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Under Water, Over Land
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Old March 14th, 2007, 03:31 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Posts: 1
Looking for an Underwater broadcast Pole Camera head

I work for a broadcasting TV Company in Spain.

We want to buy a light underwater camera head (I don't know if I should say lipstick camera, bullet camera, helmet camera or pole camera).

We would like to use them for recording underwater images in shallow water, that would appear on TV news programs, combined with surface images recorded by DVCPro and Panasonic P2 professional cameras. For this reason, the quality must match them.

We want to use these cameras mainly from the surface, with the camera operator holding the camera from a long pole, and watching the images on a TV monitor. The images obtained by the camera would be recorded on surface in a DVC Pro recorder. We don't want to use them very deep. For these jobs we use a Sony PD150, in an underwater housing.

It would not go deeper than 3 meters, but maybe we would move it a little bit at this depth. Or we could record (for example) a school of swimming dolphins just under the surface, but with the boat moving at certain speed.

We would like it with the widest lens available.

I've been searching in the web, and I've found a lot of cameras like the one we are looking for, but the quality differences (and prices) change very much. You can find cameras giving 330 horizontal resolution lines and costing as less as 174$. Or 460 (or more) lines, and costing more than 2500€. I can find also ROV cameras that can go deeper than 4000 meters, but we don't need to go so deep.

The problem is that I don't know how to find out which is the definition level that I should look for, and the price differences are very high

We are in Spain, so we need the camera in PAL system.

At the moment, the cameras I've found that would fit us most are the Bowtech Divecam-550C
(I don't know the price)

and the JonesCAM 520EX-CAM
that sells for 224,95.

I don't know if these cameras can compare, and I don't know what else can I find.

I would appreciate any help from you.

Thank you very much.
Antonio Boga is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 15th, 2007, 12:06 AM   #2
Regular Crew
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oslo, Norway
Posts: 91
If you want a high quality camera head you are unfortunately going to have to pay high quality prices. Both Toshiba and Panasonic make high quality heads but they are in the $3000+ catagorie, it is these cameras that you will see on Nat Geo/BBC. The Toshiba IK-TU51 is a very good camera and mounted with a 5-10mm WA lens produces fantastic quality images that will intercut without an issue.
The main issue comes when trying to find a housing to fit the camera. PACE technolgies makes one: http://www.pacetech.com/Cameras/PoleCam/icecube.html but it is expensive. In have had both of mine engineered by a company in South Africa. To access focus and iris is importantant so somekind of remote or technique is essential. You need to be able to get power to the camera and the image out and this involves fitting very expensive 'grommits' onto the housing so that your camera does not flood. Do not try to build yourself one unless you are very handy with a lathe etc.

Older cameras, older cameras are the Sony XC-999/Pulnix TMC-X, these are the older standard and can be found used and there are a few housings on the market for these.

All in one alternatives such as you mention are the cheaper lower res cameras. They may do the job but I guess will never cut really smoothly with DVCPRO.

The alternative is to put your PD150 on a pole, here yoou will definately intercut, the footage will be high quality and if your housing has a monitor output you can see what you are doing. Have a look at the gates pole.

I hope that this helps, I had a similar time a few years back when i was trying to build a housing, my solution was to spend the money and get a good setup.

Good luck,

Natural History Cameraman
Earthmedia Film, Oslo, Norway
James Ewen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 16th, 2007, 09:36 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Selkirk, Scottish Borders, Scotland, UK
Posts: 60
Hi Antonio,

Here is a site I found which may be of interest, www.dogcamsport.co.uk
look at the viosport cameras they may be suitable for you.
henry g
Henry Gray is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 18th, 2007, 01:30 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Croydon, England
Posts: 277
Polecam make a full underwater head for their rig
You may be able to adapt it for use without using a full polecam rig, but its expensive! (although it has full pan/tilt functions)
They also make what they call a "divebag" for dipping a small camera just below the surface
Paul Jefferies is offline   Reply

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