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Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now. Either way, the target market is likely broader than you think. I performed a suite of quality-related tests with a production model for an issue of HDV Work. I also tested the Smooth Slow Rec function, which captures at fields per second for 3 seconds to produce 12 seconds of slow-motion video — albeit at lower-than-normal resolution.
However, he mentioned several technical differences between the products designed to optimize the HD for professional use. ClearVid CMOS sensor, which includes approximately 3,, total pixels — of which 2,, are used during video capture. All pre-compression processing is performed at that resolution in the color space.
First, CMOS sensors are obviously cheaper to manufacture, and they require less power, so they offer longer running time and less thermal noise. In addition, from a feature standpoint, data retrieval is much simpler from CMOS than from CCDs, which enables such features as the ability to capture still images at multiple aspect ratios and video simultaneously with the HD For example, while shooting HDV, you can capture a 4.
This is not important to me, but both features have obvious applications for newsgathering and even event videography, where both still and video capture is helpful. In terms of size and shape, the unit is about as long, wide, and tall as a Canon XL2 — although the composition of the body is more traditional with an integrated lens and plastic body with a hard, durable feel.
The camcorder has a traditional pop-off-and-dangle lens cap rather than the integrated cover I love so much in the HDR-FX1. The HD includes a 10X zoom and features electronic image stabilization. Sony includes a stereo shotgun microphone, the ECM-PS1, which attaches to an integrated microphone holder on the front right of the camcorder.
The microphone plugs into a stereo mini-jack without phantom power. The viewfinder pulls out to about 1in. The touchscreen LCD panel, which serves as your menu system, can swivel degrees to function as a preview monitor for your subject.
The camera uses MiniDV tapes, and the tape mechanism is on the front right. Sony took advantage of a large camera body to include three separate RCA adapters for composite video and left and right audio — no three-prong specialty cable to lose. The latter is for still images. You also get a control ring that you can configure to control focus, brightness, shutter speed, auto-exposure shift, or white balance shift. You can also control zoom with the ring, but with two zoom rockers on the camcorder, this makes little sense.
All other controls, including enabling and disabling image stabilization, are located in the touchscreen-controlled menu system. In addition, you assign a function to the control ring via the touchscreen menu. It would have been nice to have a manual switch on the camera body. Every shooter is different, and every event is different. Typically, in a controlled setting such as an interview, you control the lighting, set exposure, and manipulate zoom and perhaps focus during the shoot.
In this environment, the HD should work just fine. In a live event, under changing lighting conditions, things get a bit dicier. Here, I set shutter speed manually, adjusted exposure with the control ring, and relied upon auto focus to keep the dancers sharp. This worked well except during the low-light scenes, where I set exposure, switched the ring to focus, and then focused with the control ring.
You can change this ring control while shooting. However, there is no peaking mode, which many shooters use to help with focus, or expanded focus, which gives you a close-up in the VF to use for focusing purposes.
Rather, it adjusts shutter speed, aperture, and gain from one unified control. In the middle ranges, it adjusts aperture to control lighting. Under low-light conditions, it boosts gain to increase brightness. Overall, for many shooters on many shoots, this control paradigm should work pretty well. With the HD, shooting a live performance of The Nutcracker was easy—except in low-light scenes, which required a complicated set of manual adjustments. The Nutcracker was a two-camera shoot. I used a Canon XL A1 as the close-up camera following the dancers on the stage, and I had the HD locked down and shooting the entire stage.
I was operating both camcorders, so I had the HD in auto-focus mode with the shutter speed set at I searched for an automatic shooting mode that could handle the challenging stage lighting, and then I noticed that although the camcorder offers a backlight control, there is no spotlight control. Auto exposure invariably blows out the whites — especially when shooting white-clad ballerinas dancing against a black curtain.
I shot two shows that day, switching camcorders for the second shoot. Once I had the HD on the moving tripod, I quickly noticed that the zoom rocker is almost 15in. The zoom rocker is 5in. As mentioned above, I mostly rode the exposure controls during the performance because the lighting changed frequently and was uneven across the stage. After the show, I checked the XL A1 and noticed that the zoom, focus, and aperture rings all had different tension levels.
The focus and aperture are set a bit tighter than the zoom. After the first ballet, I spent about 30 minutes taping audience shots and B-roll interviews with the dancers on the HD, and I found its shoulder-mounted operation quite good.
The unit is much more balanced than the Canon XL2, which is front-heavy and tilts strongly to the left. I could see this camera performing very well in the ENG role for which it was clearly designed. Company: Sony www. To comment on this article, email the Digital Content Producer staff at feedback digitalcontentproducer. For more stories like this, and to keep up to date with all our market leading news, features and analysis, sign up to our newsletter here.
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