THDL Toolbox > Audio-video > Manuals for Specific Video Camcorders > PD 170 English Basics
Contributor(s): THDL Staff
- LCD Screen
- Battery Compartment
- Power Switch
- Tape Mechanism
- Microphone Inputs
- Microphone Mount
- Audio Settings (Rec Ch, Input Level, +48V)
- Video Settings (Auto Lock, Auto Focus, ND Filter)
- Manual Zoom Ring
- Auto Zoom Button
- Insert Battery
B. Turn on Power switch to CAMERA setting. The switch is located on the back of the camera to the right of the battery.
C. Audio Set-Up (For 1 Microphone)
- Place Microphone in Camera Mount (or attach to boom)
- Connect XLR-Cable to Microphone
- Connect XLR-Cable to Camera (Input 1)
- Check Audio Settings (located on opposite side of Inputs)
- Rec Ch = Ch1Ch2
- Input Level = Mic
- +48V = On (for shotgun mic)
D. Check Audio Levels
- Have your partner/subject stand 1-2 meters in front of the camera and speak at a normal volume. Check the indicators at the bottom of the LCD screen. The white bars should move 3/4 of the way across the meter. If the bars hit the end of the meter (turn red), then the sound level is too high. If the bars fall short of 3/4, then the sound level is too low.
- Adjust Audio Levels (only if sound level is too high or too low)
- Press the Audio Level button (located on back of camera to the left of the battery). A menu will appear on the LCD screen.
- Use the dial (located to the right of the Audio Level button) to adjust the sound level up or down until the white bars move 3/4 of the way across the meter while your partner/subject is speaking.
E. Video Set-Up (For Automatic Operation)
- Switch camera into Auto Lock mode (the switch is located on the back of the camera, above the Audio Level button)
- Switch camera into Auto Focus mode (the switch is located on the side of the camera, in front of the LCD screen)
- Switch the ND Filter to Off. Check the image on the LCD screen. If the image is too bright, switch the ND Filter to 1. Check the image again. If it is still too bright, switch the ND Filter to 2.
F. Insert Tape
- Press EJECT button (located on the side of the camera above the Power switch.) The tape mechanism will open.
- Insert tape
- Close tape mechanism
G. To begin recording, press the red Record button on the back of the camera (located at the center of the Power switch)
When you are recording, a red REC will appear at the top center of the LCD screen or viewfinder. If you are not recording, a green STBY will appear at the top center of the LCD screen or viewfinder.
There are 3 important things to monitor while filming:
- Timecode – (the numbers located in the upper right hand corner of the LCD screen or viewfinder) The timecode indicates how many minutes you have recorded to the tape. While you are recording, the numbers will advance. If the numbers are not advancing, you are not recording!
- Battery Life – (the icon and numbers located in the upper left hand corner of the LCD screen or viewfinder) The number (expressed in minutes) indicates how much time is left on the battery. It is best to change the battery before it runs out so that you don’t miss anything important.
- Audio Levels – (the white bars located on the bottom right of the screen) Sound quality will be best when the white bars are 3/4 of the way across the meter. If the bars fall short of 3/4, or reach the red bar at the end of the meter, adjust the audio level using the method described above in Adjusting Audio Levels.
What Makes A Good Image?
- The image is not too dark or too bright
- The image is in focus
- The image is steady
- The colors are correct
- The image doesn’t move unnecessarily
- The image is well composed
Helpful Tips For Good Images:
- When you are recording, your attention should be focused on either the LCD screen or the viewfinder. Be aware of what is happening “outside” of the image without being distracted by it. If there is something happening “outside” the image that is important enough to command your full attention, then you should probably reorient the camera to record it.
- Hold the image for at least 3 seconds to avoid unnecessary camera movement. If you change the image, you should know why. Some good reasons to move the camera (or zoom) are:
- If the person you are filming is moving
- To reorient the camera to capture something important
- To zoom in on a detail.
- Always be focused on keeping the camera steady. If you are using a tripod this will not be a problem – but if you are holding the camera, even the slightest movement will unsettle the image. In situations where you are standing, brace the camera against your body. If you are sitting, it is best to rest the camera on your knee.
There are 3 important things to do once you have finished recording a tape:
- Lock the Tape: On the spine of the tape there is a small tab. Pull the tab toward the center of the tape. The tape is now locked and the footage you have just obtained cannot be recorded over.
- Label the Tape: On the spine of the tape write the following information – the tape number (followed by A or B to denote Camera A or Camera B), the videographer’s initials, and the date. For example, if Sonam Tsomo shot 3 tapes on September 14, 2005, the tapes would be labeled as follows:
- #1A ST 2005-9-14
- #2A ST 2005-9-14
- #3A ST 2005-9-14
C. Log the Tape: On a separate sheet, record the following information – the tape number (followed by A or B to denote Camera A or Camera B), the date, the videographer’s initials, and notes detailing what is on the tape. For example:
|1A||2005-9-14||ST||Base of Yumbulagang; first field/farm; first village across road from Yumbulagang in main Yarlung valley|
|2A||2005-9-14||ST||Basang Tsering Interview|
|3A||2005-9-14||ST||Festival at Riwodechen gompa, thangka unveiling, cham dancing, Chongye valley scenics.|
Provided for unrestricted use by the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library