Got DV? How about Sony Digital Video cameras? Why not?
Sony digital video cameras provide a solution to getting great video everytime no matter what project you are working on.
Now what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of video cameras of any kind? Be honest now. The very first thing that comes to mind! (well maybe not everybody...) I would be willing to bet that it has Sony in the name if you are thinking of high quality video cameras. Having worked as a professional video cameraman for over twenty years at the highest level of network television I have to tell you that Sony does it all.
I have used Sony broadcast video cameras since almost the beginning of portable TV cameras, back when they were back breakers. Now I still use the latest versions of the those cameras, anything from the SX, Beta SP, and even the new Optical disk cameras they are coming out with in the near future. I love the look, feel and ergonomics of Sony TV cameras. What can I say?
But you know what camera is my favorite these days when I can just pick one up and have fun making creative pictures? It is a Sony DV camera. The PD-150 to be exact. That camera just rocks. Now each and every cameraman has their own favorite but what I want to tell you is DV rocks and you have to get involved using DV to capture you life your business, your fun, you name it.
I bought my DV camera to work on a gig that called for the relatively new format of DV at the time. I had used it for some alternative camera work in my network job so I knew what it could do as far as images go. Then I started using it for my personal videos, playing around with the features and then in conjunction with my NL video editing system I discovered how cool it really could be.
Now I grab it all the time to grab still shots, moving images, conduct an interview, you name it. I now have a whole stable of clients who use only DV. It is easier on my back and it makes for good client relations.
So I use a Sony PD-150 in my house. What other Sony DV camera options are there out there for you? The PD-150 is what they call a three chip camera. That means that it has three CCD’s (charged couple devices) that capture the light passing through the lens and convert it into digital images that get recorded on tape (today anyway, DVD recording is not far off for all of us). This is a higher grade of recording than most consumer cameras which might only have one CCD in them. You will want to determine what level of quality you want to get for your DV camera. The three CCD models generally cost $1500 and up. However you can get some awesome images out of DV cameras costing much less.
Let's look at the formats Sony offers in digital video.
MiniDV, the most popular format for personal and professional quality video, is renowned for the quality of its images and audio. Amazingly, this format uses cassettes one-twelfth the size of a standard VHS tape -- yet they last two full hours.
The small size of MiniDV tapes lends itself to incredibly compact and portable MiniDV camcorders with room leftover for some dazzling features, including the following:
i.LINK® DV Interface
Easy Handycam Button
USB Streaming Video
Digital Editing with the supplied PicturePackage™ Software
Memory Stick® Media
Easy-to-e-mail video clips
And here are even more features with more details provided:
Up to 530 lines of resolution: MiniDV delivers a 20 percent clearer picture than analog camcorder formats and three times the color.
Digital Still Camera (most models): This function includes the following additional features:
Intelligent pop-up flash on select models, which means that in still camera mode, the camcorder automatically activates its own flash.
Manual sharpness settings.
Megapixel engine for better video and print-quality stills.
Super NightShot® Plus Infrared System and Color Slow Shutter: An improvement over the standard NightShot® system, Super NightShot® 0 Lux automatically adjusts the shutter speed to increase picture brightness and clarity on subjects up to 10 feet away. Color Slow Shutter mode allows you to record in low-light situations with full color detail by slowing down the shutter speed.
Super SteadyShot® Picture Stabilization System: Like the Super NightShot®, Super SteadyShot® advances on the SteadyShot® system by controlling an even higher range of shake and vibration frequencies to achieve a better level of smoothness without degradation of video like some other image stabilization systems.
Up to 3.5-inch Hybrid Touch Panel SwivelScreen™ LCD: With the Hybrid LCD display, adjustability and touch-screen functionality are only the beginning. Other features include:
Images show up clearly even in sunlight.
A 3D menu system with animations and easy-to-read titles.
Record start/stop button on the LCD.
Carl Zeiss® Vario-Tessar® and Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar® Lens (select models): This professional grade lens has an advanced multi-layer coating for clear image capture and color saturation.
Wide variety: Spanning $500 and above, Sony's large selection of MiniDV camcorders are bound to fulfill all your video needs.
The Handycam Station is available on select models. Like a cell phone cradle, the Handycam Station charges the camcorder, connects it to a TV or PC, and keeps it easily accessible. This rotatable base for your Handycam comes fully loaded with all the necessary inputs, including S-Video and an audio/video terminal for connecting it to playback video on a TV. It also has a USB 1.1 port and an i.LINK® interface for connection to compatible computers. And when not at home, users can take advantage of both the power and the A/V connections that are incorporated directly into the unit.
If you want compact and ultra portable then you should look at the Sony Ultra-compact and super lightweight, MICROMV™ camcorders are 70 percent smaller than MiniDV yet still manage to record for up to an hour. They also fit 64 Kb (Kilobit) of memory under their hoods to afford some nifty features we'll explore in this section.
Weighing very little and taking up hardly any space, MICROMV camcorders ($1,200 to $2,000) literally fit in a jacket or even shirt pocket. They're the smallest and lightest tape-based camcorder in the world, and yet they come stuffed with a number of powerful features, including:
Up to 530-line resolution
Digital Editing with
Easy Handycam Button
Handycam Station (select models)
USB Streaming Video
Super NightShot® Infrared System and Color Slow Shutter
Super SteadyShot® Picture Stabilization System
Did you know that filmmakers have made feature length movies shooting with cameras like the PD-150? Yes by using the 16x9 aspect ratio in the camera and utilizing the ultra portability of the small camera they were able to shoot their whole film on digital video. Then they import the DV into their NL editing system (often using Final Cut Pro from Apple) where they have almost total control over the “look” of the footage, from coloration to filtering, image speed, and so on. Then when the project is done editing they export it to film for viewing in theaters. They get a unique look, incur far less production expense than using film, and they can edit the video they shot this afternoon tonight.
Click here to read more about DV filmmaking in Hollywood.
Want to go to the top of the charts and get a top flight DV camera that can do almost anything you could ever want in a video camera? Then you should check out the new DSR-PD170 DVCAM compact camcorder which provides high quality acquisition in the DVCAM component digital format, as well as in DV, allowing up to 40 minutes recording on one tape Mini DVCAM tape, or 60 minutes on the same tape in the DV mode. This compact camcorder features three Advanced HAD 1/3 inch CCDs that allow two scanning modes: 480 progressive (for still) and interlaced (for video). These Advanced HAD CCDs also provide high quality acquisition with increased resolution and sensitivity at reduced noise and vertical smear. The new enhancements to the CCDs have enabled the minimum illumination to be improved to an incredible 1 lux. The DSR-PD170 also features a built-in slot for both MemoryStick® and a flash memory card for still image storage. Up to 988 JPEG pictures can be stored on one 64 MB MemoryStick®. In addition, the stored images can be mixed or keyed to the live image allowing logo insertion and/or mix effects.