Camcorder - AccessVision
Battle Creek Area Community Television
70 West Michigan Ave., Suite 112 • Battle Creek, MI 49017 • (269) 968-3633 •
The camcorder is a Panasonic AG-AC130A. It can record in several different video formats to SD
(Secure Digital) cards. The camera offers both automatic and manual adjustment features, making it
both easy to use and capable of producing excellent, professional-quality results.
The camera can run on either AC power or battery power.
Attaching the battery
Insert the battery and slide down until it clicks into
Removing the battery
1. Turn the camera’s POWER/MODE switch to OFF
2. Remove the battery while pressing the battery
release button. Support the battery with your hand
to ensure that it will not fall.
Battery life: A fully-charged battery will last about
3.5 hours. This will vary depending on usage, i.e.
how much zooming, recording/standby time, etc.
Attaching the AC power adapter
1. Connect the DC cord to the AC adapter.
2. Plug the AC cord into a power outlet.
3. Insert the DC cord’s battery connector until it clicks into
To remove the AC adapter, turn the camera’s POWER/
MODE switch to OFF and remove the DC cord’s battery
connector while pressing the battery release button.
Turning on power
First, open the lens cap by flipping the switch on the
left side of the lens hood. The turn the POWER/MODE
switch up to the <ON> position while pressing the
lock release button. The mode lamp <CAMERA>
lights up in red and the camera goes into standby
status (<CAMERA> mode).
If the POWER/MODE switch is turned up to the
<MODE> postion, the mode lamp <PB> will light
up in greenand the camera goes to playback mode (for
playing back footage already recorded). Every time the
switch is turned to the <MODE> postion, the mode
will change between <CAMERA> mode and <PB>
To turn the camera off, turn the POWER/MODE switch
up to the <OFF> position while pressing the lock
release button. The mode lamp <CAMERA>/<PB>
goes off.
Photograpy Basics
EXPOSURE: The amount of light entering the camera, controlled by the IRIS. The iris determines the
aperture, or the variable-sized hole allowing light to enter the lens. The size of the hole is measured in
f-stops. The smaller the f-stop number, the larger the size of the hole; the larger the f-stop number, the
more light it “stops” from coming through and the smaller the hole. The difference between f-stops is
equal to doubling or halving the amount of light entering the lens.
FOCUS: Point at which objects in front of the lens form a sharp image. Focus is determined by the
distance between the lens and the subject.
DEPTH OF FIELD: The distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear
acceptably sharp in an image. The lower the f-stop number, the shallower depth of field becomes.
WHITE BALANCE: adjusts the color of the image. The video image is made up of red, green and blue;
adjusting the white balance changes the sensitivity of the camera to each of these colors to
compensate for the color temperature of ambient light. Tungsten light bulbs tend to have more red and
are “warmer”, while sunlight has more blue (“cooler”). The camera must be adjusted accordingly to
balance these differences out, and accurately reproduce color.
AUTO vs. MANUAL: In most situations, while you are still learning how to use the camera, AUTO
mode will get you decent-looking results most of the time. However, sometimes AUTO will produce
unexpected or unacceptible results, depending on your shooting conditions. As you become more
comfortable using the camera, you will find that more professional-looking results can be obtained by
setting some or all of these controls manually. Iris, focus, white balance and audio levels can each be
adjusted automatically or manually.
Shooting in Auto mode
1. Turn the camera on.
2. Set the <AUTO/MANU> switch to <AUTO>
3. Press the <START/STOP> button to start recording.
Press the <START/STOP> button again to stop recording.
AccessVision’s cameras each come with a 64 GB SD card,
which holds about 4 hours 38 minutes of standard
definition (DV) footage, or 6 hours 32 minutes of high
definition (AVCHD) footage.
To display the amount of time recorded, press the
<COUNTER> button repeatedly until “CLIP” appears on
the upper left corner of the screen. Total recording time
remaining is shown under the clip counter.
Adjusting the iris
In AUTO, flashy subject matter may cause the iris to open and close erratically. Scenes which are
heavily backlit may also produce an unwanted exposure. Setting the exposure manually will eliminate
1. Switch the <AUTO/MANU> switch to manual mode.
2. Press the <IRIS> button to switch to auto or manual
iris. AUTO IRIS: automatically adjusts the iris value.
MANUAL IRIS: manually adjusts lens aperture.
3. When manual iris is on, adjust the lens aperture by
turning the IRIS ring.
Gain and ND Filter
If you’re shooting in a dark area where there is not enough light for the camera, you can increase the
exposure level by raising the gain.
Gain settings:
• Low <L> 0 dB - this is the normal position when the gain is turned off
• Medium <M>- raises the gain of the camera by 6 dB, or one f-stop
• High <H> - raises the gain of the camera by 15 dB, or 2.5 f-stops
Note that shooting with the gain on will increase the amount of noise and result in a picture with more
grain. If possible, add more light to the scene and avoid using gain to get the cleanest image.
ND Filter:
If you’re shooting outside in sunlight, you may notice that it is difficult to turn the iris down enough get
good exposure. If this happens, use the ND FILTER switch on the side of the lens. This will filter out
some of the light entering the lens before it hits the iris,
without changing the color. Normally, the iris should
not be set higher than f8; if it is, use the ND filter.
• 1/4: Intensity of light is cut down 2 f-stops
• 1/16: Intensity of light is cut down 4 f-stops
• 1/64: Intensity of light is cut down 6 f-stops
Manually setting focus
1. Switch the <AUTO/MANU> switch to manual mode.
2. With the <FOCUS> switch, switch the focus control method:
<A> AUTO: Automatically sets the focus
<M> MANUAL: Manually move the focus ring to set the focus.
To temporarily go into auto focus mode:
Even if the <FOCUS> switch is in the <M> manual
position, while pressing the <PUSH AUTO> button, the
camera goes into auto focus mode and the focus can be set
Adjusting white balance
Adjusting the white balance changes the sensitivity
of the camera to different amounts of red, green and
blue light to compensate for the color of ambient light.
In most cases, the camera does a good job of white
balance in AUTO mode, but if you need to manually
adjust the white balance:
1. Set the <AUTO/MANU> switch to manual mode.
2. Set the <WHITE BAL> switch to <A>.
3. Shoot something white and zoom in so that it fills the screen.
4. Press the <AWB> button. Adjustment is completed in a few seconds, and will display the
message on screen: [AWB Ach OK].
Manually adjusting audio recording level
The same concepts for AUTO vs. MANUAL settings apply to sound:
AUTO will get you acceptable results in most cases, but MANUAL is
better once you are comfortable with the camera and want the most
professional results. To change the recording level to manual:
1. Set the AUDIO AUTO/MANU CH1 or CH2 switch to <MANU> position.
2. Adjust the audio signal recording level using the <AUDIO
LEVEL> knob. Before recording, check the audio level meter
display on the bottom left of the screen. The highest level should
peak at around -12 dB.
Always use headphones to monitor the audio.
External Microphones
While the camcorder has a built-in microphone, the more distance between the camera and the subject, the worse the sound will be picked up; the closer the microphone is to the sound source, the
better the sound will be recorded. Using an external microphone allows you to place the mic much
closer to the sound source and get better sound.
We have two types of external microphones: clip-on (lavaliere) and handheld.
Usually, the clip-on mic is used for interviews. It should be clipped onto a lapel or
shirt placket no more than 10” below the chin, and made to look as inconspicuous
as possible by running the wire underneath clothing.
The handheld mic is a good all-purpose mic to use
for news conferences, standups, meetings, musical
events, etc. Again, the mic should be positioned as closely as possible to
the source. Both microphones have windscreens that can be used to filter
unwanted wind noise or strong breaths.
Connecting an external microphone to the camera
1. Use an XLR cable to connect the microphone to the AUDIO INPUT1/2
XLR 3-pin terminals.
2. Switch the connected audio input signal with the INPUT1
LINE/MIC switch or INPUT2 LINE/MIC switch.
Use <MIC> when connecting an external microphone;
Use <LINE> when connecting to a mixing board or PA sound
3. Use the AUDIO CH1 SELECT switch to select the input signal
to be recorded to audio channel 1.
<INT (L)>: audio from the built-in microphone Lch is recorded.
<INPUT1>: Audio from the device connected to AUDIO
INPUT1 terminal is recorded.
<INPUT2>: Audio from the device connected to AUDIO
INPUT2 terminal is recorded.
4. Use the AUDIO CH2 SELECT switch to select the input signal
to be recorded to audio channel 2.
<INT (R)>: Audio from the built-in microphone Rch is recorded.
<INPUT2>: Audio from the device connected to AUDIO INPUT2
terminal is recorded.
Setting up the tripod
1. Extend the legs as necessary. Make sure all legs are tightened. Turn knobs clockwise to tighen, counterclockwise to loosen. Check the bubble level to ensure the tripod is straight, adjust the appropriate legs to
level. Normally, the camera should be placed at eye level with the subject.
2. Align the mounting plate (on the bottom of the camera) with the grooves on the tripod head. Slide the
camera forward until it clicks. Adjust the position of the camera forward/backward until it is evenly
3. Tighten the mounting plate lock down. Make sure the lock is secure before letting go of the camera.
Camera moves
Pan: horizontal camera pivot; “pan left” or “pan right.”
Tilt: vertical camcorder pivot;“tilt up” or “tilt down.”
Zoom: changing the focal length of the lens from
wide angle to telephoto or vice versa, to enlarge or
shrink the subjects and show more or less space
around them in the frame. “Zoom in” (close up) or
“zoom out” (wide shot). A telephoto lens flattens the
image and minimizes depth; a wide angle lens exaggerates depth.
Tripod controls
Tilt lock: must be loosened to perform tilting.
Tilt drag: controls the amount of resistance on the
Pan lock: must be loosened to perform panning.
Pan drag: controls the amount of resistance on the pan.
Column lock: must be loosened to elevate or lower camera.
Pedestal crank: elevates or lowers camera.
Before attempting to perform tilts and pans, be sure locks are loosened. When you leave your position
behind the camera, the tilt lock shold be tightened to prevent camera from falling forward. Locks only need
to be finger tight; do not over-tighten the tripod locks.
All camera/tripod moves should be done slowly and deliberately, with a consistent
speed throughout the move. Make sure the camera’s OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)
button is turned off when shooting from a tripod.
Zoom controller
Using the remote zoom controller will make it easier to do
much smoother zooms than using the camera’s zoom rockers.
Plug the zoom controller cable into the camera’s ZOOM S/S
jack, to the left of the battery.
Zooming: To zoom in (telephoto), press the remote zoom
rocker’s right side; to zoom out (wide) press the rocker’s left
side. The farther you press the rocker, the faster the lens will
Record/Pause control: Start and stop recording by pressing the
red REC/STOP button.
Common shots and terminology (see images on next page)
Wide shot (WS): used to show environment. Begin a scene with a wide shot to establish the setting
for the viewer; then cut in to a medium shot, then to close-ups for details.
Medium shot (MS): head and shoulders with chest.
Medium close-up (MCU): head and top of shoulders only.
Close-up (CU): head only; used to show detail or convey emotion on a face.
Extreme close-up (ECU): area of the face from the eyes to the mouth; used to show extreme detail
and/or emotion.
Head room: amount of empty space above the top of the head.
Lead room (or nose room): amount of empty space in front of the subject on the side that they are
Two-shot: framed to show two people together. Three-shot: framed to show three people together.
Point-of-view (POV): we see the world through the subject’s eyes.
Over-the-shoulder shot (OSS): reverse angle from behind the subject.
Camera Shots.
Extreme Wide (Long) Shot
Medium Shot
Extreme Close Up
Two Shot
Wide Shot
Medium Wide (Long) Shot
Medium Close Up
Close Up
Head Room
Lead Room or Nose Room
Three Shot
Rule Of Thirds
Imagine the screen is divided
into a 3 x 3 grid. Place the
center of interest near one of
the four cross-points for a
stronger composition.
Be aware of backgrounds; look for trees “growing” out of the
subject’s head when positioning them. Give your subject extra
space in front of their face (Lead Room).
Video requires lots of light. The more light you can provide on what you’re shooting, the better it will
look and the easier it will be to shoot. Three-point lighting is a basic lighting approach to illuminate
subjects with a sense of depth and texture. The following are the basic lights:
1. Key light: provides the main source of illumination on the subject. The key light is positioned in
front of and above the subject at 45 degree angles. The key light provides the modeling necessary to
create a three dimensional look.
2. Fill light: Provides general diffused or soft illumination for scenes to soften the shadows and cut
down the contrast created by the key light. 3. Back light (or hair light): Placed above and to the rear, light falls onto the head and shoulders of
the subject. The back light outlines the subject and makes them stand out from the background, again
creating a three-dimensional look.
Additionally, when shooting in a large room such as a studio, a fourth light may be used. The
Background Light is used to to intensify the background illumination level, balance the picture, blend
with the overall set or create a special mood.
Generally, a lighting ratio of 2 to 1 is desired. In other words, the key light should be twice as strong
as the fill light. However, the best guide for proper lighting is what the picture looks like in the camera.
Even if it’s not practical to set up three lights, consider using at least one light and bounce it off the
ceiling for a natural, diffused look.
Regardless of whether you shoot inside or outside, with or without lights, always keep the primary
light source in front of the subject. Carefully choose your angle with respect to the sun when shooting outside. If shooting inside, avoid positioning the subject with a window behind them, or close the
shades to keep out unwanted light. When shooting outside in sunlight, use the ND Filter to lower the
light level and keep the iris below F11.
Summary/Shooting Tips
1. Care of equipment. You are financially responsible for the equipment while it is in your
possession. Repack everything carefully, checking to make sure you haven’t left any cables or
accessories behind. Remove the battery from the camera and help us keep track of which batteries
need to be charged. Secure the camera in the case using the straps. Make sure all tripod legs are
folded up and secured. Unlock the pan and tilt locks when the tripod is folded up. Please DO NOT
LEAVE CAMERAS IN YOUR CAR. Extreme hot or cold is not good for the equipment, and is especially
hard on batteries.
2. Observe good etiquette. When arriving for your shoot, be polite and introduce yourself before
bringing in lots of gear and setting up. Don’t misrepresent yourself: you are working as a Volunteer,
not as an AccessVision employee.
3. Ask questions. There are a million different ways to communicate with video, and each format has
its own considerations. Feel free to discuss your particular project with us if you need help or ideas.
The AccessVision technical staff have all had lots of real-world experience in producing all sorts of
videos, and we are happy to share that knowledge with you to make your productions successful.
For more information, check out:
Removing SD cards
1. Make sure the camera is powered off.
2. Slide the <OPEN> lever of the memory card slot cover down
3. Press the center of the memory card and pull the memory card straight forward.
Copying footage files
1. Insert the SD card into the card reader. The card will show up on the Desktop as
2. Navigate to the VIDEO folder to find your footage. You can go directly
to the VIDEO folder by double-clicking the “VIDEO files on SD card”
folder alias on the Desktop. Video clips will have .AVI on the end of the file names.
3. Drag and drop either individual AVI files or the entire VIDEO folder onto your
Firewire Drive to copy the files over.
4. When copying is finished, right-click on the CAM_SD icon on the desktop
and choose EJECT.
* RESPECT THE SD CARDS! All of your hard work put in to shooting resides only on these little cards. If
you mis-manage, lose or accidentally delete your files, your footage is gone for good; there is no getting it
Jason Augenstein, Projects Coordinator
[email protected]
Dos & Don’ts
Best Practices for Shooting Video
Be creative - think visually!
Record more footage than you need. It’s
better to have too much footage than
not enough.
Don’t trust a camera’s automatic
settings to always be correct.
Don’t shoot from too far away - get
as close as possible. A lens zoomed out
to a wide angle maximizes depth and
minimizes shake, while a telephoto lens
(zoomed in) minimizes depth,
exaggerates shake and makes focusing
Don’t overuse zoom. If shooting with a
phone, still camera or flip camera, do
not use the zoom at all.
Don’t waste screen space. Compose your
shots to fill the frame.
Don’t shoot in dark places, in front of
windows or in backlit environments.
Don’t break the fourth wall. Keep the
camera on the same side of the action
for directional continuity.
Hold each shot for at least 10 seconds.
Get a variety of different shots: wide,
tight/close-up, medium, different angles,
static, moving.
Repeat the action and shoot multiple
takes from different angles, for the
most flexibility in editing.
Keep the camera steady. Use a tripod
whenever possible.
Use camera moves sparingly. If you
must move, zoom, pan or tilt slowly.
Always keep light IN FRONT OF the
Use an external microphone to record
anyone talking.
Don’t record in noisy areas and expect
to get clean sound.
Get the camera/mic as close as possible
for best sound.
If shooting with a still camera or phone,
DO NOT record video in the “portrait”
(vertical) position. Ever.
Don’t expect to be able to “fix it in post”.
Get it right in the camera.
Always take backup (spare battery, mic
cable, etc.) in case of equipment failure.
Steal ideas from TV and movies.
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