Alexa In The Field

Three cinematographers working in three different production styles push the new ARRI ALEXA to the limit

Several years in the making, ARRI finally released its much anticipated ALEXA camera at NAB 2010, and it has become a huge hit in only a few months. Even those who thought that the ALEXA was “just another version of a D-21” quickly changed their minds. For the makers of features, television projects, commercials, music videos—and even... Read more

U-Turn

Ideal for Final Cut Studio users, the modular JVC GY-HM790U excels in both field and studio environments

Two JVC camcorders are hanging from my hands. In my right is my trusty D-9 SD DY-90W, bought in 2001. Costing $30,000 with lens, weighing 17 pounds (all weights given are without batteries) and shooting NTSC SD with 2/3-inch 16:9 CCDs to ½-inch video cassettes, it served me well but is now totally obsolete. In my left is the new GY-HM790U that... Read more

The NEX Step

The Sony NEX-VG10 with its APS HD sensor delivers full 1920×1080 HD with “35mm-like” shallow depth of field

It was only a matter of time before the camcorder industry would take notice and react. In less than two years, the HD DSLR movement has revolutionized indie filmmaking by further leveling the playing field between low-budget and studio productions. In addition, a large percentage of still photographers have caught the filmmaking bug, creating an even... Read more
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At A Glance: Panasonic VariCam 2700 AJ-HPX2700

The cinema-like VariCam line now offers tapeless acquisition as part of the solid-state P2 system

The Panasonic VariCam 2700 (AJ-HPX2700) is the latest iteration in the VariCam line, a workhorse camera designed for use with field productions, thanks to its in-camera production abilities, including a variety of slow- and fast-motion frame rates and AVC-Intra 100 recording in full 10-bit, 4:2:2, as well as the half-compression AVC-Intra 50 codec for... Read more

The HD DSLR Killer?

With the XF300 camcorder, will Canon lure back its own EOS 5D Mark II and EOS 7D users?

Way back in 1997 (light years in the digital video world), Canon released a landmark camera, the XL-1. The three-CCD, standard-def camcorder was wildly popular with indie filmmakers who were drawn to professional features like interchangeable lenses, a high-quality viewfinder and XLR inputs—all in an affordable priced-to-own package. In the... Read more

The NXCAM

Sony’s HXR-NX5U is an affordable, tapeless HD camcorder based on AVCHD technology

As you probably know, HD DSLRs have been receiving a lot of attention from both low-budget and professional filmmakers, who are buying the compact, inexpensive cameras to shoot their projects. But with 35mm-like, shallow depth of field and low-light shooting ability come a different set of problems, including inadequate onboard audio, a lack of long,... Read more

Going For The Gold

Vision Research updates its high-speed HD camera system with the Phantom HD GOLD

In part two of our high-speed cinematography series, we take a more in-depth look at the Phantom HD high-speed camera from Vision Research. Recently, the Phantom HD camera has evolved into the second-generation Phantom HD GOLD, which improves overall handling and image quality. But first a recap: The Phantom HD camera offers high-definition, high-speed... Read more

The SR Evolution

With the arrival of file-based capture and 35mm film-sized imagers, Sony updates its SR line

Even before the advent of the third millennium, Sony’s entrée into the high-end imaging format, HDCAM, had debuted, along with the HDW-F900 camera. The following decade has brought refinements and innovation. The year 2003 saw the introduction of HDCAM-SR, a Sony tape capable of recording 4:4:4 (RGB) and 4:2:2 (10-bit). The following year, the... Read more

At A Glance: juicedLink CX231

Single-system sound for your video DSLR

In this new era of capturing movies with DSLRs, the Achilles’ heel is definitely sound, with the current crop of video DSLRs all lacking professional sound-recording features. The cameras don’t allow you to manually control sound, nor do they contain XLR inputs for professional microphones. To obtain good sound, many video-DSLR users are... Read more

Small Camera Big Picture

The Panasonic AG-HMC40 is a compact camcorder that packs a professional punch

The HMC40 is Panasonic’s latest AVCCAM camcorder, an entry-level professional unit that records in the AVCHD format to regular SDHC memory cards. At a suggested retail price of $2,295 ($1,995 estimated street price), it’s even less expensive than the standard-def Panasonic DVX100B, but it’s jam-packed with features. These include a... Read more

HD In Real Time

JVC GY-HM100U and GY-HM700U camcorders capture unique shots for FOX’s 24

If you were to visit the set of a prime-time network show, you would probably find top-of-the-line digital cinematography cameras or film cameras in use. But some producers and cinematographers find innovative ways to use low-cost equipment, such as on the current season of FOX’s 24, now in production. The gear in question is JVC’s GY-HM100U... Read more

Converging Lines

Where still and motion photography meet

You’d think that the convergence of still and motion photography has always been inevitable. Up until recently, though, even with the proliferation of digital still cameras and digital HD cameras, the lines between still and motion cameras were still drawn in the sand. Other than the relatively low-quality "movie modes" typically seen... Read more
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