Whether you’re shooting a movie, a news broadcast or a commercial, it’s always an advantage to use multiple cameras. Being able to switch between different camera angles makes your productions look much more professional during live broadcasts. Multi-camera setups also make post-production much easier because editors will have numerous camera angles to choose from when putting videos together. But as we all know, not all cameras are made equal. Some cameras are better suited for multi-camera production than others. Recently, Sony released three new camcorders, the PXW-Z90V, HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700, all offering a ton of valuable features for any multiple camera setup.
With the PXW-Z90V, HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700, Sony wants to make it easier on multi-camera operators by allowing their camera trio to work seamlessly with their MCX-500 live streaming and production switcher, which Sony described as a compact, cost-effective switcher that will ease the burden on operators and make it easy for one operator to run a multi-camera live event. The MCX-500 switcher promises support for mixing between eight video sources with four stereo embedded audio channels and two XLR inputs. It features a dedicated title input, up to nine video inputs and five stereo inputs including XLR. For all of you multi-cam live streamers out there, Sony says that the PXW-Z90V, HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 can make multi-camera live streaming possible on Ustream, Facebook Live and YouTube — or record your production internally to the MCX-500.
In addition, with the MCX-500 switcher and Sony’s RM-30BP, tally icons will appear on each camera’s LCD panel and viewfinders. When there is a red icon, camera operators will know their shot is live, and when there’s a green icon, it is indicates that the shot is in preview mode.
Additionally, users can synchronize timecode among multiple camcorders. This is a very important feature for multi-camera setups because timecodes help you match up shots shot at different angles based on an actual recording time, rather than more fallible techniques like aligning audio. With the PXW-Z90V, HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700, you use a wireless timecode link and synchronize the camera’s timecodes using Sony’s free Content Browser Mobile 3.0 app and optional CBKZ-WTCL update, compatible with devices running iOS (9.0 – 10.3) or Android (4.4 – 7.1) operating systems.
One of the major ways that Sony believes that the PXW-Z90V, HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 will help multi-camera operators is by making their workflow more efficient. They look to do this by providing dual memory card slots that allow for features like proxy recording and relay recording. Proxy recording helps workflows by creating a highly compressed, low resolution version of a much higher resolution video. The smaller video is useful because it’s quicker to send over TCP/IP networks and can be viewed quickly for things like editing or scripting. As for relay recording, it’s a process that allows your camera automatically switch to a second memory card when the current memory card runs out of space. This is a very efficient way to record because it allows you to continually record and switch out memory cards without any interruption to your recording. Sony’s the PXW-Z90V, HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 also support simultaneous backup recording that lets you to film on two memory cards at the same time so your footage is safe if something happens to one of your cards. And as said before, the cameras support timecode (TC) and also user bit (UB) to help match shots and keep your workflow running smoothly.
Lastly, the new camcorders have a REMOTE terminal, a Multi-Interface Shoe and HDMI Type A that Sony says will allow for enhanced user operability.
The PXW-Z90V, HXR-NX80 and FDR-AX700 have the potential of becoming the new stars of multi-camera productions. By working seamlessly with Sony’s MCX-500 switcher, they promise to make it easier for one operator to operate a multi-camera setup. And the camera’s features like proxy recording, relay recording and TC/UB support really sweeten the deal.