Videomaker is proud to announce the 1994 Best Products of the Year Awards. Each year, our editors
recognize those products and manufacturers that offer the videomaker the best in convenience, features,
price and performance.
We also recognize those innovative products that push back the borders of consumer-level
videomaking. These products represent a commitment on the part of the manufacturer, a commitment to
the vision and talents of the videomaker.
Note: the Best Products of the Year Awards were presented to the winners during a special gala
reception at the Videomaker Expo in Secaucus, New Jersey.
Best 8mm Camcorder
Sharp’s successful ViewCam line forever changed the way people look at camcorders, thanks to a large built-in LCD display and unique twisting camera section. The compact VL-E32U continues in the
ViewCam tradition, boasting a 3-inch LCD viewfinder and on-screen menu display. A built-in speaker
allows for instant video playback with audio.
Neuro auto exposure and selectable backlight compensation offer predictable, consistent image
quality in varying light conditions. The Sharp also offers a two-speed, 8x power zoom.
Thanks to its high recording quality and comfortable shooting position, the VL-E32U is a
Best VHS-C Camcorder
RCA’s CC740 VHS-C camcorder has the right mix of features for the videomaker. It offers a color LCD
viewfinder, electronic image stabilization, variable speed zoom and program autoexposure modes. A flying
erase head allows clean video inserts and edits; edit search allows you to locate recorded segments without
leaving record mode. Digital still and strobe allow you to add professional-looking effects to any
In both performance and features, videomakers will find the CC740 to be a very capable VHS-C
Best Hi8 Camcorder
It wasn’t hard to choose 1994’s top Hi8 camcorder–Sony’s CCD-TR700 packs a staggering wealth of
power features in a small package. The Sony offers optical image stabilization, high-resolution color LCD
viewfinder, Rewriteable Consumer Time Code (RCTC) support, 10x two-speed zoom lens and Control-L
The CCD-TR700 also boasts a true manual iris control, an important feature that’s hard to find on
consumer camcorders. Time code is the key to accurate editing, and the Sony supports it well–the
camcorder will even add time code to tapes you’ve already shot.
Whether shooting in the field or functioning as a playback source during editing, the CCD-TR700
is a Hi8 dream machine.
Best S-VHS-C Camcorder
With the introduction of the advanced GR-SZ7, JVC breathed new life into the flagging S-VHS-C
format. One of the GR-SZ7’s best features is its ultra high-resolution, 570,000-pixel CCD sensor, making
truly lossless electronic image stabilization a reality.
The JVC is decked out with some of the most advanced digital effects ever seen on a camcorder,
including 11 effects and 17 fades, wipes and dissolves. Other features include intelligent auto white
balance, color LCD viewfinder, and two-speed 10x power zoom lens.
And thanks to its high-resolution sensor and advanced signal processing, the GR-SZ7 offers
stunning image quality for the serious videomaker.
Best VHS Camcorder
In a dwindling field of full-size VHS camcorders, the Hitachi VM3700 stands apart. This camcorder boasts
audio and video insert, built-in DC light, two-page titler, three-way digital fade, program autoexposure and
digital zoom. An LCD color viewfinder allows the videomaker to check white balance while shooting.
Digital signal processing helps the VM3700 record high-quality images; a healthy 12x zoom lens
pulls in distant subjects with ease. The VM3700 is a solid offering in performance, features and value.
Best S-VHS Camcorder
Panasonic AG-DP800 Supercam
Panasonic’s S-VHS Supercam sits at the top of many a videomaker’s wish list. And for good reason–this
industrial-strength camcorder offers a higher level of features and performance. In addition to a pro-quality
14x zoom lens with variable speed zoom, the Supercam has 3 CCDs for accurate color, vertical interval
and longitudinal time code (VITC and LTC) support and a color bar generator.
Audio support on the Supercam is top-notch. Professional XLR input jacks, manual record level
controls with limiter, in-viewfinder record level meters and built-in monitor speaker let you take your
sound as seriously as your images.
All these professional-level features add up to make the Panasonic AG-DP800 Supercam the best
S-VHS camcorder of 1994.
Best Hi8 Editing VCR
Hi8 videomakers have been waiting years for a consumer-level editing VCR with all the right
features. Sony’s EV-S7000 ends their wait–this deck offers digital PCM audio, full RC time code support,
jog/shuttle control, audible search, built-in 8-scene edit controller and time-base corrector.
These features translate to real editing power. PCM stereo audio dub opens up endless creative
options for sound, while the EV-S7000’s smooth transport, Control-L connector and advanced time code
capabilities make accurate editing a reality. With or without an external edit controller, the EV-S7000 is the
best consumer Hi8 editing deck your money can buy.
Best S-VHS Editing VCR
Give your computer access to a VCR, and great things can happen. Case in point: Sanyo’s GVR-S955 S-
VHS VCR. Thanks to its serial RS-232/422 interface, the Sanyo will function as a frame-accurate editing
deck under computer control or a single-frame animation recorder. A built-in TBC makes for rock-solid
playback, and SMPTE time code read/write assures accurate editing.
The GVR-S955 offers dual linear audio tracks and stereo hi-fi for audio flexibility. A built-in A/V
switcher allows the GVR-S955 to perform split audio/video edits between two different input sources.
Jog/shuttle control with audible search and video playback processor round out this powerful offering.
Best Stand-alone Video Editor
Sony XV-AL100 Editor
Proof that an edit controller can be both simple and powerful, the Sony XV-AL100 wraps the accuracy of
RC time code in an extremely easy-to-use on-screen interface. The unit also offers a built-in titler and
three-input audio mixer.
Dual-mode shuttle allows for fast-forward and reverse transport control of most LANC (Control-
L) devices. The XV-AL100 will store up to 20 scenes for automatic random assemble editing. Accuracy,
with time code, clocks in at an impressive +/- 2 frames. For editing ease and accuracy, the VX-AL100 can’t
Best DTV Product Under $2000
Supermac SpigotPower AV
To keep up with the amount of data present in 60 field-per-second digital video, you need a capture card
with plenty of power. Until Supermac’s SpigotPower AV, this meant spending more than the cost of your
computer. Now, the SpigotPower AV allows AV-series Macintosh owners to capture true 60-field video
for under $1000.
The Supermac board complements the AV Mac’s existing audio and video capture hardware,
delivering 24-bit color at resolutions up to 640×480. In one fell swoop, SpigotPower AV dropped the cost
of high-quality digital video by several thousand dollars. Enough said.
Best DTV Product Over $2000
Fast Digital Player/Recorder
The Fast Video Machine, a full-blown video studio in a computer, won Videomaker’s Best Product award
last year. The Digital Player/Recorder adds Betacam-quality nonlinear editing capabilities to the Video
Machine. The Digital Player/Recorder will support two streams of video for real-time A/B-roll
effects, as well as 8 tracks of CD-quality digital audio.
The Digital Player/Recorder and Fast Video Machine combo functions as a hybrid system,
allowing you to do your non-linear experimenting at low resolution, later editing the scenes from your
original master tape. Or you can merge high-quality video from the hard drive with video from tape…
Teamed up with the Video Machine, Fast’s Digital Player/Recorder is like a Swiss army knife of digital
Innovative Product Award
Videonics MX-1 Video Mixer
When we first heard about Videonics’ MX-1, we were skeptical that an affordable unit could perform such
amazing effects. Well, seeing is believing. The MX-1 sports two internal time-base correctors and a host of
dedicated video processors, allowing it to create over 200 subtle-to-wild transitions and effects between
video sources. These transitions include the kind of flips and tumbles that were once the private domain of
big-buck broadcast hardware.
The MX-1 uses an on-screen menu to select and engage effects; an external edit controller can
trigger the MX-1’s transitions through its general purpose interface (GPI). This unit will even perform
audio transitions. There’s no question–the MX-1 represents a revolution in consumer-level SEGs.
Goldstar GVR-DD1 8mm/VHS VCR
For the many videomakers that shoot in 8mm and view in VHS, the dual-deck Goldstar GVR-
DD1 is a product worth noting. It allows you to copy and edit tapes from the 8mm format to VHS with a
minimum of hassle and quality loss. A five-event edit list assembles your scenes with surprising accuracy,
or you can transfer selected scenes one at a time.
Quasi-Hi8 playback plays Hi8 tapes at 8mm resolution. A flying erase head on the VHS side
allows for clean video inserts; audio dub is also possible to the VHS linear track. The GVR-DD1 even
offers a microphone jack for adding narration during editing. All in all, the Goldstar GVR-DD1 represents
an innovative approach to the dual-deck concept.
Innovative Accessory Award
Fujix Photo-Video Imager FV-7
Transferring still film images to video is rarely easy. Lighting, framing, dealing with negatives–all can
make the task more work than it’s worth. Fujix’s innovative FV-7 ends all that, making it easier than ever to
integrate stills into your video production.
The FV-7 has everything you need to shoot transparencies or prints–built-in CCD camera, 2x
zoom lens, fluorescent lights, color correction circuitry and composite or S-video output. Black and white
negative, color negative and color positive camera modes handle any kind of artwork.
The end result? Still film-to-video transfer with no fuss.
JVC JX-T88 Character Generator
JVC’s JX-T88 character generator offers impressive titling power in an affordable, compact package. Four
font sizes in eight colors add variety to your titles; colored character outlines help maintain legibility when
keying titles over video. You can also scroll titles smoothly at five different speeds.
For the videomaker looking for an inexpensive yet capable titler, the JVC JX-T88 is worth a
Best Audio Accessory
Recoton W500 Wireless Headset
Imagine being able to monitor your audio while shooting or editing without cumbersome wires restricting
your movement. Imagine no more–the Recoton W500 wireless headphone makes this a reality. Using a
newly-approved 900 megahertz frequency, the W500 headphone can transmit clear audio up to 150 feet
through walls and floors.
For shooting, the W500 gives you freedom to roam while still monitoring your audio. During
editing, you can move freely among your equipment without the annoying tangle of headphone cables.