The effects of COVID-19 have presented our industry with unprecedented challenges, including having to find new and innovative ways to produce content under different circumstances and restrictions. Though advances in technology are continuously enabling our industry to progress and make shooting great looking content easier, sometimes a simpler approach is the answer, especially when shooting on location isn't possible. Are you currently working on a production where the contributors can create content from home? Here’s a couple cameras that are easy to use and could get you the content you need to keep your production moving:
An extremely versatile, palmcorder style, HD camera. The Canon XF205 has a 1”, 3.09MP sensor with an infra-red mode, allowing the user to shoot in virtually all lighting scenarios. 50mbps recording makes this camera an ideal choice for broadcast*. A 20x optical zoom lens gives an excellent range with both ring and servo control, whilst the ergonomics of the camera make it very easy to operate in any position. Most importantly the “full-auto” mode allows this camera to be operated by people of any experience level. Just point, shoot and the camera will do the rest**.
The younger sibling of the XF205, the Canon XF105 has very similar functions such as an infra-red mode, 50mbps recording and a full-auto function**. Both camera sensors are 1”, however the XF105 has a slightly less megapixel count at 2.37 and a zoom range of 10x in comparison to the 205’s 20x zoom range. Although the XF105 appears technically inferior to the XF205, the camera is smaller and lighter making it a preferred choice in more restricted shooting scenarios.
Surprisingly the Canon XA20 has more similarities with the XF205 than it does with the XF105. A 20x zoom range, 3.09MP 1” sensor and infra-red capabilities in a more compact body compared to the previous cameras, it ticks all the right boxes. Unfortunately, though, its main difference is its maximum recording bit-rate of 35mbps meaning only a small percentage of the footage shot on an XA20 can be used in the final edit*.
A relatively unknown little camera, the Canon Legria will fit in your pocket and is super easy to use. It doesn’t have the same impressive zoom, infra-red, audio or recording capabilities of the other cameras mentioned, but a flip out stand and large LCD make it the quickest camera to grab and shoot when attempting to capture unpredictable content. Like the XA20, its limited 24mbps bit-rate means you are likely to only be able to use a small percentage of the footage in the overall final edit*.
Everyone’s favourite action camera always has a place on any production and its compact size, (up to) 4K resolution, image stabilisation and infinite amount of mounting options justifies the camera's popularity. Unfortunately the GoPro's bit-rate is variable, so you are still limited to the amount of footage you can use in the final edit* but this doesn’t stop most productions using them to capture usually unattainable shots.
*always check the broadcast specifications with your channel.
** if using infra-red mode, this must be engaged manually.