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Review: BirdDog PF120 Box Camera

Anthony Burokas of Stream4us looks at the hardware and software features of the BirdDog PF120 20X Zoom box camera--with special attention to BirdDog's new Colour Matrix panel--in a video review filmed (partly) using the camera.

Figure 7 (below) shows Exposure settings. I have it set to manual exposure because I have a very dark background and I have a very white shirt, and that was just wreaking havoc with it as I moved. So I locked it down, which you can do, and you can manually dial it here. If you were to slide the Iris over to F8,0, the image would get a lot darker, and if you slide it back to F4.0, it would get a lot brighter. You can adjust the gain, which I have set to 2dB. You can also see in Figure 6 that I've set a shutter speed of 1/60, and I have Exposure Compensation off. Generally, I don't like to use exposure compensation. It tends to make some faces look kind of pasty, if not like a real cinema camera.

Figure 7. Exposure settings

Figure 8 (below) shows White Balance settings. I have it set to manual white balance. I use a handy-dandy white card, which I put it up in front of the camera to set your white balance.

Figure 8. White Balance settings

Figure 9 (below) shows Picture Settings. Here you adjust your sharpness, along with various effects such as saturation, hue, and gamma, as well as noise reduction. You can also flip and mirror your image. This is helpful if you're going to mount the F120 upside down, because you can fix it right here in your Picture Settings. You can also set Wide Dynamic Range, but this is another thing I generally do not use.

Figure 9. Picture settings

With the recent software update for BirdDog cameras, you have really incredible color painting and matching capability in the Colour Matrix panel shown in Figure 10 (below). You can tweak magenta, red, yellow, green, cyan, and blue. You can adjust both the gain and the hue of each of those colors to help you target the look you want.

Figure 10. The Colour Matrix panel

If you put a Macbeth color chart in front of you for two different cameras, with these settings, you can move those little dots so they overlap and the two cameras can match closer and more accurately than you can just by trying to eyeball it. This is especially important in live, where you can't fix it in post.

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