Advice on professional video cameras
What are the advantages of a professional video camera?
The biggest difference between a professional video camera and a simple camcorder is the quality of the lens and the image sensor. Most lenses of a camcorder are made of very high quality plastic. The lens of a professional camera is made of glass with different coatings to prevent unwanted deformations. In addition, the opening of the lens is larger and therefore more light can fall on the sensor. This sensor is larger than that of a camcorder. This way more information can be stored which gives the possibility to capture beautiful details. The border between a good camcorder and a professional video camera is becoming increasingly vague. A good camcorder can also have excellent features. And at the same time, a professional video camera is becoming more and more affordable.
What influence does the sensor have on image quality?
Because the image sensor of a professional video camera is larger than that of a camcorder, more light may fall on the sensor. This gives the camera much more information, making it easier to deal with bad lighting situations, movements and colors. So you can say; the larger the sensor, the higher the image quality.
- The ** full frame sensor ** is the largest and is used in (semi-) professional cameras. This sensor is therefore very capable of filming detailed images. But the sensitivity has a second advantage: this sensor performs extremely well in the dark. That means that when it gets dark, you do not have to use an external light source right away.
- The ** 1/3 inch sensor ** is the most common sensor. It is smaller than the full-frame sensor, but still much larger than the sensor of a simple camcorder.
What kind of external microphone do you want to connect?
Most video cameras have an internal microphone to record sound in a simple way. And because this microphone is kept small and simple, there are often limitations. For example, they often suffer from environmental noise and have a limited range. That's why a professional video camera is always equipped with an external microphone connection.
** Connections **
There are 2 different outputs to connect an external microphone.
- A ** 3.5mm ** connection (the bottom cable in the picture). The type of cable used for this is sensitive to interference and radiation from other equipment.
- A ** XLR ** connection (the upper cable in the illustration). An XLR connection is a professional sound connection and has the best audio transmission. An XLR cable has a protective jacket that prevents interference. Do you want to bridge a longer distance? Choose an XLR cable, the signal will not lose strength over longer distances.
Some video cameras have a double audio input. So you can even connect two microphones: a microphone for ambient noise and a microphone for direct sound, in order to obtain a perfect sound mix.
Which manual settings are you going to use?
Although the video camera has an automatic mode, it is advisable to learn how to operate the camera manually. In optimal situations, it is no problem for the camera to choose the right settings. But when it becomes more difficult, for example when less light is available, you want to be able to choose how you want to compensate for this shortage of light. The camera will not immediately come up with the ultimate solution.
One of the most important manual features is the ** focus **. With this you determine yourself which part of the image is sharp. This can be difficult when your subject is in motion, or when you want to move the focus yourself. Fortunately there are useful tools, such as peaking, that help with this.
The ** iris ** determines the size of the aperture, or the amount of light that passes through the lens. This way you can influence the image by making it darker or lighter.
The ** zebra function ** is used to check the exposure in the viewfinder or on the screen. When you activate this function, it shows the overexposed areas in the image by overlaying a zebra pattern.
The ** shutter ** determines how long each frame is illuminated. This is especially interesting when you are dealing with fast-moving subjects, or when you want to film in slow motion. With a short shutter speed, the frames will be sharper, because the shutter will then be opened for a shorter time. With a slow shutter speed, more movement is recorded.
Each light source has a different color temperature. And when the camera is not properly tuned to this color temperature, the images may get an unnatural color. To prevent this, adjust the ** white balance ** in the video camera. Some video cameras have pre-programmed modes.
How do you want to finish the film files?
Because professional video cameras record high-quality files, your computer system must also be calculated on this. You will have to import large files and render your final image operations. This process processes the edit layers and effects and creates 1 file. Your computer must therefore meet certain requirements, such as a certain size of memory. These requirements can be found in the specifications of the software that you will use for that.
There is a lot of software available; from the free software on your computer to the specialized software that lets you make highly professional films. Now the latter is not recommended for an amateur. You do not want to get bogged down in the hundreds of possibilities. The standard video editing software such as "Windows Movie Maker" or "iMovie" are often inadequate.