A video camera that turns back time

Phonse Jessome, CBCMissed it! It’s an awful feeling. You’ve been waiting and waiting for a specific shot for a story and when it finally happens, you hit record just a wee bit too late. Maybe you’ve captured some of what you need, but it’s going to be hard to edit. If only you could turn back time.

But wait, maybe you can. CBC videojournalist Phonse Jessome shared this tip on his blog. His new Sony XDCAM has a cache mode that records continually but only saves the last few seconds of video before the record button is pushed. The number of seconds is variable up to 15; Jessome has his set at six.

Here’s an example of how it works. Jessome needed a shot of a motorcycle in traffic. Rather than roll on everything that passed by, he waits.

In this case when the bike rolls into the frame I hit record. The camera then adds video to the past six seconds it has already saved. So when I get back to the station I have the option of backing the shot up to the point where the bike enters the picture just before I actually hit record.

Why not leave the camera in cache mode all the time? “It burns more power and battery life is critical out here,” Jessome says. But in some situations, “cache is a game changer.”

Maybe you’ve known about and used this trick for ages, but I hadn’t seen it before. And I wanted to give Jessome a shout-out anyway for documenting what he does in the field and sharing what he learns along the way. He’s a daily news reporter based in Nova Scotia who shoots his own stuff and files for radio and the website, too, so it’s not like he has a ton of “spare time.”

Jessome’s From the Field Live blog has tips on everything from coping with changing light conditions to shooting when the wind chill is minus 20.

When you shoot in that kind of cold the tendency is to rush the shots to get back in the truck. In a word, don’t. You still need the same volume of quality material in an edit suite.

Jessome’s been sharing stories from the road since last November as part of his network’s effort to enhance its web presence. Worth the effort? From my perspective, absolutely.

Originally published at NewsLab


1 comment for “A video camera that turns back time

  1. May 9, 2013 at 2:25 pm


    I used a Ikegami camera ten years ago, where you could do an internal buffer while writing to disk. I think max 15 minutes was the buffer limits.

    I used it to shoot football, and had 30 sec buffer. I started the recording when someone scored or a situation.

    Why this is not incorperated to modern day cameras, is strange.

    But cool that sony has this. Good article!

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