Among the many innovative design features of the Canon XF305 is its folding four-inch LCD panel, which can be positioned on either the left or the right of the camcorder for flexibility in tight shooting situations. The panel is rotatable and can be angled 35 degrees further toward the front for when a cameraperson is unable to be positioned directly behind the camcorder.
“That LCD allowed us to get into really cramped ‘yoga positions’ and still see the image, which was a big benefit,” Lange stated. “One other thing: normally, in dusty, difficult situations the LCD is the first thing to fail, but we had no problems with the Canon LCDs, and that was another huge benefit.”
“As for the audio on this camcorder, it’s fantastic,” Lange added. The XF305 includes a built-in stereo microphone and two XLR audio inputs with +48V phantom power. Internal and external mics can be used simultaneously.
“We ran a two-mic setup through one XLR and in the other XLR input we ran a shotgun mic, which is common in reality TV because these mics have great range and are directional. In situations where two of the subjects being shot weren’t miked, the camera operator would use the XF305’s on-board mic, and it was perfect. It did the job when everything else failed.”
Lange and his crew used a total of 12 Canon XF305 professional HD camcorders (ten for shooting and two for back-ups) to capture the Coal series. “The build quality and burliness of the XF305 is very rugged,” he observed. “Coal dust was everywhere in the mine, and it got into everything, but we had no problems with these cameras. The Canon HD camcorders became the least of our worries, and that let us concentrate on the safety of our shooters.”