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Old March 5th, 2006, 02:34 PM   #1
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First prosumer camera sighting used on network TV?

The first prosumer camera that I saw being used on network TV was a Canon L1 Hi8 camcorder. It was used on ABC's Primetime Live back in 1994 for undercover work for their stories because it blended in without being so obvious. It was then that I got excited about the possibility of these newer cameras being accepted as good enough for TV! When was your first sighting of a prosumer camera used on a network show?
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Old March 8th, 2006, 08:47 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by James Emory
The first prosumer camera that I saw being used on network TV was a Canon L1 Hi8 camcorder. It was used on ABC's Primetime Live back in 1994 for undercover work for their stories because it blended in without being so obvious. It was then that I got excited about the possibility of these newer cameras being accepted as good enough for TV! When was your first sighting of a prosumer camera used on a network show?
Well, I've had a Canon L1 for 13 years and I can't say it'd be the best for going undercover. Its smaller A-1 brother would have been better and I saw several of those on NASA Shuttle flights. The L-1 weighs only about 6 lbs. when loaded, but that light-colored lens sticks out a mile and in those days caught a lot of attention. When I first started shooting with it at track meets, the broadcast crews were fascinated by it and wanted to handle and play around with it. I even gave them several shots of record performances they'd missed. They tucked them into their footage, just assuming they'd be high-quality. I suppose after color-correcting the images and running them through a TBC, they were passable. I'm sure they thought it was a more substantial camcorder than I did, after I'd experienced its mediocre picture quality and faded colors. What a great model that could have been, in its time and category, if Canon had let the original prototype be produced, instead of the dumbed-down thing they sold. The upgraded L-2 prototype had a 700,000-pixel CCD, with advanced color filters, digital audio, a TBC and numerous other groundbreaking features, but all these got trashed by the bean-counters in the budget office. The highly-anticipated L-2 that was delivered, was not one whit better than the L-1 and had only a couple of added editing features and $1,000. more tacked onto its price. It was the most highly-touted camcorder ever, before it was ever sold. Its almost magical reputation preceeded, but did not follow it. My little Sony TR700 of '94, in spite of having consumerized and mostly automated controls, was twice the camera in video quality.
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Old March 10th, 2006, 01:21 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by J. Stephen McDonald
Well, I've had a Canon L1 for 13 years and I can't say it'd be the best for going undercover. Its smaller A-1 brother would have been better and I saw several of those on NASA Shuttle flights. The L-1 weighs only about 6 lbs. when loaded, but that light-colored lens sticks out a mile and in those days caught a lot of attention. When I first started shooting with it at track meets, the broadcast crews were fascinated by it and wanted to handle and play around with it. I even gave them several shots of record performances they'd missed. They tucked them into their footage, just assuming they'd be high-quality. I suppose after color-correcting the images and running them through a TBC, they were passable. I'm sure they thought it was a more substantial camcorder than I did, after I'd experienced its mediocre picture quality and faded colors. What a great model that could have been, in its time and category, if Canon had let the original prototype be produced, instead of the dumbed-down thing they sold. The upgraded L-2 prototype had a 700,000-pixel CCD, with advanced color filters, digital audio, a TBC and numerous other groundbreaking features, but all these got trashed by the bean-counters in the budget office. The highly-anticipated L-2 that was delivered, was not one whit better than the L-1 and had only a couple of added editing features and $1,000. more tacked onto its price. It was the most highly-touted camcorder ever, before it was ever sold. Its almost magical reputation preceeded, but did not follow it. My little Sony TR700 of '94, in spite of having consumerized and mostly automated controls, was twice the camera in video quality.
The L2 had a LANC and timecode. I think that was the only thing. I was ecstatic that I found one at a pawnshop once and was about to throwdown some money on it until I looked at a quick recording I made with it. The "Hunter Orange" sales stickers that peppered the merchandise throughout the pawnshop came out magenta... :(
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Old March 10th, 2006, 06:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Stephen Finton
The L2 had a LANC and timecode. I think that was the only thing. I was ecstatic that I found one at a pawnshop once and was about to throwdown some money on it until I looked at a quick recording I made with it. The "Hunter Orange" sales stickers that peppered the merchandise throughout the pawnshop came out magenta... :(
The older and smaller Canon A1 Digital didn't have through-the-lens white-balance, but used a separate white sensor, off to the side. My version of manual white-balance with it, was to take a red marking pen and fill-in about 20% of the surface. This improved the color better than trying to do it using the regular controls. Oddly, the original Canon A-1, the first Hi-8 camcorder, didn't have more than a small color-balance problem. It didn't even have RGB color processing, but it shot better video for me than either the A-1 Digital and the L-1. The L-1 was a lot of fun to use, with its truly professional selection of controls, but that CCD and processor spoiled things. The L-1 also had LANC or Control-L, as it was previously called. Even the original A-1 had that, although I could never get any Sony equipment to work together with the Canons, while using it. Canon seems to have solved the problem they had for years in issuing very poor quality video batteries. I wonder if their newer camcorders still have this weakness in white-balance? I haven't touched one of their models since my experience with the L-1.
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