Carrying the Weight of An HD Camcorder
By Douglas I. Sheer
HD Camcorder Field Weights
The leading average field weight for camcorders, across All Markets was reported as between 0 and 2 lbs by 35%, including factoring in the actual camcorder, lens, battery, mic, media and on-board lighting device.
It’s easy to underestimate the weight of a camcorder in the field if you go by the listed weight in manufacturer’s specification sheets. What is really carried on your shoulder in the field easily exceeds those specifications as soon as you count the lens, the battery, recording media (especially if it is one of the removable packs or cards or even a portable hard drive), portable on-board lighting instrument, grip and microphone. Even the mounting devices or plates for those items can affect the overall weight.
Across All Markets the tendency among shooters is towards lighter weight and 35% of professional respondents reported that their camcorders, with extras weighed between 0 and 2 lbs. Another 23% stated their field weights to be an average of between 2.01 and 4 pounds, 13% said greater than 20.01 pounds and 11% said the average weights were between 15.01 and 20 pounds.
In conceiving the field weight question, we focused on digital HD-capable models and asked TV professionals to gauge the total in-the-field weight of what they really carry when shooting in remote situations. Of course, this varies pretty widely by the type of format involved, the brand and even the vintage of camcorder. But, certain trends seem to be appearing with regularity.
Camcorders are generally getting lighter and lighter and smaller too. Part of this can be attributed to the incursion of consumer technology, and partly to the miniaturization of the media used and the accessories used as well. The net result of that is that a majority of the models in professional hands are quite lightweight, so their starting weights – unencumbered by accessories – can be very low, as low as only a few pounds.
This has been made more profound by the numbers of small format camcorders—using either DV cassettes or tiny media cards—and that trend keeps proliferating. At the same time, heavier models in other hi-end formats are either in decline or flat in their growth. Only removable media camcorders or hard drive models challenge that theory. But, even they are growing lighter by the year.
Clearly, however, it’s the accessories that continue to add more weight to the camcorders. With the average battery often weighing more than 5 pounds, its no surprise that the sum total of the accessories can outweigh the actual camcorder itself and that they need supporting, not so much the camcorder.
Then, of course, balance also becomes a big issue.
Douglas I. Sheer is CEO and Chief Analyst of DIS Consulting Corporation and may be reached at
. DIS is a strategic partner of the NAB Show, IMAS China and Strategy Analytics and was founded in 1982.