Home Up Camera Answers
Camera Recording Lights Act one Pretest 2

We started with the shots and paired them with editing because if you understand what is going to be done with what you shoot and why, you will likely be much more efficient and calculated on the front end. Now we are going to get to the what we are to shoot with (Cameras) and pair that with recording techniques.

It wasn't that long ago when not many people could record  their memories/home movies. In the beginning, consumer cameras were expensive, and professional cameras were very expensive. there was as much difference in the price as there was in the quality. Consumer cameras really began to flourish in the 1980's. Once digital technology kicked in, the quality difference greatly diminished. Eventually, the price also began to drop. There were many choices out there. Sometimes the best choice doesn't necessarily win in the end. VHS won out over beta although Beta was clearly better quality. Sometimes it's the push behind the product and sometimes it is the demand from the consumer weather they know all the facts or not

Consumer Camcorder Evolution
In recent times, (by "recent times" I mean since I was old enough to buy one) camcorders have become very common andhave gone through numerous changes, and not all changes are necessarily for the better.


Consumer camcorders are evolving at an ever increasing rate. There are pluses and minuses as the technology changes. For example this camcorder that I purchased in 1987 for app $2000.00 was a lot larger and heavier than what you would buy today. At that time the medium was analog VHS tape. There was no seeking a shot with this big bad boy. Every time you made a copy of this medium there was significant quality loss. However, when you rested it on your shoulder it was easy to keep your shot steady. You could drop a VHS tape in a puddle, scotch tape a broken tape together and it would still work. The tape cassettes were fairly reasonably priced and relatively assessable. Now that the tapes are getting old, acid in the tape is starting to affect the picture and eventually they will no longer work. Connection to the TV etc could be made using RCA cables. Most everyone owned a VCR which played your home movies and rented movies. You could also tape TV programs with your VCR.


8 mm analog. camcorders replaced VHS camcorders, but people continued to rent and tape TV programs on their VCR's.The smaller camera was seen as less intrusive. Soon 8mm digital (tape) camcorders, like the one you see here, became the dominant and lasting choice. Digital meant that now you could make clones rather than copies. Digital signal also meant that the video was much more flexible and adaptable when it came to manipulate and distribute your movies. The price was dropping as well. This one was around $800. The light weight, smaller tape was popular. Soon other forms of digital formats such as mini tapes then DVD mini discs became available. These restricted the buyer to purchase specific consumables often tied to the brand. Problems of compatibility and availability were a nuisance. Now, The biggest problem was that unless you used your camera, you couldn't watch your tapes in any other machine.  AV/RCA could transfer analog and DV for Digital.

(HD) Internal Hard Drive

The cameras became even smaller. This one still retailing for around $800 didn't use tapes.  The price actually seem to plain out for some time while quality and options improved. You now saved money by not having to buy a medium to store your footage. This particular one as a 120G hard drive built in. Most cameras had much less. Never the less, you would have to eventually move your footage somewhere else. You no longer had that rugged dependable means to store your footage. If your file became corrupt, you would have to rely on your memory (in your head) as there was no recourse to get it back. The "HD" stamped on this camera actually stands for "high definition", not "hard drive".  Digital technology provided the gateway to a much higher quality picture. Different cameras offered different connections for transfer. DV was still an option for transfer, as well as USB. DV out would most likely result in Fire wire in.

External Memory

The cameras keep getting smaller while the quality keeps getting better, and yet the price keeps dropping. You can actually get a decent camera for less app $300, but there are costs. Although this one has the added feature of acting as a mini LCD projector, it no longer has a built in hard drive. SD cards are the new wave. They don't even come with an eye piece any more which is not necessarily a great thing. As portable as SD cards are, they can easily be lost or damaged. ..and because being very small, they are so interchangeable with other devices and are hot commodity that have a tendency to disappear. USB and HDMI are now the main means of transfer.

Prosumer Camcorders

Prosumer camcorders bridge the gap between regular consumer cameras and professional grade. The thing is since the introduction of digital technology, the quality of  consumer cameras has closed the gap between professional cameras. Our VG10 has enhanced audio and an interchangeable lens.

Professional Cameras

To get an idea of Professional camera costs<<"Click". Notice The Sony HDW-F900R (camcorder) is over 80 grand. a lens could be more than $16,000.00. Imagine what these big bad boys would cost with their floating mounts and readable prompter lenses.

Important control features found on most video cameras


 Screen view finder vs eye piece view finder
People just love that screen. What they probably don't realise is:

  -  That their shots often suffer because they see so much more and can be easily distracted. A person can easily get caught watching something they are not necessarily taping. Where as with the eye piece you are most likely to tape what you ate watching through the eye piece.
  -  On sunny days it is virtually impossible to see the display on the screen vs the shaded eye piece
  -  The screen on your camera may be set to look different to that of which you are taping
  -  The screen uses up your battery faster.
  -  Furthermore, a coloured screen uses up more power than black and white.
  -  Of course coloured is the most popular with consumers even though black and white is used by professionals because it gives you a clearer picture to better focus and exposure.

Shooting issues & possible solutions:

To resolve this you can try:

  -  Some cheap cameras have a "backlight" button instead that is   supposed to resolve this problem
  -  Your camera may have a manual exposure option "Click" >>>Manually over ride the exposure<<<
  -  You could try a bounce card to reflect the light (you will get more detail on that when we cover lighting)
  -  You may use artificial light on your subject
  -   Fill your screen with your subject and less light by zooming in to help compensate the light balance. (taping a hockey game I often had to zoom in in order to see the red in their jerseys. otherwise they looked black)
  -  you may try shooting from a different angle or simply move your subject away from the window
  - Manual over ride if available
  - Try moving in or zooming in and out to see if there is a spot where your subject is properly exposed
  - Try changing camera angles or positions to have your subject or an objest block out the light perhaps
  - you may have to move to a shadier location.
The problem with autofocus is: The solution may be:
  - That camera doesn't know what you want to choose as the main subject to focus on and may blur out your subject.    -  Zoom your subject all the way in and let the autofocus fix on your subject then gradually zoom back out.....  or use manual focus if that is an option
  - something like a flag blowing in the wind or something else is moving can mess up the auto focus   -  again; over ride the autofocus manually in order to get the shot you are looking for
  - If you are taping through a glass at the rink or a window, your auto focus may be thrown off by reflections on the glass   - You could change your position like press your camera against the glass

Things like aspect ratio and resolution will be covered later. There are other features on your camera which are, more or less, distractions rather than bonuses. Special effects for example. Special effects should be introduced during the editing process where you can reverse the effect. Some cameras have a picture stabilizing feature; "steady-shot" or "sure-shot." This may help compensate somewhat for free hand shots, but by no means does this feature replace a tripod. We will look at mechanical stabilizers later.




1.) Fill in a table that lists 4 evolutionary stages of consumer camcorders with their pluses and minus to each step.

Camera type Pluses Minuses

2.) In what ways has digital technology affected vidiography?

3.) What might you try to do to resolve a problem of getting the right exposure of someone posing in front of a large window.

4.) What are 2 advantages to black and white viewfinders?

5.) Use an example of an auto focus issue and how you might resolve the issue.

6.) What are the advantages of Lithium-ion batteries over the 2 earlier developed batteries? 

7) What might you do to maximize battery life in the field?