EPSOM MOVIE MAKERS

EPSOM MOVIE MAKERS

formerly EPSOM CINE & VIDEO SOCIETY

HOME
second take
ARTICLES


by John Storey

So, the new baby was on it’s way, and we decided to do the ‘parent’ thing and get a camcorder. I have been taking still pictures for many years, and have never seen a good use for a camcorder - what do you film? How do you edit it? How do you get people to watch the finished result? It seems that there is no substitute for a photograph! Came the happy day of our new arrival. Tenderly we examined it, it was so tiny! We felt the smooth contours of the new unblemished surface, and even discovered that it had a little knob! Yes, the new camcorder was a fine gadget! Despite my earlier misgivings I eagerly charged the battery, popped in a tape and began recording. Soon I discovered the delights of forgetting to turn it off, and consequently acquired miles of footage. Yes, footage. Those shots you get from unusual angles when you are walking with a camcorder in your swinging hand, and get odd views of a world that is tuned upside-down and populated by feet! Not for those who suffer mal-de-mare. I discovered that what you can achieve with a 35mm SLR at 2000th of a second simply can’t be done with a camcorder. So I bought a sturdy tripod. This improved my captured images no end. No longer did my efforts turn out like arty scenes from “LAPD Blue” on funny-tablets, but were reasonably stable images.There have been a few occasions when our dogs have bashed into the tripod - this, for future reference, gives a good impression of an earthquake! And there was an occasion when the “ankle-bighter” decided that the angle of shot needed to be redirected - I have some delightful images of a one year old sitting in a geo-stationary position, and the camcorder and tripod are all whizzing around him! Very arty! And so to editing...Being a computer bod, I simply had to get the gadget to speak with my PC. That’s the last time I can use the word ‘simply’ in this section. I have been in the computer biz for a few years - since 8086 PC’s and DOS two point something. I cannot believe that ordinary humans are expected by hardware and software companies to be capable of setting up their own PCs for digital editing. The level of problems that I encountered were mainly of a ’professional’ nature and were largely unsupported by the vendors. It would seem that they expect all of their customers to be PC geeks, and that any problems that arise are the province of someone else. Anyhoo... I first experimented with Pinnacles Studio DV. Mmmm. After reading a favourable article I purchased the product.

After purchasing the product, I discovered a few requirements were needed. Like an operating system upgrade, or a humungous, fast and very expensive second hard disk.The bottom line on the extras was:to buy Studio DV = £199to accommodate Studio DV = add £300! Not so very cheap, not so very funny either. Any road up, I persevered, set up my system, and videoed my eldest daughter’s wedding. (I will save the details in case Norm wants another article!) Back to the plot. So, I uploaded the video into the PC beast, and prepared to edit! I spent many fine hours of editing and produced a video that employed almost the entire range of transitions available in the software. (OK - so I know better now!) It had titles, and courtesy of the bundled software,(‘Smartsound’) had some muzak. Time to export... It was at this time that I discovered that my DV camcorder was not only DV dongled and I couldn’t take an edited video from the PC back to the camcorder, but that it was not ‘curable’ by virtue of a widget! All manner of widgets are available, but not for the Panasonic NV-DS11 apparently - bugger! So after phoning around I found a Panasonic dealer in Nottingham who would de-dongle it for me. (Add £50 and a weeks downtime to the bill please). Whew! I finally got the video onto an otherwise blank tape, then transferred it to my VCR. Then I played it back. To date my PC configuring, camcorder DV in enabling, filming and editing had taken about a month. I was therefore dismayed to find that there was a problem. During the playback a crackle appeared on the soundtrack. I re-edited it, exported it again, and found that the crackle still existed. It wasn’t a consistent crackle, it changed in amplitude and it occurred in different places on the finished video. I tried again, I used different tapes, I tried again, I used different settings - in all I tried about forty times. Still it crackled. I even sent the camcorder back for investigation! It turned out to be fine. With years of experience in these matters, my conclusions were that it was a faulty capture card. I tackled the supplier. I spoke with Pinnacle’s ’technical support’ team (a Spaniard in Holland). I spoke with Pinnacle directly, I spoke with many people, all to no avail. Herein lies the biggest problem with PC based video solutions - in a word - support. It is scant, poor, and begrudged - not to say expensive - Pinnacle support is 50p per minute - and not very good. “This product shouldn’t do that” is not very helpful. So I began a fight to get the product replaced - to cut a long one very short - it didn’t happen - so I began another long fight to get my money back. With more judicious word cutting - I got my money back and bought Adobe Premiere with a DV Raptor capture card. Very expensive, ghastly to look at, quirky to install, occasionally unstable - but worth every penny of it’s £600! I managed to re-edit my daughters wedding, (with even more transitions) and had NO CRACKLE! Nirvana achieved in DV!Now, what else should I do with it?

SECOND TAKE February 2001

PROGRAMME REVIEW
NONSUCH REVIVAL
THE MAKING OF SACRED AND PROFANE
A DAY TRIP TO CHICHESTER
SUCCESS ON A PLATE
BIAFF 2006 - A MEMBER'S VIEW
THE SURREY FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL 2005
THE FUTURE IS RED
COURT SHORTS
TIME OUT
We came, We shot, We chomped
BOB'S BASIC EDITING GUIDE
My Introduction to the Wonder ful World of DV!
Grandeur of the Granada
FILMS ARE LIKE ELEPHANTS
How 305 Sqaudron was made
THE BIG FIVE "O"
MUSIC COPYRIGHT
NORTH V SOUTH 2008
HOT CHESTNUTS
WIDER AND WIDER
MORE