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The broadcast quality question

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  • The broadcast quality question

    I know there's no cut and dry answer to this question, but I need to ask anyway. I work for a company that mainly does corporate work, but recently we have built a relationship with Discovery and Oprah and we may want to send them some of our footage in the future. We are going to buy a new HD camera and I want to know what would be considered broadcast in HD. I like the HPX300, and the specs meet the HD requirements fo Discovery, as far as I know, but it has 1/3" chips. I've never heard of a 1/3" chip camera being considered "broadcast." I know lots of shows have used the DVX200, etc. but it's still not really a "broadcast" camera.

    I guess the HPX500 is 2/3" chips and DVCProHD, but it's pixel shifted, so not full raster. I would prefer native 1080 chips to get more quality for green screen and effects. That leaves some of the Sony cameras and while I hear the EX3 is good, again it's not 2/3". Is it really an issue? Is the HPX300 really broadcast? Help??

    The answer I usually hear is broadcast is in the eye of the beholder, but essentially I don't want to look like a corporate video dork with a 1/3" chip camera when the Discovery execs come over or I have to send a tape to Oprah. Somehow I can't get a straight answer.

    We are budgeting about $20k - $25k on the full kit and would prefer to have 2 cameras for that price. Maybe a higher end cam with a cheaper B cam? Maybe the HDX900 and HVX200 for B cam, or 2 HPX500. i just think the 300 has a lot of nice bells and whistles and a good warranty...

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!

    Matt

  • #2
    First, the term "broadcast quality" was shot by the introduction of "America's Funniest Home Videos." Suddenly, just because a prime-time network show was broadcasting VHS footage, all sorts of crap VHS-C camcorder manufacturers could call their cameras "broadcast quality." I mean, hey... the footage was technically good enough for at least one broadcast, right?

    Fast forward to 2009. Lots of well-known shows are being produced on the small cameras, which actually put out some pretty stunning images. Discovery Networks' shows are commonly shot on the smaller cameras. They're inexpensive, compact for travel and for shooting in tight places, and they produce stunning images.

    The HVX200A is a great choice... though you could just as well go for the HPX500. You have a pretty good budget. If you can swing one of each, I think you'll be happy.

    Just know that today's 1/3" CCDs go a lot further than the ones from 10 years ago. They still have their limitations, but the images are clean and the color reproduction is fantastic.

    Side note: I'd choose CCD over CMOS. The rolling shutter that you get with CMOS cameras is just annoying.
    Last edited by C2V; 04-25-2009, 10:32 PM.
    Without audio, TV is just surveillance.

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    • #3
      Just an observation from watching NBA finals. It appears that most of what you see from the floor is DVCPro HD 2/3" but there also seem to be a couple HVX200A size cameras. I don't know on the smaller cameras for sure, these are typically the guys running after the bench as teams move to the locker rooms 1/2 time and after the final buzzer.

      What I see in my neighborhood and I see a lot of film crews out on the streets here because I'm close to a lot of TV production, is 2/3" DVCPro HD, "old" and new.

      Again, just an observation. Pick up a few Video mags and there are often stories on what programs are using what gear.
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      Eric Peterson (AKA, "Zwick")
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      http://www.ericnp.net

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      • #4
        Thanks for the tips. It sounds like the HPX500 might be the way to go, but I'm concerned that DVCProHD is inferior to AVC-Intra 100 and also the CCDs are not full raster HD. I certainly don't mind the look of it, myself, but I would hate to have a somewhat obsolete camera in two years.

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        • #5
          2/3" is still the standard for broadcast...

          however, it depends on the type of work done. Reality shows? Sure, they run fast and loose sometimes. Same for documentary, depending on the subject matter.

          Most TV shows, stadiums (sports) and news organizations still lean toward 2/3" because the quality has legs. Since most of the cable stations are switching to HD programming, lens quality matters and details are FAR more important than they ever have been.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzZpCrbsURc

          Nice explanation by Mark Schubin, who's an expert in this field. Gives you a good education on 2/3" 1/3", etc.

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