While waiting for my perfect camera to come along, I found another very interesting cam. What’s the perfect camera you might ask. Well of course there’s no single camera that is perfect and all others are not. Depending on your needs you chose the appropriate tool.
One of my “perfect cameras” should be able to shoot hires slomos, capture high dynamic range images and also make use of my Canon EF lenses including their capabilities like rack focusing by pressing one button and utilize IS image stabilization. I don’t mind about weight and transcoding the source files before editing. So with the requirements in mind an EPIC-X with EF mount is my primary choice.
But today I want to tell you something about another idea, requiring a different kind of “perfect camera”. I always wanted to shoot some low level aerials in 1080p – maximum 4m (13′) above ground without a hexa-, octo- or whatevercopter or a crane (I own a Kessler KC12/8 with Revolution Head and Oracle Controller and love it btw).
I didn’t want to carry around even more equipment. I wanted to reuse what every film crew already has on set. Just grab the boom pole, put a cam on top and hold it up into the sky. Of course when used this way a cam produces an even more shaky image than holding the it directly in front of you.
For that intended use you find one perfect camera in the vast range of consumer products. I was experimenting with GoPros and some more lightweight cams together with image stabilizing software, but only the new Sony HX9V has an outstanding feature that outperforms all others. It has a fantastic optical image stabilisator, that nearly eliminates the need for software stabilization.
Just take a look at the short demo video, recorded a few days ago. The boom pole cam can be used in two “modes”. In the “guess frame” mode – as I call it – you have to guess what the camera records, just like using a GoPro without the tiny monitor. But when attaching a monitor to the HDMI output you get some steady cam like rig, that is floating 4 meters (13′) above you!
As you can see in the video, I use a SmallHD DP6. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a signal while recording AVCHD 1080 p50. When selecting MP4 25p mode you get the live view while shooting. At 0:50 you see the screen while recording, in the lower right corner it shows “AUFN” (german for “REC”, recording). In AVCHD 1080 50p mode the external monitor gets black when movie button is pressed and recording starts. As there is no remote control*) there is no chance to even frame the shot in this mode, because you have to press the movie button first and then hold the boom pole high up in the air. The shots in this demo video have been done without external monitor.
When shooting out in the field, you should of course fix the HDMI cable to the boom pole. For recording the video in my backyard I didn’t care about, I was to lazy. And normally you would use the monitor with a sunhood, for demo purposes I took it off.
The native AVCHD stream was imported into PP 5.5, no effects have been applied, no color grading, no stabilization! Take a look and be inspired.
Picture shows the attached DP6
*) HX9V can be connected to Sony Bravia TV and then operated via TV remote. Don’t want to carry that with me …