DOPs discuss minicams, lenses, 4k and all


Mel Noonan TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Mel Noonan
Issue 100 - April 2015
If anyone knows about the practical reality of using minicams and lenses it has to be the DOPs who are out there using them. We are now seeing minicams used in all areas of production, some with 1080p and 4K capability at prices you would not have believed possible a few years back.

I spoke to some of the DOPs I know for feedback on past, present and future experience and information which may be useful to other users out there.

Chris Taber, DOP, UK:

Chris has been busy amongst other things shooting several series of 'You live in What?' for an American TV network, taking his Polecam around the world and shooting on location the weird and wonderful dwellings that people have created.

He says "I upgraded from my Toshiba HD minicam to the Canon C300 as soon as it came out. I've been using it constantly, getting excellent results on and off my rig. However I want to be 4K capable, so I have set my sights on the new JVC GW SP-100E minicam. I'm just waiting now for it to become available."

The camera features a 4K/2K remote camera head and a recording/playback unit with built-in detachable full HD 7"monitor and an RCU controller. It produces 4K video, with 3840x2160 resolution at up to 50/60p recorded locally to SDXC UHS-I U3 memory cards. It has an interchangeable MFT lens mount with a shallow flange depth, which offers the greatest flexibility to end users already owning lenses.

The mini 4K camera can also be attached to a gimbal option which may be used with a helicopter system, with anti-shake and anti-blur technology.

www.pedestaltv.com

John Gillan, DOP, UK:

John has been a champion of Toshiba minicams back from when he put the first SD version on his early Polecam. He stayed with the HD version of it (IK- HD1) on his rig when others were changing to larger cameras like the canon C300. "I stayed with the Toshiba HD for a reason. With experience the Polecam effectively becomes part of you, and you know you can fly the camera to precisely where you want, to show what you want, with the dynamics you want to give to it. You can still do it with a larger camera but there's a subtle difference and personally I prefer the dynamics of using the small camera. It does depend on the job of course and I will use other cameras for other jobs."

"Lately for some jobs I've also been using the Black Magic Design Pocket Cinema camera on my rig. It produces 1080p and I've been very pleased with the results, as have my clients."

"What's happened now of great significance is that Fujinon have brought out a couple of new megapixel lenses including a C-mount 17x zoom that I have just bought from Polecam Systems. I couldn't believe what a difference it made to suddenly see the resolution I had been filtering out with the previous lenses I'd been using. It's given my Toshiba HD minicam a totally new lease of life. The wide end of the range is 4.5mm, just right for Polecam, so I'm going to be using this combination on my rig a lot. The Zif controller that the Polecam guys have put together works really well. I'll definitely be using it on the Cliff Diving series I'm shooting through the course of this year."

"I am also looking at going 4K with the new JVC GW SP100E camera when it arrives to complete the range of cameras I have to offer."

www.jgbroadcast.tv

Bachir, DOP Paris:

"I'm currently working as DOP in Morocco shooting a TV feature . I'm using a Canon DSLR 5D MkIII with lenses 16/35, 24/70 and 70/200. I'm also using the 5D on my Polecam with the 24/70 zoom lens. When I shoot in France on broadcast production, I use 2 kinds of cameras on and off my rig: the Panasonic Camcorder HPX255 and the Sony HDC-P1 with a wide angle zoom lens."

www.bashkam.com
vimeo.com/user12340436
www.dailymotion.com/bachcam

Steffan Hewitt, Extreme Sports Cameraman / DOP, UK:

Someone who knows more than most about minicams, as the designer of Polecam: "The minicam arena has got really exciting with the launch of the two new Toshiba cameras. First we have the IK-HD5, a 3 MOS chip camera which has only been out a short while but they have been literally flying out the door here for in-car use coupled with the new Fujinon TA4-XA-1 full HD 4mm lens. This combination produces stunning quality full 1080P pictures."

"Then at the top end we have the new Toshiba IK-4K, the world's smallest 3 chip UltraHD 4K video camera providing 8Mp 3842x2160 output and showing extraordinary detail up to 1600 TV lines resolution."

"As if that wasn't enough now we have a high speed minicam, the Antelope PICO that will produce HD Ultra Motion - up to 350 fps. It's an amazing small camera that will get wonderful slow motion images from places and viewpoints that has not been possible before. It mounts easily on Polecam and will also fit in our underwater housing to shoot over and under water. It's already been used for swimming and diving analysis and sports coverage, and for F1 Pit Stop analysis too. We stock all these new cameras and can advise on all technical and practical issues."

www.polecam.com

Stuart Nicholls, DOP, UK:

Stuart says "For some time now in addition to using the Toshiba HD minicam, for a more filmic look I have I have been using either the Nikon D600 DSLR or the Canon C300 on and off my Polecam, and with the ability to suit the camera to the job, the results have been really great. Now with the pressure increasing to be 4K capable I have bought the new Sony FS7 which I use in conjunction with the Carl Zeiss ZF2 prime lenses carried over from the Nikon D600. It's around the same size as the C300 so it mounts fine on the rig but with the addition of the 4K capability and slow-mo at up to 180fps in HD. Now I'm totally covered for the foreseeable period ahead."

www.emagineproductions.co.uk

Richard Hookings, DOP, UK:
Even though he's owned a Polecam for 12 years now he's just done his first shoot in surgery covering a heart bypass. He said "For me, this was a pretty exciting shoot. The rig had to be as compact as possible so I used two sections and the elbow connector to ensure that the rig stayed clear of the surgeons and for the same reason opted for the new Fujinon 17x zoom lens (XT17sx4.5DA-R11) with the Toshiba IK-HD1 minicam."

"The Toshiba minicam looked seriously pimped up with the new Fujinon lens which was comparatively ginormous. The director was extremely impressed with the sharp imaging and this lens really did reinvent the Toshiba HD camera taking it to a whole new level."

"As well as the Toshiba HD minicam I have a Canon C300 and 5D and I've just ordered the Sony FS7 so I'll have 4K capability as well as slow motion. Before when people asked to have Polecam on a shoot there was no camera choice - it had to be the Toshiba HD. With the new flexibility of the rig people can ask for a Polecam with a C300 for example, to match the other shoot cameras because that will save time with grading down the line."

www.thecameraman.tv

Tommie Rekstad, DOP Sweden:

Tommie owns two Jimmy Jibs and two Polecams, and regularly covers top winter sporting events in Scandinavia. He says "For skiing events I mostly use Polecam because of the portability, rapid setup and because I can rig it right beside the start gate on the downhill ski runs and get close-in shots and angles without intruding into the skiier's space. Although Polecam now takes larger cameras I have stuck to using minicams on these jobs because of the advantages of having such a low profile head."

"Much of what I shoot is on multi camera OBs, and for a while the Toshiba HD minicam I used matched up to the other OB cameras well enough for everyone to be happy. But with time the OB cameras were upgraded, and I wanted my shots to match perfectly with the new cameras in resolution, colorimetry, dynamic range and all so I set about trying to achieve that." He researched and decided to go for a minicam out of Germany we don't hear too much of here, sinaCam. (pron: seenacam).

It's two piece minicam, head and CCU, single 2/3" CCD C mount with adaptors for PL and B4. It will interface to Sony camera RCPs, perfect for OB use. Distributor is Pure4C in Munich. Price, from Euros 12,865 net.

www.pure4c.de
Also sold as ActionCam by Codex Digital:
www.codexdigital.com
Tommie says "I am more than happy with the pictures I am producing. It's a great camera."

Tom Paterson, DOP, UK:

Tom has used the Toshiba HD minicam since it came out but has recently purchased the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4, a CSC camera (Compact System camera) without a moving shutter that will take stills but also 4K video. "This is a remarkable camera and amazing value" says Tom. "I have used it already on my Polecam for several shoots and the video quality is superb. The latest was a promotion for a London West End musical where I recorded on-camera in UHD (3840x2160, 25p at 100 Mbps), and sent a down-converted SDI signal to the vision mixer via a Black Magic Design HDMI to SDI converter box."

"Camera control is via the Panasonic Image App on an iPad which receives a WiFi signal from the camera and allows full control of lens and camera functions.

Providing production with a 4K iso copy of my footage allows them to insert full resolution images and achieve greater manipulation in post than would be otherwise possible.

The small size and weight of the camera means it punches way above its league on the end of a Polecam and gives the operator far more reach potential than a heavier camera would do."

www.foragerfilms.com


Tags: iss100 | DOPs | lenses | 4k | minicams | polecam | opinion | cameraman | Mel Noonan
Submitted by Mel Noonan

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Submitted by Mike Nash Click to read or download PDF
Listening to the needs of audio engineers
Alan Wheable Monitoring SDI video content within an installation is and has always been straight forwards. If you have a monitor, and you can see the image correctly, all is well. This is not necessarily the case for metadata and especially not for audio.
Tags: iss131 | omnitek | audio monitoring | aes | ebu | smpte 2110 | st2110 | smpte 352 | dolby | Alan Wheable
Submitted by Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
Tried and tested: DPA d:vice
KitPlus KitPlus recently took delivery of an interesting piece of equipment for review. We like our iPhone gadgets here. For us, useful iPhone gadgets started when the Olloclip lens gave us a wide angle adaptor. This was a good start, finally evolving into a proper tool when Ziess produced the Exolens system for the 5,6 & 7 series iPhones. Around the same time as the Olloclip came out we were testing the Fostex AR4i which was a very exciting development at the time. You have a portable device, that you carry everywhere with you, connected to the world but with very limited audio capabilities. A stereo interface with decent microphones was a real boon!
Tags: iss130 | dpa | dvice | iphone | journalist mic | filmic | ios | microdot | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
The shining star of Dancing On Ice
Rod Aaron Gammons Lighting is an incredibly important part of any TV production, and it can make a huge difference to what is seen on-screen. If the right lights are used in the right way, it can create a mood, set a tone and convey a certain atmosphere.
Tags: iss130 | rotolight | led lighting | anova pro 2 | chris yacoubian | Rod Aaron Gammons
Submitted by Rod Aaron Gammons Click to read or download PDF
Reliable back-up at the Music City Bowl
Sam Gordon WLEX – LEX18 – is the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky, and part of the Cordillera Communications Group. As a very popular local station with a broadcast area that covers 40 counties across central Kentucky we have a big commitment to news, broadcasting more than seven hours of live programming on a typical day.
Tags: iss130 | wlex-tv | dejero | engo | gobox | cellsat | Sam Gordon
Submitted by Sam Gordon Click to read or download PDF
Why OTT needs multicast ABR
Damien Lucas Last year, Netflix’s global revenue reached $11 billion, with 24 million new names added to its subscribers’ list. Viewers are certainly making their preferences heard – and voting with their remote controls to show that over-the-top (OTT) content is here to stay.
Tags: iss130 | ott | abr | adaptive bit rate | cdn | dsl | lte | Damien Lucas
Submitted by Damien Lucas Click to read or download PDF
TV Futures, Tales on Location
Georgia Thirtle If I think back to last May, I was just finishing my second year at the University of Portsmouth, studying Television and Broadcasting, and winding down for the summer. Then out of the blue I got a message from my course leader, saying I might be getting a call from someone who was a location manager working for Raider productions, you know, the production company behind the upcoming Tomb Raider film, I mean, what!?
Tags: iss130 | portsmouth university | tomb raider | cci tv | ccitv | Georgia Thirtle
Submitted by Georgia Thirtle Click to read or download PDF
NAB is all about people
John Smith -new The relative success of NAB is down to people. The individuals we meet, the relationships we make and renew with customers and the desire to work together to develop a technology solution to any given challenge.
Tags: iss130 | media links | nab | mdp 3020 | md8000 | John Smith -new
Submitted by John Smith -new Click to read or download PDF
How IP-based KVM can improve workflow in broadcast control rooms
John Halksworth One of the most significant shifts the broadcast industry has seen over recent years is the adoption of IP technology as a standard infrastructure across the entire broadcast workflow. IP provides a network suitable for routing audio, video and control around a broadcast facility and is providing the answers to many industry challenges.
Tags: iss130 | kvm | adder | adderlink | alif100t | John Halksworth
Submitted by John Halksworth Click to read or download PDF
Transforming asset management and monetization
Chad Hamilton FremantleMedia is one of the largest global television-production companies in the world — with one of the biggest and most valuable catalogs. We operate in 36 markets, creating, producing, and distributing content across traditional TV and digital platforms at a rate of more than 10,000 hours of programming per year.
Tags: iss130 | freemantlemedia | core | wazee | Chad Hamilton
Submitted by Chad Hamilton Click to read or download PDF
Out of the box: Sennheiser Ambeo VR microphone
Jon Pratchett 2 The use of 360 video, especially on platforms like Facebook and YouTube is really starting to take off. Gone are the days when you needed to buy multiple GoPros and rigs in order to get something decent looking. Now players like Insta360 and even GoPro with their fusion 360 camera are providing single camera, high quality solutions, enabling the masses to put out reasonable quality, certainly watchable, 360 video.
Tags: iss130 | vr | virtual reality | audio | ambiosonic | Jon Pratchett 2
Submitted by Jon Pratchett 2 Click to read or download PDF
Technological advances in the broadcast industry
Alan Wheable Since it is Omnitek’s 20th anniversary this year, I thought it would be interesting to look back over the technological advances in the broadcast industry over the last few decades and look at the similarities between then and now.
Tags: iss130 | omnitek | test and measurement | smpte 2110 | untra tq | 2022 | sdi 2022-6 | Alan Wheable
Submitted by Alan Wheable Click to read or download PDF
Interview with Peter Rowsell, Polar Graphics
Polar If you don’t recognise the name Peter Rowsell instantly you no doubt would recognise him in person, from the famous ‘Pink Coconut’ parties during IBC (Brighton) in the 80s or the name ‘Polar Video or Polar Graphics’ both companies which he’s built up over the years.
Tags: iss130 | polar graphics | apantac | bluefish | cinedeck | focalpoint | mediaproxy | stardom | storagedna | Polar
Submitted by Polar Click to read or download PDF
VR and the importance of tracking
KitPlus I would like to begin this article by clarifying what we at Shotoku mean when we talk about VR in live production. It’s not the production of immersive, 360 content where you need to wear a headset; we are talking about virtual studio (VS) and augmented reality (AR) work, such as placing graphics into a green screen environment or physical set. The technology used for this work is entirely different, though equally specialist – therefore it is important to understand the challenges of this kind of production in order to make informed kit choices.
Tags: iss130 | shotoku | vr | live production | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
Meet the experts: Six steps for award winning sound design
Chris Turner Few can argue that great sound design is one of the most important elements to any moving picture. Mute most horrors, and the difference in fear factor will be enormous. Visualize Jaws or Star Wars, and John Williams’s iconic score will instantly come to mind.
Tags: iss130 | jungle studios | fairlight | blackmagic design | davinci | Chris Turner
Submitted by Chris Turner Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new

On the most recent occasion I was trimmed, my hairdresser had just returned from a holiday in Hawaii.

Where she thought she was going to die. She thought this because the state’s emergency alert system was triggered, sending messages across all available platforms, for 38 minutes, that a ballistic missile was about to strike. That, I suspect, is the sort of thing that casts a pall across your holiday.

Why did it happen? Essentially it happened because an operator selected the wrong menu item. “I feel very badly from what’s happened,” he is quoted as saying, in a somewhat mangled version of English which may at least in part explain his difficulties with menu items.

Tags: iss130 | alertsense | Dick Hobbs - new
Submitted by Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Grand slam IPTV and digital signage platform
Joe Walsh Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, is home to major league baseball’s Kansas City Royals. Built in 1973, “The K” has a proud baseball legacy, and goes down in history for winning two World Series championship titles; one in 1985 and another in 2015 — exactly 20 years apart. The most recent win brought a resurgence of baseball fever to the stadium, hosting more than 2.7 million fans during its 2015 winning season.
Tags: iss130 | iptv | vitec | eztv | Joe Walsh
Submitted by Joe Walsh Click to read or download PDF
Empowering connectivity choice in the field
Yvonne Monterroso Reliability, flexibility and ease of use are the key requirements when covering the news and live events, especially when the location could be anywhere. Connectivity is one of the biggest concerns in the field when the pressure is on to capture a key event – if you cannot establish a reliable transmission path to send your video back to the broadcast studio, there is no story.
Tags: iss129 | dejero | satellite | streaming | ku-band | cloud | Yvonne Monterroso
Submitted by Yvonne Monterroso Click to read or download PDF
Taking the lead in the HEVC and 4k revolution
Malcolm Harland There’s probably a good reason that BVE is held in late February — it offers you a few weeks to set your annual plans in place. Then, once you’ve decided on the opportunities you want to take advantage of and improvements you want to make, you have a chance to visit this massive exhibition to see the latest technological innovations that will help to bring your plans to fruition.
Tags: iss129 | garland | hevc | liveu | hc11000 | media excel | ntt | bws | lu600 | Malcolm Harland
Submitted by Malcolm Harland Click to read or download PDF
Steadicam M-1 Volt: Tried and Tested
John E Fry Early in November some of us lucky Steadicam Operators from around the UK were invited to try out the new Tiffen M1 Volt, which is essentially an electronic motorized horizon assist unit attached to the gimbal of the latest Steadicam M1. Is it a good idea? As experienced Steadicam Operators, directors or producers, why would we be interested? Let’s investigate KitPlus fans!
Tags: iss129 | steadicam | volt | tiffen | m1 | John E Fry
Submitted by John E Fry Click to read or download PDF
Panasonic GH5: Tried and Tested
Tim Bearder My journey as a filmmaker began with a select number of enthusiastic BBC reporters picked out and trained in the concept of Personal Digital Production by the American Video Journalist Michael Rosenblum.
Tags: iss129 | panasonic | gh5 | dslr | senheirser avx | c200 | Tim Bearder
Submitted by Tim Bearder Click to read or download PDF
Canon C200: Tried and Tested
Ben Sherriff There are many reviews about this camera online and a heap of incredibly detailed comparison and behind the scenes footage that will really give you a full insight into what it can do. So first a disclaimer - this review is less detailed and based on my personal reading of what this camera means for Canon and all other camera manufacturers and us – the users of these technologies. So, what’s all the fuss about?
Tags: iss129 | spellbinder | canon | c200 | c100mkii | c300 | red | alexa | asx-r7 | Ben Sherriff
Submitted by Ben Sherriff Click to read or download PDF
2018: A Changing of the Guard
Peter Savage 2 The guys at KitPlus asked me if I could write about what I think is going to happen in 2018 – a feel, or mood, piece of what we might see this year. I’m not sure why they asked me but perhaps it’s because I’ve been around the industry a long time. Anyway, to look forward I think sometimes it’s best to look back as history has a habit of repeating itself.
Tags: iss129 | azule | finance | Peter Savage 2
Submitted by Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF
Class: Do we still need standards
Bruce Devlin - new On the 1st January 2018, I officially took on the post of SMPTE Standards Vice President. The role has responsibility for all of SMPTE’s standardisation activities and it fills me with equal measures of excitement and terror.
Tags: iss129 | smpte | st2110 | dpp | Bruce Devlin - new
Submitted by Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
A new AEON in Wireless 4k
JP Delport Whatever production companies are doing right here, right now, today, with wireless HD production tools, they want to do right here, right now, today with 4K UHD. That’s great, but common wisdom would share a host of challenges around 4k UHD, not least, the fact that 4K UHD requires 8x the processing power to transmit, then demands additional horsepower (and bandwidth) to accommodate the data and controls, wireless or otherwise, and of course, when you ramp up processing power, you ramp up heat generation, which needs to be efficiently evacuated.
Tags: iss129 | 4k | uhd | wireless | domo | JP Delport
Submitted by JP Delport Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation
Dick Hobbs - new This morning I was eating my healthy muesli and idly listening to Radio 4 when someone came on who claimed to be from the Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project.
Tags: iss129 | fake news | facebook | tv globo | amagi | robot | ai | artificial intelligence | Dick Hobbs - new
Submitted by Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
A Pandoras Box to empower the filmmaker
KitPlus The setting was Celebro Studios London, home to their fully 4k television studios, where journalists and industry commentators gathered late last November to witness the launch of the revolutionary Rotolight Anova PRO 2. This was no ordinary unveiling though, the launch was streamed live on Facebook and YouTube and hosted by award winning news anchor man Martin Stanford with Wesley Dodd, CEO of Celebro Media Group and Rotolight MD Rod Gammons in the studio.
Tags: iss129 | rotolight | celebro | anova pro 2 | led | lighting | wesley dodd | rod gammons | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
A Bluffers Guide to Batteries
Mike Colyer The Christmas decorations are down; the family have all headed home – and the New Year’s festivities have drawn to a close. I put my hand up to it – I’m a little drained. As such, I figured I’d start the new year with a Bluffer’s Guide to Batteries. With the cold weather setting in, it can be a nightmare to pick the right disposable batteries for small kit – and maintain rechargeable batteries in larger items. This article will take an overview of which batteries will last longer under certain usage conditions – and how to achieve the cell’s maximum potential.   
Tags: iss129 | batteries | alkaline | ni-mh | li-ion | lithium | Mike Colyer
Submitted by Mike Colyer Click to read or download PDF
Somewhere down the latency river
Ben Hawker Some people have been, understandably, getting fairly excited over the prospect of being able to deploy wireless cameras to capture and transmit 4K UHD. Manufacturers and developers are closing in on the ability to deliver systems that will offer up almost endless creative options at the highest – to date – possible picture quality.
Tags: iss129 | latency | 4k | wireless | rf | presteigne | Ben Hawker
Submitted by Ben Hawker Click to read or download PDF
Playing with Pink Floyd
KitPlus For the founder of London-based Hangman, James Tonkin, this has indeed been a summer to remember. After sixteen years of working in the same suites, he designed and moved his team into a new future proofed facility in Kew Gardens created specifically for the manipulation and delivery of formats in up to 8K HDR.
Tags: iss129 | hangman | james tonkin | david gilmour | pink floyd | Sony F55 | Sony A7RII | RED Dragon | URSA Mini | blackmagic | DJI Drone | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Click to read or download PDF
TVFutures: Learning is the key
Abbie Neill If you asked me the question ‘where do you see yourself after you graduate’ three years ago I would have probably answered  ‘in a lot of debt, but if you don't think about it, it doesn't exist because three years is a long time right ?’. WRONG! These three years studying Television and Broadcasting at the University of Portsmouth have been the quickest three years of my life. Back when I started I didn't really have any idea what I wanted to specialise in and the dreaded four letter word AVID used to be my biggest enemy. However I persevered through the 3792871 hours of lectures learning how to use the software, how it functions, neither did I think I'd be a one woman match of the day by graduation'.
Tags: iss129 | ccitv | portsmouth | university | avid | Abbie Neill
Submitted by Abbie Neill Click to read or download PDF
Epictech makes headway: A case study
Daniel Harker Barnes Founded in January 2014, EpicTech Media have been providing high end video production to companies and musicians across the U.K. for over three and a half years. When approached earlier this year by the band Bodkin Lane, we relished the challenge of producing a video of their charity concert, in aid of Headway (www.headway.org.uk), despite the challenging size of the venue. 
Tags: iss129 | polecam | epictech media | ptz | povcam | Daniel Harker Barnes
Submitted by Daniel Harker Barnes Click to read or download PDF
Innovation in cameras moving to 4k
Tony Valentino For a number of reasons, wireless camera links needed time to migrate to 4K. However Broadcast Sports International, BSI, designs their own cameras and builds their own hardware and their transition to 4K is already complete.
Tags: iss129 | bsi | ref-cam | wireless | 4k | Tony Valentino
Submitted by Tony Valentino Click to read or download PDF