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A Quick And Easy Beginners Guide To The Panasonic Dvx100a

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So, Seeing as their are no topics giving easy tips/techniques and explaining what things mean on the Panasonic DVX100A....It will be explained here....

Before we even get started on getting fimilar with the camera, when you pick up your DVX while it is turned off and you move it around…You will hear a sort of clicking noise, and you will think something is wrong with the DVX, like something is moving and it’s not suppose to right? Wrong..that clicking noise is actually an element of the optical image stabilizing system. But don’t worry when you turn on the camera that clicking/rattle noise goes away.

This parapgraph is taken right from the DVX book to explain strobing properly, because If I were to explain it….it would be way to confusing…so..

“When new users pick up the DVX for the first time, they switch it over to 24p mode, wave the camera around, then say hey wait a minute, whats all this strobing? The motion in their shots appears very jerky and not smooth. For those who are unaccustomed to shooting film, the look is unfamiliar and unsettling: many times they think that there may be something wrong with their camera. There’s nothing wrong with the camera! What’s happening is a perceptual difference between what the shooter is familiar with (interlaced video) and what they’re now using (progressive-scan video). There’s a very different look between 24P and traditional video, also known as 60i. In 24P, the 60i video, the camera shoots sixty “half-frames” per second. The difference is dramatic: the 24p footage looks more like a movie, and 60i video looks more like a soap opera. But shooting only 24 frames per second has a side effect called “strobing”. Pan the camera, or move it side-to-side to fast, and you might see choppy, stuttery movement. Strobing can be unpleasant to watch. Film runs at 24 frames per second, and film exhibits the same strobing issues that the DVX does”.

Now then…
First, let's take a look at the Panasonic DVX and get fimilar with all the buttons...


So heres the backside of the DVX ( B) ) hah anyways….Its all pretty simple back here. You have your switch to turn your DVX on and off. You have the button to switch between the camera and the VCR (to playback what you recorded), you can play,fast forward, rewind, stop, and pause by using the mini joystick right next to the menu button. And you have your scenefile wheel (the wheel with…F1,F2,F3,F4,F5,F6 on it). We will get into what scenefiles are and how to discuss them later. If you notice you also have a little dial on your viewfinder, what’s that for? If you look in the viewfinder while adjusting the wheel, your picture will go from blurry to sharp, you will always want it sharp. (unless for some odd reason you want it to be blurry). You will also notice a button above the scenefile dial that says EVFDTL. This button adds an edge enhancement around objects that are in focus in the viewfinder, this will assist in easier focusing. Also if you go into the menu, then go to display setup, go all the way down to EVF color, if you switch it to off, this will change the viewfinder color to Black And White….making it easier to set your exposure correctly. Switch it back to on, to make your viewfinder go back to color. And you obviously have your record button.


So heres the left side of the DVX, theirs alot of buttons and things that go up and down. But don't worry because to be honest it's not even that bad!.

[b]Focus/Gain/White and Black balance/exposure.[/b]

-Take a look at the focus switch it can go up and down. The A stands for Autofocus, and the M stands for manual focus. (common sense right?) You ALWAYS want it on Manual focus, because if you have it on autofocus your image will go out of focus sometimes when you don’t want it to. So put it on the M, and to adjust the manual focus use the focus ring RIGHT BEHIND the lens hood, do not get it confused with the zoom ring (the zoom ring is the ring with the knob and numbers on it)
-The Gain switch goes from L,M,H. L stands for Low gain…M stands for Medium gain….H stands for High gain. During the day you will always want to keep it on L. During the night you should try not to switch it off L, if you switch it to M or H your picture will get brighter, but on the downside you will get massive amounts of grain, So try not to switch it off L.
-The white balance switch goes from B, to A, to PRST. The B is auto white balance, the A is custom white balance. To set the custom white balance, turn the switch to A, press it down, and while doing that press the AWB button (under the lens hood infront of the camera) when it is done white balancing it will say something like white balance done or something like that. You can white balance off anything you want to, test it out on a bunch of things to see what you like best. You do not need to use the PRST button. To set your black balance, do the same as you would for white balance but hold it a little longer, until it says Black balance set or something like that.
-The Iris button/dial sounds confusing but it isn’t at all. Take a look at the button that says Iris right next to it, If you press it. It will switch between, manual Iris, and Auto Iris. Sound fimilar? Yes Iris is exactly the same thing as exposure. You never want it on auto iris (AKA auto exposure). Always have it on manual Iris (AKA manual exposure), while it is on manual exposure…move the dial that is right next to the Iris button up and down, to either make the exposure higher or lower.

[b]ND filter [/b]
-You should see a little switch that can go up and down between 1/64….1/8…and off. This is just like on any other camera that has ND filters. If you have the ND filter off the picture will be brighter, set it on 1/8th the picture will be darker…and set it on 1/64th the picture will be even darker, you always want to have an ND filter on one of those settings and not have it on Off. Sorry for such a vague explination but kinda want to get this finished :-P.

[b]User Files [/b]
-If you look at the picture here, you will see 4 buttons. Auto, User 1, User 2, User 3. What this is, is that these user files refers to all the camera settings that are not in the scene files. The DVX actually lets you save all your settings or restore them to the original default settings. Neat! This is very handy if you are using the DVX in a place where people are sharing the DVX. How to work it? Easy. Each of your scenefiles (scenefiles will be discussed next) can be individually saved, and the rest of the camera settings are all saved in the user file. If you saved your scenefiles to one of the User files, go to the User File menu and choose LOAD, this will restore all the settings that you had saved. Then when the LOAD procedure is done, turn the power off and then back on in order to enable the settings.

-Ok then, now to the audio, if you look at the picture once again you will see 2 dials. To set the audio properly. Turn on the camera and go into the menu…then to recording setup. Click on audio rec, and set the audio to 48k (16bit). Now look through the viewfinder, Have someone pop an ollie on a hard surface (this is just if you are using the DVX for skating), and adjust the dials, until the audio levels inside the viewfinder get halfway in the red section.). Now go back to the menu…and back to recording setup, then go to Mic Alc and click On….Next go to Mic gain 1 and click -60dB, do that for Mic Gain 2 as well……go to TC mode click DF…go to TCG click REC RUN…go to first rec tc click regen. Then go down to UB mode and click user. Then go to interval rec and click off. Then go to Rec time and set it to 0.5s. Then interval time set it to 10m. If you set all of these to what I said you will get a nice crisp audio for your DVX100A

[b]The Viewfinder and buttons inside[/b]
-Ok so, open up your viewfinder, you will see 2 buttons on the top. One that says shutter and then right next to that another one that says Speed Sel. Click the shutter button so the shutter turns on. Now click the Speed Sel. As many times as you want, and it will cycle through shutter speeds. Pick which one you want.
-Since this is a beginners guide, I will not go into any of the other buttons inside here.


Yes,yes I know iam delaying the scenefiles, but let me get this out of the way fast.
As you see, there are 2 zoom buttons, one on the handle…and one were the tape door is. The zoom button on the handle can be adjust to go from slow,medium, to fast fron the switch on the right side of the handle. The red button on the handle is also another record button (DUH). And the blue button right by the zoom button by the tape door….is the open tape door button. Press the little button down and pushfoward to open the tape door


-Yea yea I know scenefiles, just hold on, one more minute. Right in the front of the DVX under the lens hood there is a little switch that goes left to right between servo..and…manu. If you leave the switch to servo, then you will be able to use the zoom buttons and the zoom ring will move for you. If you switch it to manual the zoom buttons will not work, and you can adjust the zoom ring by yourself…by either using the knob on the zoom ring or just by move the whole thing. Once again as this is a beginners guide I will not get into anything else in the front of the DVX.

[b]Ugh…..fine…..SCENEFILE TIME!!![/b]
In this section I will explain what all the confusing words in the scenefile’s mean.

-First off, click the menu button….then go into scenefile. Here we go……..

Detail Level: Controls edge enhancement and overall sharpness of the picture. So say if you set the detail level all the way down to -7, your picture will be noticeably blurry. If you set it to +7 your image will look very sharp, maybe to sharp for your liking.

V Detail Level: Effects the perceived sharpness, this is very similar to Detail Level, but V Detail Level primarily enhances the contrast between horizontal lines.

Detail Coring: What detail coring does is it applies a slight smoothing effect to noisy areas of the picture. So The higher the Detail Coring, the more it will blend noisy areas together.

Chroma Level: This refer to the amount of color saturation the picture has, so the lower the Chroma Level, the more pale and gross looking the colors will be (unless you like those type of colors). The higher the Chroma Level the more saturated the colors become.

Chroma Phase: What chroma phase does is, it let’s you adjust the color response of the camera along the yellow-green and purple axis. It sort of works like a tint if you put it on a TV. If you put the chroma phase down to -7 it will give you yellow/greenish hues. And at +7 the picture goes to purple/magenta hues. Although this effect is quite subtle and won’t make the picture a very strong green or purple color, you can still balance out the picture.

Color Temp: This is just like WB shift on a Sony VX and other cameras. The color temp lets you adjust the color between red and blue. So if you set it at -7 this makes the picture warmer and redder, Whereas if you set it to +7 it gives the picture a cooler and bluer feel. (I go for a cooler picture).

Master Ped: This is pretty much where you set how dark or how bright your blacks are. So the lower you set the master ped. The more dark items will all blend together into black, giving you a stronger contrast and a loss of detail in he shadowy areas. The higher you set it, the more contrast washes out, and the overall contrast will look softer and flatter, but in return you will also preserve more detail in the shadows.

Auto Iris: This setting lets you instruct the automatic exposure system to make the exposure to be darker or brighter. You should normally always have this set at 0 because you should be using manual iris.

Gamma: This controls how brightness information is distribute in the picture. This can correct for the light-output characteristics of a normal TV picture.

-Normal gamma, gives a standard video looking picture and the camera responds like a typical video camera.
-Low Gamma compresses some of the brighter parts of the picture slightly, while preserving the darker parts.
-High Gamma brings up the brightness level of the darker parts of the picture, while maintaining the same level of brightness in the brighter levels.
-Cine Gamma changes the brightness response by a lot. The overall contrast range is compressed and lowered, and the brights are brought down.
-Cine_Like_D is sort of the same to Cine Gamma, but the highs are amplified a little bit. So everything gets brighter even if you overexpose a picture. But Cine_Like_D provides knee protection to smooth the transition into overexposed pictures.
-Cine_Like_V is mainly for optimizing contrast. The camera stretches both ends of the spectrum to exaggerate the distance between the darks and the brights, resulting in a sharper, more popping contrast.

B.Press: Affects primarily the midtones of the images. And it leaves the highs alone, and presses the lows down a little, but it really presses down the midtones, so it provides for a more dynamic range.

Knee: Knee helps prevent overexposure by rolling off the intensity, of the brightest parts of the picture. So with Knee on, the camera will detect when the highlights are getting to bright and will start to signal to bring them back into the exposure range so that the camera can properly resolve on its own.

Skin Tone DTL: This is designed to help smoothen out wrinkles,blemishes, and all that gross stuff on peoples skin. When you turn this on, it applies to a very mild blur to anything it perceives as skin tones. Without affecting any other aspect of the picture. When it is set to Off, It doesn’t try to blur skin tones.

Matrix: The matrix settings lets you choose different patterns of overall color response. Pretty much what the color matrix does is, it basically remaps the original colors to a new matrix of colors.

Norm- is a mild, normal color response.
Fluo- the colors are boosted on the red, yellow, cyan and magenta scale…but not so much on the blue and green.
Cine-Like- all the colors are strongly saturated, and there’s an especially big boost in the greens and magentas.
Enriched: this boosts the yellow/red/magenta, while having less of an effect on the blues/cyan/green.

V Detail FREQ: this setting only works when shooting in 24P, or 30P. it has no effect on 60i. Once again since this is a beginners guide, I’am not going to get into why it is only applicable for 24p and 30p.

Progressive: By changing this setting, you can choose one of 3 different shooting rates, either 24P, 30P or 60i. When progressive is set to off, the camera sets to 60i (normal video shooting). When progressive is set to 24p or 30p. the camera doesn’t capture fields, it instead captures an entire full-height frame all at once, similar to the way a film camera works. You will notice there are 2 settings 24P, and 24P Advanced (24PA). There is a very minor difference between them, they both capture images the exact same way, but they write those images out to tape slightly differently, depending on how you intend to edit your footage, there may be a very minor advantage to one system or the other.

Name Edit: Pretty self explanatory, you can type in the name of the what you want to call your scenefile, then right below that you can save it.

Warning: Remember SAVING YOUR SCENEFILE allows you to save changes made in a scenefile. Remember to do this or you will revert back to the old settings when the power is turned off, or if you switched to VCR mode.

Remember, you should play around with all your settings on your DVX to achieve the colors and pictures you want, the possibilities are endless!

By the way, here are the normal settings for scenefiles. (the scenefile wheel):

F1- Normal Settings
F2- Fluo: For indoor shooting under fluorescent lights.
F3- Spark: Highlighting subjects at receptions,dinners, and other gatherings.
F4- B-STR: Enhanced gradations of luminance in low light scenes
F5- 24P: 24p mode + Cine-Like-V gamma
F6- ADVANC: Advanced 24p mode + Cine-Like-D gamma

Well, their you have it, a beginners guide to the DVX100A. Hopefully this was quick and easy to understand. If you happen to have a DVX100B, this is 98% the same, the DVX100B has a couple of other things to offer, but hardly any difference.
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[quote name='nikesb23' post='1802288' date='Jul 10 2007, 12:29 AM']Every single picture is out of focus..

Sorry about that, Its a camera phone picture thats why. I dont have a digital camera. But you can still tell which button is which considering I named all of them and circled them.

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[quote name='filmerwesgl2' post='1802306' date='Jul 10 2007, 12:41 AM']thats really good man, i wish they had threads like this for every camera, would''ve saved me so much time lurking lol[/quote]

Thanks bud, what type of camera do you have? If its a camera I know about, I could answer the questions you got on it.

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[quote name='FlipSkate667' post='1802299' date='Jul 10 2007, 12:37 AM']Sorry about that, Its a camera phone picture thats why. I dont have a digital camera. But you can still tell which button is which considering I named all of them and circled them.[/quote]

not a problem, if i would've known you didn't have a digital camera i wouldn't have really been such a dick about it, hah my bad. definetly a good review/guide though, just reading it i learned so much about it. great job.

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[quote name='filmerwesgl2' post='1802306' date='Jul 10 2007, 12:41 AM']would''ve[/quote]
[quote name='FlipSkate667' post='1802354' date='Jul 10 2007, 01:06 AM']Thanks bud, what type of camera do you have? If its a camera I know about, I could answer the questions you got on it.[/quote]

next time

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[quote name='th3mskat3t3am' post='1807935' date='Jul 14 2007, 11:03 AM']next time[/quote]

Yep.....iam saying if he has any questions still.

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[quote name='jacksonc' post='1922415' date='Sep 9 2007, 01:58 AM']very sick man, ive had my dvx for a long time now and this still helps in some areas. love it.[/quote]


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[quote name='Brian12507' post='1903897' date='Aug 29 2007, 10:28 AM']^ learn to speak.[/quote]
He's from denmark. Cut him some slack.

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[quote name='filmerwesgl2' post='1991793' date='Oct 21 2007, 11:13 PM']woo weee. got my dvx100a today... and this is my new bible..

thanks sam!! and thanks for the dvx th3mskat3t3am!!!![/quote]

Haha anytime man.

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i dont have a dvx but this is such a good post .. bump so ppl see this!

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