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We offer one-to-one personal video camera training and training for groups.

To check out our online help with the Canon XF305 and XF300 start here.


So, why should you be interested in learning about this camera?

The BBC's most recent commissioning guidelines for HD includes a list of the cameras that it considers to produce HD (although that doesn't necessarily rule other cameras out). As all network programmes for the BBC must be in HD by April 2011, anyone thinking of shooting for the BBC needs to check they are using the right camera. There certainly isn't a lot of hope for anyone wanting to use lower-cost cameras (although if you use a camera with at least half-inch sensors and record at bitrates above 50Mbps to a nanoFlash, AJA Ki-Pro or other external recorder, they shouldn't have a lot to object to - but always check first).

So, who cares if the BBC approve it? Well. if the BBC approve a camera for HD production it is a safe bet that all the other broadcasters will too. So expect to see this camera replacing the Sony Z1 (which is getting old) and even the Sony EX1, EX1R and EX3 - which are not on the BBC HD list.

Update: Seems the BBC is so committed to this camera that it bought 50 of them. They will be used for factual programming. This really does make it a no-brainer purchase for the indies.

The full list of BBC approved HD cameras (as of October 2010):

  • Panasonic AJ-HPX3700, 2700, 3000 & 2100
  • Panasonic 'Varicam' HDC27F & H
  • Panasonic AJ-HDX900
  • Sony HDW F900R & 900
  • Sony HDW 790, 750 & 730
  • Sony CineAlta F35
  • Arri D21
  • Alexa
  • Panavision Genesis
  • Thompson Viper

For use by Independent productions only:

  • Canon XF-300E (£5,200)
  • Canon XF-305E (£5,900)
  • Red One ($17,500 body only)
  • Sony PDW 700 (£17,500 body only)
  • Sony PDW 800 (£29,500 body only)

Looking at these prices the XF300 and XF305 are the cheapest options. Which no doubt will make it popular with indies on a tight budget.

Mini cameras:

  • Iconix HD-RH1
  • Panasonic HCK10 / HMR10
  • Toshiba IK-HR1S
  • Toshiba IK-HD1

The XF300 is the most affordable camera here (less than £6,000 - the XF305 pictured above adds HD-SDI output, Genlock input and Time code i/o for not a lot more). It has also had a great write up by Alan Roberts. He is a semi-retired BBC engineer who thoroughly tests cameras for the BBC and others. Alan is allowing us to host some of his reviews. If you are thinking of buying the XF300 or XF305 you should read his review.

HD programmes can use no more than 25% standard definition material. The following formats are generally considered to be standard definition from the HD: Summary of Delivery Formats (PDF):

  • All standard definition video formats
  • HDV from all manufactures (ie the Sony Z1 and others)
  • Cameras with image sensors under 1⁄2-inch (except the XF300 and XF305)
  • Frame based (intra-frame) recording formats below 100Mbs
  • Inter-frame based recording formats below 50Mbs
  • Super16 film whether transferred to tape in HD or not
  • 35mm film transferred to or copied from SD tape formats
  • Non linear editing codecs with bit rates below 160Mbs
  • Live contributions links of less than 60Mbs (MPEG2)
  • 720 line cameras (except the Varicam AJ-HDC27 and AJ-HDX900)

On the audio front. 5.1 surround sound is not necessarily necessary. "We also take deliveries in stereo and we are working on wrap-around sound alternatives. Sound requirements will be confirmed for individual projects through the commissioning process," it says.


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Christina Fox