Nowadays, everything is all about video. It is no longer something solely intended for a television production niche. Everyone can produce high-quality video if they want to. From a Smartphone to a Premium cinema camera, it seems that anything goes. However, there are still some quality standards that video must meet, so it’s not really “anything goes”. Here, we will be offering an article on what should be the minimum necessary equipment to achieve professional results, regardless of what the contents shall be used for.
There are many different models of camera out there these days, such a wide array of possibilities never before seen, and what’s more, most of them provide top-notch features. We are not going to speak about devices like telephones in this article. While it makes a lot of sense to use them sometimes -particularly in news bulletins- they really do have their limitations when attempting to obtain video of an acceptable quality.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to make quality productions, even if you want to capture material in UHD/4K. A good example of this is the Panasonic AG-UX90 that we have tested here at TM Broadcast.
Some of its highlights are:
- 8×5 f2.8-4.5 Leica Optical Zoom, equivalent to a 24.5-315 in universal standards with a 5-axis optical stabiliser and 3 independent control rings.
- 0-Type MOS sensor (we shall soon see what this means) that permits recording in UltraHD at 25p, in FullHD at 50p/25p and even in SD with different types of codecs and files.
- Double SD memory card slots for relay or simultaneous recordings.
- Remote control from an Apple iPad using the free AG ROP app and an optional USB wireless receiver.
- Among other connections, it has XLR audio inputs, a HDMI output and two USB 3.0 connections.
Sufficient for any corporate production or even more… The price of this device is in the 2,000 Euro range. If we want something a bit more serious, it has a big sister, the AG-UX180, which offers true 4K (4096×2160) at 24p, slow motion in HD up to 120 fps, a 20x zoom with an angular equivalent to 24 mm, simultaneous multi-format recording, infrared recording, 3G-SDI connectivity, time code and 50/60 Hz commutation. Although in this case, the price increases to about 3,000 Euros.
We have spoken about this brand and these models before because we have tested and worked with them ourselves. However, cameras of the other brands like Sony, Canon, JVC, etc. are also valid competitors. It is important that the handling of the optical block can be done by rings, like the size of the sensor, because the larger they are, the more possibilities we will have. Having said this, note that it will create larger files, so we must have a larger budget for recording cards/devices. We must also bear in mind what our subsequent work flow will be and if the camera adapts to it well. As far as codecs are concerned, they all work well, but you need to consider which will work best with the programme we will be using to edit.
What about DSLR cameras? This was the revolution that landed in the thick of the economic crisis with the incorporation of video to the Canon EOS 5D. In addition, thanks to the size of the sensor and the lenses, we obtain a cinematographic aesthetics, which we would otherwise not have access to, and readily understandable settings. However, it also generates problems: it requires working in controlled environments, the tiny depth of field, the small rings of the lenses, which are not prepared for the agility and continuity of video, the ergonomics, etc. Although, it can be a perfect partner to record a small advertising spot, for instance, where some degree of aesthetics is required, provided the controlled environment premise has been fulfilled. Using a rig or stabiliser is paramount because these cameras have not been designed for recordings without support. Both Canon and Sony have very good offerings for this segment.