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PTZ UK Explosion by Kieron Seth T he advent of broadcast quality, remotely controlled PTZ cameras has had an enormous impact on television production in the UK. Not only can cameras now be discreetly placed in virtually any location but they can also be operated a very small team of technicians. This combination of creative freedom and the significant cost reduction over manned camera crews has made programmes shot partly or even entirely by mini cameras an increasingly realistic for prospect television production companies. This surge in interest in PTZ technology is reflected in increased product sales, with manufacturers, such as Panasonic Broadcast, recording strong growth in its cameras and remote controllers. Nigel Wilkes, Sales Manager in the UK comments: DEFINE: PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) A camera which can be controlled via Joystick or DVR and moved up/ down, left/right and zoomed in/out. camera heads to broadcast standard Panasonic systems that feature zoom ranges up-to 22x, IP and RS-422 control and even infrared shooting modes. Nick McLachlan, MD of Minicams noted: “The last year has been non-stop. Our ability to wheel in pre-configured and fully integrated portable production unit that is broadcast compliant and can control literally dozens of remote cameras and microphones is very appealing to broadcasters. The low power requirements of the rig and the simplicity of installing camera sound equipment means that we can prepare a typical terraced house for documentary use within a day. Because the kit is so versatile, producers can act incredibly quickly dramatically cut the time from the commission to air. It also means that productions can be filmed using a very small crew without the need to “The zoom range, variable panning speed and image quality of the latest generation of PTZ cameras means that programme makers are making no compromise in using the small units. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. New types of productions are being undertaken that could never have been considered before; fly on the wall documentaries are now appearing where the lives of participants go one as if totally unaware they are being filmed 24-7. Without the intrusion of the camera team, these productions have a new sense of realism, unlike earlier - possibly more contrived -programmes.” PTZ specialist Minicams Limited has witnessed a real surge in interest in the technology. Its inventory of cameras ranges from Sony and Toshiba 56 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 83 NOVEMBER 2013 Nick McLachlan - Minicams