you for helping me find an exciting new career.

Steve Jackson
Hamilton, AL

How’d You do That?

I read Jim Martin’s story on Pinnacle’s Studio 400 with great interest, because he accomplished something I have been working on for three months with no success–getting the Studio 400 to capture video. Even consulting Pinnacle tech support, a senior Microsoft software engineer, and Dell–who determined that there was nothing wrong with my hardware and software–did not help.

When I run the Studio 400, all of the setup tests confirm that everything is working, but when I try to capture, I only get a Pinnacle icon on my screen. I previously used Video Director 200 successfully. I was almost to the point of giving up on the Studio 400. Thanks to Jim Martin’s story, though, I know I’m on the right track to getting my Studio 400 to work, and not on a pointless "snipe hunt."

Shlomo Hagai

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.