I would like to do a quick review on Sony HD Camcorder in the picture. I`ve used it as the main camera for a news programme recently. Here is the story and the review.
So, I woke up at 7 am and looked at the news that there was a terror attack outside mosque in London. One person was killed and ten others injured. It happened at past midnight.
Now, as a news cameraman, being 7 hours late for filming is not a great start. (; '· Ω ·)
I contacted my boss and decided to go to the location with the Sony`s HD Camcorder (HDR-CX 390) which I keep it with myself all the time. Instead of going to the office to pick up all other equipment, this will save me time.
The quality of a Camcorder is lower than the DSLRs or ENGs or XDCAMS, but it can be used for broadcasting.
On the way to the location, I was really surprised once again, how easy it was to carry a camcorder. It just fitted inside my pocket bag.
I traveled to the scene above by using subway.
Naturally the police cordon was already set up by the police and media was blocked.
The above picture was all we could film.
"So you are not the cameraman today?"
I got the same questions that day from about three people I knew from other TV broadcasters. I don`t think they saw the camcorder I was holding in my hand...
Usually, a reporter or a director holds this camera as a backup. So, if I am not holding a big camera like other cameraman, they don`t think I am the cameraman. It was kind of embarrassing in a way because everyone else was filming with a big camera while I had a tiny camera.
But you know what? This camera is good. It`s so light that you can lift it up in the air and film from above at ease. You have 55 times zoom length, so you can zoom in very far. The shake stabilizer is amazing so the picture is not shaky.
So, I filmed whatever I could. I used to think camera skills is all that what matters... but, what I have found out recently is that, using your feet to find another good location to film is crucial too. It`s what separates you from other cameraman`s footage.
When you are in a hurry, you tend to settle with the first location, but if you do so, you will be in the same boat as other media. Not good. You can not really compete with others in an over flooded place.
When you have a small camera like the camcorder, you feel like you can move around a lot.
So I did. And I arrived at another location with a different look.
There were hardly any other medias around. Walking around pays off.
When you have a big camera or a big crew, I feel it becomes harder to explore.
For the interviews, I used these small microphones and receiver;
The microphone fits into my hand and I can carry around at ease. The downside is that I can not monitor the audio while filming... But it managed to record the audio just fine.
I checked the footage when I returned to the office. As expected, the footage looked slightly rough. Maybe an amateur might not notice, as a cameraman myself, I feel a little bit awkward.
The picture lacks in color details and it feels thin. When you zoom, you can really feel the degrading.
My conclusion is that it`s a backup camera.
By using a camcorder, you are able to move around a lot to explore the location for better shots. I`ve used this camera as a main and it saved my life, but I would not use it as a main camera generally.
What do you think? Do you use this kind of camera for your filming?
I am a documentary/News cameraman based in London.