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What's one of the best parts about being a video professional? All the cool gear! In this weekly series, Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman team up to discuss the latest and greatest equipment for video production and post. They talk about the newest cameras, like the Blackmagic 4K, pocket cinema cameras, and GoPros; accessories and adapters that will make your shoots run smoother; and the great tech being invented every day. And because they keep both cost and quality in mind, you'll never have to worry about blowing your budget or compromising production value. Come back every Friday for a new tip.
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I always judge how easy it is to use a camera by trying to learn its menu system, cause that's really where you unlock the power. And you know, you've got companies like Canon that take a really streamlined approach, which is, oh, you know, one page, you can't scroll off the page, you can keep navigating to the next tab. You got Nikon that goes really deep with nested menus. And of course, the other people sort of fall in between. My take on Sony through the years, at least with their video cameras, is that they have a lot of choices in the menus. And it's not abnormal to need to, like, draw a map out.
Because you get four levels deep into the menu. >> I wouldn't say it's that bad. >> All right. >> This, this time around, actually I think when you look at it, Sony has taken, I think, especially from Canon, a very, you know. Direct sort of homage, if you will, to the. >> Right. >> To the Canon menu system. It's still deep, it might not be quite as nice and quite as sort of streamlined but it does work like that. Now I will say one thing for those who like to read the manual, neither one of us are the. >> No. >> "read the manual" type guys. But just keep in mind that the manual tends to be.
In Sony EOS, if you will. Not a whole lot of meat, if you will, when it comes to sort of descriptions of functions. >> Yeah. >> Yes, it tells you what it does, and what it's called, but there's not a lot of, you want to use this when, kind of stuff. >> You're going to find yourself going out and doing some Google searches on some of the terms and looking up some additional tutorials, maybe visiting lynda.com here, checking out some of the great bed long courses on photography. It's not going to answer all the questions but there's a lot there. So let's walk through the high level.
>> Sure. So first thing just press the menu button and you're going to bring up your menu settings here. Now I'm actually looking at this as a tile view. There is a way to configure this to go right into the menu system. I kind of like this tile view. To start out with then I, because then it gives me my main categories. >> But it's not touch screen. >> It is not screen, which is an important thing to note. The way that it works is this little rotator wheel here let's you rotate between different categories. you can also press it left and right, up and down if you don't want to rotate it. And then just press the center button to actually activate an item.
So the first thing you set into is the camera settings and this is going to control things you normally think of. Aspect ratio. Still shooting quality. The big one for video is down here. File Format. What kind of file are you going to shoot for video. We have two choices. AVCHD as well as MP4. >> And as we establish the AVCHD is the most robust but you need the processing power to deal with the files. Little bit bigger on the card, too, right? >> Absolutely. And I go over to the next set of the menu. Now it's important to know it's hierarchical. So we are still in camera settings, but then we have one, two, three, four, five, six, even.
Yes, seven different sub-menus under camera settings. Now, I actually like this. Because it's not one long scrolling list like you might find on a Nikon camera. It's sort of going page by page. So, again, that's why I would sort of mention it kind of took sort of a lesson from Cannon. >> Yeah. This makes it easy to jump. If you know it's on page six, you could tap over very quickly rather than just constantly scrolling. >> Right. And the one thing to concern yourself with here on camera settings on page number two. Would be your record setting for video. And if I press that since I'm in AVCHD mode, you notice that I get an option between 60i as well as 24p.
And as well as even 60p. And you have some quality settings. Whether you're going to be using, you know, sort of a bit rate and all that kind of stuff of the, of the camera itself. Now going over just some more traditional options that really affect stills so we'll just skip over those for right now. >> What sort of controls do we have over our audio? >> We're going to find our audio settings, I believe down here in menu number seven, under camera settings. And here we can do a couple of things. We can turn audio recording on and off, which is something you probably want to do. >> Right. >> Under audio recording level, if you press that, you can actually adjust your input levels.
And you'll notice this is kind of nice. We have built-in audio meters here, which is a nice feature to have on a camera so you know what's getting there. And you can kind of control how things are working then. >> Yeah, looks like it's got a scale that goes from zero to, of course 31. How did they come up with 31? >> Yeah, you know, well I said it's a little Sony EOS there as well. Then we also have things like wind noise reduction. So we can sort of do some in camera processing, not something that I usually turn on, I like, like to do that later on in post production. >> All right, well it looks like it's a pretty robust menu system and of course there's a lot of options in here for stills, you've got presets, white balance, temperature,.
>> Yeah, absolutely I mean there's other couple, couple of things that you know, affect shooting video, we have zebra pattern. So when you're doing manual focusing. That's going to work as well. We have things like grid lines. So you can sort of see, sort of a grid of the image. There's a level so you can whether you're level things of that nature. The other thing that I have to point our here on the menu system that's, you know, you can dive deep on your own when you get into it. Is sort of the WiFi and sort of the, apps lists. Using Sony's Play Memories technology and the Play Memories Suite. You can actually download apps to the camera and start messing with different things, like I said Toy Cameras and Tilt Shift kind of effects and there is also you can control WiFi settings.
Now one last thing Rich. >> Yeah. >> That I think concerns people in the settings here. Is down here on the last tab which looks like a little toolbox and this is going to be sort of where I'm going to find, if I scroll over to menu number three on the last menu item. This is where I am going to get HDMI resolution and HDMI control. So, here I can actually pick from HDMI set to Auto, or I could change this to output 1080p or output 1080i. And this is really important because if you are piping signal out of the camera to a digital recorder, you can choose what type of signal its going to output, either 1080p or 1080i.
>> And this is nice because you can output a clean, non marked up HDMI signal to a digital recorder allowing you to record in something even more robust, although, HVCHD on small camera like this is a great format. But if you need something more than that, with this full frame sensor you can do some pretty good things. >> Yeah, and then the last thing I'll mention is that like any good camera system, you can save favorites and save configurations. So if you're always constantly going back to. Hey, I want these three buttons to do this while I'm in video mode. Well, you can program those buttons as custom functions so that you can recall them easily later on.
>> All right. Well, we've shown you some of the footage that we got with this camera throughout this week's episode. Feel free to check out these cameras. It is interesting what Sony is doing and I think that other manufacturers moving towards a full frame sensor is going to become more and more the standard across product lines. As well as, as Rob mentioned I'm quite excited by the idea of downloadable apps and user upgradability. So, this is a good feature to look for. And I'm glad to see that Sony is pushing the levels of innovation.
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