If you press that "Display/Battery Information" button on the left side of
the camera, you will see the screen shown below on the left. It indicates
how much battery power is left, the fact that you are shooting in HDV-1080i,
and there will also be a P-Menu button at the bottom. Pressing that gives
you the main menu, which has Menu, Status Check, and some other things.
If you press Menu, then you go into the settings for the
camera, such as Standard Set, which has the Rec (Recording) Format.
Pressing that shows the next menu item on the right, and you can select
HDV-1080i or SD (640x480).
Camera Set goes into such things as the Spot Meter. The last
menu shown below (right) is what you see when using the playback mode.
Essentially then, the settings are activated from the touch screen LCD
panel. This is very convenient, and it is also nice that an extra Record
button and Zoom buttons are next to the display. There are a lot of features
on the display menus that I have not shown here. You don't to use them
though, in order to take great quality videos. Just leave the camera in Auto
and away you go. The other features include a photographic spot meter, Black
Stretch (changes the gamma), Sharpness Adjust, Shutter Speed Adjust,
Cinematone (more gamma adjustments), Zebra Display (lets you know which
areas of the scene have blown out whites), Histogram Display (shows you the
range of brightness levels in the scene), and Peaking (outlines the scene
for easier focusing).
Personally, I would never use the SD mode (NTSC 640x480) to take any
videos. High definition is so much better, it should be the only mode you
ever work with. Just about any video editor these days can edit HD footage,
and you can, if you insist, down-convert it to SD to go onto a standard DVD
(which I have done for friends who don't yet have an HDTV). Your master tape
and the uploaded videos on your computer will still be there in HD, whenever
you decide it is time to view them in high definition.
Go to Part III.