Choosing the "Right" Camera

Questions & Answers about camera & audio in pranks.
ProPrankster
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Choosing the "Right" Camera

Postby ProPrankster » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:06 pm

Producers, directors and directors of photography have so many choices of cameras, which camera is right for your project?

On TRU TV's 'Fameless' prank show we decided to use the Sony F800 as our main camera package. We rented four Sony F800's outfitted with a compliment of lenses, 3 wide lenses and 3 long lenses, that would allow us to adapt to the daily changes in the environments. Some days we were shooting an 'American Idol' parody in a studio setting, the next day we were shooting a "Survivor" parody in the harsh California desert and the following day we were shooting a hidden camera 'Deal with It' parody in a restaurant. The Sony f800 allowed us to quickly adapt to those changing conditions, wide lenses worked well on the jib in the studio, in the field when camera ops would be running next to contestants and in tight spaces on the hidden camera segments while the long lenses worked well for capturing the judges at a dais in studio, allowed us to pull cameras back and capture reality moments while the contestants felt isolated during the 'Survivor' parody and also allowed us to get nice tight "single" shots of the actors and "marks" from hidden camera kiosks that were placed in the far corners of a restaurant. The Sony F800 also allowed us to make various frame rate adjustments as can be seen in the specs below. Finally, the weekly rental of the F800 was low to moderate which fit the reality budget we were charged with hitting. For more info on the F800 and its capabilities, see the Sony Spec info below.

Sony PDWF800
Sony Professional XDCAM® HD422 Camcorder
$32,350.00 U.S. List Price
The PDW-F800 camcorder is the newest member of the XDCAM family. It offers multi-format recording flexibility as standard - including SD recording and a frame rate of 23.98P in 1080 mode. It is equipped with three 2/3-inch type CCDs and a “Power HAD FX” progressive CCD with 1920 x 1080 effective pixels. Stunning-quality HD images can be captured by this high-resolution CCD and advanced digital signal. On top of the exceptional technology, the PDW-F800 offers very high quality HD recording at a data rate of up to 50Mbps using the MPEG-2 4:2:2P@HL compression. It also provides multi-format recording flexibility including 1080i, 720P and SD, which comes with HD/SD conversion and cross conversion between 1080i and 720P. With features such as Slow & Quick Motion (over-crank and under-crank recording) make the PDW-F800 ideal for cinema and TV drama productions, as wel as ENG applications. The Sony XDCAM HD422 series of Optical Disc products have 7 years "Powertrain" Warranty for its laser block. This "Powertrain" Warranty is unprecedented for Sony and demonstrates the confidence Sony has in its XDCAM products.

Highlights:
Three 2/3-inch type CCDs
24P format for HD422/420(1080i) and SD formats (DVCAM, MPEG IMX) are supported as standard
Slow & Quick motion
High-quality four-channel audio recording
Compact and lightweight at 9 lb 4 oz
Dual HD/SD-SDI outputs and composite/HD-Y output
Pool-feed input (HD/SD-SDI and composite) option
Ethernet interface
i.LINK interface
HD422 50Mbps
DL & SL Disc Recording
7 years "Powertrain" Warranty for XDCAM laser block
1080i / 720P support for HD 422 and 420
Image Inverter
Focus Assist

Features Benefits:
CCD 2/3” full HD Progressive CCD (Power HAD FX) 2.2M pixels (1920 x 1080) RGB 3 CCD Sensors Supports both 1080 and 720
Recording Bit Rates MPEG-2 422p@HL format Bit rate is 50Mbps for both 1080 and 720 Audio Format 24bit x 8ch (PDW-800 can record up to 4ch Audio at the same time)
23.98P Format Support 23.98P format for 1080i 420 and 422 as standard.
Multi-Format & Legacy Format Support Legacy formats (DVCAM, MPEG IMX® 30/40/50 Mbps, MPEG HD 420 18*/25/35Mbps) are supported for both recording and playback as standard. (* 18Mbps is playback only)
Record Time Longer recording time with the Dual Layer Professional Disc Media. The single layer disc is also supported. Single layer (23.3GB) Dual layer (50GB) MPEG HD 422 (50Mbps) Approx. 43 min. Approx. 95 min. MPEG HD 420 (35Mbps) Approx. 60 min. Approx. 145 min MPEG HD 420 (25Mbps)Approx. 90 min. Approx. 190 min. MPEG IMX (50Mbps) Approx. 45 min. Approx. 100 min. DVCAM Approx. 85 min. Approx. 185 min.
Slow & Quick motion Over crankling speed is up to x2.0 and shooting speed can be set at every single frame between 1p to 48P/50P/60P.
Well-balanced Compact Body The PDW-F800 is designed to be very compact and ergonomically well balanced, providing a high level of mobility and comfort in various shooting situations.
Optical ND Filters and CC Filters Neutral Density (ND) optical filter and CC filter are controlled via a built-in filter wheels.
Gain Control Gain Control (-6db to +42dB) and Turbo Gain “Shockless gain control” provides a smooth transition in gain control
3.5-inch* Widescreen An easy-to-view color LCD screen provided on the camcorder side panel enables advanced operations such as Thumbnail Search and Scene Selection. Status indicators such as four-channel audio meters, and disc and battery remaining time can also be displayed. Camera set-up menus can be displayed, too. *Viewable area measured diagonally.
Slow shutter A maximum of 64 frames can be accumulated using the slow shutter function. In low light levels this allows clear video to be shot, and provides a fantasy video effect with ghost image. - 1-8, 16, 32 and 64 frame accumulation - Turbo Gain allows the camera gain to be boosted up to +48 dB.
Interval Recording The PDW-F800 offers an Interval Recording function which intermittently records signals at pre-determined intervals. This is convenient for shooting over long periods of time, and also when creating pictures with special effects of extremely quick motion.
Freeze Mix Superimposes a previously recorded image on the viewfinder. This allows the operator to quickly and easily frame or reposition a subject when a shot must be taken from the same position or in the same framework as a previous take.
Picture Cache Recording Maximum duration is 30sec. This picture cache mode can be ON even in EJECT operation and consequently sequential recording is possible during disc replacement.
Memory Stick® media “All file”, “Scene file”, “Lens file” and “User file” are provided to store the setting parameters to the internal memory and Memory Stick media.
Digital Extender The Digital Extender function of the PDW-F800 enables images to be digitally doubled in size. Unlike lens extenders, the Digital Extender function performs this capability without any loss of image sensitivity, which is often referred to as the F-drop phenomenon.
Focus magnification X2 magnified camera picture is available in the viewfinder which can help precise focus adjustment
Assignable switch PDW-F800 provides a total of 6 assignable switches (ASSIGN 1 to 4, COLOR TEMP, LENS RET)
Pool-feed Operation For pool-feed operations, the optional CBK-HD01* and CBK-SC02* boards provide HD and SD-SDI inputs, and SD composite input respectively. *Planned to be available in fall 2008.
Trigger REC Function The PDW-F800 camcorder has the Trigger REC function that enables synchronized recording with PDW-HD1500 and PDW-F75 XDCAM decks or HDCAM® portable decks connected via the HD-SDI interface – a convenient feature for backup recording.
Clip Continuous REC This mode allows users to create a single, large clip with multiple rec. start & stop. The Rec. start Essence Mark (EM) is recorded to every rec. start frame. The benefits of using this mode are: Capable of having more than 300 “takes” on a disc Faster transfer speed by sending a single clip. (No over-head for file open/close process)
Built-in Multi Format Converter The following conversion is possible in Playback mode: Downconversion from HD to SD, Upconversion from SD to HD, Cross conversion between 1080 and 720
Forcus Assist Forcus assist function is available by an indicator Bar on the edge of view finder.
Image Inverter In the attachment with 2/3" cinema lens adaptor for ultra prime lens and anamorphic lens, the shot image can be inversed.
User Gamma The gamma curve can be changed by using CVP Editor Ver.4.0 in addition to the current 4 types of Hyper Gamma settings.
Aspect Ratio Control The following conversion is possible in recording mode: Upconversion from SD to HD In the downconversion process from HD to SD, Squeeze / Edge Crop / Letter Box are available. In the upconversion process from SD to HD Squeeze / Edge Crop / Letter Box are available

Mass Approx. 4.3 kg (9 lb 8 oz) (body)
Approx. 6.0 kg (13 lb 4 oz) (w/ VF, Mic, Disc, BP-GL95 battery)
Power Requirements DC 12 V +5.0 V/-1.0 V
Power Consumption Approx. 40 W (while recording, w/o options, color LCD On)
Approx. 44 W (while recording, w/viewfinder, color LCD On, manual lense, microphone)
Operating Temperature -5 to +40 °C (+23 to +104 °F)
Storage Temperature -20 to +60 °C (-4 to +140 °F)
Humidity 10 to 90% (relative humidity)
Continuous Operating Time Approx. 120 min. w/BP-GL95 battery
Video Recording Format MPEG HD422 (MPEG-2 422P@HL) (CBR: 50 Mb/s)
MPEG HD (MPEG-2 MP@HL):
HQ mode (VBR, maximum bit rate: 35 Mb/s)
SP mode (CBR, 25 Mb/s)
LP mode (VBR, maximum bit rate: 18 Mb/s) - playback only
MPEG IMX (MPEG-2 422P@ML) (50/40/30 Mb/s)
DVCAM (CBR, 25 Mb/s)
Proxy Video MPEG-4
Audio Recording MPEG HD422: 4 ch/24 bits/48 kHz
MPEG HD: 4 ch/16 bits/48 kHz
MPEG IMX: (4ch, 16-bit or 24-bit, 48 kHz)
DVCAM: 4 ch/16 bits/48 kHz
Audio Proxy A-law (2 ch/4 ch, 8 bit, 8 kHz)
Recording Media 23GB Optical Disc model PFD23A
50GB Optical Disc model PFD50DLA
Recording Frame Rate NTSC model MPEG HD422 mode:
1920 x 1080/59.94i/29.97P/23.98P
1280 x 720/59.94P
MPEG HD mode:
1920 x 1080/59.94i/29.97P/23.98P
1280 x 720/59.94P
MPEG IMX: 59.94i
DVCAM: 59.94i
Recording Frame Rate PAL model MPEG HD422:
1920 x 1080/50i, 25P
1280 x 720/50P
MPEG HD:
1920 x 1080/50i, 25P
1280 x 720/50P
MPEG IMX: 50i
DVCAM: 50i
Recording/Playback time MPEG HD422:
50 Mb/s: Approx. 95 min. (PFD50DLA), Approx. 43 min. (PFD23A)
MPEG HD:
35 Mb/s, 4-ch audio: More than 145 min. (PFD50DLA), More than 65 min. (PFD23A)
35 Mb/s, 2-ch audio (playback only): More than 150 min. (PFD50DLA), More than 68 min. (PFD23A)
25 Mb/s, 4-ch audio: Approx. 190 min. (PFD50DLA), Approx. 85 min. (PFD23A)
25 Mb/s, 2-ch audio (playback only): Approx. 200 min. (PFD50DLA), Approx. 90 min. (PFD23A)
18 Mb/s, 4-ch audio (playback only): More than 248 min. (PFD50DLA), More than 112 min. (PFD23A)
18 Mb/s, 2-ch audio: More than 265 min. (PFD50DLA), More than 122 min. (PFD23A)
MPEG IMX (Option: CBKZ-MD01):
50 Mb/s: Approx. 100 min. (PFD50DLA), Approx. 45 min. (PFD23A)
40 Mb/s: Approx. 120 min. (PFD50DLA), Approx. 55 min. (PFD23A)
30 Mb/s: Approx. 150 min. (PFD50DLA), Approx. 68 min. (PFD23A)
DVCAM (Option: CBKZ-MD01):
25 Mb/s: Approx. 185 min. (PFD50DLA), Approx. 85 min. (PFD23A)
Inputs/Outputs Specifications Detail:
Genlock In BNC x1, 1.0 Vp-p, 75 Ω
TC IN BNC x1, 0.5 to 18 Vp-p, 10 kΩ
SDI IN BNC x 1
(HD/SD switchable)
HD-SDI: SMPTE 292M (w/embedded audio)
SD-SDI: SMPTE 259M (w/embedded audio)
Audio In CH-1/CH-2: XLR 3-pin (female) x 2, line/mic/mic +48 V selectable
AES/EBU Input CH-1/CH-2: XLR 3-pin (female) x 2, AES/EBU selectable
MIC In XLR 5-pin (female, stereo) x 1
Test Out BNC x 1
(switchable)
HD Y/SD composite
SD composite (character On/Off)
SDI Out BNC x 2
1 (HD/SD switchable)
HD-SDI: SMPTE 292M (w/embedded audio)
SD-SDI: SMPTE 259M (w/embedded audio)
2 (HD/SD switchable, character On/Off)
HD-SDI: SMPTE 292M (w/embedded audio)
SD-SDI: SMPTE 259M (w/embedded audio)
Audio Out CH-1/CH-2: XLR 5-pin (male, stereo) x 1
TC Out BNC x 1, 1.0 Vp-p, 75 Ω
Earphone Mini-jack x 2 (front: monaural, rear: stereo/monaural)
Monitor Speaker YES
DC In XLR 4-pin (male) x 1, 11 to 17 V
DC Out 4-pin (Female) (for wireless microphone receiver), 11 to 17 V DC, MAX. 500 mA
Lens Conector 12-pin
Remote 8-pin
Light 2-pin, DC 12 V, max. 50 W
Camera Adaptor 50-pin
i.Link IEEE 1394, 6 pin x 1, File Access Mode
Memory Stick x 1 (for camera setup files)
Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 x 1, 100Base-Tx: IEEE802.3u, 10Base-T: IEEE802.3
USB x 1 (for version-up)
Audio Performance Specifications Detail:
Frequency Response 20 Hz to 20 kHz, +0.5/-1.0 dB
Dynamic Range More than 93 dB
Distortion Less than 0.08% (at 1 kHz, reference level)
Crosstalk Less than -70 dB (at 1 kHz, reference level)
Wow & Flutter Below measurable limit
Headroom 20/18/16/12 dB (selectable)
Camera Section Specifications Detail:
Pickup Device 3-chip 2/3-inch type HD Power HAD FX CCDs
Effective Picture Elements 1920(H) x 1080(V)
Optical System F1.4 prism
Built-In Optical Filters 1: Clear, 2: 1/4ND, 3: 1/16ND, 4: 1/64ND
A: CROSS, B: 3200K, C: 4300K, D: 6300K
Shutter Speed (Time) 59.94i: 1/100, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 ,1/1000, 1/2000
50i: 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000
25p: 1/33, 1/50, 1/100, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1000, 1/2000
Slow Shutter 1- to 8- and 16-frame accumulation
Slow & Quick Motion Function 23.98p/30p
Sensitivity (2000 lx, 89.9% reflectance) F11 @ 59.94i, F12 @ 50i (typical)
Minimum Illumination Approx. 0.016 lx (F1.4 lens, +42 dB, with 16-frame accumulation)
Gain Selection -6, -3, 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42 dB
Smear Level -135 dB (Y-typical)
S/N Ratio 59 dB (54 dB w/o Noise Suppressor)
Horizontal Resolution 1000 TV lines or more (1920 x 1080i mode)
Registration Less than 0.02%
Modulation Depth 45% or more at 27.5MHz (typical)
Monitoring Specifications Detail:
Viewfinder Option
Built-In LCD Monitor 3.5-inch type color LCD monitor
Lens Specifications Detail:
Lens Mount 2/3-inch type bayonet mount
Included Lens Specifications Detail:
Zoom Ratio Selectable depends on optional lens used
Focal Length depends on optional lens used
Iris depends on optional lens used
Maximum Relative Aperture depends on optional lens used
Focus depends on optional lens used
Image Stabilizer depends on optional lens used
Filter Thread depends on optional lens used
Built-In Microphone Specifications Detail:
Capsule Type NA

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