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Battle Creek Area Community Television
70 West Michigan Ave., Suite 112 • Battle Creek, MI 49017 • (269) 968-3633 •
The camcorder is a Sony model VX-2100. It records to the MiniDV digital tape format. The VX-2100
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 AC power adapter
Inserting the battery pack
1. Lift up the
2. Insert the
battery pack in
the direction of
the arrow on the
battery pack.
Slide the battery pack until it
Removing the battery pack
Lift up the viewfinder. Slide the battery pack
out in the direction of the arrow while
pressing BATT RELEASE down.
Notes on battery life: A fully-charged battery will last approximately 300 minutes of continuous use.
This will vary depending on usage, i.e. how much zooming, ejecting tape, stop/start recording, etc.
Inserting a cassette
1. Make sure power is supplied to the camera.
2. While pressing the small blue button on the EJECT switch, slide it down. After the cassette lid is
opened, the cassette compartment automatically opens.
3. Insert the cassette with the window facing out. BE GENTLE AND NEVER FORCE ANYTHING.
4. Close the cassette compartment by pressing the PUSH mark on it.
5. Close the cassette lid until it clicks by pressing the PUSH button on the lid.
Getting started
1. Open the shutter/lens cap.
2. Attach power or battery
and insert a cassette.
3. Set the POWER switch
to CAMERA while pressing the small green button.
*Be careful not to set the
switch to MEMORY.*
4. Open the LCD screen.
5. Press START/STOP to
Photograpy Basics
EXPOSURE: the amount of light entering the camera, controlled by the IRIS.
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.
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 amount of each of these colors to compensate for the color
temperature of ambient light. Fluorescent lights and sunlight, for example, have different color temperatures (“warmer” or “cooler”), and the camera must be adjusted accordingly to accurately reproduce
proper 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. 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. Turn the AUTO LOCK switch to the center position to enable
manual modes.
Manually adjusting exposure
In AUTO, flashy subject matter (such as reflections of sunlight on a lake) may cause the iris to open
and close erratically. Setting the exposure to MANUAL will eliminate this.
1. Set the AUTO LOCK
selector to the center.
2. Press EXPOSURE. The
exposure indicator appears
on the screen.
3. Turn the EXPOSURE dial
up or down to adjust the
If you want to return to Auto, press EXPOSURE again.
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 use a
neutral density filter to knock down some of the
light entering the iris, without changing the color
temperature. Normally, the iris F-Stop should
not have to be higher than F8; if it is, use the ND
OFF” flashes on the screen, turn the ND filter OFF.
Manually adjusting focus
In AUTO mode, the focus may change erratically as subjects move toward or away from the lens. To
alleviate this, set the focus manually:
1. Slide FOCUS down to
2. Zoom all the way in on
your subject and turn the
focus ring until a sharp
image appears.
3. Zoom out to frame up
your shot.
You can also shoot with auto focusing momentarily by pressing PUSH AUTO. Use this button to focus
on one subject and then another quickly with smooth focusing. When you release PUSH AUTO, manual
focusing resumes.
Manually adjusting white balance
In most cases, the camera does a good job of white balance in AUTO mode. To manually adjust the
white balance:
1. Set the AUTO LOCK
selector to the center.
2. Press WHT BAL. The
white balance indicator
appears on the screen.
3. Turn the SEL/PUSH
EXEC dial to select the
appropriate white balance
One push white balance: aim at a white object (such as a sheet of paper), then press the SEL/PUSH
EXEC dial. The white balance indicator flashes quickly. When it stops flashing, the white balance has
been set.
Presets: Turn the SEL/PUSH EXEC dial to select OUTDOOR mode for shooting in sunlight. Turn the
SEL/PUSH EXEC dial to select INDOOR mode for shooting in tungsten light given off by incandescent
light bulbs.
Manually adjusting audio
The same concepts for AUTO vs. MANUAL settings apply to audio: 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. Turn the camera on.
2. Press MENU.
3. Turn the SEL/PUSH EXEC dial
to select the tape icon, then press
the dial.
4. Turn the SEL/PUSH EXEC dial to
select MIC LEVEL, then press the
5. Turn the SEL/PUSH EXEC dial
to select MANUAL, then press the
6. Press MENU to erase the menu
Adjusting the recording level
7. Press AUDIO LEVEL to display the recording level adjustment display.
8. Turn the SEL/PUSH EXEC dial to adjust the level.
You should always test the audio level before recording, by having the subject talk in a normal voice
and then setting the level so that the loudest sounds do not go over 0 (or “clip”) and cause distortion.
Always use headphones to monitor the audio. Use the VOLUME - + buttons on the LCD screen adjust
headphone volume.
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. When only background sound is being recorded, the
camera mic will work fine to record natural sound. However, an external mic should be used any time
you are shooting someone talking on camera.
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 (reporter talking directing into the camera),
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. Mount the Beachtek mic adapter box onto the bottom of the camera; use a coin to tighten the screw. Then
mount the tripod plate onto the bottom of the mic adapter.
2. Plug the small cable from the mic adapter box into the
camera’s MIC IN mini jack, located just behind the built-in
3. Use an XLR cable to connect the microphone(s).
4. Set the switches on the mic adapter box. If you are only using one mic, set the front switch to
MONO, and plug the mic into the LEFT side. If you are using two mics, set the switch to STEREO. Set
both of the switches on the side to MIC.
At other times, you may be shooting an event at which an audio feed is available from the soundboard
controlling the PA system of the venue. Instead of setting up your own microphone(s), you can simply
tie into the existing sound system. This is done in the same fashion as connecting a microphone: plug
the cable supplying the sound feed into the mic adapter. BEWARE: the audio level coming off of a
soundboard will be much higher than the MIC level. Make sure to switch the mic adapter to LINE. Then
set the audio levels using the same method above.
It is usually best to set the volume knobs on the Beachtek to 10, then adjust the recording level on the
camera. Again, use headphones to listen to the audio.
Setting up the tripod
1. Extend the legs as necessary. Make sure all legs are tightened sufficiently. Check the bubble level to
ensure the tripod is straight, adjust the appropriate legs to level.
2. Remove the mounting plate and attach it to the bottom of the camera, making sure it is tight.
3. Once the plate is mounted to the camera, attach it to the head of the tripod, and engage the lock. Make
sure the lock is secure before letting go of the camera.
Camera moves
Tilt: vertical camcorder pivot;“tilt up” or “tilt
Pan: horizontal camera pivot from a stationary
position; “pan left” or “pan right.”
Dolly: camera & tripod movement toward or
away from a subject; “dolly in or “dolly out.”
Dollying results in a more dramatic change in
perspective than zooming.
Truck: horizontal camera & tripod movement
alongside a subject; “truck left” or “truck right.”
Pedestal (or boom): vertical camera & tripod
move; “pedestal up” or “pedestal 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.
Normally, the camera should be placed at eye
level with the subject. When the camera is placed at a low angle, the subject is made to appear superior,
since you’re looking up at them; a high angle makes the subject appear inferior or weak since you’re looking down on them.
Tripod controls
Tilt lock: must be loosened to perform tilting.
Tilt drag: controls the amount of resistance on the tilt.
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.
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.
Dutch angle or canted angle: camera/tripod is deliberately set at an angle that is not level. It can be
artsy, but be careful not to overuse.
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.
Any kind of photography, especially 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. While it is not always
appropriate to use extra lights, it is strongly recommended to use at least one light for any interior
shooting in small- to medium-sized rooms. Three-point lighting is a basic lighting approach to illuminate subjects with a sense of depth and texture. Strategic placement imitates natural outdoor lighting
environment and avoids flat lighting. 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 create flat, even lighting on the background and to intensify the background
illumination level, to balance the picture, to 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.
Video Glossary
Acquisition: Term commonly used for the shooting of raw footage.
Aspect Ratio: The ratio of height to width. The aspect ratio of a television screen is 4:3 (4 parts wide
by 3 parts tall).
B-Roll: additional footage that is not synchronized with the main audio of a program. For example, if
we see a person talking on camera, and then cut to shots of what they are talking about, that footage
is referred to as “B-Roll”.
Continuity: consistency of action from one shot to the next. For example, if we shoot a wide shot of
someone answering a phone, and then want to cut in to a close-up of the phone, we should make sure
they pick the phone up with the same hand in both shots.
Cutaway: A close up of secondary action. It is a cut to something that is not the part of the primary
action. Cutaways are often shots of an audience, sometimes referred to as reaction shots.
Cut in: A close up of primary action. This is when you cut to a closer shot of the action, or focus of
the scene.
Depth of field: Range in front of a camera’s lens in which objects appear in focus. It varies with subject-to-camera distance, focal length of camera lens and iris level.
F-Stop: Numerical points within the range of the iris opening that are marked according to degrees of
light transmission. The smaller the f-stop number, the more light the lens transmits. Conversely, high
f-stop numbers mean that little light is being transmitted through the lens. When you open up one stop,
you double the light; when you stop down one stop you halve the amount of light going through the
lens. Also, the higher the F-stop, the greater the depth of field.
Summary/Shooting Tips
1. Allow for plenty of slack at the head of a tape. Always record 30 seconds of footage that
you will not be using at the beginning of the tape. This is because you will need pre-roll time when you
edit; also, the first 30 seconds of any tape is usually the most damaged or worn out section.
2. Care of equipment. Repack all the equipment carefully, checking to make sure you haven’t left
any cables or accessories behind. Be sure to eject the tape from the camera before disconnecting power. 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 velcro 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 tapes.
3. 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 (Look Space).
4. 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.
5. 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:
Jason Augenstein, Projects Coordinator
[email protected]
Dos & Don’ts
Be st Practice s for Shoo ting Video
Be creative - think visually!
Shoot for editing. More planning up
front = less headaches later.
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
Record more footage than you need. It’s
better to have too much footage than
not enough.
Hold each shot for at least 10 seconds.
Get a variety of different shots: wide,
tight/close-up, medium, different angles,
static, moving.
Don’t overuse zoom. If shooting with a
phone, still camera or flip camera, do
not use the zoom at all.
Repeat the action and shoot multiple
takes from different angles, for the
most flexibility in editing.
Don’t waste screen space. Compose your
shots to fill the frame.
Keep the camera steady. Use a tripod
whenever possible.
Don’t shoot in dark places, in front of
windows or in backlit environments.
Use camera moves sparingly. If you
must move, zoom, pan or tilt slowly.
Don’t break the fourth wall. Keep the
camera on the same side of the action
for directional continuity.
Always keep light IN FRONT OF the
Don’t record in noisy areas and expect
to get clean sound.
Use an external microphone to record
anyone talking.
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.
Steal ideas from TV and movies.
PRODUCTION_______________________________________ PAGE_______ TAPE#_________
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