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Ask the experts with Jim Daniels, technical director, Camera Corps Increasing creativity and functionality with Q-Ball and CP4 Tell us more about Camera Corps and its position within the industry… C amera Corps was founded almost 20 years ago to offer broadcasters video system design and rental services. Having focused on rentals from the very beginning, we have provided high- volume cameras, pan-and-tilt heads and tracking systems, along with support services, for reality television production, large-scale sporting and entertainment events such as the Summer and Winter Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup soccer championships, and other major applications. Over the years, we purpose-built some unique, high-tech equipment to accommodate specific customer needs. The response from our customers was very enthusiastic, so we began manufacturing and selling equipment as well. One of our first standalone products was the Q-Ball, which became a best seller among camera solutions which have robotic pan-and-tilt heads on the market. We expanded our reach and capabilities further in 2012, when we joined the Vitec Group’s Videocom Division. What is Q-Ball? The Q-Ball system provides content producers with a high-quality remote- controlled video camera that is small and unobtrusive enough to place in locations that are inconvenient or impossible for a standard camera/ operator team. It is based on a successful Sony chip, electronics and lens combination using a 1/3- inch, two-megapixel CMOS camera sensor developed by Sony for OEM applications. We took the Sony system and engineered it into an extremely small spherical enclosure, adding an advanced pan-and-tilt head and comprehensive remote control protocols. The camera system operates at several performance levels, including HD 720p and 1080i at 50/59.94hz, and SD performance covering 625/50 and 525/59.94hz, with aspect ratios of 16x9 and 4x3 to cover a wide range of production situations. The Q-Ball system also features NightWatch infrared, an integrated 10x-zoom optical lens and C M Y CM MY wide-angle lens adapters. We have packaged this all in a weatherproof, 4.5-inch-diameter aluminium sphere with extremely smooth accelerating pan and tilt motors. The system offers four channels of embedded audio for stereo or multichannel capture, and master black level and colour- saturation control for colour-matching Q-Ball with other HD/SD cameras for production consistency. CY CMY K What led you to develop the Q-Ball system? We developed Q-Ball based on our experience of using the Sony camera at the Beijing Olympics where we had nearly 50 of the cameras deployed, in fixed housings. In order to make them robotic, we had to put them on a relatively large standard pan-and-tilt head. The results were not particularly nice looking as we had quite a small camera on a large robotic head, so the unit was physically obtrusive. Although we used a few of them in that mode, it wasn’t ideal. Not everyone does the same thing in front of a camera. Some might feel intimidated, others may act unnatural, and a few will play to the 42 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 78 JUNE 2013 TV-BAY078JUN13.indd 42 10/06/2013 15:16