On Christmas Day 2016, TV Asahi Productions began a challenging 20-day shoot in one of the world’s most inhospitable locations. A 4K movie commercial, TV documentary and New Year’s Eve live stream from Antarctica to Japan were key elements in promoting the release of a major new anime movie.
Takeyuki Kawano, a senior camera operator with over 20 years’ experience, was one of three cameramen on the shoot.
The NX5R soon proved itself invaluable workhorse for the shoot, providing stunning results even in freezing temperatures.
Compared to the original NX5, the NX5R features a more advanced imaging system with three 1/2.8-type CMOS sensors supporting Full HD at 60p/50p recording at 50Mbps with Sony’s high performance XAVC S codec. TV Asahi Productions made the most of this improved quality to capture pin-sharp footage of the scenery and wildlife.
“When shooting objects such as the surface of the water and leaves moving in the wind, there are visible differences between high bit-rate XAVC S 50Mbps and AVCHD 28Mbps. This was most noticeable when we shot the sea surface,” Kawano says. “The OLED viewfinder provided a clearer, sharper image, which helped us check the image’s brightness and contrast.
“When we shot scenery from the ship, or focused on wild animals, we couldn’t move closer to the objects, so 40x zoom with Clear Image Zoom was really useful. The image quality was good enough for broadcasting. In the harsh, cold conditions, it was also helpful to shoot without changing lenses.”
The crew actually kept batteries warm with heating pads in their pockets, while SDI cables needed special handling to prevent them snapping in the cold weather.
There are visible differences between high bit-rate XAVC S 50Mbps and AVCHD 28Mbps.
Senior camera operator
The New Year’s Eve live stream was a key part of the promotional plan and the NX5R’s 3G-SDI connectivity proved both useful and reliable.
“We used SDI for live streaming from both the NX5R and a drone with a switcher to select inputs and feed into a satellite phone system,” Kawano remarks.
“SDI output is a must-have function. If a camera only has an HDMI output, it is possible to use an HDMI to SDI converter, but it needs a power supply, which means heavier equipment and less system reliability. In addition, the image colours might be changed by the converter.”
The NXCAM series of camcorders has long been a favourite of TV Asahi Productions and Kawano was pleased by how easy it was to adapt to the new camcorder.
“The NX5R has inherited the same NXCAM DNA as HXR-NX3 and the HVR-Z5,” Kawano says. “It means operators instinctively know the size, operability and picture quality of the camcorder. We know the control panel operation of the NX5 without having to look because we’re so familiar with the layout. It is really helpful to use camcorders that have the same control panels across the NXCAM range.” The NX5R’s responsive joystick also puts all those controls on the hand grip, speeding up operations and allowing Kawano to operate the camcorder with one hand.
The NX5R takes the proven, high performance Full HD imaging performance of the NX3 and integrates latest generation features – including integrated wireless networking (streaming, remote operation and FTP), Clear Image Zoom, XAVC S 50Mbps recording and more – to deliver the ultimate cost-effective, multi-purpose Full HD camcorder.
The NX5R has inherited the same NXCAM DNA as HXR-NX3 and HVR-Z5. We know its control panel operation without having to look because we’re so familiar with the layout. I would recommend the NX5R to anyone.
Senior camera operator
“I would recommend the NX5R to anyone who uses the NX3 or NX5. The NX5R has SDI output for monitoring, the XAVC S 50Mbps recording capability for better image quality and the right size, weight and affordability for everyday shooting,” Kawano concludes.