Product Review

Sony HVR-A1U HDV One-Chip High Definition Video Camera

Part II

November, 2007

John E. Johnson, Jr.


The Menu

If you press that "Display/Battery Information" button on the left side of the camera, you will see the screen shown below on the left. It indicates how much battery power is left, the fact that you are shooting in HDV-1080i, and there will also be a P-Menu button at the bottom. Pressing that gives you the main menu, which has Menu, Status Check, and some other things.

If you press Menu, then you go into the settings for the camera, such as Standard Set, which has the Rec (Recording) Format. Pressing that shows the next menu item on the right, and you can select HDV-1080i or SD (640x480).

Camera Set goes into such things as the Spot Meter. The last menu shown below (right) is what you see when using the playback mode. Essentially then, the settings are activated from the touch screen LCD panel. This is very convenient, and it is also nice that an extra Record button and Zoom buttons are next to the display. There are a lot of features on the display menus that I have not shown here. You don't to use them though, in order to take great quality videos. Just leave the camera in Auto and away you go. The other features include a photographic spot meter, Black Stretch (changes the gamma), Sharpness Adjust, Shutter Speed Adjust, Cinematone (more gamma adjustments), Zebra Display (lets you know which areas of the scene have blown out whites), Histogram Display (shows you the range of brightness levels in the scene), and Peaking (outlines the scene for easier focusing).

Personally, I would never use the SD mode (NTSC 640x480) to take any videos. High definition is so much better, it should be the only mode you ever work with. Just about any video editor these days can edit HD footage, and you can, if you insist, down-convert it to SD to go onto a standard DVD (which I have done for friends who don't yet have an HDTV). Your master tape and the uploaded videos on your computer will still be there in HD, whenever you decide it is time to view them in high definition.

Go to Part III.

Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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