With World Cup Soccer top of mind, it might be a good time to review both camera design and audio capture technologies. How cameras are packaged has been a decided art for decades, but newer technologies like mirrorless capture and tapeless recording open new opportunities for camera shapes and features.
On the audio side, while standards can specify bit depth and rate, today’s capture and recording systems offer opportunity for alternative solutions. For the videographer, audio quality may become a long-distant consideration. As audience research consistently shows, audio makes or breaks the video.
The early ENG camcorder set a precedent for the design of should-mount cameras. A Sony BVW-1 Betacam from 1982.
Cameras have looked pretty much the same since days of the image orthicon tube. Some of the design is predicated on supporting an up-front long, heavy and expensive lens. But even that technology has improved with lighter lens material.
Today, cameras come in two basic use types; live and camcorders. The live camera design still resembles its much older predecessor, lens, box, viewfinder. But camcorders are now tapeless and one result is the development of a new breed of cameras that could be called cubic in shape; typified by the Red, Sony FS7 and F55, and the Canon Cinema series. These cameras can be configured in many ways to suite the need of the shot: handheld, shoulder mount, rigs, or the classic tripod.
In contrast, the DSLR camera has not changed form factor in the move from film to a digital sensor. The classic 35mm SLR comprises, side-by-side, the film canister, the mirror box and the take-up spool. Even the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC) retain a similar design.
With the end of the DSLR clearly in site, and the MILC taking over the question becomes, what further changes might we expect in professional camera design? Gain insight from David Austerberry’s article in The Broadcast Bridge, “Is There an Optimum Shape for a Camera?”
Videographers sometimes forget about the importance of audio quality to any video content. That mistake typically comes back to bite them in post when they realize the audio sounds off-camera, muddy, or tinny. What happened?
One of the first audio technical parameters video producers should consider is the audio sample rate. Didn’t know that was an option? Read on. Like other technical parameters some might believe that higher sampling rates are better, right? The answer might be surprising.
As audio is digitized, two factors come into play: sampling rate and bit depth. The more samples per second, the better the audio quality. So, is the answer that simple? Maybe not. Learn more about sampling rates and bit-depth in Frank Beacham’s The Broadcast Bridge article, “Should Audio-for-Video Be Recorded At High Sample Rates?”
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