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TECHNOLOGY Cutting the cord by Will Strauss W ireless cameras are not new. In fact, they date back to the 1970s. But it’s only been in the last ten years that this technology has really blossomed, with engineers working out how to adapt the digital terrestrial transmission technology so that it can be used efficiently for programme-making. From that tipping point we have truly begun to see wireless cameras move into places that other technologies cannot reach. The big advantage of digital wireless camera systems over their analogue predecessors, of course, is that they do not require a line-of-sight connection between the transmitter and the receiver. Signals can be refl ected off walls and error correction algorithms and modulation settings ensure the best possible picture quality and stability is achieved even if the camera is hurtling down a luge track or fl ying high in a helicopter. Current day working examples of this could be seen at the recent Winter Olympics in Sochi... Integrated Microwave Technologies, part of the Vitec Group’s Videocom Division, supplied 30 Nucomm CamPac2 wireless camera systems (CP2) for coverage of various events. The system comprised a CP2 camera-mounted transmitter and Newscaster DR2 diversity receiver, Sony’s RPS (Remote Paint System) camera control and a digital voice intercom package. The CP2 is a tri-band-capable unit that operates in the unlicensed 5.8-GHz band - as well as licensed 7.1-7.75 GHz bands - without the need for any hardware changes. The RPS Camera Control for Sony cameras provides real-time control of all critical parameters available Wireless technology isn’t just used for sending pictures. It is also used to control functions on different bits of kit - including lenses and follow focus systems – or to send information to a camera, using a tablet or smartphone, to add metadata. As an example, P2 fi les captured onto Panasonic cameras like the AJ-HPX3100G and the AG-HPX600 can have the recording time, GPS position, text information and memos tagged to selected frames. This is done using the AJ-WM30 Wireless Module and a Upgrade Software Key. within the panel or camera’s feature set, “just as if it were hard- wired together.” On a similar theme, Broadcast RF used Vislink’s Link L1700 transmitters, launched at IBC last year, for The Jump, a show for Channel 4 that saw 12 celebrities perform winter sports ahead of the Winter Olympics. Broadcasts RF’s Helmet Camera System, which consisted of a discreet head camera, plus a transmitter and batteries mounted in a backpack, was deployed on bobsleigh and speed skating events amongst other things. 42 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 87 MARCH 2014 It’s not just sport where wireless cameras play a huge role. News is a big user – particularly for fi eld transmission – while technology like Boxx TV’s Meridian system, designed for high quality, zero delay, short range transmissions, can be used for all sorts of shows where multiple cameras need to move freely across large areas. Reality TV is a great example. Sony has a wireless metadata development of its own. The XMPilot Planning Metadata system uses a compact Wi-Fi module to stream proxy-quality video and audio, as it is captured, to a dedicated application on a laptop computer or smartphone, allowing a director, location producer, AP or whoever to record, log and add metadata.