Feb 16, 2009

ENG Video Camera Definition

What's the difference between the big shoulder cameras pros use, and small handheld camcorders? Here's a piece I edited on Wikipedia that I liked so much, I thought I'd reprint it here.

Though by definition, ENG (Electronic News Gathering) video cameras were originally designed for use by news camera operators, these have become the dominant style of professional video camera for most uses, from shooting dramas to documentaries, from music videos to corporate training. While they have some similarities to the smaller consumer camcorder, the following differences should be noted:

* ENG cameras are larger and heavier, and usually supported by a shoulder stock on the cameraman's shoulder, taking the weight off of the hand, which is freed to operate the lens zoom control. The weight of the cameras also helps dampen small movements.
* 3 CCDs are used instead of one, one for each primary color
* They have interchangeable lenses.
* All settings, white balance, focus, and iris can be manually adjusted, and automatics can be completely disabled.
* The lens is focused manually and directly, without intermediate servo controls. However the lens zoom and focus can be operated with remote controls in a studio configuration.
* Professional connectors - BNC for video and XLR for audio. There are at least two XLR audio inputs.
* A complete timecode section is available, allowing time code presets; and multiple cameras can be timecode-synchronized with a cable.
* "Bars and tone" will be available in-camera (the color bars are SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) Bars, a reference signal that simplifies calibration of monitors and setting levels when duplicating and transmitting the picture.
* Recording is to a professional medium like some variant of Betacam or DVCPRO or Direct to disk recording or flash memory. If as in the latter two, it's a data recording, much higher data rates (or less compression) are used than in consumer devices.
* The camera is mounted on tripods and other supports with a quick release plate.
* A rotating behind the lens filter wheel, for selecting an 85A and neutral density filters.
* Controls that need quick access are on hard physical switches, not in menu selections.
* Gain Select, White/Black balance, color bar select, and record start controls are all in the same general place on the camera, irregardless of the camera manufacturer.
* Audio is adjusted manually, with easily accessed physical knobs.

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