GETTING STARTED WITH THE PANASONIC HVX200
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-
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
(Irene's Quick Reference Guide)