Friday, 26 February 2010

My gear - the camera

Panasonic NV-GS330. A half decent camcorder from Panasonic. Records on to MiniDV tape which means the video is really easy to upload on to my computer via a firewire connection using iMovie or Final Cut. iMovie is a free program with a mac, and it's really user friendly.



I'll be basic here, mainly because I only know the basics! I've basically jumped into this with both feet without having much background. A good selling point of this camera - it comes with 3CCD chips rather than one so you get deeper brighter colours. Panasonic apparently make quite a lot of television cameras that journalists and news reporters use, and they've put their know-how into the small consumer camcorder. Downside is that you have a wide depth of field so it's harder to get cool shots with the foreground in focus and the background blurry, but being a camcorder, this would always be the case anyway, so the trade off is okay. You can still get those shots if you plan them well and use a solid tripod and zoom in from far away. A camcorder lens with no zoom is a wide angle, and when zoomed all the way in, becomes a (moderately) long lens. You also have the option to manually alter the white balance, focus and aperture to give you more control over the picture. Digital Video is still video though, and you need things to be well lit to avoid harsh graininess and ugly looking footage. Another downside to my camera is that it has no external mic port, meaning I need to either use the on-board mic which is risky, especially if I want to edit scenes together that might have different background noise as the mic is omni directional. If I had an external mic port I could attach a shotgun mic which would only pick up the noise it is pointing at, which cuts out background noise and makes it easier to edit scenes together. A workaround - record sound into a separate sound recorder and combine at a later date. Ouch.

Pros

  • Relatively cheap consumer camcorder
  • 3CCD meaning bright colours and good visual clarity
  • MiniDV so instantly compatible with my computer and editing software
  • Manual control available for focus, shutter/aperture, white balance


Cons

  • Digital Video needs good lighting
  • No external mic jack
  • Not HD
I also have an outdoor halogen spotlight on a stand that I picked up from a DIY store for about £25, and an inexpensive tripod I bought on ebay years ago for photography for about £15. Very very basic stuff and inexpensive. But that's the fun part, I basically have no idea what I'm doing :-D

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