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6 Things to Consider When Assembling a Video Rig

Here are a few things to look out for and keep in mind when purchasing gear.

By Spencer Lookabaugh



Almost every camera in production compresses video in one codec or another. Most cameras like iPhones or point-and-shoots will use MPEG or AVCHD at best. These codecs throw away a lot of information like color and dynamic range. More video oriented cameras like the Sony a7S II or a6300 will allow for the awesome (read “far less compressed”) XAVC-S codec. As far as in-camera recording, this is about as good as it gets for the under $8,000 price point.

There is a workaround, however, and that is the use of an external recording device. The options are virtually endless. For the price conscious, look at the Ninja 2 or Ninja Blade. The Ninja 2 allows you to record in a virtually uncompressed codec called Pro Res. There are three different levels of Pro Res — LT, HQ, and 422 — each offering less and less compression in exchange for larger files and more detail. The Ninja Blade offers the same recording performance as the Ninja 2 with the added benefit of focus and exposure aids like peaking, zebras, false color, and various scopes. There is one more benefit to these and I will discuss this more in depth in another point. The Ninja 2/Blade records straight to solid state hard drives (SSD) as opposed to SD or CF cards.


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