How to Buy a Professional Grade High Def Video Camera

If you are looking to buy a high def video camera to be used for television production and feature films, there are many things you'll need to take into consideration. The Sony Corporation introduced the HD format in the year 1997 as a part of the Digital Betacam. Now, buying these cameras can be an expensive affair considering that the current industry standard F23 CineAlta film style camera rents for $3,000 a day and is available for purchase at $100,000.

Step 1: Prepare a Budget

You will need to spend some time and consider how much you would want to spend on a HD camera. There is no limit to spending on one, as they can cost as much as a house. If budget is a constraint, you can easily and safely stick to shooting in the HDV format. Most of the manufacturers (like Sony, Canon, Sharp and JVC) are on the same page when it comes to the HDV format, but there can be problems when you plan to directly edit by digitizing the video from the camera. It will be in your best interests to stick to one manufacturer in such scenarios. So, you will need to choose the budget and the manufacturer wisely.

Step 2: Consider Number of CCDs

You will also need to decide on the number of the chips you need. Professional HD cameras generally use CCD (charge-coupled device) sensors to capture the colors. There are options with CMOS image sensors too. It is important to consider the kind and the number of these light sensors in the camera because they have a bearing on the quality of the picture produced. The more the number of discrete chips, the better the picture produced. Single chips provide acceptable quality, but you will need to compare the resulting resolutions in that case.

Step 3: Anticipate Your Editing Needs

Editing HDTV footage is much more of a job than the standard footage. HDV uses MPEG-2 and always uses both intraframe and interframe compression. Hence, the editing takes place on virtual frames rather than real frames and then the results are simply extrapolated across the entire Group of Pictures (GOP). You will have to go for cameras that use the high quality HDV tapes or recording media.

Step 4: Extras

Always try to go for a camera with assisted focus. This is vital because when you are dealing in HD, there is almost zero tolerance for a bad focus. Bad focus stands out like a sore thumb. Do not go for a HD camera without this feature. It will prove to be a lifesaver.