On Thursday I got a call asking me if I could film an event on Friday. This was perfect timing because I had everything I needed whereas 1 month ago I would have had to borrow a camera. So Friday came and I packed up my camera and tripod then drove to the hotel where the event was held. The journey took me through the Peak District and the scenery was amazing. My sat nav got me there no problem and my contact there then briefed me about what they wanted. The event started at 7:00PM I got a lot of footage of guests arriving and mingling. They then entered the hall and sat down at their tables so I filmed a lot of this as well. The theme was Mardi Gras complete with Samba Girls and a band. My goal was to get a lot of footage and I filled up half of a 32 gig card (About 100 minutes).
I was using my recently purchased Panasonic HMC-151 video camera. I was a bit apprehensive about the quality of footage because cameras in this price range struggle with low light. You can't really judge how much visual noise there is in footage on the small LCD screen. I was filming at maximum quality (1080/50i) with 1/50 shutter speed and I decided to leave the Iris and Focus on auto. I didn't dare use gain because this would have introduced visual noise for certain. I just hit record and hoped for the best. They only wanted visuals so I didn't have to worry about sound at all. I kept bringing up the waveform monitor to check exposure and inevitably parts of the image were underexposed but most of the light was being directed to the stage which was the priority anyway. I had zebra stripes activated as well so I could check for overexposure. Certain parts were overexposed (such as light sources and white shirts) but overall I maintained correct exposure.
I got home at about 1:30 in the morning and connected the camera up to my plasma TV to check through the footage. It was a lot better than I expected and I breathed a sigh of relief. Couldn't see any visual noise but this TV does have pretty good noise reduction. I then transferred the footage to my laptop and played it back on there. The footage still looked great and there was visual noise but only in dark underexposed areas. Overall, I was content with what I had shot and packed everything up so I could finally get some much needed sleep. I'm so glad I bought this camera now and that night was the first time I used it properly. It definitely passed the test and I'm sure I'll still be using it in a few years time.