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Sony NXCAM AVCHD camera

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Hello there, where I work is still slowly getting into video production. I put my hand up to help with this as I have the most experience of anyone there with filmmaking. The latest development is that a filmmaker's cameras and equipment has been donated to the company after he passed away (not from the virus). So I have the task of figuring out whether these cameras are suitable for our needs, and if so, how to operate them. The company has set up a TV studio at the office. We will start out making things like Instagram videos. There are three cameras, all the same model, and tripods, lighting, etc. Everything appears to be in good condition.

The camera model is the Sony NXCAM AVCHD. I've been researching it online.

Can anyone tell me anything about this type of camera? Have you ever used one and if so what for? I understand that it's no doubt already ancient technology as it's only 1080P I think. My experience has all been with celluloid. As always, any advice appreciated. Thank you.


Edited by Jon O'Brien
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Does this camera system produce images that are usable straight away, in the same way an iphone does? In other words, does it make images that can go straight away into a computer, ready for editing, sound, etc, without needing colour grading and other image adjustment? Also, does the camera need to be white balanced before use? I've only worked in film so I don't know. Thanks.

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They are certainly useful and a bargain at free. The Sony E mount is flexible and can be adapted to fit many lenses.

The main issue is the codec at only 28Mbps (and I think its only 8 bit) is a little light - so it's not going to withstand much in the way of colour correction. Basically you need to nail the look in the camera. The dynamic range will also be less then modern cameras.

The point of these cameras is to be used on jobs that won't get much colour correction. You can usually get the look in camera. It should have both manual and auto white balance (yes you should use manual white balance).  If you get the white balance wrong at the time of shooting there won't be much latitude to fix it in post - compared to a modern RAW camera where the white balance can be left until post production if you want 

If you able to shoot under controlled lighting, e.g in a little multicam studio its going to be possible to get very decent results - for simple stuff. There shortcomings would be more visible on a location drama/doc shoot under variable lighting.

These cameras are basically budget industrial/corporate cameras - Its not designed for glossy film or promo work. But if you've got a conference to record, a CEO to interview or product demo to make - they are completely fine.  At this level the lack of 4K and higher bit rates aren't as much of an issue.

I've done plenty of conference/event type recordings on similar cameras. The sort of thing where you want internal audio, small files, small camera, Built in XLR audio, long battery life etc... On long conference shoots the 28Mbs codec becomes a good thing - since you maybe recording for many hours and working with a tight post budget. On those shoots better file formats are overkill and just slow down your edit.

But on jobs where you want to push for a more glossy look, at the budget end their are now some very good options like Black Magic Pocket 4K etc...  The smaller pocket cameras and mirrorless cameras will produce better images, but you have to rig them, record audio separately, add ND filters etc... and on jobs where the visual quality isn't the priority there is still a place for these "industrial" cameras.

Good find


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Thank you Phil! That's very helpful to know. Yes, these cameras seem just the ticket for what we're looking at doing so far. If we need to get anything for a more polished look, I suppose we will probably rent.

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