How to use a camera professionally: 6 steps

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How to use a camera professionally: 6 steps
How to use a camera professionally: 6 steps

Using a camera professionally implies knowing each of its functions and the uses that can be given to them. You also need to choose a camera that meets all your needs. But before you can grab one and start using it pro, there are a couple of things you need to understand, which we show you below.



Step 1. Familiarize yourself with the viewer

Cameras have different types of viewfinders, which give them different characteristics and uses. It can be a cathode ray monitor (CRT, like those used in televisions and desktop computers), or a liquid quartz flat screen (LCD, similar to those used in laptop computers).

  • Unlike studio cameras that typically use screens of at least 7 inches, the viewfinders on many cameras can be smaller. These are built into a miniature display (CRT or LCD) on which a magnifying eyepiece is mounted.
  • Although color scopes have been gaining popularity, some professional operators prefer the higher definition of a black and white scope.
  • Select the viewfinder for left or right eye. On cameras with side-mount viewfinders, the viewfinder can sometimes be slid from one side of the camera to the other depending on the operator's preference to view with the left or right eye.

    When the viewfinder is slid, the image will be upside down unless there is a reversing device

  • Keeping your eye glued to a viewfinder for long periods of time can be very tiring. Flat screen LCD cameras may be more comfortable. They are also very useful when shooting very high or low angles.

    • This type of viewfinder can also be used to compose shots in which you want to go out yourself (once the camera is mounted on a triple, the viewfinder is rotated 180 degrees to be able to observe it).
    • The main disadvantage of the liquid quartz flat panel is that the image loses contrast and brightness when used under bright light, which makes it difficult to focus accurately.
  • Once you get used to their operation, goggle type visors (similar to virtual reality goggles), allow great flexibility to the operator. This type of viewer can be used to complement a standard viewer. Since the viewfinder is connected to the camera by a long cable, we can easily hold the camera above our head, place it at ground level, or even shoot towards our back with the camera on our shoulders.
  • For professional work the best viewfinder is an external AC / DC color monitor with good brightness, three to five inches (any high quality color monitor will work). Although this type of monitor requires separate power and limits mobility, it is the only safe way to monitor lighting effects and assess issues such as depth of field with certainty.

Step 2. Identify the security areas of the camera

Due to overscanning and other problems that occur between the camera and the receiver at home, a small area around the image generated by the camera is cut off before being viewed. This area (framed by the red lines in the photograph) is known in different ways as a safety area and an essential area.

  • To compensate for this, you should assume that approximately 10% of the image displayed by the viewer will probably not be visible to the viewer at home.
  • There is also a "more secure" area, called the text safe area. This area is contemplated for important written material. The latter comes from the era of black and white television, when televisions usually overscan images by as much as 20%.

Step 3. You must take into account take and protect

With high definition television (HDTV / DTV) slowly making its way into commercial television, another type of security area needs to be considered. You should consider that HDTV / DTV uses a 16: 9 frame and NTSC uses a standard 4: 3 ratio.

  • To ensure the future validity of your shows, some producers are currently recording in 16: 9 format. But, for immediate needs to transmit in 4: 3 format, they have to make their scenes work in both formats.
  • The term "shoot-and-protect" identifies the process of recording 16: 9 scenes by ensuring that the 4: 3 area contains all the essential information of the scene. To achieve this a 4: 3 frame is superimposed on the 16: 9 format viewer.

Step 4. Fit the image to the viewfinder

Because the image in the camera's viewfinder comes from a miniature screen, variations in brightness and contrast are common dogcam-j.webp" />

  • Adjusting the viewfinder image does not affect the video signal generated by the camera in any way. However, adjustments made to the camera do affect the viewfinder image.
  • Viewfinders must accurately reflect the nature and quality of the video coming from the camera. To be certain that the contrast and brightness of the viewfinder are correct, the color bars generated by the camera can be selected (if available on the camera you are using). These bars can be checked in the viewfinder, so the viewfinder's brightness and contrast controls can be adjusted to a continuous range of tones from solid black to visible white.
  • If the camera does not have a built-in test pattern, the quality of the camera must be verified (with the help of a test pattern and a reliable external monitor) before the viewfinder controls are adjusted.

Step 5. Verify the accuracy of the viewfinder

Although most CCD-type viewfinders typically remain stable for some time, the accuracy of a tube viewfinder can deteriorate to the point that it does not accurately display the camera's output signal. Verifying this is relatively easy.

  • First, you must make sure that the monitor is perfectly aligned with the help of a test pattern. The output of the camera in question is viewed on a separate monitor while it is focused on a test pattern, the viewfinder should coincide on the same edges of the pattern as seen on the monitor.
  • Any discrepancies between the viewfinder image and the monitor should be obvious. Visor alignment must be adjusted by an engineer or technician.
  • Occasionally the electric focus will also be out of adjustment on a tube viewfinder. This makes optical focusing difficult until the problem is corrected with a test pattern and a properly equipped engineer with a set of screwdrivers.
  • If you wear glasses, the camera's viewfinder can present problems, many viewfinder mounts have a control on the magnification lens to adjust the magnification. This is known as diopter correction.

    If the camera does not have this control, some eyepieces can be purchased independently with different diopter graduations that eliminate the need to wear glasses while using the camera

  • To help you with everything you need to know while recording, EFP-type camera manufacturers have added a variety of status indicators to the viewfinders. There are different types.

    • First, there are miniature colored lights around the edges of the image. Red, yellow, and green are the most common colors. Sometimes they blink to get attention.
    • Below are indicators superimposed on the viewfinder image. Commonly boxes, bars and lines.
    • Some of the messages in the viewer may be in different languages superimposed on the image. For example, "tape remaining: 2 min".
    • Other manufacturers use circuitry that superimposes zebra stripes on the bright areas of the viewfinder. These lines, showing the areas of maximum brightness in the image, act as aids in adjusting video levels.
    • Finally, some cameras have small speakers built into the sides and, with the help of a voice synthesizer, announce (in different languages) information such as "low battery", or "tape remaining: five minutes".: five minutes).

Step 6. Study the manual that comes with the camera

Because each manufacturer uses status indicators differently, you need to study the camera manual to determine what it is trying to tell you. The time taken to familiarize yourself with these indicators will avoid disappointment later. The status indicators for some cameras include the following messages:

  • A "tally" light (indicating that the tape is rolling and the camera is "on the air").
  • A low battery warning.
  • The remaining tape minutes.
  • Need for color balance.
  • Low light, insufficient exposure.
  • Low light amplifier (gain control) circuit in operation.
  • Filter fitted (inside / outside).
  • Zoom position (indicating how much more can be zoomed in or out).
  • Manual or automatic iris status.
  • Audio level monitoring.
  • Tape footage counter.
  • "Zebra Pattern" to monitor and adjust video levels.
  • Overlay frames for security area and frames in 4: 3 or 16: 9 format.
  • The presence of camera presets.
  • Diagnosis of "heating" of the chamber.


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