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Old May 14th, 2005, 03:17 PM   #31
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In the early 70's "broadcast quality" meant it was recorded on "king quad". It's interesting to me that the term still exists. At any rate, my perception is that it's hardly a benchmark. Analog tv has played second fiddle to DVDs for some time now, and the quality of broadcast tv varies widely. The bar has been raised with HD, but the quality is still pretty inconsistent. What's a little troubling to me is that the technical issues being discussed here seem to have little to do with the final quality. Here's what I mean:

Most HDNet and DiscoveryHD stuff looks really good.

"Oscars". and "Emmys" looked good.

"The King of Queens" looks good, but that gawdawful opening is waaay too contrasty. Any HDV would look better - although maybe there's something artsy here I'm not getting.

"Joan of Arcadia" looks good until we go to the police station, then everything turns blue - again maybe the art thing?

While there are many filmed shows that look good, it seems like many are a little too contrasty, and a little too grainy - while we complain about the HD10. Some films are just downright soft. Maybe the artsy thing - I don't know.

On the other hand, did anyone see HD Net's broadcast of "The Music Man". That's from the 60's. Wow!

I vote for the demise of the term "broadcast quality". Blue lasers will make possible 1080p60. Maybe even the film folk might see a reason to increase frame rate.

While some may argue whether tv programming has advanced, there's no doubt technology has. And the future...
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Old May 25th, 2005, 10:42 PM   #32
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The term "broadcast quality" does have merit, I think.

It should be remembered that the video we receive in our homes must travel through lots of electronics after the signal is retreived from the master. Many steps along the way degrade the original signal.

Imagine a technician inserting a master at the network programming station:

Once the signal leaves the tape deck, it may travel through patch bays, switchers, audio equalizers, color correction, sharpeners, time code correctors; then another machine inserts closed-captioning into the video-blanking interval, maybe other data goes into the line-blanking interval, then signal may be amplified, digitized (many satellite feeds are digital, even if the programming originated as analog), transmitted, bounced off of a satellite, received, decompressed, converted back to analog, amplified, routed through more patch bays, composited with graphics (station logo, or "bug," time/temp, stock prices, weather alerts, etc.), run through more video processors (color, contrast, sharpen, VBI, etc.), more audio processing (compression, normalization, equalization, etc.), then transmitted on VHF/UHF to the home, or transmitted via satellite to a cable/dish provider who goes through the same process on their end.

Each little step modifies the original signal, and introduces error/noise (hopefully marginal) further destroying the beauty of the master. Adding in solar flares, radio interference (millions of sources are around us), less exacting engineers downstream, equipment malfunctions, etc., it's a miracle we get anything decent in our homes. And an all-digital pipeline experiences this problem, too, though we make it easy to change just the bits we want and not disturb the parts of the stream/signal that we shouldn't.

Since we know our signal will undergo significant degradation by the time the viewer sees it, our goal is to record our master in a much higher resolution than the end signal can actually encode. This way, we can degrade our signal but still end up with a beautiful work of art. The concept of "broadcast quality" tries to set this higher standard. If our technician started the above example with a signal equal in quality to what is literally "broadcast" into your room, the signal reaching the end-point could look just horrible. That's why some camera's and formats frowned upon by network engineers and programmers. They look great direct-to-dvd, or on your NLE, or maybe even on short-range UHF broadcasts. However, they degrade too much going through the pipeline like we looked at above.

Additionally, while networks may recognize the technical merits of un-approved formats, it is very expensive to maintain multiple workflows in their production pipeline to support them all. Camera are expensive. Decks are expensive. Scopes are expensive. Monitors are expensive. Software is expensive. Capture cards are expensive. Engineers are expensive. Training all of your production staff on using all of the other expensive stuff, in each format, is expensive. It's unreasonable to expect a network to pay for all of that. Life was simpler when everything originated on 16mm, or 35mm, or on studio cameras. I'm sure Discovery, and everyone else, would love to be able to support any and all formats (or even five, or ten). In a time of massive format proliferation, however, I think it's fair for networks--or any production/distribution company--to pick a format or two and stick with them.

Just my two cents.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 02:43 AM   #33
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C4 technical requirements

Hi everyone.

Channel 4 in the UK has an excellent producer's section on it's website. Below is a link to a very detailed tecnical requirements document in PDF format. A thorough reading may answer some of the general points raised here ...

All the best ...
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Old May 26th, 2005, 06:52 AM   #34
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When video leaves the deck, it goes directly into a media server from where it is broadcast. The major loss in the system is either the conversion to an analogue signal that can be broadcast, and the broadcast of that signal over the air, and compression to MPEG2 for digital broadcasting.

Broadcast standards are basically there for a few reasons, but to account for the losses in the production chain should not really be one of them. I can sort of see the point for MPEG2 compression where you don't want to MPEG2 compress the same video over and over, as it will crumble very rapidly, but the broadcast MPEG2 compression is so viscious on even a pristine signal you have to wonder why a broadcaster would worry whether the picture in the home is poor because of compression out of their control as well as the over-compression that they apply.

The other main use of broadcast standards is to keep the price of TV production artificially high, for obvious protectionism reasons.

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Old May 31st, 2005, 08:13 AM   #35
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If you look at JVC's website they say they are aiming this camera at broadcasting. Maybe it won't be used for Leno or CSI but I would have to think that the demand for high-def programs is going to be pretty big in the next few years and some kind of cameras will have to fill that gap. I guess it won't be only the panasonic HVX200 either.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 08:50 AM   #36
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JVC runs full page ads that aim their GY5000 at broadcast news too, but that doesn't necessarily mean TV news departments are sucking them up. A small, shoulder mount lightweight camera that runs forever on a battery and is cheap enough to be considered disposable by a TV station would, you would think, be a no-brainer. However, I don't think equipment is bought based on things like that in TVland.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 09:38 AM   #37
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I don't think they are aiming the HD-100 at news that much.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 05:11 PM   #38
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Apparently Bob, they are. They featured this camera at NAB in several configs, including one as an ENG cam tethered to a live truck which was also present in their booth. Part of their sales pitch made mention of using the camera in that capacity.

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Old May 31st, 2005, 07:44 PM   #39
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I was reading something somewhere and it was talking about other stuff. But if it will do news that is good. Those news guys need smaller cameras.
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Old August 14th, 2005, 02:38 AM   #40
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Very interesting thread!
As for Discovery (as well as broadcasters in 44 other countries)... they all broadcast our documentary "Women are..." shot on a DVX100 (first generation) for World AIDS Day 2004. Delivery was on a DigiBeta tape (with clear mention that the originating footage was shot on DV...).
Bottom line, I agree, that content is king. This said, so is the quality of composition, lighting, sound, etc. If the complete package is good enough that programming and engineering departments don't get a chance to say: "what's that?" then you are ok.
We are currently preparing two new productions - one shoots in September, the other in October. The first is for the Clinton Foundation to be shot in Africa and the other an on-location talk show with five cameras. My current thinking is to shoot in HDV on the JVCs and then downsize to SD for output to broadcasters. I would have preferred the HVX but, alas, it'll be out too late.
In closing, I have no doubt that we will get both broadcast, my only hope is that the 'package' will be good. That the sound will be good, that the JVC will not, as rumours have it, have dead pixels, etc.
I will post elsewhere, but I do want to know if the JVC can sync sound with an external recorder. Don't think so but, like I said, another thread awaits...
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Old August 14th, 2005, 07:35 AM   #41
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Let's remember although Discovery is most Docco makers main target, the forthcoming availablility of iPTV and video on demand is going to create a whole new market for shows, where crappy bandwidth and mpeg 2 streams may not be such a factor.

Over here in the UK one of our main cable carriers has just stated that their minimum broadband package is going to be 10mb from later this year. That brings HD on demand a lot nearer.

I accept none of this is going to happen in the short term, but their is a revolution coming and HDV is going to fit in nicely in my opinion.

As for Discovery not taking DVCam originated material, I know at least 3 Producers in the UK who have shot their Discovery commissions on DV!
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Old August 14th, 2005, 08:20 AM   #42
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I do too...
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