I love my casablanca!

A forum to share ideas and opinions on the equipment and technical aspects of film, video and AV making.
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Posts: 661
Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:42 pm
Location: Antwerp Belgium

I love my casablanca!

Post by Willy »

Tapes or memory cards... That's the question!
Big problems with my sony 2000! After 50 minutes I get distortion in my images. I hope you understand what I mean. I am very bad at explaining a technical problem in my own language. So in English it is even be worse, but I am trying. After 50 minutes little squares appear in my images. They are kind of drop-outs. I already tried to solve the problem by using a cleaning cassette, but without any result. Sometimes the disturbances appear after 45 minutes. Sometimes after 50 minutes. As you know a sony 2000 is not a high definition camera. I think it was Tom Hardwick who already told me that mini-DV cassettes will still be used the next 20 years, but I don't think it is a good idea to have my camera repaired now. Then I must spend a lot of money on it and maybe sony is not even be willing to repair it.

To buy or not to buy a new camera ?
I read Tom Hardwick's very interesting articles in Film and Video Maker. I appreciate his articles very much. I am a foreigner, but I understand almost everything. They are always written in a good and simplified way. Tom told us about the sony Z1 HDV-camera some time ago. Now about the sony NX5 camera. If I understand everything very well this camera works with memory cards. A HDV-camera with tapes. The newest camera with memory cards. I think that Tom recommends the memory stick system, this to avoid drop outs. Tom does not tell us how much such a camera costs. I think in Belgium about 4,500 to 5,000 euros. I have already talked to my darling treasury chief about it. She said "You only live once!". That's good news, isn't it ?

To buy or not to buy a new casablanca ?
But a new camera also means a new casablanca. I really hate other computer systems. I have already worked with my casablanca for years and years. Maybe I am a little stubborn about this. I love my casablanca so much. In England there are cat-lovers and there are dog-lovers. There also casablanca-lovers and computer system-lovers. I belong to the first group. Please, do not blame me for this! Now I wonder if I have to buy a new sophisticated casablanca as well when using a camera with memory cards. I have not asked the dealer yet, but I am sure that he will recommend the newest casablanca.

Please, help!
A new camera and a new casablanca. Price ? You can buy a small car in Belgium for that amount of money. What do you think? Maybe you already know that I am hesitating. I am as old/young as Dave. I have thought about retiring as a filmmaker. But now after having finished my newest film I already don't know what to do. Life is boring when not making films. Please, help!
Willy Van der Linden
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2007 5:14 pm
Location: Warwickshire

Re: I love my casablanca!

Post by Pqtrick »

Hello Willy! I have said before, your English is excellent. There is a good old English expression: 'If it ain’t broke, don't fix it'.

I have a similar problem with my SD camera, where horizontal lines appear at certain times, then disappear. I am no expert and have done all the tricks I have been told. I am able to work around it and it only seems to be evident in the camera’s screen.

I sometimes lament at the enthusiasm for the latest technology. The often refered to 'young' film makers, sometimes want to create that old and scratchy black and white image rather than this too clean, we can see the hairs on the nose HD. Soon we will be told that we have to move to 3D and surround sound!

I was surprised recently, that for the first time in more than five years, I took my S-VHS camera out of its dusty case. I was having a clear out, and got distracted! Running a tape through it I was surprised at the quality of the image on our 'new' TV. It looked very good.

In those days, I edited with a Casablanca Avio, which I will never get rid of. I changed to a PC more to do with my day-job as I had been a confirmed Mac User until then. Something I regret!

So why change? Some will argue and perhaps put up another case. If you have a Casablanca and you are happy with it, stick to it! If you need another camera get one which suits it. With cash in your hands you could get a real bargain.

You are first and foremost a film maker. You could use super8 cine, if you wanted to. OK, there are one or two complications with the sound and sync. But it is the film and the idea which counts.

I have been thinking of the idea, that if I had to buy another camera, it may be still camera which could make video. Only because I like a still camera and the type of image which can be achieved with it. But that is me being a little different perhaps.

I hope this may help. We are packing our bags soon and returning to England to live. I miss those daffodils in springtime! – So if my wife wants to blame anyone, I will say 'Blame Willy' he started it all! Pqtrick Villeurbanne France. :)
Arthur Bates
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Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 12:16 pm

Re: I love my casablanca!

Post by Arthur Bates »

Hi Willie, Your plight has brought tears to my eyes. Two years ago I lost my beloved Sony 900, my first digital camera, under similar circumstances. But wait, all is not lost; my old camera makes an excellent sound recorder so is still very much in demand. I am not the one to advise on new cameras. I got a Sony HRV-V1E/1P whatever that means, which was on offer at the time and my financial regulator did not mind or more likely she didn’t know. Don’t tell Tom or he might tell me what an awful camera it is. Yes I too drool over his articles, I’m glad in a way he doesn’t give the price as I might not dare to read them. Above all Do Not give up film making, I don’t think you could anyway, you are still a young lad, I am just turned 87 years young and am dashing to get my new film in to BIAFF by Jan 10th. Now that the snow is thawing I think it should get there. Thank God for animation. Making film keeps one alive! Tip. Buy your Financial Controller a new handbag or something, and while she is unwrapping it creep to the video shop and have fun, we won’t tell. AB
tom hardwick
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:59 am

Re: I love my casablanca!

Post by tom hardwick »

Glad you like my articles chaps! And I'm glad too (in a way) that Editor Garth doesn't have to watch over his contributors while keeping a fearful eye on his advertisers. In other words I can tell it as I see it, and I'm quick to point out areas where items of equipment could and should be better.

I generally don't give solid prices in Positive Image because they're so variable, country vs country and shop vs web. But I do try and give ball-park figures on items such as the TRV900, MX300, Zoom H2, LED lights, GH1, Z1, NX5, camera bags and so on.

But we do indeed all only live once - this is no dress rehearsal so we shouldn't plan to be the richest corpse in the morgue. With this in mind Willy (and with your wife's blessing) I'd say that yes indeed - it's almost certain that your VX2000's repair won't be cost effective - you'll still be left with a standard definition, 4:3 camera that is starting to come unsoldered in all sorts of areas.

The dropouts you're experiencing after 50 mins or so point to a deck alignment problem, where the feed and take-up reel tensions are in need of adjustment. When you come across one of these dropouts, eject the tape cassette and flip its little lid to have a close-up look at the tape itself. Is it wrinkled or crinkled in any way? My TRV900 (had two of those as well) suffered from this fault.

Of course the VX2k is a fine camera (I had two of them) and a huge leap forward from the Hi-8 brigade and such cameras are doing stirling work for thousands of projects that simply don't require 16:9.

A new camera? It'll have to be card because there's mighty few tape-based cameras for sale now. You can still buy Arthur's excellent V1, and Sony's books still list the Z5 and Z7 - both of which record HDV to MiniDV tape. But come their demise and there won't be any tape-based cameras around. Canon, JVC and Panasonic gave up tape some time ago, and the Z5 and Z7 have CompactFlash add-ons that keep them in the brochure.

So what do I recommend as a VX2k replacement? Well unless you're buying second-hand (where I'd hugely recommend the Canon XHA1 or the Sony Z1) there's no choice - it's flash memory or take up fishing. SDHC card seems to be the clear winner and Sony now accept it as a valid storage device for the EX1R. Panasonic's HMC151 is an amazing deal and the Sony AX2000 is worth a look as you can carry over your batteries and charger, LANC controller and so on.

The only thing to check is that your much-loved Casablanca is up to the task of editing AVCHD footage. Although this is higher resolution than HDV the compression is greater, so computers need grunt in order to play it smoothly. Of course you can always decompress your AVCHD footage and edit that as easily as you edit DV - the only catch is that you'll need lots of hard disc space to hold the decompressed (expanded) footage. But with 1tb HDDs going for less than £50, that's not a real problem these days.

But technological change is gathering pace, and the new breed of 'big chipped' camcorders has arrived - spurred on by the success of the video that's coming out of the latest DSLRs. So there's lots to think about, lots to choose from and best of all our pictures get better and better all the time.

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Dave Watterson
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Location: Bath, England

Re: I love my casablanca!

Post by Dave Watterson »

A general question to Tom, Col and other knowledgeable folk ...

Would it be worth trying to put on the main IAC website a page or two of recommended setups for newcomers / more advanced film makers ... covering camera, storage medium, editors, computer power ... possibly even going on to projectors and screens?

It would have to be updated frequently - and have to carry a formal note that "most equipment available from the main manufacturers will work well and allow your creative juices to flow, but these are combinations that seem to us for the moment to offer a good mix of quality and value"

I can foresee all sorts of objections to the notion, but it might also be a valuable service to newcomers, and to members wishing to upgrade (or like Willy being forced to upgrade). I have not even asked the webmaster about this notion yet - but all you folk who keep up with the latest kits and developments ... what say you?
- Dave
tom hardwick
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Joined: Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:59 am

Re: I love my casablanca!

Post by tom hardwick »

It's a good idea Dave but as you say would have to be constantly updated and is so easily clouded by personal preferences - 'I hate Bill Gates', that sort of thing.

I'm always happy to answer IAC members' emails on 'what kit should I buy?', but I also know that my answers are clouded and quite possibly prejudiced by personal experiences - after all, what else do I have to go on? Most of the hardware badged JVC that I've owned over the years has been nowhere near as reliable as the Panasonic and Sony kit, so I have a natural (and probably quite illogical) tendency to ignore their current crop of camcorders.

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