The JVC GY-HM170 series is a fully functional high performance camera capable of shooting exceptional footage for news, sports and independent productions. It can even record 4K Ultra HD recordings directly to SD memory cards. This camera is designed for fast-paced ENG production work, offering superb low-light capabilities, a long wide-angle zoom lens and multiple encoding formats.
The JVC GY-HM170 records in dual SD card slots. You will need to purchase your own cards. This camera uses a Class 6 or higher card – Class 10 is preferred. Try to get at minimum 16 GB cards that will record roughly 80 minutes of footage, or 32 GB, which will record about 160 minutes. It's also preferable to get a fast card that reads HD footage, once such as a 90 MB/s card is ideal.
First, get to know the contents of the camera bag.
Battery Charging Unit and AC Cable
Two Batteries (given upon checkout)
Stick Microphone and XLR Cable
Wireless Microphone Kit
Explore the camera to find the following:
- Lens cap (don't lose this!)
- SD card slots
- Audio Input 1 and Input 2 terminals
- The LCD flip-open monitor
- The menu button
- The power button - and recording start/stop button
- The focus ring
- The iris ring
- Full/Auto button
These are just a few parts to the camera that will become more familiar with experience. Before you use the Canon XF200 for your assignments, you need to spend time getting to know the camera. Take it for a 'test drive' and shoot some video and audio. The more you use it, the less time you'll spend troubleshooting and the more time you can devote to creativity.
The battery compartment is located at the back of the camera. Make sure the camera is steady and take care not to drop batteries as such impacts could reduce their ability to charge.
Inserting the Battery:
Make sure the power switch is set to Off. Align the battery with the leads, insert into the compartment and slide to the left. The battery should click in place.
Removing the Battery:
Make sure the power switch is set to Off. To the left of the battery compartment, press and hold the Batt Release button. Make sure you have a grip on the battery, slide it right and pull out.
Connecting to an AC Outlet:
The AC Power Adaptor allows you to plug the camera into a wall outlet. Do not use any other AC adaptors except the one supplied in this kit. The AC Power Adaptor is plugged into the camera’s DC input terminal (DC IN) located at the rear of the camera on the bottom right. You will also find in this location the terminals for AV, Headphones, Aux and Remote. Make sure the camera is switched Off. Connect the AC cable to the AC adaptor. Connect the AC adaptor to the DC input terminal (DC IN). Connect the AC cable to a wall outlet.
Disconnecting the AC from the Camera:
Make sure the camera is switched Off. Unplug the AC cable from the wall outlet. Put it back in the camera bag nice and neat.
Turning the Camera On/Off:
The power switch is located just forward the viewfinder eyepiece. Hold down the blue lock button at the centre of the switch and slide the switch to the On position. The status indicator, Power/Charge, lights up. The camera is now ready to record.
To turn off the camera, hold the blue button down and slide the switch to Off.
The JVC GY-HM170 has two Record buttons, any of which can be used to start and stop a recording.
Make sure the lens cap is removed before you start recording (put the lens cap in the camera bag - don't lose it). Press the Red Record button located on the side of the camera (there is also one on top of the camera, which can be accessed when holding the grip for low angle shots).
During recording, the Tally lamp lights up a solid red. The Tally is simply an indicator that a recording is in progress. The lamp blinks when the battery or space on the SD card is low.
Focus on the subject and compose the shot. Then start recording. Step back from the camera and count to 10 seconds. Then stop the camera and find another shot to compose and record.
Press the Mode button to toggle between Camera and Media mode. In Media Mode, you can then review your newly-recorded clips in the LCD Monitor.
Video can be monitored using either the LCD Monitor or Viewfinder or both. Pull open the LCD monitor cover gently and rotate gently to the desired angle. Rotating the monitor 180 degrees enables you see the screen from in front of the lens, which helps when doing stand-ups. The LCD Monitor displays data code that shows the camera’s status, media information, zebra pattern and various other indicators during shooting.
Press the Display button to toggle between three screen types: 0 > 1 > 2 > 0. In Media Mode, with every press of the Display button you can toggle between three screen types that show functions related to clip playback.
Press the Status button to show the status screen. This screen allows you to check the current camera settings. In Media Mode, press Status to show displays according to the Media playback operation.
On the LCD Monitor, there is a Menu button that can be used to find and enter new settings for the camera. For the most part, the settings should be fixed for normal camera operation and don’t need to be changed. Experienced users may then change settings, but remember – this camera is used by other students, so anything you change might affect the recordings made by other students. It’s best to return the settings back to what they were when you finish using the camera. Pressing Menu button again will exit from the Menu display.
Joystick (or Set Button):
Use the joystick button (below the Menu button) to select menu items. Press down gently on the joystick to make a selection or to make changes to a selection. In Media Mode, the joystick can be used to find a specific clip, then press down on the joystick to select it for playback.
There are certain advantages to using the Viewfinder rather than the LCD Monitor. For example, it’s easier to get sharper focus of the lens when you can look into the eyepiece. But before you can focus the lens, you need to first focus the viewfinder to your eyesight. Doing so will adjust the data code so that it looks sharp to the eye, whether you were corrective lenses or not.
Focus the Viewfinder Using the Diopter:
Raise the Viewfinder to find the eyepiece corrector, also known as the Diopter. Slide the lever one way or the other until the data code is in sharp focus. Remember, you’re not focussing the image in the lens itself. Once you focus your eyes to the data code in the Viewfinder, then focus the lens. You can incline the Viewfinder to a position that enables easy viewing.
SD Cards Must Be Formatted to the Camera:
When using an SD card for the first time with this camera it will become necessary to format the card. Formatting will always erase existing data that is left on the card. Make sure you’ve copied any existing files on the card to a portable drive before you format.
How to Format the Card:
Make sure the camera is Off and the open the LCD Monitor cover to access the SD card slots. Make sure the terminal side of the card faces away from the lens and insert the card as far as it will go. Power up the camera – the SD card indicator below the shots will display Red when accessing data, and Green when ready for use.
Click on Menu > System > Media > Format Media and select which slot your card is using. Then select Format – the formatting will start the instant you press select Format – there will be no warning. Formatting is complete when you see Complete displayed in the monitor and the camera returns to the Format screen.
Removing the SD Card:
Check that the SD slot indicator isn’t accessing data – the light will be Red. Push the SD card and remove it from the slot. Close the LCD Monitor cover when not in use.
Restoring the SD Card:
If the camera detects an abnormality in the card, Restore appears in the monitor.
Select System > Media > Restore Media and select the SD card to be restored. Press the Set (Joystick) button. Restore Media can only be selected in Camera mode.
Tips to Avoid SD Card Problems:
Don’t get into the habit of using the memory card to store other projects or files. The media card should never be used as a substitute for a portable drive. If the camera detects other files, such as Adobe Premiere project files, it might give a recording error. The likely solution to the error will be to format the card, which will delete all the existing data.
- Never touch the terminals on the back of the SD card.
- Do not bend or drop the card as this may damage stored data.
- When the card slot access light is lit, do not remove the SD card from its slot or turn off the camera.
- Do not place the card in direct sunlight, in dusty or humid areas, near a heater or where static electricity or electromagnetic waves occur.
- To protect the card, keep it inside its case or in a protective bag.
Every shot you get must be properly focused, which is crucial in any professional production. Soft focus shots, unless used for artistic effect, will not be accepted under professional standards.
To focus a telephoto lens, you must first calibrate it. Make sure the lens is set to Manual Focus first – press the AF/MF button on the lens and check to make sure that MF is displayed in the monitor.
Zoom in all the way on your subject and focus by turning the focus ring on the lens until the image looks sharp. Zoom out and compose the shot to the desired framing. Each time you move the camera, it will become necessary to calibrate the telephoto lens. The large ring located on the lens is the Focus Ring.
Getting the focus right means having to judge the focus properly. You might think you can judge the focus using only the LCD monitor, but it’s actually impossible to rely on this 720p display to get true focus. That’s because the LCD Monitor doesn’t have enough pixels to render the image sharply. Focus errors are more obvious in high-definition, but fortunately there are ways to get the best focus possible.
Press the F. Assist/1 button (located on the lens) to enable Peaking, which draws outlines (in blue or red) around objects that are in sharp focus. Peaking works during recording, but the outline is not recorded into the image.
Here is an illustration of how Focus Assist works. Turn the focus ring - the image is in focus when you start to see blue outlines appear on edges in the subject.
This type of focus assist magnifies the image to show you more detail than in the full frame view. Press the Expanded Focus/8 (the “8” denotes User 8). This button is located just forward the zoom rocker on the right side of the camera.
When Expanded Focus is selected, the word Expanded (in yellow) is displayed in the monitor and the centre portion of the image is magnified.
Pressing the Expanded Focus button again will restore the image back to normal viewing. The magnified area is not recorded into the image itself.
You can optimise the focus better if you can see the image clearly without interference from the lighting in the environment. Make sure to adjust the eyepiece corrector (dioptre) to your eyesight before you start focussing the lens.
Simply put, the White Balance function tells the camera what is white under different colour temperatures. The light colour itself is measure in Kelvin degrees, which corresponds to what colour a chunk of iron glows when it’s heated at certain temperatures: about 3200 Kelvin the iron glows orange-red, but at 5600 Kelvin the iron will glow a blue-white. The camera sees light for what it is – an areas lit by sunshine, about 5600 Kelvin, will look blue-ish; indoor lighting is about 3200 Kelvin and will look to the camera as reddish. Therefore, it’s crucial to get proper white balance to the picture to get the most accurate colour rendition.
The JVC GY-HM170 allows you to set the White Balance manually or automatically. Under the Wht Bal settings, you can toggle between A channel, B channel and the PRST (Preset). The PRST should be set to the Automatic White Balance mode, which will then let the camera select an appropriate white balance according to the colour temperature of the lighting on the subject.
Pressing the Full Auto button will also allow to engage in Automatic White Balance mode, but in this case, the Iris, Shutter and Gain will also be in Auto mode forcibly. Additionally, in Full Auto, switching the Wht Bal switch is disabled.
Setting the White Balance Manually:
Under the Wht Bal settings, set to either A or B channel to execute the white balance manually. Set the Wht Bal switch to A or B. Place a white card in front of the subject so that the card itself is under the same lighting as the subject (don’t place the card directly in front of the camera’s lens). Zoom in on the white card and fill the frame with white completely. Press the AWB/9 button (located at the front of the camera below the lens). After a white balance has been obtained, an estimated value of the colour temperature will be displayed in the monitor/viewfinder.
White Balance Errors:
The JVC GY-HM170 uses a built-in microphone, an external shotgun microphone and an additional XLR (3-pin) cable input for other microphones such as stick (hand-held) or wireless microphones.
The external shotgun microphone is set up to record NAT audio (natural or ambient sound). It uses phantom power, which means that its internal electronic circuitry relies on the camera as a power source. The shotgun on the TV-1 cameras should be connected to the Input 1 terminal.
Using Stick Microphones or Wireless:
These accessory microphones can be connected to the Input 2 XLR terminal. The stick and the wireless microphones are ideally suited to record voices during interviews.
For the clearest, sharpest reproduction of voices, it’s important to always consider first using the stick and wireless and only use the shotgun as a last resort. Never start with the last resort first because audio quality is as important as video quality.
Using the Wireless Microphone:
Connect the wireless receiver to Input 2 and attach it to the camera’s shoe (top track on the camera – see picture). Make sure the receiver is connected securely to the camera.
Audio Input Settings:
The controls for setting the audio input of the microphones can be found in a compartment located in the camera’s grip. The controls are divided between CH 1 AND CH 2 settings, Audio Input and Audio Select.
The CH 1 and CH 2 settings allow you to send audio from a selected microphone input to a specific audio channel. Typically, CH 1 is considered to be the left channel and CH 2 is the right. The settings allow the option to set the camera’s internal (INT) (the microphone that is built-in to the camera) to either or both channels, in addition the microphones that are attached to the Input 1 and Input 2 terminals (Input is always going to be the shotgun microphone).
Under Audio Input, the user can select microphone options attached to the input terminals. For both Input 1 and Input 2, there are three microphone options:
Under Audio Select, you adjust the recording levels for the two channels manually or automatically. When adjusting the recording levels manually, make sure that the audio bars, displayed in the monitor/viewfinder, don’t peak in the red, otherwise, the audio will become distorted.
As an example, when using the wireless microphone:
Plug the receiver into Input 2. Set CH 2 to Input 2 (you can leave CH 1 to Input 1 so that you’re still recording with the shotgun microphone at the same time you’re recording with the wireless). Set the Audio Input for Input 2 to Mic.