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Pilentum Television's Video Equipment

Many viewers and friends of Pilentum Television often ask what video equipment is used to produce high quality model train videos. Therefore, Markus Lenz, the author of Pilentum Television, has written this webpage where you can see many photos of which cameras are in regular use. Apart from the cameras, lighting or additional video light is a necessary element of any video production. Finally video editing is the most important task. Although the market offers many video editing programs, only a few systems are suitable to realize a high quality video bitrate and detailed colour correction. For some years, Pilentum’s videos have also included music, therefore it is also described which instruments are used to create the film music.


Table of contents

DJI Osmo Pocket Camera

Camera Dolly by Jens Krogsgaard

Panasonic AG HVX 200

Yongnuo YN300 LED Video Light

Raynox Telephoto Lens

Roland EXR-7s Keyboard

Panasonic HC-V180

Panasonic HDC-SD 600

Pedco Clamps & Mounts

YI 4K Plus Action Camera

JVC Adixxion GC XA 2

Runcam 5 Camera


DJI Osmo Pocket Camera

The DJI OSMO Pocket Camera has a three-axis stabilized gimbal that ensures your video footage is smooth and appears professional even when you are operating without the help of a tripod. This tiny handheld camera uses a 1/2.3 inch sensor and shoots video in 4K with 50 fps (PAL) and/or 60 fps (NTSC). The camera seems to have been built for rail transport modeling.

You can install the camera only a few millimeters above the rails. It is a real worm’s eye view. Pilentum Television has never been able to shoot such video recordings before. Most people shoot model railroad layouts from a bird’s eye view. But this is unnatural in relation to the scale. Furthermore, the video footage is perfectly stabilized. The camera works in HO scale (1/87) and even in N scale (1/160). The small size of the DJI OSMO Pocket Camera is a big advantage!

DJI OSMO Pocket Camera for Making Videos of Model Railway and Model Railroad Layouts

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Camera Dolly by Jens Krogsgaard

Jens Krogsgaard is a model railroader and model railway designer from Denmark. Inspired by the cab ride videos that are often seen at Pilentum Television, Jens decided to construct his own camera dolly. He uses the “Polaroid cube camera” for video recording. Since this camera is no longer manufactured, Pilentum Television recommends the use of the new “RunCam 5 Orange 4K camera”. Both the old and the new “Runcam” are cube cameras, which are characterised by very small dimensions in width, height and length.

Jens' camera dolly not only records photos and videos, but it can also be panned while driving. Therefore, Jens designed a Blynk application for iOS and Android smartphones and tablet PC. This is the easiest way to build own mobile applications that work with the hardware installed on the camera dolly. Jens has written a detailed construction manual in English, which explains all the individual construction steps (PDF document). His camera car is an absolutely ingenious invention, which is suitable for model railroad layouts in HO scale and model railways layouts in N gauge.

Construction Manual
PDF Document

Camera Dolly for Model Railways and Model Railroads by Jens Krogsgaard

Please also visit Jens' websites. On www.krogsgaardsmodelbane.dk Jens describes his own model railway layout, and on www.modeltog-guide.dk Jens has created a blog for Danish model railroaders.

www.krogsgaardsmodelbane.dk

www.modeltog-guide.dk

RunCam 5 Orange Camera for Model Railways and Model Railroads

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Panasonic AG HVX 200

The Panasonic AG - HVX 200 is a fixed-lens hybrid camcorder. Pilentum Television bought this camera in July 2006. The camcorder allows file-based recording onto P2 cards. The imaging section employs a 3 CCD system with 1/3 inch sensors. The camcorder is capable of recording in several standard-definition and high-definition video formats. The image is always scanned progressively at 1920 × 1080 resolution, then is downsized to target frame size, for example DVCPRO HD 720p (50 fps, 1280 × 720) or DVCPRO HD 1080p (25 fps, 1920 x 1080). In 720p mode the camcorder offers variable shooting rates for overcranking or undercranking (“Slow Motion”).

The HVX 200 camera does record 50 frames per second in HD mode (1280 x 720), but only 25 frames per second in Full HD mode (1920 x 1080). Nevertheless, this camcorder is popular with professional film and television companies. The BBC used the HVX to shoot all their coverage of the 2006 and 2010 Olympics, the Fox Television Network is using P2 exclusively at all stations. The camera is now 14 years old! But the HVX 200 delivers one of the best television pictures you have ever seen.

Using the Panasonic HVX 200 with external video monitor for making videos of model railways

Pilentum Television uses the Panasonic HVX 200 camera for making videos of model railroads

Inside Pilentum’s video studio: Filming model trains

Inside Pilentum’s video studio: Using an O scale freight car as camera slider

Self-made camera slider (O scale locomotive and Panasonic HVX 200 on a freight car)

Inside Pilentum’s video studio: Passing the locomotive depot inside a miniature world in HO scale

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Yongnuo YN300 LED Video Light

Lighting is one of the key factors involved in effective videography. Lighting is important in video production because cameras do not respond to lights in the same way that the human eye does. The detail and lighting contrasts a human eye can see are incredibly developed, but cameras cannot process this as well. Additional lighting is necessary to make the definition of a video’s definition of a comparable quality to what the human eye sees naturally.

Because it is often impossible in miniature worlds to use large spotlights as additional light, Pilentum Television likes to use small LED panels. Yongnuo's LEDs have become the perfect accessory for model train shows and model railway exhibitions. The Yongnuo YN300 LED Video Light is equipped with 150 pieces of 5500K and 150 pieces of 3200K high quality lamps. It supports a lot of compatible batteries. The LED video light does contain a hot shoe adaptor to use it on any camera.

Pilentum Television uses the Yongnuo YN300 LED Video Light for making model railway videos

Pilentum Television uses the Yongnuo YN300 LED Video Light for making model railroad videos

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Raynox Telephoto Lens

Sometimes situations arise during video production where the focal length of the lens is too short. With video cameras, the zoom function helps, but mostly an electronic zoom is used instead of an optical zoom. With digital photo cameras, the only thing that helps is a different lens that allows a longer focal length. For both digital photo cameras and video cameras, the converter lenses made by the Japanese company Raynox are a great help to enlarge the optical zoom.

These teleconverter lenses can be used to increases the focal length. They can be connected to the camera lens with a screw thread of 43, 52, 55, 58 and 62 mm. Pilentum Television uses the model DCR 2025 PRO high definition telephoto lens which is made of high index optical glass elements. There will be no reduction of light value when this conversion lens is attached on the camera lens. Today, many videos are shot with smartphones. Raynox also offers high-quality lenses for this purpose. These conversion lenses can be easily adapted to cell phones.

For both digital photo cameras and video cameras, the converter lenses made by the Japanese company Raynox are a great help to enlarge the optical zoom

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Roland EXR-7s Keyboard

Although there is an audio library on YouTube and other royalty-free music portals, Markus Lenz uses only his own music in Pilentum Television’s videos. Since Markus masters some chords, melodies and harmonies on the piano, Pilentum Television’s movies have been accompanied by music for several years now. For the music production a keyboard more than twelve years old is used, namely the Roland EXR-7s. The EXR-7s is a 76-key professional music arranger and provides 510 high quality instrument sounds, 20 drum kits and an amazingly realistic stereo piano sound. The EXR-7s features also 164 music styles and a real-time style re-orchestration. With the built-in USB port gives the possibility to interface with various computer software programs, for example Steinberg’s Cubase.

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Panasonic HC-V180

When Pilentum Television visited the great model railway exhibition “Warley Show” in Birmingham in 2018, only one video camera was not enough to capture all layouts. A second camera was necessary. Therefore, Markus Lenz spontaneously bought the cheapest video camera on the market, which can record at least in 1920 x 1080 pixel with 50 frames per second. This is the Panasonic HC-V180 camcorder.

Basically, the Panasonic HC-V180 does not provide broadcast quality. The camera generates a good, not overwhelming image quality. But in relation to the price of about 150 Euros it is a very good amateur camera, which is very suitable for YouTube videos. The camcorder is equipped with a 1/5.8 BSI MOS sensor. If you are using additional video lights the camera captures brilliant images in dim lighting conditions. The camera uses a 28mm wide angle lens, 90x intelligent and 50x optical zoom.

Beginners can film carefree, because the Level Shot function automatically detects and corrects the tilting of images. Furthermore, the HYBRID Optical Image Stabilization uses five-axis correction to suppress blurring caused by unwanted shake. This lets you capture crisp, clear images in every shooting situation. The Panasonic HC-V180 records videos on SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards in AVCHD or MP4 in 1920 x 1080 pixel and uses a video bitrate of 28 Mbps (VBR). It is the cheapest, smallest camcorder Panasonic currently offers in its product line. You cannot expect a professional television camera for this price. The camera is built so small that it can be used on miniature worlds in HO scale or even in N scale.

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Panasonic HDC-SD 600

Sometimes a large television camera is not suitable in special shooting situations and locations. So Markus Lenz was looking for a small, compact camcorder. He bought one of Panasonic’s finest consumer high definition camcorders, namely the Panasonic HDC-SD 600. The camera is working in 1080p progressive recording mode by using a proprietary variation of the AVCHD format. The camera does record 50 frames per second in Full HD mode (1920 x 1080). Pixel shifting is not used. The focal length is from 3.45 mm to 41.4 mm and the fixed lens is relatively sensitive to light.

The Panasonic model HDC-SD 600, but also the models HDC-HS 700, HDC-TM 700 and HDC-SD 700, make recordings to SD, SD-HC or SD-XC FLASH memory cards. Because the Panasonic HDC-SD 600 belongs to the consumer camcorder sector, there is no electronic viewfinder, no microphone or earphone connectors, no accessory shoe and no manual zoom or focusing ring. Furthermore, the camera is equipped with a 1/4.1 inch image sensor only. At that time, Panasonic switched from CCD to CMOS technology, so the HDC-SD 600 uses a 3-sensor setup, which is called “3MOS”. Pilentum Television regularly uses two cameras of this type. More than 200 video productions have been made with the Panasonic HDC-SD 600 camera.

Panasonic HDC-SD 600 camera positioned directly on the model railway layout

Pilentum Television likes to use the Panasonic HDC-SD 600 camcorder when there is very little space available on model railway layouts

Using the Panasonic HDC-SD 600 camera for making cab ride videos on model railway layouts in O scale and 1 gauge

Using the Panasonic HDC-SD 600 camera for making cab ride videos on model railroad layouts in O scale and 1 gauge

The Panasonic camcorder is so light that it can easily be installed on model buildings to make perfect video recordings of model trains

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Pedco Clamps & Mounts

An essential accessory for video productions of garden railways and backyard railroads is a clamp tripod. Pilentum Television uses the “Pedco UltraClamp” that allows a camera to be solidly attached to any other object. This tripod is strong enough to support most cameras and camcorders. The UltraClamp attaches to round or flat objects up to 3.8 cm thick. The clamp tripod fits any device with a 1/4 tripod socket.

To install a camera at sensational positions on a model steam locomotive, the clamp tripod from Pedco is perfectly designed

Pedco UltraClamp recommended by Pilentum Television

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YI 4K Plus Action Camera

A conventional action camera can also be used to film model trains. Of course the YI 4K Plus Action Camera is only useful for large scales, for example, O scale or 1 gauge. But the YI 4K Plus Action Camera can also be used in miniature worlds built in HO scale if no oncoming traffic is expected on the railroad tracks. While the old GoPro cameras were sold without a display, the YI 4K Plus Action Camera already had a built-in display. In addition, the YI 4K Plus Action Camera has a very flat design and can be used for panoramic shots - not in the direction of travel but crosswise to the direction of travel.

Using the YI 4K Plus Action Camera for cab ride and model train videos

Capture railway traffic and trains in action with the YI 4K Plus Action Camera

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JVC Adixxion GC XA 2

A special camera that is used very often in Pilentum Television's videos is the JVC Adixxion GC-XA2. This action camera, optimized with a macro lens, is often used for making cab ride videos in HO scale. When JVC started its first attempt to discover the market for action cameras, the model “Adixxion GC-XA1” has been produced. The first model (“Type XA 1”) has delivered a poor image quality and is not recommended! But the video quality of the second model (“Type XA 2”) is overall excellent

The JVC Adixxion GC-XA2 is a small action cam using full-size SD-HC and SD-XC memory cards. The camera has a removable, rechargeable battery. With an 8-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor, the JVC Adixxion GC-XA2 can record in Full HD mode (1920 x 1080) at 50 frames per second. Furthermore, a gyro sensor has been added to improve the camera’s digital image stabilization.

A special camera that is used very often in Pilentum Television's videos is the JVC Adixxion GC-XA2

JVC Adixxion GC-XA2, optimized with a macro lens, is often used for making cab ride videos in HO scale

Model railroading and the JVC Adixxion GC-XA2

Railway modelling and the JVC Adixxion GC-XA2

Rail transport modeling and the JVC Adixxion GC-XA2

How to film model trains: Using the JVC Adixxion GC-XA2 camera

How to make cab ride videos of miniature worlds and scale models: Pilentum Television uses the JVC Adixxion GC-XA2 camera

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Runcam 5 Camera

While the JVC Adixxion GC-XA2 is very well usable for filming in HO scale or OO gauge, the camera is too big for smaller scales, for example, N scale. Therefore, Markus Lenz uses the camera “RunCam 5”, a superb cube camera (dimension: 38 x 38 x 36 mm or 1.49 x 1.49 x 1.42 inches). At Pilentum Television, this camera is mainly used to film cab rides on miniature cars, for example, on the “Faller Road System”. Originally, the camera was developed for RC flying, especially for drones (video piloting).

The camera is equipped with a SONY IMX 377 image sensor and records video files in 4K@30fps, 2.7K@50fps, 1080P@120fps, 1080P@60fps and 1440P@60fps. Unfortunately the “RunCam 5” has no image stabilizer. Only the successor model, the “RunCam 5 Orange”, is equipped with an electronic image stabilizer system.

Pilentum Television uses the camera RunCam 5, a superb cube camera, for making cab ride and model train videos

Using the Runcam 5 for scale models and miniature cars

Model railroading and the Runcam 5 camera

Railway modelling and the Runcam 5 camera

At Pilentum Television, the Runcam 5 camera is mainly used to film cab rides on miniature cars, for example, on the Faller Road System

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