Using the Panasonic MiniDV Video Camera

Getting Started

Inserting battery:

One the bottom of the camera, move the Batt switch in the direction of the arrow. With the arrow on the battery pointing up, push the battery slightly against the rear battery compartment and slide the battery in, clicking it into place. (Make sure the battery is fully charged. If not, attach the battery to the charger and plug the charger into a wall outlet. When light on charger goes off, charging is complete.)

Power on:

Spin the thumbdial on back of the camera to the Red Movie Camera Icon position.

Load tape:

Note: If battery's charge is low, you may not be able to load tape. You will have to replace battery with fully charged one to continue. Power should be ON before loading or unloading tape.

On the top front of the camera, slide the Open/Eject switch forward, then open the tape caddy cover until it locks in place. The tape caddy should then rise up automatically. Do not touch internal components. Insert your tape with its window facing out. Press Push on tape caddy to close. Once it is closed, it recedes downward automatically. Wait until completely receded before closing the tape caddy cover firmly.

Aspect Ratio:

The camera is set to record a square image (4:3 aspect ratio) to playback on a normal television. If you want to record in wide screen mode (16:9 aspect ratio), change it by pushing the Menu button, selecting Basic, selecting Aspect, then 16:9.


Power On:

With the thumbdial on the Red Movie Camera Icon position, turn the power ON with the blue Off/On switch. The power light comes on and the camera enters the Record-Standby mode.

View the recording scene:

You can use either the Viewfinder or the LCD monitor to view the scene you plan to record. The Viewfinder is ready to use as is. If you want to use the LCD monitor, press the Open button on the left rear of camera and pull open the door containing the LCD monitor. It can be tilted for better viewing.

Adjust focus:

The camera has an Autofocus feature.

Start Recording:

Push the small silver and red Record button to the left of the thumbdial to begin recording. Record will display, then a red dot, while the camera is recording.


In order to zoom in and out, find the dial marked -VOL+ on top of the camera. The dial also has W and T imprinted on it. Dial towards T (telephoto) or "+" to zoom in; dial towards W (wide angle) or "-" to zoom out.

Stop recording:

To stop recording, press the small silver and red Record button. The camera goes to Pause mode.

Playback of video

The tape must be in tape holder.


Spin the thumbdial (with center red button) on back of the camera to the Green Arrow Icon position. Use the thumbdial to control playback: Play, pause, rewind, fast-forward. To adjust speaker volume, use the Zoom dial (- VOL +) on top right of camera.

Finishing up

Eject your tape. Turn camera power off.

Remove the battery by tilting the Viewfinder upward. Press the Batt button on bottom of the camera and hold it while sliding the battery down and out of the compartment.

Return camera, battery and charger to carrying case.

Editing your video:

The Center for Innovative Pedagogy on the first floor of the Olin Library has video editing resources available to edit your tape. Contact the staff for assistance in using the equipment.

Getting help:

There is a Users Manual in the carrying case for instructions on more advanced features and troubeshooting hints.