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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old January 19th, 2011, 01:21 PM   #1
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Suggest a Camera for Broadcast Use

1) Which cameras at the range of $10,000 - $15,000 are highly recommended for broadcast use?
2) If we were to use a camera for broadcast purpose, do we have to employ fiber optic system to achieve the correct result, or HD-SDI would be enough to do the job?
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Old January 19th, 2011, 03:42 PM   #2
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I think that mostly depends on the kind of work you do. Also it can be an issue which workflow your main clients are on and if there is any need to deliver raw meterial and on which media-format that should be. For examle: if all your clients use XDCAM professional disc and you need to be able to deliver discs on a frequent base it makes no sence buying a Panasonic P2 cam. Tell us a little more about the work you do, how you wish to deliver your footage and which formfactor you like (handheld/shouldermount). Than we might be able to give a more helpful advise.

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Old January 20th, 2011, 03:49 AM   #3
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To be honest with you, I am not professional person in this field of technology and I have never ever been to TV broadcast studios in my life. It is only a matter of general knowledge related to Multimedia and broadcast technology which I have acquired them from internet and web browsing.
In fact, I am looking for a studio that is not on equivalent to TV broadcast stations and not at their scope of performance. This studio will only be used locally to broadcast some events which take place in our Grand Mosque around 14 buildings only and the video signals will be transmitted via cables, where each building will be provided with an LCD or a projector for display purpose.
I would basically choose XDCAM system and use shoulder-mount cameras for event shots. Moreover, we might be using raw formats in some instances and the delivery on disc would be a nice choice.
Finally, which camera do you suggest?
Please take into consideration that cost is a big issue for us. Do you advice to for XDCAM system in this case or are there any alternatives cheaper than XDCAM.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 07:25 AM   #4
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You've still got it a little confused. The kit at the Mosque is the key. It may use (if it's modern) SDO or HD-SDI cabling, or it could be a little older and still be composite or component analogue. They may record to all kinds of devices and accept pictures in and out on wildy different systems.

If you can find out what these are - or maybe just tell us what equipment you see - we can suggest something. Broadcast used to be a useful term - but now it really doesn't mean very much - broadcast can be ultra high quality or much, much lower. More info needed really to give good answers - especially if we are spending your money!
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Old January 20th, 2011, 08:32 AM   #5
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Haitham, what you are describing seems to be an in-house, closed system. In this case you can choose any format/system you want.

1) Does the broadcasting need to be live or can it be edited and broadcast/put on Blu-ray/DVD at a later time?

2) Are any or all of the playback devices in High Definition?

3) 720p or 1080p? Do you have a need for one specific resolution?

4) How important is shoulder mount?

5) How important is shallow depth of field/soft backgrounds?

6) How long will you need to record at one time? 20 min, 1 hour, 2 hours...

We can help you out with more information.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 12:33 PM   #6
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Dear Paul R Johnson,
The equipments which are used in the Mosque are extremely traditional and don't be amazed if I tell you that sometimes home-use consumer cameras are also used for broadcast! However, we have started using HDV Sony HVR-Z7P with component cables connected to them for broadcast purposes. In addition, switchers which are employed are analogue and very much old. We are planning to kick out all the existing equipments and replace them completely with the latest technology that support Full HD at a reasonable budget. Is it worth to select XDCAM system for such an internal broadcast that does not exceed 14 buildings only?

Tim Polster
1) Yes, the broadcast is going to be live and also adding some promotional videoclips and flashes in between. The broadcast material is completely recorded and then saved, later, in storage mediums such as hard drives and DVDs.
2) The existing equipments are all traditional and I wonder if they hardly can support SD. However, we are planning for Full HD equipments.
3) We want the broadcast to be in Full HD 1080p.
4) Shoulder mount will be very useful in some circumstances specially when the Mosque is too crowded and there is no enough room to unpack a tripod. In such a case, we may also use wireless transmitter like Teradek Cube to transmit the video from the camera to the studio and get rid of annoying cables.
5) DOF is not a necessary matter to us. Cameras will switch between audiences' scene and speaker's view who is always sitting very close to the wall. No any soft BGs are used except some banners in big occasions
6) The broadcast and recording will not run longer than 2-3 hrs.

After all these descriptions, what systems, in addition to XDCAM, can you suggest and rank them according to their prices?
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Old January 20th, 2011, 12:55 PM   #7
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At first thought I would say the Sony PMW-320. $12,000 U.S. including lens.

Or if you wanted to go Panasonic the HPX-370. Or JVC with the GY-HM700.

All of these are shoulder mount and are under $15,000. The Sony has 1/2" chips, the others have 1/3" chips.

To some extent all will do a fine job for what you are doing. You are really buying a system with regards to memory and workflow.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 03:50 PM   #8
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The term "broadcast" now often has far more meaning in relation to what facilities a camera offers than absolute quality. That's especially true for live work, when facilities like talkback, cue lights, reverse monitoring, genlock etc may be seen as the norm. Nowadays, I'd include the ability to give an HD-SDI output as high on the list of essentials, which is why I would say such as the Z7 you mention is not a good choice. You can pay not that much more than the Z7, and get a substantial advantage.

If you can afford it, I'll go along with what Tim says and (for your price band) the PMW320 is probably the best option. Why that over the HPX370? The PMW320 offers options for expansion that the Panasonic does not, in relation to adding remote control and CCU facilities. You may prefer for cost reasons to start off at a basic level with just an HD-SDI feed to the mixer, but at least the option is there to add more flexibility later. The 320 is also better in low light than the HPX370 - I don't know how relevant that may be to you?

Beware about radio linking cameras - they tend to have an inevitable delay, and that's fine if all the cameras are on radio, but a big problem for a mixture of cable and radio cameras. That may also give audio sync issues as well.

If the PMW320 is just too expensive for you, I'd then say the EX3 is about the minimum you can get away with in terms of cost - whilst still keeping such as a genlock option and HD-SDI. It may also work well to have a mixture of such as EX3s and PMW320s, say with the EX3s for locked off shots, the PMW320 for the main shots.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 01:50 PM   #9
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Consider the Canon XF300 and XF305. They have a 50mbps, 4:2:2 codec, which is great for broadcast use. The Sony XDCAM EX codecs only go to 35mbps, 4:2:0, unless you use an external recorder. Some broadcasters do not consider that sufficient.
The Canons have been fully approved for full HD acquisition by the BBC, and that's saying a lot. They have very sharp and clean video. The XF305 has all the professional jacks, including HD/SDI, HDMI, Timecode in/out and genlock. Plus, they're under $7,500.
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