More Computer Graphics

In the July issue of Your Tips, Michael Nasvadi suggested taping your computer
screen to use for program titles. I used to do that but the rolling bars
on the computer screen created too much criticism. The next time I upgraded
my computer I included a video driver card with an S-video output, as well
as the normal monitor SVGA output. I chose ATI’s, Expert At Play and connected
the computer to the fourth channel on my MX1 mixer. I use MS Office98 and
Powerpoint to make titles with animation and artwork. I even use the MX1’s
chromakey function to superimpose the graphics over video. This gives a
superior result for the display of titles and makes for an interesting,
professional looking product. Using this setup, a scanner and almost any
picture program, it is very simple to bring photos and artwork into the
video system.

Jack Wallace

Toronto ON

Stairway to Video

For event videographers who need to shoot over a crowd, here’s an economical
idea to turn you’re A-frame ladder (6-foot to 8-foot) into a camera mount.
Using appropriate screws, mount your tripod head on the platform of your
ladder. A tripod with a ball head and bubble level is preferred so that
you can level the camera quickly. The ladder is quite portable and sets
up quickly with a built-in stand so that your shot will always be "above
the crowd."

Abe Sayson

Richmond, B.C.

Silent Video

While recording on location, unwanted noises and wind can sometimes be reduced
with a wind filter or mike switch. However, I find it more desirable when
recording outdoor scenes to completely wipe-out the audio function. To eliminate
recording any sound, use a simple 1/8-inch phone plug in the external mike
input jack. I attach the plug to the lens cap string or camera strap so
it’s always available. Add music, narration or sound effects later. Don’t
forget to remove the plug when you’re ready to record desirable sounds.

Jason Hailey

Los Angeles, CA

Four Things Not to Forget

There are four items I take to every video shoot: 1. A pen or marker (to
label tapes, make notes, etc.), 2. Self-adhesive labels to identify your
tapes and cables (unlabeled tapes make me crazy), 3. A knife (you never
know…), and 4. A pocket flashlight (to read the script, find connections,
and make sure the tape is moving)

Jim Coons

St. Marys, OH

Video Cassette Repair

There is a way to repair a damaged VHS tape without worrying about the repair
job damaging the video heads on your VCR. You will lose some video, but
that’s a small price to pay to save important footage. To repair the tape,
disassemble the tape cassette, being careful to note how everything is put
together. If the tape is damaged at the beginning or end, cut off the damaged
portion and remove it from its hub. Remove the clear leader from the tape
hub by sliding the retainer off the hub through the slot located on the
side of it. Starting from the end of the tape that you want to save, use
an acrylic solvent to remove approximately 12 inches of the magnetic material
from the mylar backing until it is clear. Use isopropyl alcohol to clean
any residue off the end of the tape. Attach the new clear leader to the
hub by pressing the retainer into the hub slot until it snaps into place.
Reassemble the cassette shell. If the damage is in the center of a tape,
sacrifice an identical cassette and remove all of the tape from the sacrificed
cassette’s hubs. Then perform a similar procedure using half of the original
tape in the original shell and the other half in the sacrificed shell. Note:
the clear leader is necessary to allow the VCR to sense the end of the tape
and keep it from unwinding off the hub and possibly damaging the tape and/or

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