Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor


Kevin Cook “I’ve been shooting with the JVC GY-HM650 for over a year now and it’s become my go-to camera for many assignments. Being of handheld design, the camera is compact yet pro-feature rich, making it ideal for shooting conferences, newsgathering and any event where you need and all-in-one camera with professional connections and performance.

Since its launch the GY-HM650 has been an incredibly successful camera for JVC – a demonstration of which was its adoption by the BBC in 2013 when it purchased over 500 of them for newsgathering in the UK and overseas. But, as good as this camera is, there are still some applications where its handheld design makes it less than perfect. Whilst the camera is light and compact, the handheld design can be very tiring to use off-tripod for any length of time – which is true of any camera in this class.”

You can check out Kevin’s blog at

Handheld Vs Shoulder-Mount Video Cameras from Kevin Cook on Vimeo.


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

4 thoughts on “Handheld or Shouldermount by Kevin Cook

  1. in my opinion a video camera should stay on the shoulder by default, period: with a good large handle so I can put it low if I want to. This nonsense of the viewfinder in the back and hand-holding it somewhere in the air like a still camera is just that: a nonsense. There are cameras small and compact and with a solid shoulder mount , but they are from 15-20 years ago. Dunno who got the idea but it looks idiotic to me. and painful. Unbelievably stupid.

  2. I was fortunate to get hold of one of the first JVC GY-HM850 camcorders to arrive in the UK last March, having waited ages for the identically shaped 750 to be upgraded with a full HD chip – which is now in the 800 series.
    It was well worth the wait. The 850 is superb – both in handling and picture quality.
    It is a very solid and robust camcorder and excellent for run-and-gun shooting.
    You have to be careful not to zoom in fully to focus if you are closer than a meter or so.
    For safety I have have designated a button on the left hand side bottom front corner as a pre-set zoom (80)
    so it will focus accurately even if you are only a foot or so away from your subject’s face. Then pull out to frame the shot.
    I did an early review of the 850 for the Institute of Videography’s FOCUS magazine (May 2014 pages 18-21).

  3. the 850 has this clever face recognition with the option of selecting another face using the focus ring. The PXW-X70 gives the same but with a more intuitive use of the joystick. Both are fantastic for interviews in AF when you have to go back and forth from the ninterviewer to the talent’s, meaning that the designers sometimes to listen or operate cameras themselves. AFAIK no other camera gives that option (they will recognize a face but if you want another face then you must go to manual, or tap the screen which is next to impossible while working interviews).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.