Email Notes #3.

Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4

41) Ace U      "X Cleaning Cassette" (TDK DV Tape incompatible with Sony?)
42) Kevin Z    TRV900 extremely low light [hot pixels]
43) Randy H    TRV900 Toughness [rain, hail, tornado...]
44) Henderson  difficult to use in bright sun
45) Kevin Z    Cleaner analog signal with Video DNR device
46) Mark R     Steadicam Jr., Analog Captures, TRV900 Live on the Web
47) Hal D      Film Look with TRV900
48) Peter P    Anyone been stuck in the rain with a TRV900?
49) Randy P    Unhappy with Dealer. [Camera & Sound, PA]
50) Bart D     Overheating problems at 40 degrees C
51) Stumner G  Panasonic Tape problem, camera noise, white balance too blue
52) Mark S     Audio trouble: buzzing, reverberation
53) Jim B      Dubbing problem to JVC BRS 800U SVHS deck
54) Mark G     Bugs inside Lens
55) Ed Davis   Recording extremely loud sound (nitromethane dragsters)
56) Terer      Don't drop it on concrete
57) Boris N    TRV-900 sound problems found: ringing, motor hum
58) Bill P     Interference to handheld radios
59) Jan C      extreme wide angle lens?
60) Paul J     TRV900 for documentary, hood for Vivanco wide angle

Subject: "X Cleaning Cassette" (TDK DV Tape incompatible with Sony?)

Ace Underhill ( wrote:
: One of our cameras, the Sony TRV900 gives a message in the viewfinder saying
: "Cleaning Cassette" with a flashing yellow 'X' sometimes when pressing the
: record button.  This never happened until we tried using a TDK DV Tape with
: no chip.  (hey, we were in a pinch).  Are these tapes just really cheap?
: Also, everything we recorded on that tape had five bands of pixelation
: horizontally across the screen, so we lost about three hours of shooting.  I
: believe this is a problem with re-syncing the time code, since I striped the
: tape beforehand with color bars and they were just fine.  It was when we
: tried to record over the bars that we got the unusable footage.  Just what
: is "Cleaning cassette"?  Is it cheap tape, or the fact that it has no chip?
: Or is their something wrong with the cam itself?

Has nothing to do with the chip; I've shot about 40 MiniDV tapes with the
TRV900 with no problems (Sony & Panasonic tapes) and I've not used a tape
with a chip yet. You have a head clog. Specifically, one of the two video
heads is clogged (if it had been both, you'd see nothing but random pixels
instead of the bands). This may, or may not, be related to changing brands
of tape. If this suddenly happened the moment you used the new tape, sounds
like TDK may be using an incompatible lubricant. Use a cleaning tape and if
that doesn't fix it, you need to bring the camera in for service.  -john

>     Just for reference, this particular camera has less than 25 hours on the
> head, and this problem never happened before that TDK tape.  I put a
> Panasonic cassette back in and tried recording over it and I got the pixel
> bands for a few seconds and then they went away and never came back.  Should
> TDK DV cassettes be blacklisted, or could I have gotten a bad one?

Very curious. This does make me suspicious of TDK tape. A few years ago
there was a problem with changing between Sony and Panasonic brands of
MiniDV tape because they used different tape surface lubricants which, when
mixed, would create a nasty goop which clogged the heads (sometimes badly
enough that they would have to be replaced). Panasonic claims that Sony
altered their tape formulation a few years ago to fix this, so they are now
compatible. I haven't heard Sony's side of this story. I wonder if we are
seeing the same thing again with TDK. On the other hand maybe it was just
one bad tape (?)  -john

Subject: TRV900 extremely low light [hot pixels] Date: Wed, 5 May 1999 16:21:38 -0700 (PDT) > [Under dark conditions] ...I was able to coax some visible scenes out of > the machine, such as they were, inclusive of much noise (no surprise) and > a few white "dots" (some surprise). I realized I was looking at "dead" > pixels, since they were obvious in both the LCD and the viewfinder. I > tried adjusting the gain back two clicks and, surely enough, the "dead" > pixels went away. Now that I knew what to look for, I tried testing > under less ridiculous lighting and determined that they were only "dead" > under the most awful poor lighting. What is your experience? Am I > expecting too much from the camera? -Kevin Z The white spots are called "hot" pixels actually ("dead" pixels would be always black). As the temperature of the CCD goes up, they will increase in number and intensity. On a cold winter night you might not see any. All cameras have them to some degree under max. gain conditions and slowest shutter speed. That's actually what determines what the manufacturer uses as the slowest speed and max. gain point; when you start to see hot pixels. At normal room temperature my TRV900 shows a few hot pixels with the iris closed at 1/4 shutter and +18 dB gain but they are faint, and tend to fade in and out. My TR7000 (much cheaper, single-chip Digital 8) has more, and brighter hot pixels under the same conditions. -john
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 17:03:51 -0500 From: Randy Halverson (randar at wcenet com) Subject: TRV-900 toughness [rain, hail, tornado...] John, Just thought I would let you know my TRV-900 withstood golfball sized hail and about 1 minute of heavy rain. My family wanted to seek shelter from a tornado at a neighbors basement and we drove over to their house. Before we got there golfball sized hail had hit. When I was carrying my son into the house his foot must have gotten tangled in the strap of the TRV-900 that was sitting on the seat of my pickup. When I ran back out to get my camcorder I couldn't find it on the seat, it was laying on the lawn getting pounded by hail and rain. I brought it in and dried it with a hair dryer and it works fine. The finish has a few scratches from the hail though. Randy
Date: Wed, 12 May 1999 19:45:12 -0500 From: Henderson Subject: difficult to use in bright sun I have read some of the other users' comments about the 900 in bright light. I have only taken the camera once, so far, in the bright light. I attempted to film a parade last Saturday. I was NOT happy with the results. It took a lot of manual adjustment to get a picture that was not washed out. Additionally, it was difficult to make these adjustments because the menu must be accessed by the fold out viewer. I could not see much on it because it was almost completely washed out in the light - even in the shade. It wasn't much easier to make out the picture in the viewfinder. I'd say my XL1 is a much better choice for filming in the sun. Based on the many positive reviews of the 900, I had planned on taking only the 900 on my vacation this weekend, but now will also take the XL1 incase my initial experience turns out to be a common one. I also was not happy with how much more difficult it is to do manual gain control for the microphone. The XL1 also gets the advantage on this. If I find pluses for the 900 over the XL1 on my upcoming trip, I'll send you another email relating them.
Date: Fri, 14 May 1999 14:22:00 -0500 From: Rolf Kevin Zigler Subject: Cleaner analog signal: Video DNR I have a Miro DC30+ (analog capture card) and I have been trying to decide if I really need a true DV capture card. I happened to try my TRV-900 on a Panasonic AG-7750, an older S-VHS industrial VCR, which has a Faroudja Labs video DNR (dynamic noise reduction) capability. I noticed that while the TRV-900 has little video noise, there is some visible. I tried the VCR DNR setting in the middle for both luminance and chrominance, my standard settings for S-VHS editing. (I later found that the chrominance setting has little impact visually.) The video looked smoother than anything I have seen, other than true broadcast stuff I remember (Betacam, MII, 2" quad and live from a 2/3" 3-chip camera direct to video monitor). The DNR really did take out the video noise. I also saw less of the DV compression artifacts, the ones relating to high-contrast edges and power lines in the picture. At home, I have a Toshiba FX-990 (I think that's the model #) which also has video DNR. I again set the DNR to the middle settings and looped through to the DC30+ card. The DNR from the VCR seems to make an effective pre-processor. The artifacts are still there, just less pronounced. The video just plain looks good, even down to 8:1 compression (a little soft, but better than VHS). At 3.2:1 (the highest quality I tested) it was darned good on my 13" monitor. I'm anxious to see the results on my 27". Am I still asleep and dreaming, or have you heard anyone else getting similar results? I will continue to test the phenomena myself (I've had the camera less than two weeks) and maybe I am too biased to be objective (I would really like this to be true so I don't have to spend any more money just now). I appreciate any comments. Kevin Zigler / ziggy essex1 com @ .
Subject: Steadicam Jr., Analog Captures, TRV900 Live on the Web From: "Mark Randall" (markr at play com) Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 12:27:07 -0700 Thanks for the great website. I recently purchased a TRV 900 and am thrilled with the quality. My background is in professional video production and the TRV 900 is clearly a stunner in the price/performance department vs. high-end pro gear. I wanted to write to let you know three things... Based on my positive experience, my company has purchased a bunch of TRV 900 cameras and is producing an all-live Internet-based television network with 100% original programming. You can check it out at We are currently producing 11 hours a day of live programming and virtually every shot is through the TRV 900. Our program day starts at 2:00 pm and concludes at 1:00 am PST (M-F). The TRV 900's are hooked up to our Globecaster product (an enhanced Trinity system specifically for webcasting). Interestingly, most of our shows use entirely virtual sets with chroma keyed synthetic backgrounds. Conventional wisdom says that you can't get good chroma keys from consumer cameras because of their resolution and because they don't have YUV component video output. We're proving every day that this isn't true in the case of the TRV 900. The virtual sets look fantastic. Secondly, I dug out my old Steadicam Jr. out of the closet when I got the TRV 900 and proceeded to get it hooked up. The Jr. is an awesome tool but with the TRV the balance was quite awkward. It occured to the me that the Jr. has a built-in monochrome LCD screen that is entirely redundant in light of the TRV's spectacular color LCD screen. At the recent National Association of Broadcasters trade show in Vegas I stopped by the Steadicam booth and they had a TRV 900 on a Jr. I asked the rep there if they had tried hacking off the old monochrome LCD to get it to balance better and also to lighten the whole system. He said that it wouldn't work. Well when I got home I started playing around with it and I couldn't figure out why it shouldn't work. So I hauled out the tools and removed the LCD screen, mounting bracket and wires. Now the whole thing balances great and is a lot lighter. In fact I got it to balance perfectly with just two C cell batteries installed in the bay on the lower spar (they aren't actually used for anything now since the screen they would normally power is gone but they are the right weight). If anyone else tries this it should be sternly noted that hacking up your Jr. in this way is irreversible and will definitely void your warranty beyond all recognition (actually I guess it's not completely irreversible, but you have to cut the wires and hooking it back up would require some tedious soldering to reconnect said wires). Anyway, it works great for me but your mileage may vary. One thing to remember is to balance the adjustments on the Jr. with the LCD on the camera open because just opening and closing the LCD is enough of a weight change to throw the Jr. a little off balance. Lastly, Play (my company) also makes the Snappy high resolution video digitizer. Although with the TRV 900 in most cases it is probably better to take digital still pictures out of the camera via the flash memory (which everyone should get), if for some reason you should need to use the Snappy to do some video captures from DV tape there is a trick to getting higher quality. As opposed to most VHS, 8mm and Hi8 decks where it is preferable to Snap pre-recorded pictures from moving tape, with the TRV 900 users will get a better grab by pausing the tape and then Snapping. When grabbing from a paused tape with the TRV 900 (and the VX 1000 as well) set the Snappy to grab two fields instead of one (higher quality mode). You'll get twice the resolution. This is because unlike the analog cameras the DV cameras have a frame buffer where two video fields are compiled and displayed as one entire video frame when the camera is displaying a paused still. It should be noted that Snappy's super high resolution mode (1500 actual horizontal pixels) looks phenomenal with the TRV 900 and far surpasses the camera's own highest quality JPEG settings for still captures. The clarity and detail that the TRV 900 delivers in this mode is breathtaking and far surpasses even HDTV. However this mode (which works by doing 8X video oversampling across multiple frames) requires the subject, camera, lighting and enviroment to be absolutely stationary and only works with a live video feed from the camera into the Snappy (not from tape). So it is only suitable for certain situations and subjects. I hope this information proves useful to others. Thanks again for the great site. Regards, --- Mark Mark Randall Play Incorporated Vice-President of Creative Development
[ed. note: I don't know about HDTV, but see this resolution test I tried with the Snappy.]

Subject: Film Look with TRV900 From: "Hal W. Dowdy" (hdowdy at inetconn net) Date: Fri, 4 Jun 1999 18:48:36 -0400 I bought my camera a couple of months ago. It's been a real joy. I am in competition with several filmakers like myself who have gone Mini DV instead of film. The others use The Canon XL-1 and the VX1000. I've seen the footage and it ain't much different if at all. All of us film purists are searching for the "film look". One thing I have discovered and it's pretty simple is that if you use the flash effect at it's lowest setting, you can get the kinetic look of film. I'm sure others have discovered this effect, but I haven't seen it published on your page. The great thing about this effect is, that you can apply it on playback. I am shooting a movie with this camera in straight up video, and I am applying the black and white effect coupled with the flash effect when I dump it into my computer. I will then crush the blacks, to give the image a tonal range similar to film. I sure would like to find a "film look" forum. If you know of any, please let me know. Thanx, Hal
[ed.note: I have a brief note about film here]

Subject: Anyone been stuck in the rain with a TRV900? From: peter pope Newsgroups: Date: 4 Jul 1999 05:11:45 GMT As silly as this message may sound, I had the unfortunate pleasure of being stuck with my TRV900 in the middle of a torrential rainstorm. The camera didn't get that wet, just the front of the lenshood, the cover of the tape desk, and a bit of the body. The camera seems to work fine, but I'm worried about any possible long term damage to the camera. I would like to hear from fellow TRV900 users who through one mishap or another, managed to get their cameras wet. I hope your replies will either solve my fears, or make me wish that I had bought a cheaper camera. I'm really wondering just how robust the unit is. From: (Websin3D) Date: 05 Jul 1999 01:04:21 GMT I have a TRV900 and I've had to video rainstorms, purposely, for a documentary I'm doing on a garden. Of course I normally cover the camera, but just last week it REALLY came down as I arched over it and ran inside. On almost a daily basis I have the camera outside in hot VA condition to record time-lapse. I always arch to sheets of white paper over the camera to reflect sun away, and cover the eyepiece. The camera has stood up very fine. One thing on any humid conditions is that it is not good to play or record in them. Humidity gums up tape. Of course the TRV has a humidity shut-off I believe, but I've never seen it come on. Anyways, in summary, I think you are fine. Vic I LOVE MY TRV900!
Subject: Unhappy with Dealer. [Camera & Sound, PA] Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 19:15:31 -0400 From: "Randy P" Because your site was the PRIMARY reason I purchased the TRV900, I thought it would only be "right" if I shared, and warn, others regarding my purchase. I am going out-of-state this Saturday for my sisters wedding. I wanted to take the 900 with me. After finally deciding on the camera I wanted to purchase (over the weekend), I called around on Monday morning for a fair price. After a number of calls, Camera & Sound offered the best deal. And what a deal it was. TRV900, 2 Sony DV tapes w/chips, UV filter lense, and free 3 day shipping for $2000. To good to be true. Brian was the salesman. He said they have plenty in stock and they could ship it that day. WOW I thought, a lot cheaper than any other prices I've acquired. So I placed the order that day, expecting to get the camera on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.(maybe less time than that, Camera & Sound is in PA, I live in Ohio, the state next door to them) Well, then today arrives (Wednesday) and I had to go out of town for business either today(Wed.) or Thursday. I didn't want to miss the "Signature Required" shipment, so I called Camera & Sound for a tracking number. This is where it all goes down hill! After being transfered from one operator to the next, somebody finally said they'll call me back in a few minutes. After about 1 hour, they did call back. The package was NEVER SHIPPED!!! Ends up, so they say, they were out of stock on the camera!!!! After Brian said they "have plenty in stock" and they would ship it that day! B.S.!!! They tried working different deals, tried selling me a different camera, you name it. I was furious! Finally they said they would find me one and asked if they could call be back. Reluctant, I said yes. In the mean time was on the phone and web looking for another camera that WOULD arrive by the weekend. Thomas, at gave me a sweat deal. The camera, 2 Sony tapes w/chip, 2 JVS DV tapes w/o chip, the UV filter lense, and NextDay FedX shipping for $2067!!!! And they DO HAVE them in stock. I cancelled my order with Brian (the typical lying salesman in my opinion) at Camera & Sound and placed the order with The camera will be here by 12:00 tomorrow. In my opinion, STAY AWAY FROM Camera & Sound located in PA!!!!! Terrible experience with them and their salespeople... especially Brian!
Subject: Overheating problems at 40 degrees C Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 12:23:40 +0200 To: From: Bart Denoo (bart_denoo at artwork-systems com) I'm back from a trip to Cyprus and did encounter some reliability problems with my 2 month old TRV900e there. The noon temperature in the shadow was close to 40 degrees Celsius and sometimes even well over. That's the camera's official top operating temperature. When using the camera, you have to hold it in the sun, so it'll get even warmer. (The camera also heats up internally while in use, and is covered by your hand so the wind can't cool it down.) Under these conditions, sometimes one or both heads stopped recording. When one head stopped, I got the 'use cleaning tape' message in the display. When both heads stopped, I didn't get any warning. On the next successful recording the time code started at zero again (I didn't pre-record the tape). During playback, in the first case I get horizontal bands containing the last image from the previous scene (from the drop-out buffer), while in the second case I get a blue screen. In all cases, the camera did recover all by itself and I could record over that part of the tape. Does anyone have similar experiences? Do you know any tricks against overheating?
The heat issue may not be just the camera itself. Both the MiniDV tape and the cassette shell are plastic, and at 40 C the tape may be a little too stretchy for proper recording, or it may start shedding its coating (and gumming up the head). That's just speculation, but I'd try to keep the camera cooler than 40C when operating! If you can shade yourself with an umbrella, you can reduce temperatures and lens flare at the same time. [jpb]

Subject: Panasonic Tape problem, camera noise, white balance too blue From: Stummer Georg (stummer at infonova at) Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 10:01:16 +0200 I got my TRV900e (European PAL Version, bought in Austria) July 15th, 1999 and here are some (bad) comments : 1. Big Problems using the Panasonic tape AY-DVM80EJ ... Mixing it with Sony tape caused a lot of mosaic, gray bars and finally the message "Cleaning tape" - and this after 10 hours of usage ! Sony service told me that this problem occurs with panasonic and JVC tapes. So I think the problem is still not solved. 2. Camcorder makes a lot of noise compared to my old Hi8 camcorder. 3. Automatic white balance makes the footage much to blue (with a little bit red), as well in artificial as in natural light conditions. 4. Charging only with the camcorder connected is stupid - I got an adaptor solution from Vivanco , which can be connected to the normal charger so you can charge your batteries without the camcorder. Costs about 20 USD and works fine. Loading time is about 10 percent higher.
Subject: Audio trouble: buzzing, reverberation To: Mark Stang Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 11:09:30 -0700 (PDT) > I did have a problem that I need to know more about from an experienced > user: I was recording my Dad playing a grand piano (large dynamic > range) and tried manual record levels. I chose 16-bit audio, and > preset the level to avoid clipping (red zone of VU meter), which wound > up being below the half-way mark by a little. No external mic. > > On playback, there was a quite noticeable mid-to higher frequency > buzzing from both R and L channels which seemed to be louder as the > piano volume increased. > > I then put some headphones on and experimented: The audio in my 900 > buzzes and reverberates after loud voice, music, wind, etc. to varying > degrees whether I use 12 or 16-bit, manual level control or automatic. > It is very apparent with headphones on. > > When you get a chance, please try this: Put on a pair of headphones > and in the camera mode, say "check, check" right into the mics. Do > you get a buzzing and reverberating metalic sound on your 900, or is it > just my camera that's bad? Also with the headphones on, go into the > manual mic volume mode and turn the control dial up and down while > listening. Do you hear any buzzing? Interesting. I have tried that experiment, speaking sharply and distinctly right into the internal mics. On either manual or auto-level it sounds very clear, nothing like the effects you describe. However, what you are talking about sounds exactly like what people had complained of on the PD100, and that audio problem is the reason the PD100a was developed. The TRV900 and PD100 are basically very similar. Apparently there is some active cancellation (DSP filter?) of the motor noise from the TRV900 and PD100 internal mics, and this can cause audio artifacts as you describe, but some cameras (like mine) do not show the problem. I believe it won't happen if you use an external mic, and for music recording, that's always a good idea anyway. Or you might try exchanging the unit, if you can. -john [Mark wrote back to say he got a new unit without the problem, and returned the first one. Based on this and other comments, it seems there is some unit-to-unit variation in noise level among TRV900s.]
Subject: Dubbing problem to JVC BRS 800U SVHS deck To: Jim Boydston Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 11:14:55 -0700 (PDT) > Hi John, I thougth I'd toss this by you. As you know I have a TRV900 and > yesterday I wanted to just dub a copy of a tape from the TRV900 straight > into my JVC S-VHS deck. It's a BRS 800U deck. I connected to the A/V inputs > on the back of the deck, using the S-Video ports. The audio copied just > fine, but there was a jagged line across the picture about two inches down > on the screen. Looked like maybe a tracking problem, but adjusting that > didn't help a bit. I thought maybe a bad tape, so I tried a different one > but it made no difference. I have a Sony SLV-688HF VHS deck and a Panasonic AG-1980 SVHS, and both work fine. I have not heard of this problem you describe before. Perhaps the video output from the TRV900 is a bit "hot" (more than 1 Vpp) which would cause some decks to have trouble. The indicator would be, if you film a dark scene with no saturated whites, does the problem go away? If so, then that's it. The fix would be to have the TRV900 output level adjusted (or the BRS 800U input range increased, if possible). -john
Subject: Bugs inside Lens Date: Tue, 7 Sep 1999 19:24:16 +0100 From: Mark Grant Had an interesting experience at the weekend while shooting a short movie for a friend of mine. We'd done three or four shots when I noticed this weird fuzzy blob moving around on the viewfinder screen. Looking at the lens, I noticed a couple of tiny little bugs on it... nothing new, you might think, except that these bugs were on the *back* of the lens, inside the camera! Luckily, after a while they fell off and vanished, presumably munched up by the focus or zoom mechanism, but I have no idea how they managed to get in there...
Subject: Recording extremely loud sound (nitromethane dragsters) From: Davis William E To: Date: Tue, 7 Sep 1999 11:18:26 -0400 I promised a few weeks ago to report back to the group on the TRV900's ability to withstand the incredible sound pressure levels, vibration, and hellish toxic fumes generated around nitro-methane fueled dragsters. Well, here's the result: Amazingly, the BIM's did fine with the loudest of these cars (I was 100 feet away when they went by at 300+ mph, 6000 HP, full throttle), I detected no 'flattening' of the signal due to overpressure, and in fact, each beat of the engines was as clear as they were within my ear-plugged and ear-muffed head, where the sould levels were still quite high. I truly expected a total overload. These cars literally make your bones and everything else attached to the ground rattle for a mile in all directions, and will cause permanent hearing damage to unprotected ears, so, again, I'm truly amazed at how good the footage I took sounds. Contrast this to wind, which completely destroys sound for the BIM's. I actually don't understand how this worked so well. Very natural sound, tho the tape, when played back on my 200 watt Bose system, still doesn't have the same effect as being there live. As for the video, nary a dropout, flicker of snow, distortion or anything else. The footage is rock solid, and very clean. I attempted to shoot both with steadyshot on and then off to see if there was a difference, and except for a shaky hand, I couldn't tell. The vibration from the cars is incredible and I expected it to distort what the steadyshot system was trying to do, but it was not noticeable either way. The footage always looks clean, as it should. This is probably due to the frequency of vibration of the cars being a lot higher than what the SS was designed to handle. I caught the last day on TV last night, and was comparing TNN's footage to my footage, and well, what a shame it is TNN couldn't broadcast this quality all the way to the consumer! So, go to your loud concerts, races, etc., and enjoy. I don't think anything will exceed what I just put the 900 thru! Ed
Subject: Don't drop it on concrete Date: Thu, 9 Sep 1999 10:28:45 EDT From: Terer at aol com I dropped my 900 from a foot and a half onto concrete and completely mashed the entire lens mount. In no way is it still functional. It may be a good camera, but it is not indestructable.
Subject: TRV-900 sound problems found From: "Boris Nalibotski" (borisn at csi com) Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 16:18:39 -0400 I purchased my TRV900 in August, 1999 inspired by your great site. It turned out to be a great camera. But.. in a couple of days I discovered a sound problem nobody seems to notice before since your page doesn't mention it at all. First I thought someting was wrong with my unit, but after exchanging messages with other users at Compuserve Video Forum and checking later with demo unit at the store I realized it is an intrinsic TRV900 glitch. As a matter of fact there are 2 side effects, both related to the motor noise=20 reduction circuitry. The first one I would call "resonance" or "ringing". If you start singing/humming/talking at exactly the motor frequency or its harmonics (300 Hz, 600 Hz) monitoring the sound in headphones and then abruptly interrupt the sound, you'll here an obvious aftersound, an echo. The longer you sing, the louder and longer it lasts after you get silent. The effect is especially noticable in a quiet environment and could become very annoying. If somebody sings with no accompaniment, the camera produces echo every time the voice gets into a D tune (300 Hz). Same happens during the speech: some people, me in particular tend to have an average voice tone around 300 Hz. After I posted my observations on Compuserve, another TRV900 user confirmed the effect and even sent me a sound file which shows the effect. I can send it to you so you can put it on your site, just let me know. And look what I recently found on TRV900 European forum: "PD100 HAVE A SERIOUS SOUNDPROBLEM. NOICECANCELLING (MOTORNOISE) CIRCUITS CAN NOT DIFFER BETWEEN MOTORNOISE AND SAME FREQUENCIES IN SPEECH - SO INTERVIEWS WITH NO BACKGROUND NOISE CANT BE USED. 'RINGING' FROM THE NOISECANCELLING CIRCUITS AFTER EACH WORD.. SONY SAYS IT CAN NOT BE ADJUSTED. WAIT FOR THE NEXT MODEL..." The guy was talking about PD100, but it's basically the same camera. Another sound glitch is what I call a "piano" effect. I recorded my friend-pianist playing some jazz, and when we listened to the recording through a big stereo system both of us noticed a motor humming coming over the piano sound. As soon as the play stopped the noise disappeared. The effect gets copletely obscured by high harmonics, so it's very hard to notice during a guitar play or if you record some pop-music. But if you just start permanently hitting a piano key especially in lower octaves - the motor noise in headphones increases dramatically, then quickly dissapears after you stop. I believe it's not the real motor noise - it's too loud for it - but an internal signal of an opposite phase they apply to cancel the motor noise in a quiet environment. The circuit just works in a weird way when the ambient sound grows loud.=20 In my opinion both effects are serious enough to be mentioned on your site - even Sony is going to address them in the next model. If you play with a camera a little bit you'll notice them, especially the resonance. Just put the headphones on and start humming in STANDBY mode changing the tone gradually. You'll get it. With an external mike (just bought AT822) none of this is happening, though I consider the camera's preamp quite noisy for a prosumer model. Going to buy a mixer to increase a mic signal and bring the preamp level/noise down. Best regards, Boris
Subject: Interference to handheld radios From: WMPapke at aol com Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 01:15:34 EDT This past summer while using my 900 to film a "managed" forest fire in the Sierra I was standing near three fire fighting personell who were directing the management of the fire. All three had radio communication devices typical of such an operation. While talking to one of the operators I turned on my camera to film a water drop. Immediately his radio began to give off an interference sound. When I went to standbye the sound stopped. As soon as I went to record it came back. I soon realized that I was causing the interference and stopped trying to film. He had never experienced something like this before and at first did not believe that I was doing it. During this time neither one of the other two radio operator (on separate frequencies) experienced any distortion of their reception. I can assure you that the Forest Service in this part of the country will be very careful in choosing the 900 as a potential camcorder for use during fire fighting events. Anyone have similar experience. I noted that some have had trouble with the Azden cordless mike. I have yet to try my 900 with a cordless mike. Hope this helps someone. Unfortunately the operator of the radio did not know what frequency he was operating at. Bill Papke
Subject: extreme wide angle lens Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999 13:40:47 -0900 From: Jan Curtis (jcurtis at gi alaska edu) > Question: Does this digital camera have fish-eye (all sky) lens > capability? (separate lens?) It sounds like you need 180 degree field of view? The widest angle lens I know of is a 0.45x wide adaptor (Century Optics) which means the normal wide angle (41.3 mm referred to a 35mm camera, or 47 degrees horizontal field of view) becomes 105 degrees. If you need wider than that, I don't think this camera can do it. Or any other video camera I know of. I suppose you could design and construct your own lens. You could also suspend the camera above a mirrored ball, that would give you 180 degrees FOV, although with a small obscuration: the camera shadow. > Question: Can this camera operate continuous (via DC adapter) for > extended periods (up to one year). > I am a researcher and am planning to photograph the sky for contrails > (from jets) by taking one minute interval still (single frame) exposures > and have these images firewired into adjacent MAC computer. The camera > will be housed in a warmed glass dome. Yes, for firewire output you can take the tape out, turn off the demo mode (I explain this in my FAQ) and it will run forever (until you shut off the power). Or you can put it in "Photo" mode and do the same thing. -jpb
Subject: TRV900 for documentary, hood for Vivanco wide angle Date: Mon, 18 Oct 1999 19:12:33 +0000 From: "Paul Jenkins" (thema at dircon co uk) I'm a professional documentary maker. We've been using my TRV900 alongside a DigiBeta camera ($100,000 or so!) for a 104 minute documentary in Bosnia (about Srebrenica - on PBS in January, on BBC Nov 27 1999). Frankly, the differences between the two are often hard to spot!! Blow away good quality from the TRV. One problem: I have a Vivanco 0.5 wide angle lens (77mm front end). Quality is excellent (it's a glass lens) with little distortion I can spot, and pretty good through half or so of the zoom. The problem is lens flare, exaccerbated by dust (especially in the Balkans!!). So far I haven't been able to find a lens hood of any kind for this lens. Any suggestions where I can go for a lens hood, or of any workaround solutions? > Regarding the wide angle lens, the best solution would have adjustable > flags depending on the zoom setting, since at the widest angle you can't > get much shading at all without vignetting. I don't know of a solution > with folding flags, but I have a Hoya 77mm multi-angle rubber lens hood, > sold for film camera lenses, which is one option. I think B&H sells it. > -john Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 11:05:28 +0000 Subject: Re: Vivanco wide angle lens hood We've been VERY impressed with the TRV. So have the US networks, according to a professional war/conflict reporter/cameraman I know. He uses a TRV + Beachtek box + radio mikes to enhance sound capability. Which may be the best solution to another niggle I have with the TRV: sometimes using a Sennheiser MK300 mounted on the top (using a Canon MB-100 mount to clear it from frame, especially with wide angle lens) I find that I get a buzzing noise or lose sound altogether while on the auto sound level setting. I suspect the connection to the mini-jack mic input is imperfect. My solution so far has been to set the sound level manually so that I see the level bars in viewfinder/LCD while shooting. Much more reassuring!! -Paul -- Paul Jenkins Thema Productions Ltd +44 (0) 171 582 7535

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