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Old January 25th, 2012, 04:56 AM   #1
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"Broadcast Quality" in the digital era?


Trying to keep this question simple...

There have always been high end, professional video cameras, which are used to record television shows etc, and then consumer video cameras, used for home videos...

The term "broadcast quality" presumably was the definition between the two...

However these days, with prosumer cameras capable of recording a full HD image, even 3CCD cameras, does the term now hold any weight?

More specifically... if I buy a high end prosumer video camera, is there any reason I couldn't use it to shoot TVCs (for "rural" television in particular, ie non metro centres) and for community television (ie C31 here in Australia)


Travis Wheaton
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Old January 25th, 2012, 05:19 AM   #2
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Re: "Broadcast Quality" in the digital era?

Any video can make it to broadcast if it captures a scene that is unusual. For instance, a cell phone could be broadcast if it captures someone famous running nude through town ( like Angelina Jolie woo hoo !!). For local news broadcast a certain quality is expected and getting that video to them requires a camera connection capable of interfacing with their equipment ( HDSDI, firewire, USB etc.) and to shoot news consistently and look professional a serious camera is helpful, it may be that a 5000 to 8000 dollar camera can do that or a 2000 to 3000 can do that, depends on the local broadcaster and what they will except. The big reason for buying a better camera is that they have more capabilities. If you shoot at night you will need a camera good at low light. If you shoot a meeting in a room you need wide angle. If you shoot a possible explosion you need a long lens or good life insurance. Better cameras have better sound and more options for getting off cameras microphones into the video, such as a decent camera will have XLR inputs. You could put a lapel microphone on someone and plug the reciever into the camera, although a cheaper handycam captures HD video nice during the day it has limitations. As far as 3ccd cameras being useful it is all up to who gets the video. Some stations are still using SD and not HD. Some of my local stations have 720p and some have 1080i. A call to your intended broadcaster would be the best thing, No offense as I do not know you, but if you are just starting in the video business I would caution you to learn before making the call so you can have an intelligent conversation.

Selling documentaries to someone like The Discovery channel requires a lot. Camera requirements are expected and certain audio and video levels are mandated and required. That's not to say that a terrific piece would not be picked up by a broadcaster but the average unknown producer would be well advised to do their homework in hopes of ever getting a big project sold. Getting it technically correct with all the requirements and submission policies involved and using excepted cameras would be a must.

As for actual cameras in use in the U.S. for news and local video, a few are

All the big pro shoulder mount 12000 dollar + cameras
Sony PMW EX3 or EX1
JVC 100 200 250 and 700 series
Canon XF 300 series
Sony Z1 series
Panasonic AG series
and many others as well

Smaller ( but capable ) cameras are being used more everyday.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 05:30 AM   #3
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Re: "Broadcast Quality" in the digital era?

Here in the US, the station defines the formats and specs of what it accepts. Local cable TV has lower requirements than say National Geographic. So you would do well to contact a couple of those local TV channels and ask.

To your point, if memory serves, one of the key differentiators of "Broadcast Quality" in the analog days was lines of resolution.
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Old January 25th, 2012, 09:17 AM   #4
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Re: "Broadcast Quality" in the digital era?

The above explanations sums it up pretty well, "broadcast quality" is literally what your broadcaster desires. To add - just because an inexpensive camcorder can do HD, it doesn't mean the footage will look or process like the same footage from a more expensive camera that records 4:2:2 color, has a 50+mbps data rate, has a larger sensor, etc.
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