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The Evolution of Camera Connectivity by Kieron Seth T ape in, tape out. Cable in, video out. Card in, card out. Simpler times: productions orchestrated by an army of runners, tape op’s and engineers, with transmission to TV, ingest via a VTR and a room dedicated to storing media. Today’s production team has changed. It’s become a small elite squad, tasked with multi-channel playout, multi-resolution recording, live streaming, media archiving and remote operations. And the camera is going from functioning as the mere front end to being at the centre of the production workflow. Enter the Card Memory cards themselves are not stand-still technology. The SD card has progressed from class 2 (2MB/s) to UHS-II at 312MB/s in little over a decade. Robust professional formats have made a similar leap in performance, with Panasonic recently making the leap from P2’s 1.2Gb/s to microP2’s 2Gb/s. However, while speed and capacity bottlenecks are no longer an issue for video recording, the physical management of cards and importing of data seem somehow inconsistent with every other facet of professional and business life, where tape, optical disk and portable drives are increasingly replaced by central network storage, IP communications, mobile data and cloud platforms. Recent advances in camcorder technology is evidence that broadcasters are taking this IT world very seriously. Opportunities for Video Production For the video producer and event videographer who shoots and edits, file-based capture makes editing faster, but does the arrival of new connectivity carry any significant advantages? Potentially, yes. Events used to face a commercial choice: record an event for distribution, produce live and display on in-venue screens or transmit over satellite to live audiences. The IT revolution has changed all that. The HDMI or SDI output from any camera can now be ingested into a Teradek Cube wireless encoder. This device, mounted on the camcorder, converts the signal to H.264 and transmits to decoders attached to monitors for a live big screen playout and transmits live, via a router, to an Internet streaming service for external audiences while the camera still records the video at full resolution for archiving and post production. extremely efficient. Its connector ports are an instant visual clue: it can include HD-SDI (in and out), HDMI, Ethernet, WiFi and USB. Beyond the familiar digital video connectors, what is the point of these IT ports? File Transfer With the YDX600G encoder board installed in the HPX600, QuickTime files are captured by the camera alongside the native P2 files. Compressed files (from 800Kb/s to 3.5 Mb/s) can be pulled off the camera at any time using the Gigabit Ethernet port or the WiFi dongle. In this way, media can be immediately shared over a network, streamed globally or delivered for breaking TV news. As the .Mov files are complete metadata-rich and time coded proxies, editors can begin high speed post production with the full resolution files re-linked later for final rendering. Files can even be “We see so many producers using this approach nowadays. It’s so easy, so effective, and, let’s face it, so affordable. In one fell swoop, the ‘video guy’ can produce and record a live event.” Remarked Richard Payne of Teradek’s European distributor, Holdan. Innovative, straightforward and profitable though that may be, the biggest change that IT has brought about is arguably in broadcast workflows. The Broadcast Revolution Panasonic’s new AG-HPX600 is designed not just to fit into television workflows, but to push producers to adopt new ways of working that are 64 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 78 JUNE 2013 TV-BAY078JUN13.indd 64 10/06/2013 15:16