The Video Camera: 4 Features Professionals Prefer

The video camera is the most important tool used in production. You could have a great idea, great actors, great lighting and great set design, but if you're shooting with a low quality camera, then your finished product will not look very good. You need to have a professional camera if you want your work to be professional. There are a lot of cameras on the market and at rental houses that have a lot of features. Here are four of them that the professionals prefer.

1. High Resolution

Resolution size is the biggest factor when it comes to image quality. A digital image is made up of pixels. Each pixel is a solid color square. The more pixels you have, the more resolution you have which results in a sharp image with a high dynamic color range. For standard definition, a video frame's resolution is 720 by 480 pixels. High definition is 1920 by 1080 pixels.

Professionals look for a camera that can at least shoot HD. Cameras like the Canon 5 and 7Ds meet this requirement. The RED camera, currently the best in the industry, can shoot with resolutions much higher than HD which allows for an even sharper image that can be cropped without a loss of quality.

2. Interchangeable Lenses

Different lenses perform different functions and have direct effects over the image's depth of field. Because of this, professionals want a camera that offers it's users the ability to quickly change lenses. A fixed lens on a camera is often not desirable because it limits what can be done with the image.

3. The Ability to Add Filters

Filters offer the camera many options for how the image will look. When shooting outside, a UV filter prevents colors from being washed out and a polarizer filter prevents reflections on non metallic surfaces from being picked up. Neutral density filters are used to cut down on the light entering the lens without adjusting the aperture because that would change the depth of field. 

Because filters are so important to creating quality images, professionals look for cameras that can support multiple filters being used at once. You want a camera that allows filters to be dropped into it as opposed to one that only allows one to be screwed over the lens.

4. File Format

Most newer video cameras record either directly to SD cards or to an internal hard drive on the camera. The file format that the video is saved as plays a huge role in what camera a professional will prefer because it has a direct effect on how the video will be edited. The preferred file format depends on what program is being used for editing.