Panasonic AG-HMC40P HD Camera Tips

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Added by amy khoshbin
Short description They are the newest, most advanced video cameras ITP has to date. They might be intimidating at first, but these little cameras can shoot super-high quality film-like video if you get the hang of it, and they're actually really easy to use!
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Additional Keywords HD, Panasonic, Camera, HD Camera, Video

To turn the camera on & switch into VCR mode to see the clips you've shot, there's a button on the right hand side. Click and hold the button and pull it to the right once to turn the camera on into camera mode. Click and pull the button to the right again to put the camera into VCR mode.

Once the camera is on, make sure to setup the format of the footage you'll be shooting before anything else. This can be accessed through the MENU button. On the left-hand side of the camera, there is a viewfinder. Open this up to access the touch-screen, viewfinder, and MENU button.

Click on RECORD SETUP to set preferences.

  • RECORD FORMAT is an important thing to set. If you read the High Definition vs. Standard Definition wikipage, there's detailed information about what the different formats mean.
    • PH means Highest Quality mode (1920 x 1080 pixels or 1280 x 720 pixels): Approx 180 min fit on a 32 GB SD card.
    • HA means High Quality mode (1920 x 1080 pixels): Approx 240 min fit on a 32 GB SD card.
    • HG means Standard Quality mode (1920 x 1080 pixels): Approx 320 min fit on a 32 GB SD card.
    • HE means Long Duration mode (1440 x 1080 pixels): Approx 720 min fit on a 32 GB SD card.
  • In HD format labeling world, the first number is the number of horizontal scan lines in the frame, the second number stands for frame-rate, and the "i" stands for interlaced scanning, and the "P" stands for Progressive scanning.

Example: 1080/60i: 1080 horizontal scan lines (the frame is 1920 x 1080), 60 frames-per-second, and Interlaced Scanning.
720/24P: 720 horizontal scan lines (the frame is 1280 x 720), 24 frames-per-second (which is the closest to film frame-rate), and Progressive Scanning.

Progressive scanning means it looks like film, I recommend using this format if you can.
Interlaced scanning means it looks like video or reality TV.
1080 means the files you record are large, and for 720, the files are a bit more manageable.

Click on OTHER FUNCTIONS to format and erase your SD card. Scroll down to CARD FORMAT. This should be done if you're using it for the first time and there's no footage on it that you want to get rid of. If there is extraneous footage already stored on the card that you want to erase, this is also the way to do it.


  • If you're doing a shoot in an uncontrolled setting (on the street in a crowd, documentary style hand-held, etc), you might want to leave the camera set to AUTO.
  • If you're shooting in a more controlled environment, I recommend setting the camera to MANUAL. This switch is located on the LH side of the camera under the viewfinder.

WHITE BALANCE: Please set this before you shoot anything if you're shooting in MANUAL mode. the button is located on the LH of the camera near the lens.
1 Use the AUTO/MANUAL switch to set to manual mode.
2 Press the WHITE BAL button.
The mode changes in order from ATW→ATW LOCK→P3.2K→P5.6K→Ach or Bch→ATW with each press of the button.
3. Guide to the preset values
P3.2K (3200 K): halogen light
P5.6K (5600 K): outdoors

1. Press the FOCUS button, and make sure that the switch next to the lens is clicked to FOCUS. Then use the ring around the camera lens to focus the image.

Push the Iris button next to the viewfinder and then scroll through the options to either lighten the image (by making the f-stop smaller) or darken the image (by making the f-stop larger).

1.Set the AUTO/MANUAL switch to MANUAL to select manual mode.
2 Touch the LCD monitor and display the Function Navi. (looks like an F with an arrow)
3 Touch to display the operation menu.
4 Touch SHTR.
The shutter speed appears at the left of the screen.
5 Touch or to adjust the shutter speed. As the shutter speed increases, camera sensitivity decreases. With auto iris control, as the shutter speed increases, the aperture widens and the focal length decreases. Because the focal time increases at slower shutter speeds, we recommend using a tripod.
6 Touch SHTR to close the operation menu.
7 Touch to close the Function Navi.

SETTING SOUND LEVELS: The Panasonic HD Cameras come with a mounted shotgun mic attached. To change levels, there are two round dials under the handle of the camera- one for channel 1 and one for channel 2. Channel 1 is usually what the shotgun mic is attached to, and Channel 2 is where you can attach another external microphone.

Make sure you are set to MIC, that 48V is set to ON, and that the ATT is set to ON as well.

PLEASE CHECK SOUND LEVELS both on the viewfinder and with headphones before you shoot- this is VERY IMPORTANT!

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