Sony NXCAM HXR-NX5 First Premier Video

Choosing the right equipment for video production

Just read an interesting article: Why you still need a video camera which talks about using a second ‘safety’ camera alongside a DSLR. The thinking being that although DSLRs give you the ability to play around with depth of field to create some beautiful shots, there are also a lot of drawbacks such as limited recording time, banding, moire, aliasing and lack of professional audio connections.

At the moment we are using the Canon 550d DSLR with a range of lenses and accesories for all the stylised shots, close-ups and cutaways, while the static shots and longer pieces are recorded with the Sony HXR-NX5e.  Its the best of both worlds in the sense that we can get a good mix of stylish shots but always know that we can rely on the NX5e to get consistent, usable material. The downside is having to match the shots from the two different cameras in post production. Ideally you would want to use two identical, matched cameras to keep your footage consistent, but a simple colour grade and level adjustment usually gets the shots looking pretty similar.

The tech is moving fast with new large sensor cameras with standard professional features becoming available, like the Panasonic AF-101. However its not yet clear which is the best option(with the majority of the cost being the lenses its important to pick a platform that is going to be compatible with your glass for a long time into the future.

Despite the stylisitc advantages, I can’t quite understand videographers, especially wedding guys, relying solely on DSLRs. When you only get one chance at filming something, its not worth the risk of one of the many things that can go wrong with DSLRs happening. At the same time, videos shot solely on traditional small sensor video cameras can tend to look less professional and dated now because people have become so familiar with the DSLR ‘look’.

So I’m quite happy with our choice of gear right now – the professional quality and reliability of the NX5e and the style of the shots from the Canon give a good balance I think. It’ll be interesting to see what new tech appears over the next year though.

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