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The camera

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The camera

  1. 1. The Camera<br />Panasonic HDC-SD5<br />
  2. 2. Panasonic<br />The Panasonic Corporation (or PanasonikkuKabushiki-gaisha) is a multinational corporation specialized in manufacturing electronics. <br />Founded in 1918 by Konosuke Matsushita it’s first international debut was selling Television sets to the American market.<br />Along it’s road it has also provided non electronic products like bicycles (made redundant in 1989) and home renovations.<br />The company is among established leaders in the digital camera market; producing high-performance kit used by professional studios and amatuers.<br />
  3. 3. HDC-SD5<br />Released in 2007 this nifty, lightweight camera is a quality choice for amateur film-makers. Being Panasonic’s attempt to improve upon the HDC-SD1 it is lightweight, compact, has a decent battery life and records in the AVCHD format onto removable media storage SD cards.<br />Upon release it was label as the smallest/ lightest/ most compact AVCHD camera on the market. It is built with comfort in mind as the holding area is ergonomically made to fit the palm of the hand and the strap is of a velvety texture that is breathable and ‘inviting’ to the user.<br />
  4. 4. AVCHD<br />Labelled AdvancedVideoCodingHighDefinition<br />The AVCHD file format is relatively new in the world of cinematography. It was co-developed by Panasonic and Sony in early 2006 with a main aim of bringing HD video to a wider spectrum of recording media like DVD, HDD and flash memory. (our HDC-SD5 has 8gb of removable flash memory in the form of an SD card)<br />AVCHD is able to utilize the MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression codec that is 50% more efficient then HDV and at half the file size.<br />It can be used with either Dolby AC3 or linear PCM audio codec compressions. Dolby is the more preferred one as uncompressed linear PCM is not very well supported in existing consumer devices such as our HDC-SD5. <br />AVCHD is a user friendly format, being compatible with the medium of DVD which is familiar to most consumers these days.<br />
  5. 5. PERFORMANCE<br />The HDC-SD5 has a total of three 1/6” CCD sensors making it able to produce images with an effective pixel count of 520,000. This is not particularly good as it’s light gathering abilities are inhibited by the small pixel count.<br />The good thing is that the images are processed by Panasonic’s HD Advanced Pure Color Engine Processor resulting in a particularly vibrant colour palette and image definition.<br />The resolution of the image produced is 1920 x 1080 full HD meaning that the definition and quality of the resulting images is better as opposed to previous anamorphic resolutions of 1440 x 1080<br />
  6. 6. Compression<br />The HDC-SD5 is able to utilise the AVCHD compression format which means that it is capable of recording in both 720p and 1080i HD standards.<br />The camera is able to film at 1920 x 1080 resolution with 13mbps at it’s highest settings. This is quite low compared to Sony’s HDR-CX7 which can bust out a full 15mbps at optimal settings. <br />This is a worrying factor as we aim to film in a generally dark colour palette which means that ‘noise’ and ‘pixelization’ is likely to occur. We will test the camera out next week to be sure that the picture quality is not inhibited greatly by its inability to work well with light filtering. We may be able to use another camera for our production but as this camera is mine personally it will mean that it will be more accessible to us and we will not have to wait to use it after other groups.<br />
  7. 7. Sound<br />Less important to our production but nevertheless important is the sound recording capabilities.<br />The HDC-SD5 was released in 2007 with the staple “smallest AVCHD camcorder” as it’s unique selling point. Sadly this comes with the cost of having a 2 channel stereo mic and absence of a microphone jack as opposed to the previous HDC-SD1 which had 5.1 channel Dolby and microphone jack. This inhibition will not reflect in our production as we will have a minimum of diegetic sound relative to the non-diegetic music and conventional horror scores that will alleviate tension and suspense for the audience.<br />
  8. 8. Connectivity<br />The HDC-SD5 is architecturally eccentric in terms of port placement: The HDMI and USB slots are housed by a big plastic cover on the right side of the camcorder’s “sweet spot”, or grip side. The plastic cover is fixed by a thin plastic strip that is bolted by roughly three tiny Phillips head screws. <br />The component and AV jacks are located in the LCD cavity and are secured by a small rectangular plastic cover. The SD card is at the bottom of the camera, sealed by a sliding plastic lock plate that also houses the battery. There is unfortunately no DC jack anywhere to be found – meaning that we cannot film while during charging. Hopefully we wont need to film while charging as on a full battery the HDC-SD5 can be used for recording for around 80 minutes – plenty for us<br />
  9. 9. Impact on production<br />The good thing I can say about this camera is that it’s ability to produce a vibrant colour palette will help us by adding depth to our production and a nice finish to our footage. It is easy to compare tech specs to other leading cameras and be disappointed but I think that although the HDC-SD5 might not be on par with other cameras in its niche like the Sony HDR-CX7 it is still able to produce high quality footage and in essence this is all we need. The only real downside is the fairly low light sensor fidelity but this can be overcome by using fill lights from the photography department as our film will be mainly in-doors and we will have access to the mains electricity.<br />

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