Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Canon HD camcorders document coal miners for reality TV
Canon’s XF305 HD camcorders were chosen for production of a new reality TV show that depicts strong men and powerful machines burrowing 1000 feet into the side of a West Virginia mountain. It’s the world of coal mining — a reality series from Original Productions.
In addition to the XF305 camera’s reliability, a major reason for choosing the camera is because it records to Compact Flash memory cards. The ability to record at 50 Mb/s on two hot-swappable 80-minute 32GB cards proved essential in the dirty, unpredictable environment of the coalmine. The videographers didn’t have to change-out their cards during each shift. The unit had three cameras shooting per shift around the clock for two months.
Another benefit: the XF305 HD camcorder is equipped with a Canon 18x HD L-series lens with a 35mm equivalent zoom range of from 29.3mm to 527.4mm. Designed for capture of everything from wide-angle shots to extreme telephoto situations, the operability of the HD lens also includes a full manual focus mode with mechanical “hard” end-stops and distance markers for repeatable manual focus.
Made with advanced optical materials, the lens is compact and lightweight for maximum mobility, and it features Canon’s SuperRange Optical Image Stabilizer system to achieve steady shots in challenging environments.
The XF305’s autofocus and face-detection features also proved handy in the unpredictable and hazardous environment of the mine. When the unexpected happened, the face recognition allowed the crew to stay focused on multiple subjects while also avoiding getting crushed or run over.
Finally, the camera’s excellent low-light performance of the XF305 professional HD camcorder was an advantage. These include the f/1.6-f/22 aperture range of 18x HD zoom lens, the high sensitivity of its three native 1920x1080 CMOS image sensors, and the precision optimization of such factors as tonal gradations and shadow detail provided by the camcorder’s built-in DIGIC DV III image processor.
This imagery is then passed to the XF305’s MPEG-2 4:2:2 50 Mb/s Canon XF codec, which records fine detail and accurate color, and provides smooth compatibility with post-production workflows.