sony pd 150/170 video cameras

Camera Menu Items

Video cameras have menus for adjusting settings on the camera.

Before you go out on a shoot, you should check these menu and other settings to make sure everything is set correctly, especially if you're sharing the recorder with others.

After you return from a video session, you should restore any menu settings you've changed, especially if you're sharing the camera with others.

Usually you can access the menu by opening the LCD screen. On the side of the camera you'll see a button labeled Menu.

Press the Menu button and the choices then are displayed on the LCD screen.

On the Sony TRV900, PD150 and PD170, use the Sel/Push Exec dial on the back of the camera to scroll through the menu items. Press the dial to select an entry.

Here are some standard menu settings that you should check/set before shooting:

  • Record mode - set it to SP, rather than LP. LP stands for long-playing and will make a 1-hour mini-DV tape into a 2-hour tape, but you'll lose video quality (on the Sony TRV900, PD150 and PD170, select the Tape Set menu item and then select Rec Mode to set to SP or DV SP).
  • Audio mode - set it to 16 bit (or FS48K on some cameras). That's the standard for audio to stream on a Web page (on the Sony TRV900, PD150 and PD170, select the Tape Set menu item and then select Audio Mode to set to 16 bit or FS48K).
  • Mic/Audio level - set it to auto on (on the Sony TRV900, PD150 and PD170, select the Tape Set menu item. Then on the TRV900 select Mic Level to set to Auto. On the PD 150 and PD170 select Audio Set and then see the special instructions on changing from manual to automatic audio)
  • Steady shot - leave this on. This setting tries to compensate for the jiggling of a camera (on the Sony TRV900, PD150 and PD170, select the Camera Set menu item and then select Steadyshot to set to steady shot ON).

Besides the menu settings, you also should make sure you're camera is set, at least initially, to auto focus, auto exposure and auto white balance.

For other more advanced menu settings, such as using color bars to check your color balance, or "zebras" to measure lighting, consult your camera's manual (if you're going to make a career out of camera work, you should be skilled in manually setting or adjusting color bars, zebras and audio levels).

Note: You can usually reset all the menu items on a video camera to the factory default settings by using a reset button (although this will also probably erase the any changes you made to the date and time settings for the camera, such as changing to a different time zone, so you'll have to restore those if needed).

To restore the factory defaults for the camera menu items, locate the reset button on the camera and press and hold it in for several seconds.

On the Sony TRV900, PD150 and PD170, you access the reset button by opening the LCD screen. On the side of the camera, look for the tiny reset button toward the bottom.

Use a sharp instrument, such as the tip of a ball-point pen, and press and hold in the reset button for several seconds.

Then you can press the Menu button as described above to customize the menu settings, such as setting the record mode to SP and the audio mode to 16 bit.

You'll also have to re-enter any changes you made to the current date and time, as the date and time are restored to the settings made at the factory when the reset button is pushed.

To do that, press the Menu button and use the Sel/Push Exec dial on the back of the camera to scroll through the menu items to the Clock Set listing, and then change the date and time.