Power is the lifeblood of electronics, and video cameras are no exception. The power supply you choose can have a direct bearing on the efficiency of your system. If you have a reliable power source, that’ll be one less thing to worry about in production. If you don’t have reliable power, then you’ll constantly be worrying about how long before you need to take a break, keeping everyone else waiting while your camera’s power issues are resolved. Fortunately, there are many camera power accessories that will help to keep your camera up and running.
The simplest way to power a camera is to plug directly into an outlet via an AC adaptor – that may even be supplied with the camera (especially small, handheld types). Once plugged in, you have constant power unless there’s a power outage; in which case, you’ll have more to worry about than just your camera running out of juice. But just because it’s plugged directly into an outlet doesn’t mean that you won’t need other camera power accessories. You may need extension cables to get around the studio without having to hunt for another outlet every time you change positions.
Other camera power accessories include battery power. Battery power allows for greater portability, since you’re not limited by the length of a power cord. Battery plates can also provide ancillary power options for on-board lights, compact HDD and other sources by utilizing the plate’s 2-pin D-Tap (an industry standard connection). The primary downside of battery power is that it can run out. You’ll have to watch your power carefully to make sure that it doesn’t shut down in the middle of a shot. Most professional batteries have a physical, visual indicator on the battery to show the power levels. Additionally, most of these same high-end batteries will connect to a battery plate on the back of the camera (mid-size and larger); that plate can include wiring to connect to the camera’s viewfinder and display battery power in incremental percentages. You can buy extra batteries and there are various charging kits that will allow you to charge more than one battery at a time (dual, quad and more).
Camera power accessories make it easy for you to get the power needed whenever and wherever you need it. Start with the main camera model and how much power it requires. Determine your application and accessories to build around the basic configuration. Decide on a budget. Look at the manufacturer choices and flexibility the gear offers as it pertains to your current and future needs. Given the wide range of power options and accessories available, you’re sure to find the solution you need for a variety of situations.