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Panasonic HVX200A - Camcorder - 1080p Getting Started Manual

Getting started guide
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Getting Started / Shooting HD
Always start by calibrating your LCD display and / or viewfinder (use Color Bars
button inside LCD flip-out; see "Video and Hi Def" reading for step-by-step
instructions for calibrating your display)
Many cinematographers prefer to shoot using the viewfinder rather than the flip-
out screen; the black and white viewfinder display setting (change in Display
Setup menu) makes it easier to see focus and to assess exposure; also, many
documentary filmmakers shooting in uncontrolled situations find the flip-out screen
problematic because the subject / bystanders can get distracted trying to look at
what you're shooting.
If you're using the viewfinder, make sure the diopter ring is set correctly for your
eyesight; if you wear glasses and prefer shooting without glasses, try calibrating
the diopter for your vision (use ring on viewfinder)
Format your P2 card before starting to record – make sure footage from previous
user is cleared off.
Always keep automatic / manual master switch set to manual for professional-
quality recording
Shoot in 720p / 30PN format for optimized recording. 720 is the only true
progressive HD resolution available in the camera, and gives about 40 minutes of
recording time on a 16 GB P2 card (as opposed to only 16 min. at 1080i). 30 PN
is a native progressive frame rate, meaning it only does not record any extra
frames or embed the progressive frames in a standard interlaced videotape
stream, so that fewer total frames are stored on the P2 card (= more recording
time) and no reverse pulldown is necessary in FCP. PN frame rates are possible
with P2 cards only.
If you're shooting a documentary and anticipate needing to shoot more than 40
minutes at a time, consider using the HVX to shoot miniDV instead of using the P2
Go through and set all menus before you start shooting. Load previously saved
scene files and user files from SD card if applicable.
If a menu selection is blue and can't be changed, it means that you are in the
wrong mode to access that particular menu function (for example you can't
change variable frame rates if you are in VIDEO CAM mode).
When shooting HD, carefully control your highlights to prevent clipping / blowing
out. Use a light meter, as well as the camera exposure tools (Marker and zebra
stripes) to make sure your exposure is not too hot; when in doubt, err on the side
of underexposing.
(Irene's Quick Reference Guide)


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  • Page 1 GETTING STARTED WITH THE PANASONIC HVX200 (Irene’s Quick Reference Guide) Getting Started / Shooting HD Always start by calibrating your LCD display and / or viewfinder (use Color Bars • button inside LCD flip-out; see “Video and Hi Def” reading for step-by-step...
  • Page 2 Never use the Firewire port on the camera! You must use the duel adaptor and a • laptop (either your own or the transfer room MacBook Pro to transfer your footage off the P2 card).
  • Page 3 CAMERA FEATURES AND OPERATION Focusing Focus is truly manual and repeatable – you can set marks for focus pulls as you • would on a professional broadcast or film camera. Viewfinder shows focus distance. It can be set to show a percentage number (00- •...
  • Page 4 max=2.8, at widest angle, max=1.6…. So stay wide for low-light shooting! Press Iris button for auto Iris (factoring in iris bias customized in scene file menu) • Iris display is calibrated in half stops, though the actual iris dial makes 1/6 of a •...
  • Page 5 Other Useful Camera Buttons/ Functions: Buttons inside flip screen: • a) Bars – press to generate SMPTE bars, use to calibrate LCD / viewfinder b) Shutter: i) First shutter button turns default shutter speed on / off ii) If default is not enabled, + / - buttons can select variable shutter speed iii) Shutter speeds are relative to recording mode, frame rate, etc c) Audio Select Switches: i) Camera can record sound from onboard stereo mic (2 channels), or from...
  • Page 6 center box. This is a great way to quickly figure out the exposure range for different areas in a scene. iii) Press twice to toggle Zebra 1 (default is 80 IRE; I recommend 70) iv) Press again to toggle Zebra 2 (default is 100 IRE; I recommend 105) v) TIP: When setting exposure, use both Zebra buttons to get a more precise sense of the exposure range in the scene.
  • Page 7 WORKING WITH SCENE FILES Setting up customized scene file settings allows you to optimize camera for the • shooting situation at hand and also allows you to develop customized in-camera “looks” for your footage. The camera comes with 6 pre-set scene files that can be accessed by turning the •...
  • Page 8 SCENE FILE MENUS Operation Type • a) Allows choice of VIDEO CAM or FILM CAM. Different operation modes allow you to access different camera features / menus. For example, only FILM CAM allows you to shoot variable frame rates. Only VIDEO CAM allows time-lapse, loop, or intervalometer shooting.
  • Page 9 Detail Coring • a) –2 to +7 scale; +7 has most extreme smoothing effect b) Helps mask appearance of noise in image c) Works with other Detail settings by giving camera a threshold for when to ignore detail enhancement (to avoid creating edge enhancement around video noise –...
  • Page 10 HD NORM – base level for comparison; default / standard HD response c) SD NORM – is matched to Panasonic DVX camera; good for multi camera shoots using both kinds of camera d) LOW – a bit more contrasty / less noisy than HD norm; compresses / darkens highlights a bit, pushes midtones a bit;...
  • Page 11 • MATRIX – remaps original colors to new matrix of colors a) Normal – matrix looks realistic / mild / normal; good for outdoors b) Enriched – richer / deeper palette c) Fluorescent – boosts / saturates non-green colors to compensate for green spike in fluorescent light;...
  • Page 12: Recording Setup Menu

    WORKING WITH USER FILES All other settings (like format, frame rate, display and switch settings) are part of the User File. User File settings can also be saved to an SD card and reused on later shoots. RECORDING SETUP MENU REC FORMAT •...
  • Page 13: Other Menu Functions

    TCG – time code generator: use REC RUN for normal shooting, FREE RUN to sync • footage from multi-camera shoots (keeps continuous track of absolute time elapsed, regardless of whether or not cameras are recording) TC Preset – set TC for next recorded clip •...
  • Page 14 MCR (Memory Card Recorder) MODE Toggle between camera and MCR Mode (VCR mode if shooting tape) using button • on back of camera. Thumbnail Mode: • a) Navigate through and play thumbnails using arrow buttons on top of camera. Up button plays clip, down button returns to menu, left and right arrows navigate b) Only clips recorded in current camera format setting will play back.

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