February 2002
Issue 2
Volume 7
  In This Issue
VCR, DVD, or Both?
Thou Shall Not Record in Extended Play
Grammar Trap: Incredulous vs. Incredible

VCR, DVD, or Both?

One of our readers, Mike Ferree, asked: "I'm going buy a VCR unit for the office. I've noticed that you can buy units that have both VCR and DVD players. Do you feel that educational programs will be put on DVDs instead of VCR cassette tapes in the near future?"

I spoke with my colleague, Randy Spears (who knows a lot more than I do about these types of things), and we came up with an answer.

No doubt more and better programs will go the way of DVD. But many excellent videotapes are already available. (And they'll be available probably for the life of the unit you would buy).

I'd say get both if you have the money. But think twice about buying a machine that has both a VCR and a DVD player in one unit, even if you think it might be a little more convenient.

Here's why.

Chances are you will give up some features on both the VCR and the DVD players when they are combined. There are many features to consider on a DVD player, including how it scans data and how it connects to peripheral equipment. Also, VCRs and even DVDs can be temperamental. If you have a VCR and DVD together and either one breaks down, you lose both.

Besides, a new VCR isn't expensive (under $100), so you won't be out a lot of cash if you buy a separate unit.

In summary, keeping them separate allows you to have one or the other ready to go, and it allows you to get the best features on both machines. Happy shopping.

Steve Cain

Thou Shall Not Record in Extended Play

I've run into this dilemma so many times that it's worth a mention here.

I know the thinking, "Let's see, the tape is 120 minutes long, but if I change the record mode from SP to SLP, I can record 6 hours on a 120-minute video cassette. Oh, the money I'll save!"

Stop! Repent Now!

Buck up, and open your wallet. Recently, while doing a favor for a family member, I was handed an unfamiliar VHS camcorder. The very first setting I changed was to switch from SLP, or Super Long Play, to SP, or Standard Play mode. Why?

One word: Quality.

This event was one they wanted to "keep" forever. SP recording allows you to capture the highest quality recording possible. Tape is cheap, so go ahead and buy another cassette. It'll be worth it in the long run.

An Analogy

Have you ever looked at video on the Web? Not high art. In order to deliver clips in the smallest file possible, information gets dropped.

So it is with SLP recording. You stretch out the information so thinly that, when you play it back, it looks blurred. More information is recorded when the tape is moving at a faster rate, hence a better play back.

Future Use

In my familial example, this event was a once-in-a-lifetime happening. No better reason to get the best quality recording possible.

Another good reason is editing. There are times when you may want to travel to our fair campus for some editing help (or use our equipment on your own). But our machines won't play tapes that have been recorded at a slow rate. They only play tapes that have been recorded in SP mode. Believe me, this has tripped up quite a few people.

The Exception

To back off a bit . . . I can think of one exception to this golden rule. You are going to go out for the day, and the Boilers are playing a big game. You want to record it. The game can go on for hours and all you have is a 2-hour tape. What setting do you use? In this instance, it's okay to switch. Just remember to put it back when you return.

By the way--I don't do weddings.

Joan Crow

Grammar Trap: Incredulous vs. Incredible

Maybe it's because these words have similar roots that people sometimes confuse them (and so use them incorrectly).

"Incredulous" means to be unwilling or unable to believe something, to be skeptical. Only people can be incredulous.

Example: She was incredulous about the claim he made.

"Incredible" means unbelievable. People can be incredible, and so can things.

Examples: He is an incredible liar. She was incredulous about the incredible claim he made.

Do you have a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like to see discussed? Do you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one? If so, please let me know.

Visit http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/agcomm/ontarget/grammartrap/ for past "Grammar Traps."

Laura Hoelscher

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