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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Robbie Carman: Now Rich, let's start off talking about some essentials of power. [00:00:003.35] Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robbie: You know, when we have power and when we don't have power. Now obviously, when we don't have power, that meaning that we're not plugging in to somewhere, we're going to be running off of a camera battery. So the first thing I always tell people is get a lot of batteries, because you never know when you're going to need one, and of course it's sort of Murphy's law that the second that you need one, you're not going to have one available. Rich: Okay, so I just want to do a completely blind, this part we have not rehearsed behind your back with your hands, indicate the number of batteries you travel with in a standard location.
All right, and at the count of three we'll show the camera, 1, 2, 3. Robbie: Oh, that's cheating. Rich: We've been friends for a long time. Robbie: Yeah, exactly. Rich: Yeah, five, you mean five batteries? That's a lot of batteries. Robbie: No, it's true. Rich: One in the camera. I often use a grip, so there is two in the camera. Robbie: Yeah. Rich: One in my pocket, and then the rest are on chargers getting ready to use. Robbie: Yeah, and so speaking of chargers, you know, it's easy to sometimes you know--should be easy to remember to bring the batteries. Rich: Yeah. Robbie: But sometimes it's hard to remember to bring this guy.
It's just this block of plastic. And this is--I've seen this, you know, sort of screw up more productions than not, when you have these batteries but you have no way of actually repowering them, so be sure to actually bring along your battery charger, that's an important one. Rich: Yeah, and to that end I actually bring along two. My standard configuration is to go with two into the field. So with five batteries, I've always got one in the camera, two that are completely ready, and two charging, because as one goes, it's possible to drain a battery faster than you could recharge a battery. Robbie: Absolutely.
Rich: And so what I'll have is, oh, I just got two batteries, one in the camera, one in the charger, I am fine. No, if you're doing something that's very live-action driven, concerts, events, long runtimes, you could drain it. Now if you're doing short form commercial or cinematic with lots of little takes, you might be able to milk it longer, but you nailed it. Bring the charger, in fact, not only should you have one charger, I always say bring two chargers. Now an interesting thing with chargers is that this whole OEM, the Original Equipment Manufacturer versus third-party ones.
I have run into situations, particularly with Canon batteries, where Canon batteries will only charge official Canon batteries on an actual Canon charger. Robbie: Yeah, I've found that too. And one of the things that this brings up is that when you're going out there and trying to buy more batteries, you just quickly realize the batteries are not the cheapest in the world, and so if you have to buy five, six, seven, eight batteries, your gut instinct might be to go find those ones from a no-name company that are on the Amazon that are like, you know, a quarter of the price of the OEM batteries.
Buyer beware, I think they are fine to buy and try it out, but put them to the test before you actually go out in the field. Make sure that they do in fact start up your camera and you don't get an error message on the camera when you put the battery in. Make sure that they actually do take a charge and that they take repetitive charges. I actually purchased some batteries not too long ago that after about 10, 12 charges, they started taking about half the amount of charge. So I had half the amount of the actually usable battery. And then I think, Rich, the last thing to consider is that when you have real power, plug-in power available, why waste your batteries? Because after all, these batteries have sort of a finite life.
And then what I mean by that is that you can only charge them, you know, X amount of times before they start losing charge. So in those situations, I always find it useful-- especially if I am in a studio situation like this--to get my AC power adapter, plug in to an extension cord or a power strip and run the camera that way instead of using the batteries. Rich: And nobody said you have to run off of batteries. Just like for example if you have a laptop, sure you will run that laptop off of the built-in battery, but I know people who run the laptop battery down all the time. It's like, you know, that thing only has so many charges before it has to be replaced and that's not a cheap replacement. Robbie: No, it's not at all.
Rich: So, plugging into a wall when a wall is available, not a bad idea. Now when we come back, we're going to talk about another type of battery and that's not the camera batteries, but all of the batteries you are going to need for some of the accessories you take on set.
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