Want to improve your video workflow? Here’s how Sony can help…

If you’re shooting video on your DSLR, you’ll have realised you can only shoot in short bursts and have probably encountered the infamous rolling shutter ‘jelly effect’. Know what we’re talking about? This is because DSLRs aren’t optimised for video. So if you’re looking to step up from DSLR to a dedicated video camera, you need to think about your overall design workflow and end goals. Here are a few pointers and ways in which Sony can help.

Sony are one of the industry leaders, so getting to grips with their tech can be a real benefit and open your design workflow up to a whole host of cameras and peripherals to chose from. Here are a few things we recommend you bare in mind when considering your camera selection.

What kind of projects does your business produce?

Those of you that work on film will want a large sensor camera so that you’re able to master shooting with a ‘filmic’ shallow depth of field, whereas if your work is geared more towards general media production, you’ll want a smaller sensor camera that allows for longer focus, so that you can practice reactive shooting as events unfold.

Distinctions like this will also impact your choice of lens – variable if your goal is to create something attractive, fixed if you’re trying to shoot a news segment – and the kind of rigs, tripods and lights you need.

Studio v location shooting

If you’re design workflow focuses more on media and television production, you’re far more likely to need a dedicated room or studio where you can record, carry out chromakeying and man the gallery.

In this is the case, you’ll need cameras that can be linked together in a traditional studio setup. And if you’re using something like NewTek TriCaster to mix or stream footage, that will in turn affect the kinds of inputs and outputs you need on your cameras.

The good news is that most cameras can be modified to fit into a setup like this, but it’s important to make sure you have compatible cameras so that there’s not a noticeable difference between footage from A and B cameras, and that you don’t have to waste valuable time juggling file types and media formats.

What will you be doing with the footage after it’s shot (and how much storage do you have)?

Having a dedicated space for media work and basing your choice of camera around your streaming setup and infrastructure is a far better move than getting yourself cameras that look great but are difficult to network and integrate with the rest of your infrastructure. And of course if you’re going to be shuttling everything back and forth, you’ll want to go for as sturdy a camera as possible – no-one likes an unexpected repair bill.

When it comes to choosing a camera, it’s important to bear in mind that your choice can tie you into a specific workflow. Just because the camera you choose is budget conscious, doesn’t mean the files it records are. If you get a cheap camera that supports a very specific codec and workflow, you may well need to overhaul your storage and change key pieces of software, meaning the final cost will be greater than if you’d opted for a more expensive camera with a more flexible workflow and made use of your existing resources.

Another factor to consider is the sheer size of some files. If part of your daily design workflow includes shooting RAW footage, you need to be aware that you could be filling up a 64GB card every five minutes, so you’ll need a vast amount of (in some cases proprietary and expensive) media at your disposal. If post-production techniques like colour grading aren’t the focus of your business, it’s unlikely you really need to be working with such files at all, and we generally recommend sticking to something that’s kinder to your storage setup unless you’re looking to teach one specific hi-res workflow.

Our recommendations

With all that in mind, here are a few cameras we’d recommend for different workflows ranging from videography, promo films, live streaming and live reporting– if you’d like to find out more about any of them, you can always get in touch with our team at broadcast@Jigsaw24.com.

For corporate videography or advertising…

If you’re looking for a budget camera that still delivers on image quality and really don’t want to leave DSLRs behind, opt for a DSLR like Sony’s A7S. Affordable, equipped with a full frame sensor for shallow depth of field and able to record 4K to an external recorder if that’s what you really need, it’s a great option if you’ll be shooting in less than ideal conditions.

The PXW-FS7 is another strong option. Rammed with pro features and designed to be Sony’s most ergonomic camera to date, it’s ideal for trips out into the wild for more long form projects.

For live streaming from events or product videos…

Most cameras can be modified to fit into a studio setup, and with the latest additions to the TriCaster range you can stream from pretty much any camera with a pro SDI output, so do talk to us if you think you can’t afford studio cameras. That said, this is an area where your end goal can affect your camera choice and, by extension, the infrastructure you base your studio on – putting a low quality camera at the front of a high-end workflow will stop you getting the most out of your investment, and conversely buying expensive cameras without the backend to support them will stop you getting the best possible image quality.

The key thing here is to make sure you’re talking to your supplier about the workflow as a whole, so that you’re getting something that’s particular to the needs of your on design workflow and employees. If you’d like a couple of extreme examples to start you off, the PXW-X70 is increasingly popular as it allows you to adopt a real broadcast-quality workflow on a manageable budget, while the HXC-D70 was designed specifically to bring high-end technology to smaller studio setups, making it the perfect choice for smaller creative agencies. However, you’ll be able to find cameras at virtually every price and feature point between the two, so do ask us for options!

For live reporting from events or event videography…

The PXW-X70 is also a safe bet for the kind of run-and-gun shooting needed for electronic news gathering, while the HXR-MC2500 is an updated version of the MC2000 that gives you a 14 hour recording time to inexpensive media.

If you’re looking for top industry-spec tech, we’d recommend looking at the the EBU-approved PXW-X160 and PXW-X180. As well as letting you record broadcast quality footage, these cameras shoot XAVC, a professional Sony codec that’s widely supported.

To frantically reiterate, we’ve just outlined a few options here, and many cameras can be adapted to the needs of individual businesses and design workflows. To find out more about your options, get in touch with the team on the details below.

Want some advice about updating your setup? Give our consultants a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook


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