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Media Production Lab

Everything you need to know for using Pearsall Library's Media Production Lab.

2017 Sony Camera (smaller)

This is a Sony PXW-X70 Professional XDCAM Compact Camcorder. It uses two SanDisk 64GB Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-II Memory Cards.

How to Use the Memory Card Camera:

Put your hand under the grip when holding it.

Slide the battery in, arrow up, until it clicks in place.

Remove the lens cap carefully and store in the camera bag.  RETURN IT -- VERY GENTLY -- WHEN FINISHED.

Open the screen and the camera will activate.

If the battery is low, you'll see an icon on the screen. You can plug it into the panel in the back of the camera while recording. When the camera is off and plugged in, it will charge -- a yellow light will turn on.

Make sure both memory cards are present, and that the memory card icon at the top of the screen isn't blinking. If it is, see a librarian or the Media Lab Attendant. Clips may need to be deleted. Never delete anyone else's clips.

If you use your own cards, store the library's cards in the camera case -- and nowhere else! -- during filming. Return them to their slots when you're finished.

To adjust depth of field, or your camera's focus, press the AF/MF switch to make sure it is on manual.
Make sure the front wheel behind the camera lens is set to focus rather than zoom.
Zoom in with the button on top of the camera all the way to your subject.
Focus the shot using the wheel.
Zoom back out.

Adjust the white balance, which balances color, by pressing WHIT BAL and use the small front wheel to toggle to either A or B. Press MENU. Press CAMERA SET. Press WB SET. Frame a white object such as a white piece of paper. Click the joystick. This will store the setting.

You can also adjust the lighting of your shot by pressing IRIS, GAIN, or SHUTTER SPEED on the camera, and turning the tiny MANUAL dial.

To adjust playback volume, press MENU, go to the Music Note, and adjust the volume with the joystick.
ALWAYS use headphones to adjust/set sound levels before recording. Plug them into the headphone slot in the camera, put them on, and have your on-camera subjects go through the scene as you adjust the audio.

To adjust your sound being recorded, press MENU, go to the Music Note, and go to MIC SELECT.
If you're using just the camera's microphone, select INT MIC. Select AUDIO REC LEVEL to adjust the sound levels.
If you're using the wireless microphone kit or handheld microphone, select MI SHOE MIC, and adjust the sound levels using the dials on the shoe microphone on the top of the camera.
During Clean Up:
1. Close camera screen.
2. Take battery out of camera.
3. Put lens cap back onto lens.
4. Put battery and camera back into camera bag. 

360 Degree Camera

The Insta360 ONE is a camera that allows you to record with a 360 view on Apple devices. 

How to Use with iPhone/iPad:

1. Download Insta360 ONE app.

2. Remove camera from protective case.

3. When holding with the “Insta360 ONE” label facing you, turn camera on by pressing the button on the left side of the camera.

4. Release the iPhone charger part on the right side of the camera and plug camera into charging port of phone or iPad.


5. Open "Insta360 ONE" app. Press the camera icon at the bottom right corner of the screen. This will open up the camera to take pictures and videos.

6. Press the “album” button at the bottom to view pictures and videos you have taken.

How to Use Independently:

1. Remove camera from the bottom of the protective case and put it in the top of the case to use as a tripod or holding device.

2. When holding with the “Insta360 ONE” label facing you, turn camera on by pressing the button on the left side of the camera.

3. Click the power button once to take a photo and the green light will blink once.

4. Click the power button twice to take a video and the green light will stay on until the power button is pressed again to stop recording.

5. Click the power button three times to enable Bullet time mode. (This requires the string in the USB box to be attached.)

6. Once finished filming/taking photos, they will be stored on Micro SD card. Connect camera to your Apple device to review.

During Clean Up:

1. Turn camera off by pressing power button.

2. Put camera back into the bottom of protective case lenses first. Turn camera until it slides into case nicely. *If it is difficult to put into the case, you are not putting in back correctly.

3. Put the camera and protective case into the box and close the box. 

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Tape Camera

This is a Sony HVR-A1U, an HD video camera released in 2006. At the Media Production Lab, we use mini-DV tapes as the recording media. You can film in HD or SD, and use a wide variety of recording settings.

 How to Use the Tape Camera:

1. Holding the Camera

Yes, there is a right way! ONLY hold it by its middle. Slide your right hand under the grip belt.


2. The Battery

Insert the battery into the back of the camera with the arrow pointing up. You should hear a click sound when it goes in. To remove the battery, turn the camera upside down and slide the BATT button down. Slide the battery out again.

It takes about 150 minutes to charge a fully discharged battery. You'll typically have about 40 minutes of recording time with each battery. You'll typically have around 2 hours of playback time.

ALWAYS make sure the batteries are charged in advance. Additionally, be aware that the charge gradually goes down over time even when the batteries are not being used.

Only use the LCD screen when you need it -- this can save you precious minutes! You can conserve battery power through holding down the display/battery info button for few seconds to turn off the LCD light -- tap this button to adjust the LCD display.

Refer to p. 11 of the manual above for more recording and charge times. To charge the battery or record on a low battery, plug the power adapter into the wall, remove the "DC IN" cover at the rear bottom left corner of the camera, and plug it in. The charge light will turn on. When the camera has finished charging, the light will turn off.

NEVER let the battery touch metal.

3. Turning On the Camera

To turn it on, push down on the green button on the back of the camera, and rotate the wheel upward. You are now in Record mode.

But don't record yet! You need to get the frame ready by setting up exactly how you want it to look! Open and close the lens cap using the switch at the front left side of the camera behind the lens.

4. Position the Camera to Fit You, the Cinematographer

Adjust the LCD screen and viewfinder as needed. Maximum comfort means maximized control over camera movement.

The LCD menus are all touchscreen.

5. Position Your Frame

Are you using a tripod or will this be handheld? EVERY shot and moment is different depending on how you want it to look individually, and how it will fit into the larger project!

The zoom is on the top rear right part of the camera. "T" is for telephoto and "W" is for wide. Experiment with the speed. You can also use the ring at the front of the camera, and do slight adjustments using the buttons next to the LCD screen.

Zoom in all the way on your subject and adjust the focus to set up your "depth of field," or the distance you want the camera to keep in focus. You can use the Auto Focus, or click to Manual on the front left side of the camera, and use the ring behind the lens to adjust.

6. Set the Look of Your Frame

The camera's LCD screen menu is touchscreen. Press P-Menu to access it, then Menu. Tap the arrows on the screen to navigate. You can go between menus just by continuing to go up or down.

Press Camera Set. Decide what format you will be shooting in -- HDV 1080i or DV. You will need to set this in the camera according to what kind of tape you are using.

Set your aspect ratio using Wide Select: 16:9 (widescreen) or 4:3 (square TV screen, or "full screen"). You will only see the difference when it's captured to a computer. (see p. 58 of the manual).

Filming Options:

*Adjust Lighting and Frame Rates/Speeds. Use Program AE, Spot Meter, Sharpness, Shutter Speed (video filming uses a series of frames exposed to light; this determines how long each frame is exposed for), Cinematone, AE Shift, and more! You can adjust exposure, or how much light is going into the camera, by pressing the button next to exposure/volume at the front of the camera and using the switch accordingly.

FOR NIGHT SHOOTING, SEE THE MANUAL -- you may only use this setting in DARK places! Anything else can cause the camera to malfunction, which you are responsible for!

Cineframe will set your video to 24 frames per second, which is the standard frame rate for movies and will make it look much more professional!

NEVER point the camera directly at the Sun.

*White Balance is a must! This adjusts the color on the screen to the color white and makes the frame look much clearer. It is absolutely necessary to make your images look more professional. You can do this either by choosing a setting in the menu, or after zooming in to a piece of white paper, holding down the "One Push" button on the LCD until the screen adjusts to the color white.

7. If You Want to Lock Your Settings, Turn On the Auto Lock Switch

8. Get Your Sound Ready

Connect a pair of headphones to the camera. Set audio levels for Channel 1 and Channel 2. Make sure they stay around 10. If you want to use the shotgun microphone, slide it in following the arrows.

*REMEMBER: Volume during playback and the volume of what you are recording are two different things!

Some great information on shotgun microphones can be found here.

If you want to use the wireless microphone kit, see that section of this LibGuide.

9. Other Important Tips Before Filming

Do not use the Picture Application menu.

Also, the Edit/Play menu does provide some useful effect options if you are short on time.

10. Recording!

Put in your tape by sliding the button underneath the camera to the right. Wait until the camera finishes opening to put in the tape. Close the inner tape deck, and it will automatically move back into the camera. Close the outer camera panel. Follow the same process to eject and remove the tape.

Make sure the tape is at the point you want it to start.

Press one of the red record buttons found around the camera...

...And you're off!

There are so many options to hone the look of your projects. Keep experimenting, reading, and always ask questions!

During Clean Up:

1. Turn camera off.

2. Take battery out of camera.

3. Put camera and battery back into camera bag.

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How to Use the Tripod:

1. Take it out of the case.

2. Loosen the tripod's legs. Stretch them out until the tripod stands EVENLY.  A helpful tool is a small yellow circle containing an air bubble near the top of the tripod.  The more centered the air bubble is within the yellow circle, the more likely it is that your frame will look even while filming.

3. Tighten or loosen the hand grip as needed.

4. Loosen the side of the tripod head for up and down movement, and the bottom of the head for side to side movement.

5. Unlock the tripod head. Press in the silver button to remove the tripod head. Screw in under the camera.

6. Reattach and re-tighten.

During Clean Up:

1. Make sure all knobs are secure.

2. Put the tripod back into the case head first.

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Mobile Device Tripod Mount Adapter

The tripod mount adapter is a tool that allows you to put a mobile device onto a tripod for mobile filming.

How to use:

1. Attach mobile device to mount. To find out how to adjust the size of mount, watch this short video:


2. Attach bottom of mount to top of tripod head, just as you would attach a camera. Click HERE to see a video on how this is done.

3. Turn tripod top sideways so camera is facing forwards instead of upwards.

4. Then film or take pictures!

During Clean Up:

1. Remove mobile device from tripod mount.

2. Unscrew tripod mount from tripod head.

3. Put tripod head back into bag and then into its box.

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Wireless Microphone Kit

Sometimes, using wireless microphones will get better sounds from your subjects than the microphone options on the camera. You can also attach instruments to the kit!

For information about the microphones on the camera itself, see the Camera & Tripod guide.

How to Use the Wireless Mic Kit:

1. Remove the receiver.

2. Pull up the antennae.

3. Plug in the receiver in a dry, stable spot.

4. Plug in the XLR cable to both the receiver and the camera.

5. Make sure the channels on the receiver match the channels on the camera.

6. Connect the kinds of microphones you want to use in the kit to the transmitters. Screw the microphone wires in to tighten.

7. Turn on the receiver and transmitter(s). The power light will glow on the receiver, and blink once on each transmitter. If a transmitter's light remains on, the battery is low.

8. Adjust your levels accordingly using the dials on the receiver and on the camera's menu. The AF light on the receiver will blink red when sound is picked up.

During Clean Up:

When it's all packed up again, make sure you push the case down gently. The case should NOT be bulging when it's closed and locked.

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Microphone Attachment

Typically, using microphone attachments will get better sounds from your subjects than the microphone options on the camera. 

How to Use the Microphone Attachment:

1. Remove the microphone and cord from box.

2. Attach mic to top of camera. Secure by screwing it down completely. 

3. Plug in one end of the cord to the microphone.

4. Plug the other end of the cord to the camera. 

5. Make sure the camera's audio settings are correct to ensure the audio is picked up through the microphone attachment and not the camera's built in microphone.

During Clean Up:

1. Unplug the cord from both the camera and the mic.

2. Unscrew the microphone from the camera.

3. Return cord and mic to the box and close the box. 

Boom Pole


Boom poles are used to get high quality audio without a microphone being visible in the camera shot. The length and strength of the microphone gives you great audio for your videos.

How to Use the Boom Pole:

1. Plug XLR cable into the cord from the microphone.

2. Plug the other end of the XLR cable into the camera's input one slot. *MAKE SURE the camera's audio settings are on "sho mic" so the audio can get picked up by boom pole instead of the camera.

3. Twist pole so that the XLR cable is wrapped loosely around it. This is so the cord does not get into the camera shot.

4. Have someone hold boom pole as close as possible to the actor speaking without getting it in the camera shot.

5. Record your clip! 

During Clean Up:

1. Unplug XLR cable from camera.

2. Unwrap cord from pole. 

3.  Unplug XLR cable from the microphone's cord.

4. Store boom pole in its box.

5. See the cords box on how to properly wrap the XLR cord.

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Portable Green Screen

Green screens are used to replace the background of images or videos with other images or videos. 

How to Use the Portable Green Screen:

1. Take green screen out of case.

2. Unfold green screen carefully.

3. Stand green screen behind subject of picture or video.

4. Take pictures or videos with green screen.

During Clean Up:

1. To fold green screen back up watch this tutorial:

2. Put folded green screen back in case. 

See the Special Effects Tutorials box on the video editing page to learn how to edit media with the green screen!

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Lighting Kit and Reflector

With lighting, your goal will be different in every single shot. Do you want your subjects to look bright and clear, or do you only want to see their silhouettes? This part is all up to you and how you set up your lighting!

How to Use the Lighting Kit:

You must be EXTREMELY gentle with how you handle the lighting kit. This is the most delicate Media Lab resource.

During Clean Up:
1. Be extremely careful disassembling the lighting kit. 
2. Here are pictures of what it should look like when it is packed back up:

The lab also has a portable lighting reflector. Here is a tutorial for packing a lighting reflector:

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XLR cables are three-pin locking connectors that are used in audio applications. The standard signal flow for audio in XLR connectors is that the output is a male connector and the input is female. In other words, the pins on the plug point in the direction of signal flow.
How to Use an XLR Cable:
1. Unfold XLR Cable.
2. Plug the end with the pins into the camera or audio kit.
3. Plug the end with the holes into the microphone.
During Clean Up:
1. Unplug XLR cable from camera or audio kit.
2. Unplug XLR cable from microphone. 
3. To wrap XLR cord properly back up follow this tutorial: 

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