We didn’t use DSLRs and camcorders for the Basic TV Studio Production class. Instead, we used professional equipment: Panasonic WV-F565 Color Video Cameras, Sony DXC-D35 DV Cameras, two Teleprompters, a studio monitor, overhead lights, and a dual cyclorama (there are two sets of fabric installed: blue (for chromakey) and black). We learned to use equipment similar to what would be used in an actual work environment—which was a major benefit—because applicability of lessons to the “real world” is important.
I found the cameras very easy to control, and I attribute that to my familiarity with camera movement on a smaller scale. It’s easy for me to balance the camera, adjust focus, and concentrate on my shot, despite these cameras dwarfing tiny cameras like the capable Canon EOS 5D Mark III and XA10. The Panny and Sony cameras are much larger and sit atop pedestals (not tripods), have large viewing monitors, and are calibrated by an engineer elsewhere, so all the Camera Operator has to do is listen to the Director give instructions over the Clear-Com Intercom and carry them out.
These cameras don’t require major setup. We trucked them into position, unlocked the pedestal they sat on, and removed the lens cap. The teleprompter was only connected if the talent required it for reading large amounts of dialogue.
Having a monitor on set is more than vanity or convenience—it’s an essential tool. 7D shooters can cram around a 3″ LCD, or a hot shoe mounted display; don’t try that in a TV studio, though. Use a real monitor. It allows you and the floor crew to see what’s being shot. All floor members can assemble around the monitor to check composition, levels, and other crucial details. Setup for this device was straight-forward: connect the power plug to a power source and connect a BNC cable to the appropriate port on the wall box. Easy.