Oxygen DCT has supplied a pair of LCD Super Rack Series HD monitors to Camsat, a Cardiff-based company that offers HD/SD satellite transmission and news gathering services to larger broadcasters.
Established just six months ago, Camsat is already attracting work from broadcasters such as the BBC, Sky and The Golf Channel, as well as a growing roster of corporate clients. The company is headed by Tudor Ellis, who has 28 years experience in the broadcast industry. He began his career at HTV Wales where he trained as a sound technician at the Mold Studios in North Wales. He then moved to Cardiff where he worked on a number of major programmes featuring very well know faces and stars.
Although I was trained as a sound tech/supervisor and worked in that capacity in various studios, film, PSC dramas, Soaps and OBs, I also operated a camera because that was what we all did during the multi-skilling era, Ellis explains. As a stills photographer in my downtime, camerawork was something of a natural progression for me. I enjoyed - and still enjoy - creating imagery in the fields of Documentary, Features, News and Sport.
When ITV took on the uPod Satellite system, Ellis says he fell in love with this new mode of working and camerawork and live broadcasting became something he handled on a daily basis, taking on more and more challenging live injects into the News bulletins. His expertise, combined with a desire to run his own business, eventually led him to set up Camsat after he spotted a gap in the market for a small company with a high spec HD/SD DSNG truck.
Today's news-gathering is a constantly changing environment, where great emphasis is placed on delivering high quality news to the viewer in a fast, efficient and professional manner, Ellis says. I could see real potential for an HD/SD DSNG facility that could work alongside the major players, and also be very accessible to the smaller production teams.
Camsats HD/SD uplink vehicle has a fully tracking 1.8m Advent dish and facilities for multi camera live transmission, recording, editing and satellite transmission. Originally, the plan for the truck was to stay single path SD, but Ellis changed his mind after negotiating an equipment deal that made a fully redundant and dual path SD/HD truck a viable proposition.
At this point, with most of my base band being SD, Oxygen DCT came to the rescue by offering me a very attractive pair of Dual 9" HD monitors, with inbuilt scopes and de-embedded audio, he says. These are my main quality monitoring for the Base Band. They were incredibly easy to install and have proved to be extremely flexible in operation, especially with the menu options allowing on screen titles, 8 channels of de-embedded audio and waveform and vector scopes built in to the screen. All these facilities can be switched off via a couple of buttons on the front panel when they are not required.
Oxygen DCTs LCD Super Rack Series monitors were introduced last summer and have already been installed in more than 30 Outside broadcast and SNG vehicles. The combination of high quality LCD displays, an extensive array of practical features and very competitive pricing are leading many broadcasters to choose them over more established brands. Each LCD has incredibly accurate colour controls and sharpness for clearer picture detail, while built-in waveform monitors and audio meters make them especially popular in environments such as OB where rack space is at a premium.
Camsats first HD booking was this year's Open in St Andrews, which we did for the Golf Channel, Ellis says. This required 2 x 18 meg HD paths, for over six hours a day for seven days. It was literally jumping in at the deep end, but the monitors showed their true flexibility by automatically and effortlessly changing from 1080i 50 to 1080i 59.94, and with audio being decoded via the headphones socket onto the main audio monitoring. This incredible performance allowed me to successfully fit a quart into a pint pot in the very the early days of the DSNG truck's life.
Ellis adds that his next purchase for the truck will be an HD vision mixer, and he will be looking to Oxygen DCT as a potential supplier of the monitors required.