While most broadcasters today are capturing live events in 1080p/50-60 HD, 4K UHD is increasingly in demand for many high-profile sporting and entertainment telecasts. Due to this, customers want cameras that can work in multiple formats for versatility and provide the best return on investment.
At the 2023 IBC Show in Amsterdam, attendees will see a variety of models and form factors that capture the best images for the job at hand. A growing trend in live sports production is the use of traditional cinematic shooting techniques (shallow depth of field and high dynamic range) as a key part of the broadcast TV workflow.
Bob Caniglia, Director of Sales Operations, Americas, for Blackmagic Design, said there’s been a trend lately to use a cinematic workflow (for example, a multi-cam live shoot on set versus a traditional one-camera, multiple takes scenario) for broadcast TV events. The company’s new URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF has an optical low pass filter built in.
“The pandemic forced broadcasters to develop new and creative methods for capturing and delivering content, he said. “The live sports industry is a great example of this. With more spectators watching from home than ever, and an increasing expectation that the viewing experience be as close to the in-person experience as possible, broadcasters began to incorporate more cinematic techniques to give viewers the big-screen experience we crave.
New production methods have led to the creation of cameras with a variety of options that help to support alternative techniques. For example, when shooting in virtual production environments, the high frequencies of the LED matrix in video walls can cause problems for modern lenses and high resolution sensors. This often creates interference patterns. Using an optical low pass filter minimizes that interference, which results in a reduction of unwanted moiré’ and aliasing effects.
This is where Blackmagic’s URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF, which adds a high performance optical low pass filter to the 12K Super 35 image sensor, comes in handy. The OLPF reduces image artifacts, while preserving desired colors and critical image detail. The URSA Mini Pro 12K is now an official Netflix-approved camera.
“Even as the pandemic subsided and life returned to normal, this new way of shooting has led to new types of broadcast cameras. Many of the sideline cameras now have a very shallow depth of field, giving more of a blockbuster feel and cinematic look,” said Caniglia. “We’re now speaking to camera operators as our DPs. Cameras being used in the broadcast space now have different capabilities, effects, lenses, all to create a more cinematic experience for viewers. The melding of traditional broadcast technologies with traditional cinema technologies has allowed broadcasters of all shapes and sizes to take advantage and boost both quality and creativity, ultimately giving viewers the best experience possible.”
The Blackmagic Studio Camera 6K Pro and Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K G2 offer the same features as large studio cameras, yet are miniaturized into a single compact and portable design.
Along with the URSA Mini Pro 12K OLPF, Blackmagic (stand 6.MS5/7.C49) will also show its Studio Camera 6K Pro and Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K G2 models, which have become workhorses in broadcast productions.
The Blackmagic Studio Camera 6K Pro and Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K G2 offer the same features as large studio cameras, yet are miniaturized into a single compact and portable design. Featuring digital film camera dynamic range and color science, the cameras can handle extremely difficult lighting conditions while producing cinematic looking images.
“The sensor features an ISO up to 25,600 so customers can create amazing images even in dimly lit venues,” said Caniglia.
Other key features include talkback, tally, camera control, built in color corrector, Blackmagic RAW recording to USB disks, and live streaming directly out of the camera.
At Grass Valley’s IBC (stand 9.A01/9.C05), the focus will has been on flexibility and providing cameras that can capture images in different formats with the same camera body.
“We know that the return on investment (ROI) for cameras 15 years ago was between 7-10 years,” said Paul de Besser, Product Manager, Grass Valley. “Today, it’s 3-5 years. That means cameras need to be in constant use.”
They key to this, he said, is for the camera to have the flexibility to be capable of doing more than just one thing (or, more precisely, more than just one format).
“Therefore, all the functionality that a camera head is capable of has to either be fully available in the camera or made available via licensing.”
Grass Valley’s new LDX C135 camera allows customers to choose the camera/XCU configuration (with IP and SDI functionality) of their choice for today, but then license an upgrade to full IP connectivity later.
With Grass Valley’s new LDX 100 platform, customers can choose the camera/XCU eXchangable Control Unit configuration (with IP and SDI functionality) of their choice for today, but at the same time choose to license an upgrade to full IP connectivity later. This also allows them to do remote productions more efficiently.
“Whether it’s the video format or ability to do slow motion, the customer can always do what they need to do as the need arises, such as taking a 1080p camera and licensing it for 4K for a couple of weeks,” he said.
At IBC Grass Valley will show its full camera portfolio, including the LDX 92, the LDX C135 compact camera, and the LDX 150—with some new enhancements for live sports productions. The company will also show a new viewfinder concept that will be shipping in late Q4 to make camera operators’ jobs easier.
Ross Video (Stand 9.A05/9.A04) is also showing new ways to incorporate cinematic techniques into broadcast productions that include its cameras for robotically controlled systems.
“We are seeing a significant number of requests from our traditional ENG camera customers looking to utilize Cine style cameras in their workflow,” said Karen Walker, vice pr4esident of Camera Motion Systems at Ross Video. “This includes a shallow depth of field, which is becoming more popular in traditional studio-based production.”
Robotically controlled PTZ cameras have been used in traditional studios for many years now and are perfect to work alongside manned cameras. They are ideal for small spaces, are easily mounted on ceilings and walls, and provide high-quality results in a cost-effective package.
Ross Video’s X-series of 4K robotic Pan/Tilt heads offer a 6.8 kg (15 lbs) payload capacity while accommodating any full-size ENG or box-style camera and lens combination.
At IBC Ross will show its X-series of 4K Pan/Tilt heads— the PTZ-12G and the PTZ-NDI. With a 6.8 kg (15 lbs) payload capacity, these robotically controlled heads can accommodate any full-size ENG or box-style camera and lens combination.
Featuring a 9.17megapixel, 1/1.8 inch CMOS sensor, these new PTZ models capture full 4K UHD 60fps and progressive HD video, making them ideal for a wide range of production requirements. An Ethernet interface enables single cable connectivity, providing remote control via IP VISCA protocol, video output using 4K UHD IP Streaming, and Power over Ethernet—all over a standard CAT5E cable as part of an NDI workflow. The cameras feature an extended zoom range of 30x optical and 12x digital, and an upgraded mechanical design to provide smoother and faster movement.
Ross will also show its he Ross Video ACIDCam UltraChrome HR Camera, which is designed to go with its Furio robotic camera systems and Ross Virtual Solutions. The camera excels in providing pristine resolution, sensitivity and signal-to-noise ratio, plus unique Ultrachrome HR outputs for chromakey applications.
The model H200 in particular offers 1080p capture via CMOS sensors and HDR capabilities. Also available is the economical Z50 model, which offers UltraChrome with 1080i resolution and SD compatibility.
Ross’ ACIDCam UltraChrome HR Camera is designed to work with its Furio robotic camera control systems.
“[At IBC] we will have an option for customers who want to use cinema camera on traditional robotics, especially where the customer wants to use non-motorized lenses,” said Ross’ Walker. “We will also have our 4K PTZ cameras mounted to our robotics systems on the stand.”
Referring back to shooting cinema style, Ross’ Walker said that customers are looking to get more detail in the images they broadcast, including 4K and HDR capability. And camera sensors are constantly improving, enabling companies like Ross to offer 4K quality in PTZ solutions, which is important for customers that want high quality in a smaller form factor.
“The intense shots that Cine style cameras can provide makes compelling TV, and makes it more real,” she said. “We are seeing a lot more traditional Cine camera users in more mainstream production and hence taking what they are familiar with into these environments, from traditional studio, worship, and corporate.”
Whether cinema- or broadcast-style, the IBC Show will spotlight a wide variety of cameras, so in picking a camera model look for the features and options that best fit your production workflow and the audience you are trying to serve. To be most effective, today’s broadcast cameras should give broadcasters and production companies the freedom to update to latest-generation high frame rate high dynamic range equipment that matches their current mode of operation while retaining the option to add UHD capabilities if or when they choose.
Other articles in this IBC 2023 'Show Focus' series:
The Broadcast Bridge will be at the IBC Show - Stand 8.F01. Please come and see us, get a copy of our free book on 'Scalable Dynamic Software For Broadcasters' and share your thoughts on what we do and what you would like to see from us in the coming year.
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