Investing in the Future of Broadcast Media


Clive Northen TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Download PDF
Download PDF

At the time of writing, the summer World Cup is providing its usual challenge to camera crews trying to televise the bright sunlight of the stadium without losing detail in shaded areas such as the covered terraces. It is a perfect demonstration of the need for high dynamic range. Several broadcasters are experimentally covering this year's tournament in 4K HDR, including the BBC which is streaming dozens of matches via its iPlayer service. HDR is also accompanied by a wider colour space, meaning millions more colours can be displayed than previously. Yet another advance is the adoption of 50p delivery rather than traditional 50i.

The 3G HD to 12G UHD transition

OB companies are increasingly investing in 12G infrastructure to capture the cleanest possible source UHD. Some companies see UHD as a logical progression when their HD equipment needs replacement. Others are more bullish, recognising the advantages of keeping up to date with the latest standards. 12G is also potentially useful in an HD production because it allows a producer to crop HD video selectively from a UHD source.

The transition from SD to HD was largely price driven as manufacturers geared to offer HD products at prices previously associated with SD equipment. We anticipate the 3G HD to 12G UHD transition following the same pattern, powered by the accelerating public demand for UHD content from online content providers. There is obviously a big advantage in shooting new content in UHD rather than HD to maximise its future value.

Increased demand for slow-motion

Demand for high speed cameras to deliver slow-motion coverage of sports has increased significantly over the past couple of years. The Sony HDC-4800 can shoot full-resolution progressive UHD at up to 8x or HD at up to 16x. The EVS XT3 slow-motion server supports every super motion camera on the market and provides native options for up to 12 record channels with proxy encoding in SD and HD, eight channels of 1080p or three channels of UHD-4K in any in/out combination.

PTZF and RLP

Camera robotics have advanced a lot in recent years. We are investing in remotely controllable pan/tilt/zoom/focus (PTZF) camera heads which can be steered and fine-adjusted by an operator from a distance of a few metres, half a kilometre or (via IP) half way round the world. Remote Live Production (RLP), where practically all camera control is via long-distance IP, has been mooted as a successor to traditional OB operation. The economic attractions are obvious given the reduced need to field elaborate production vehicles and large crewing teams. But the practical problems are equally obvious, especially latency if an operator in London is trying to track a pole-vaulting athlete in Tokyo. If RLP takes off, we are ready to respond quickly to market demand.

What's in the box?

Finepoint Broadcast has been supplying the television industry with a wide choice of production and OB equipment for nearly 35 years. The company's starting point was to offer customers an alternative from the high capital cost of buying project-specific kit to handle a short-term project. Finepoint continues today supplying the very latest equipment for many large scale sporting and entertainment programmes in the UK and internationally.

A vital aspect of the hire business is careful attention to detail, ensuring all the vital cables needed with a product are actually in the box when the client needs it and do actually work when connected to form a system. Discovering that at vital element of a rig is missing or defective is stressful enough for broadcasters or production staff working at their base studio, and a great deal more if they are operating on location.

Responsive investment

Equipment purchases are based on frequent discussions with regular customers about their likely needs in the mid-term future. We are a listening company and invest on a basis of proven demand rather than chasing new technology for its own sake. We also monitor technical trends at major shows such as NAB and IBC Keeping our eyes and ears open ensures we are not wrong-footed in our investment strategy.

A key element of success in the modern broadcast equipment supply sector is being seen by clients as a technology provider going beyond traditional dry-hire. We now have a hire and sales divisions working together to enable a constant flow of the very latest equipment in our rental fleet. When ready, we release into the market well maintained ex-rental equipment in excellent condition.

Our investment plan for the 2018-19 financial year alone anticipates a £2 million spend on new equipment which will equip the hire fleet to the latest technical standards, including 4K/UHD and HDR. We have already taken a delivery of Sony HDC-4300 and HDC-4800 cameras and associated 4K Canon lenses. Other recent additions include EVS XT3 ChannelMax and XFile3 production servers.

High-grade maintenance

It is obviously important to provide the expertise essential to ensure returned equipment is maintained in first-class condition. We are one of the few hire companies that employ a team of full-time bench engineers to ensure we not only deliver great kit but clients know it has been through engineering checks before it goes back out on hire. Our technical team includes Michael Bullions, Lenzel Dyke and Richard Morey, led by Chief Engineer Andrew Mckenzie.


Tags: iss132 | finepoint | hire | 4k hdr | Clive Northen
Contributing Author Clive Northen

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Download PDF
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Hireacamera at BVE 2014

    Hireacamera at BVE 2014

  • Hireacamera at BVE 2013

    Hireacamera at BVE 2013

  • Hireacamera at BVE North 2012

    Hireacamera at BVE North 2012

  • Hireacamera at BVE 2012

    Hireacamera at BVE 2012

  • Hireacamera at ProVideo2011

    Hireacamera at ProVideo2011

  • Hireacamera at BVE North 2011

    Hireacamera at BVE North 2011

  • Lynx Technik Evie 4k HDR to SDR Conversion at NAB 2019

    Lynx Technik Evie 4k HDR to SDR Conversion at NAB 2019


Related Shows
  • Philip Bloom chats 4k: BVE Day 2

    Philip Bloom chats 4k: BVE Day 2


Articles
Keeping Pace with the Content Revolution
Kevin Fitzgerald These are uniquely challenging times for broadcasters and their technical teams. Not only are they having to negotiate the move to IP-based infrastructures and the introduction of new formats and techniques such as 4K and HDR, they are also having to generate more content than ever before to support OTT and web services as well as traditional linear broadcast.
Tags: iss139 | streamstar | streaming | case 800 | ipx | ipx-3g | Kevin Fitzgerald
Contributing Author Kevin Fitzgerald Click to read or download PDF
The Future of Broadcast Connectivity
Jamie Adkin The use of KVM equipment has been essential to meet the evolving needs of the broadcast industry for many years. Over that time, many in the industry have recognised the importance of using IP-enabled KVM to break down technological barriers and enable real-time access to visuals wherever and whenever they’re needed. These components are vital parts in live production environments in particular.
Tags: iss139 | adder | kvm | ip kvm | Jamie Adkin
Contributing Author Jamie Adkin Click to read or download PDF
Why MADI is Still Relevant
Stephen Brownsill While the original idea for MADI was to cater to a very narrow recording studio application, the standard remains a viable go-to multichannel audio technology. Beginning as a standard in 1991, MADI was first introduced to the world as digital production was beginning to come of age. MADI was put together in 1988 by Solid State Logic, AMS-Neve, Sony (DASH) and Mitsubishi (ProDigi) as a way to transport up to 56 channels of digital audio between large-format audio consoles of the day and digital multi-channel tape machines via 75-Ohm coaxial cables. Both tape-based machines have long since disappeared from the equipment landscape.
Tags: iss139 | madi | tsl products | aes10 | aes | dolby atmos | st-2110 | sam-q | Stephen Brownsill
Contributing Author Stephen Brownsill Click to read or download PDF
Increasing Diversity in the UK Indie Market
Sam Addo

London director Sam Addo tells us more about how he aims to change the status quo when it comes to onscreen diversity with his new feature, Cards on the Table.

“Over the past thirty years, filmmakers have made movies telling a wide range of stories, however, in my humble opinion, those with disabilities, from the LGBTQ+ community and or those from ethnic minorities remain underrepresented on screen. For example, it is rare to find a film where the lead character has a disabil ity, and that underrepresentation is worrying.”

Tags: iss139 | cards on the table | feature | diversity | blackmagic | ursa mini pro 4.6k | lut | davinci resolve | Sam Addo
Contributing Author Sam Addo Click to read or download PDF
The LED Lighting Revolution
Neil Vann Back in April 2019, the National Association of Broadcasters hosted the annual NAB show in Las Vegas where over 90,000 people from more than 160 countries came to see the latest broadcast technology from around the world. Honouring the highlights of the show were NAB’s 2019 Product of the Year awards, where the newly launched Chroma-Q Space Force onebytwo – a bright, tuneable white LED softlight with a high CRI, TLCI and TM-30 - picked up one of these prestigious awards in the lighting category.
Tags: iss139 | ac-ent | led | lighting | chroma-q space | softlight | studio force phosphor | Neil Vann
Contributing Author Neil Vann Click to read or download PDF