You have practised and practised making videos with your old camera. Now it is time to go out and get yourself a brand new, professional video camera. This is not a purchase to be taken lightly. This is an expensive piece of gear that you should consider an investment in your movie making career, and one that you need to research thoroughly before buying.
The more you learn about professional video cameras, the better able you will be to choose the best one to buy for your particular movie making needs. Here are a few things that will give you an idea of how to buy a professional video camera.
1) Choose A Camera That Also Has Manual Controls
It can be all too easy to get into the habit of using the automatic functions on a camera, but it is best to have one that has manual controls.
Coz this is going to give you a lot more control over the way you shoot, and you are going to have much better quality in the long run. You can be a lot more creative when you are in control. Learn about the various settings and how to use them in order to create effects that are going to make your movies really come to life.
There are some manual controls that every videographer and professional film maker must know about. Those that will help you take better videos and help much desired effects to your videos. Let us discuss more about them below.
With the auto focus, it might not be possible to focus on the subject of your choice. For doing that, you need to manually focus your camera. With manual focus, you can adjust your video camera to focus on the object or person you want to highlight. The most commonly used technique of manual focus is the “rack focus” method. You can read more about rack focus here.
Adjusting the camera shutter speed
Basically shutter speed is related to the length of time the lens in exposed to light. While taking videos, a high shutter speed is considered, as it makes individual frames appear sharper. This helps in reducing motion blurs.
However, there is a flipside to this. You can vary then shutter speeds for sharper videos, but too high shutter speeds might give the impression of jerky movements. So you need to choose the optimum shutter speed for your camera.
Manual Iris Settings
Iris in a camera or video camera controls the amount of light entering the camera. Depending upon the light available, you’ll be choosing the iris settings. If the ambient light is low, the iris settings will be adjusted to let more light enter the camera. This will especially hold true in case of high shutter speeds. So remember, the brighter you want the subject to appear, the higher the iris settings ought to be.
2) Large Sensors Work Better
When it comes to getting high resolution in your videos, you need to have a camera that has a large image sensor. Not only is this going to give you that high resolution you need, but you will also see your images in much more detail, because your pictures and videos are going to be crisp and clear. This is one of those times when bigger really is better.
When it comes to sensors, DSLR cameras are going to have larger sensors than many professional video cameras. A lot of videographers might prefer to shoot videos with DSLR cameras also. However, the scope of options and customization that a professional camcorder offers, far outweigh the benefits of a large sensor of a DSLR for professionals.
So what do you choose?
A professional camcorder with a large sensor. There are some professional video cameras that are made solely for the purpose of professional film making. Professional film making and videography requires videos to be shot in ultra-high definition or now even 4K resolution. So you choose professional camcorders with a large sensor. One example of them is the Sony HXR-NX100 HD NXCAM Camcorder.
3) Image Stabilization
You aren’t always going to be shooting subjects that are standing perfectly still as you would be with photos. This means that you need a video camera that has good image stabilization.
When shopping around for a professional camera, this is a feature that needs to be at the top of the priority list. Most pro cameras have good image stabilization features, and let you record clear images even when you are moving around or shooting handheld. This is an intrinsic feature of the camcorder.
4) Must Have Reliable Professional In-Camera Connections
A good professional camcorder needs to have good connections, and we don’t mean the kind of connections that can help get your foot in the door of the movie industry. Many professional videographers use outboard monitors, as well as additional microphones, so it is important that their cameras have professional and secure video connections through serial digital interface (SDI) or HDMI.
Gold standard XLR connections are generally used for audio. XLR connections are usually provide better audio quality, are corrosion resistant to a higher degree and have low noise. You can read more about the XLR connector here if you are interested in the technical aspect.
4) Choose A Recording Format Based ON Your Need
Because many videos are compressed for more storage, it is important that your video camera is able to shoot in the best recording formats. Most professional video cameras record in MP4 and AVCHD formats, the latter of the two being the better quality format that will let you produce videos that are Blu-ray quality, and HD.
They will also let you shoot in the MP4 format, which is usually used for YouTube videos and other videos that are going to be posted online. This takes up less memory, but isn’t as high quality as AVCHD.
Ideally, look for a camera that shoots 4K 1080p video, because you are going to get the absolute best resolution with perfectly clear images. This is a feature that you will find on most high-end cameras that are available today. It would be a mistake if you buy a professional camcorder today and it does not have 4K resolution.
5) Audio Quality Has To Be Top
While it is likely that you are going to be using multiple microphones when shooting your movies, it is still important to make sure that your camera has excellent audio capability. It is important that the camera is able to record quality audio, because you never know when you are going to need to rely only on the built-in microphone when shooting.
Some high-end cameras have an XLR, which is also referred to as a cannon plug. This is a connector that lets you use any type of external microphone while you are shooting. Even otherwise when you are not using an external microphone, like in the case of wedding videos, the sound captured by your camcorder should be clear and audible.
6) Headphone Jack
This may not seem like a very important feature, but you would be surprised at just how handy it can be. This is going to let you easily monitor sound as you are shooting, so you will be able to make adjustments when necessary.
This will save you from unnecessary hassles of removing unwanted noise and refining the sound in the editing process. But you need to take care that the headphones you select are of premium quality.
Types of Professional Camcorders
Let us now talk about the 3 common types of professional camcorders that are available based on their usage.
These are the television studio cameras that stand on the floor on pedestals that can adjust the height. These pedestals are movable based on hydraulics or pneumatic mechanisms. In the studio, they can be used along with other video cameras and are controlled by a device known as a camera control unit (CCU) which is connected to them by a connector.
Outdoors they can be used by mounting on a tripod. Studio cameras do not have a recorder of their own and hence cannot be used shoulder-mounted as they are connected by a cable. They can even be used on a tripod or a crane for versatility.
Electronic News Gathering Cameras
These are designed for news broadcasters. Though they are larger and heavier in size than the consumer camcorders, they are supported by a shoulder mount. They have a manual zoom that the camera operator can use to zoom in and out of the subject. All the controls can be manually adjusted by disabling the automatic controls. Focus is generally manual.
Electronic Field Production Cameras
They are similar to the studio cameras as they are used in multiple camera configurations. They can be mounted on a tripod or on cranes to give spectacular views. They are mainly used for sports telecast, concerts and sometimes even news coverage.
Conclusion You can only work with a low-end camera for so long before you need to upgrade in order to capture professional quality videos. There are many different cameras you can choose from, and the prices can range from less than $5,000 to well over $20,000.
It is not necessary to go over the top and get the absolute best video camera in the world, but you also need to make sure that it has the above-mentioned features, and then some. The more features it has, the better your movies are going to be.