Monday 21 June 2010

That stands for Lights, Camera, Action. I received a call on Friday saying that my camcorder was ready to collect. It was picked up after work and it was hard to resist getting it out of the box on the train home and having a good look.That was done after dinner and the battery was put on the charger. I re-read the manual and like any good product there is a certain amount you can nut out yourself.
The model camcorder is a Sony HDR - XR550V and seems to be top of the range for their range of hand held cam corders. It has a 240G hard drive, 12mp still photo shots, 5.1 sound and the capability of filming in very low light. Its only maybe drawback is the 10x optical zoom. This shouldn't be any problem videoing the layout though. It has a digital zoom though, but this aspect hasn't been tested yet.
Saturday morning saw the camera see daylight again. I took it for a walk to the local station to try it out on some moving trains. What I also forgot to mention earlier was that it is also equipped with a GPS tagging system. The manual on this item is full of techno babble but all you had to do was switch the GPS on and open a top flap so your camera can talk to the satelites. Of course this is no good using indoors unless you have a hole in the roof.
I only managed to film a few suburbans and intercity trains. I was hoping for a GM led freighter to test the sound but none came. Thats for another day.
I was able to view the results on the 3.5" camera screen and they looked OK. At home I plugged it into the computer widescreen monitor and enjoyed the takings. I also tested the GPS facility and when I looked at the result it correctly had me positioned north of the station where I took the video from.
Another good reason for getting the camera sooner than later was that Sony was offering a free version of Movie Studio 9 (a video editing programme) when certain HD camcorders were bought but only till the 12th July.
I am mailing off today for my free copy and it won't be until I can download the programme will I be able to put some sort of movie together. In the meantime I can look ahead on Youtube at the many tutorials on this subject.
Saturday night saw me and the camera head off to the shed to take some footage of the layout. Again I must confess the star of the clips was the only sound loco I possess - the Garratt. (Hurry up with the 40 class will ya Ron). At least filming a sound loco you can readily identify its position on the layout. I concentrated on one end of the layout, namely around the gully area as this is the most complete in regards to scenery.
Another feature of the camera and only on this model as far as I can see is that it has a rear viewfinder that can be used without having the side viewfinder flipped out. What this means is that it should be narrow enough to be placed on a flat wagon and propelled along for that on train view.
Lastly I checked out the low light capabilities. With all the shed lights off I was able to film the garratts progress along the line with just the headlight showing the way. It was clear enough to be able to discern the scenery as it passed by. Very impressive. And so far I can recommend this camcorder.
I have included a clip here of the garratt heading down the valley.
Also a few shots from the vault from around the layout

1 comment:

  1. Nice toy, Bob.
    The garrett sounded awesome, your pictures are very clear. looks like a vivit coming up soon with some more sound locos, maybe a 42.