Video Cameraman - Technical Considerations (a glossary)

Saturnalia Productions employs a HD cameraman / video cameraman full-time. With over a decade of dedicated HD focus and having shot thousands of hours around the world, has earned him a reputation as one of the most respected HD camera operators. If you are looking to hire a video camerman / HD camera operator simply contact Saturnalia Productions. We also work with, and recommend, other prominent HD camera operators.


This particular aritcle, however, begins with an understanding that every video cameraman knows there are several basic functions of video cameras, which transcend any one video camera. These basics allow someone proficient in video technology to pick-up a new video camera, learn its nuances, and operate it within a relatively short amount of time.

The basics below serve as a glossary of sorts, allowing a video cameraman / HD cameraman to communicate with a producer or anyone else on set. In other words, they are simply a reference for others to interpret the words of a video cameraman.

They are listed in alphabetical order:


AGC - Stands for automatic gain control. If a video cameraman says this, he's talking about the HD camera's ability to automatically increase the luminosity of an image in order to expose the image properly. This can be a dangerous circuit for a video cameraman to enable as it can create noise in the image.

APERATURE - This is controlled by the iris, and is the light-gathering area of the lens.

AUTO IRIS - Most HD cameras have a switch or menu, which allows the video cameraman to have manual control of the iris or give the camera circuitry control of the iris. This is called AUTO IRIS. If a video cameraman selects auto iris, then the camera automatically adjusts the HD camera in order to create what it considers to be the most properly exposed image. This can be good or bad, depending on how well the circuit is engineered. An HD ENG video camera operator could run from a dark room to a light room and anywhere in between and not have to worry about proper exposure. However, automatic iris can either increase or decrease the depth of field and may not respond as well as the video cameraman would like. It can change too quickly or erratically, and as a video cameraman you can't exactly blame bad exposure on the HD camera. It was the choice of the video cameraman to enable that circuit in the first place.

CCD - CCD is a acronym for Charged Coupled Device. Each CCD in a HD camera converts the color / light into electrical signals. Each CCD has hundreds, or thousands or millions of pixels.

CHROMA - Chroma is a combination of color and hue.

CLIPPING - A video cameraman may mention that an image is "clipping". This simply means that some part of the image is exceeding 100 IRE. Some HD cameras can capture detail at levels higher than 100 IRE, but broadcast television cannot process these detaiils and will "clip" details (ie not process them) above 100 IRE.

COLOR BALANCE - A HD monitor should always be properly calibrated using color bars. This will ensure that a director, HD cameraman or other high definition crew member is look at the image which is truly coming out of the HD camera.

CONTRAST - Contrast is the range from bright to dark within a give HD image. An HD image with low contrast is often referred to as "milky".

DEPTH OF FIELD - This is the amount of the image which is in focus. In other words 30'-35' away from the HD camera is in focus. Depth of field is measured from the HD camera's prism to the object.

GAIN - Gain controls the level of amplification in a video signal. It can often be accompanied with a "noisy" picture.

LENS - The lens allows light to pass through to the prism, where it is divided into red, green and blue. HD lenses are built in order to keep objects in focus at a given focal length.

LUMINANCE - The luminance is the brightness of a HD signal. Luminance is called "Y" in many circumstances.

PRISM - The prism is behind the lens and filters red, green and blue so that each CCD in an HD camera can process the color.

RESOLUTION - The resolution of a HD camera is the number of pixels it processes and / or captures to a storage device.


Transferring more glossary definitions.



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