Camera Checklist

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Part of the tutorial on Camera Operation

Remember to use the bookings system well in advance to book out all your equipment and/or the use of the Studio or Control Room, the booking will be approved by tech or the studio manager. If your request is urgent and you have not received confirmation message the relevant people on slack.

All camera operators must be camera trained by an appropriate officer - usually the Production Director, but all officers should be able to help. This assures you will film usable footage and that our cameras are in safe hands.

If you plan to use a YSTV camera off-campus, you must obtain permission from a Team Leader.

Things to take if shooting outside the Studio

  • Camera - Normally for recorded content (reports etc) use the Canon C100 (stored in the main shelving unit in the studio in a black, marked flight case). A selection of lenses and the necessary equipment should be in the case too. If they are not, please contact the tech team.

For OB and other Live work, use the Panasonic AGAC90s, stored in their respective bags under the table beside the studio door.

  • Battery - in the Charged box by the edit PCs in the Control Room or on the table by the studio door. Place on the chargers when you're finished. Remember to use the correct battery for the correct camera.
  • SD Cards - On the shelf above the editing desks (edit 1 and 2). Make sure to offload your footage as soon as possible after finishing shooting and then format the card in the camera before replacing the card in the SD box.
Additional
  • Tripod - Check if it has its quick release plate on the head (they often accidentally get left on cameras), otherwise it's useless! Tripods are kept by the door to the studio, under the shelves.
  • External Microphone - Essential for recording sound. If interviewing, use a Dynamic hand held microphone with YSTV branded clip and muffler. Rifle microphones are also useful for on camera mounting and getting general location sound. Remember to take at least 1 long enough XLR cable to attach the microphone to the camera or external audio recorder.
  • White balance card/plain paper - If shooting in a location where there is not a white reference point, a bounce or reflector is required to correctly white balance. We have several, contact the Production Director. To use, hold it under the same light as your subjects, aim the camera and activate the Custom White Balance in the camera menu. In a pinch, a sheet of white paper will do.
If you can't white balance on location, don't worry. Set the camera's white balance to Indoor or Outdoor, whichever looks best - but keep it consistent. Even if the balance isn't perfect, you can easily adjust all the footage in one go during the edit. Never leave White Balance on Auto - it'll be set differently every time you record a shot.
  • Headphones - to check sound is recording properly, particularly if the recording input level is manually set. Don't use the editing ones if at all possible, or without telling someone.

Composing a shot

General Views (GVs)

Properly known as a wide or establishing shot, these are good for doing voiceovers during editing. They set the scene or introduce a topic, they can also be used as a pause or transition between topics.

It is often good to have some movement, by means of panning, tilting, dollying, jibbing, zooming, focus pulls or any combination of these. It is usually best to make any movement as gradual and steady as possible. A tripod should be used, especially for static GVs.

Perspective

This relies heavily on zoom.

With the camera close to the subject and at a wide setting there is a lot of coverage of the background. This is good if the subject is a person talking about something in the background.

With the camera further from the subject but zoomed in, the subject appears the same size as before on the screen, but there is less coverage of the background and objects in the background appear larger. This is good if you want to draw attention to the subject, but activity in the background may be even more distracting. Also sound may be a problem with the camera a long way away if the subject is a presenter and there’s no external microphone.

Interviews

Using a tripod is certainly recommended to avoid a shaky, hypnotising shot. Though it often takes time to set up and this sometimes deters strangers from being interviewed.

Usually it is best to ask the interviewee to look at the interviewer off to one side, and not at the camera - unless you want them speaking directly to the audience. If you want the interviewer in shot in an ‘over-the-shoulder’ style make sure they don’t obstruct the shot of the interviewee too much. If you intend to cut between over-the-shoulder shots of the interviewee and interviewer in a conversation, make sure to observe The Line (sometimes called the 180-degree rule) - make sure the cameras stay on one side of the eyeline between the two subjects - so one OTS has the interviewer in the left of the frame looking to the right of the frame, and the next shot has the interviewee on the right of the frame looking out the left.

If you want the interviewer’s and interviewee’s faces to be seen, and one is a lot shorter than the other then asking them to sit down may be best so their heads are at the same level. If you do want them standing then inclines or stairs are useful (but don’t make them visible in the shot).

Generally it is best for subjects’ eyelevel to be about two-thirds the way up the screen, and have the camera at their eye-level. Many of our tripods do not extend above 5’6” so this is not always possible.

Having the camera looking down at the interviewee (i.e. with it above their eye-level) may make them look inferior. Having the camera looking up at the interviewee (i.e. with it below their eye-level) may make them look authoritative.

Action Shots

These are often used at music shows or sport events. They often require sudden and rapid movement of the camera. This is very difficult as it combines many operations of the camera, zooming and focussing simultaneously can be especially difficult when also keeping the subject near the centre of a moving shot (autofocus can be unreliable in dark or rapidly-changing shots).

Terminology

Optical axis: Along the line of sight of the camera, from the back of the camera through the lens centre and out in the direction it's pointing.

Pan: Camera remains stationary but rotates left or right about its vertical axis.

Tilt: Camera remains stationary but rotates up or down about its horizontal axis perpendicular to its optical axis.

Roll: Camera remains stationary but rotates anticlockwise or clockwise about its optical axis (useful for unusual shots).

Zoom: Zoom in makes the subject larger on the screen (more telephoto, larger focal length, lesser angle of view). Zoom out makes the subject smaller on the screen (more wide, smaller focal length, greater angle of view).

Jib or crane: Camera doesn’t rotate but is moved vertically up or down.

Dolly: Camera doesn’t rotate but is moved horizontally in some direction.

Focus Pull: When a shot is made to change to (or from) being entirely blurred from (or to) focussed on a particular object – or from being focussed on one object to being focussed on a different object. Sometimes called racking focus.