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0 dBu tone into Vid cams


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I have a Sound Devices 302. When I plug into the video camera via my umbilical I send tone and adjust the level using Line input and Manual on the camera. I reset my 302 to defaults to be sure. Now I have worked with a few Video cams and many you cant actually get a detailed dB level view, just red bars  of danger at the end. On most modern video cameras even if the level on the camera is on 10 (max) my tone does not reach the red, I can get it maybe 3/4 of the way. On a Panasonic HPX370 winding the levels on the camera past 8 gives me no more signal. Am i understanding it all wrong? I guess it gives me extra headroom for when i fall asleep which is not a bad thing. If Im sending a line signal to the camera will I introduce more noise by cranking the cameras input levels up all the way?

Ive not had clipping issues and no one has whined that my signal is not hot enough, I was just wondering? 

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You may also be fighting against the limiters of the camera itself, so would explain why it is hard to clip.  Best practice is to calibrate to -20dbfs as Eric says, but if your not sure, just yell into your mic as loud as you can in a tourette's style "b*ch#! #ass$#$ m*%th$#F*%^ker - why did you leave me!" making sure that the levels barely clip or modulate 90% or something, and then huddle into a ball in the corner and rock yourself to a calm state until camera is ready to roll.

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1 hour ago, TommygunZA said:

Thank you gents. Just the other bit..running at line level I wont be introducing any more gain staging? noise by opening camera levels up to full? Of course, I almost never have AGC set on the camera. 

On every pro broadcast style camera that I've worked with, I feel the pots are just attenuators and having them maxed out is fine, in fact your best case noise scenario assuming your output on the mixer or wireless receiver is hot enough.  Some Panasonic cameras have a menu setting that introduces a PAD into the chain (AJ-HDX900 for example).  With some cameras when using wireless receivers, you just have to give up on going line level and switch to mic level, attenuating the output of the wireless receiver enough to allow proper mic level (-20db is my goto on a Lectro SR).

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