Investing in the Future of Broadcast Media


Clive Northen TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Download PDF
Download PDF

At the time of writing, the summer World Cup is providing its usual challenge to camera crews trying to televise the bright sunlight of the stadium without losing detail in shaded areas such as the covered terraces. It is a perfect demonstration of the need for high dynamic range. Several broadcasters are experimentally covering this year's tournament in 4K HDR, including the BBC which is streaming dozens of matches via its iPlayer service. HDR is also accompanied by a wider colour space, meaning millions more colours can be displayed than previously. Yet another advance is the adoption of 50p delivery rather than traditional 50i.

The 3G HD to 12G UHD transition

OB companies are increasingly investing in 12G infrastructure to capture the cleanest possible source UHD. Some companies see UHD as a logical progression when their HD equipment needs replacement. Others are more bullish, recognising the advantages of keeping up to date with the latest standards. 12G is also potentially useful in an HD production because it allows a producer to crop HD video selectively from a UHD source.

The transition from SD to HD was largely price driven as manufacturers geared to offer HD products at prices previously associated with SD equipment. We anticipate the 3G HD to 12G UHD transition following the same pattern, powered by the accelerating public demand for UHD content from online content providers. There is obviously a big advantage in shooting new content in UHD rather than HD to maximise its future value.

Increased demand for slow-motion

Demand for high speed cameras to deliver slow-motion coverage of sports has increased significantly over the past couple of years. The Sony HDC-4800 can shoot full-resolution progressive UHD at up to 8x or HD at up to 16x. The EVS XT3 slow-motion server supports every super motion camera on the market and provides native options for up to 12 record channels with proxy encoding in SD and HD, eight channels of 1080p or three channels of UHD-4K in any in/out combination.

PTZF and RLP

Camera robotics have advanced a lot in recent years. We are investing in remotely controllable pan/tilt/zoom/focus (PTZF) camera heads which can be steered and fine-adjusted by an operator from a distance of a few metres, half a kilometre or (via IP) half way round the world. Remote Live Production (RLP), where practically all camera control is via long-distance IP, has been mooted as a successor to traditional OB operation. The economic attractions are obvious given the reduced need to field elaborate production vehicles and large crewing teams. But the practical problems are equally obvious, especially latency if an operator in London is trying to track a pole-vaulting athlete in Tokyo. If RLP takes off, we are ready to respond quickly to market demand.

What's in the box?

Finepoint Broadcast has been supplying the television industry with a wide choice of production and OB equipment for nearly 35 years. The company's starting point was to offer customers an alternative from the high capital cost of buying project-specific kit to handle a short-term project. Finepoint continues today supplying the very latest equipment for many large scale sporting and entertainment programmes in the UK and internationally.

A vital aspect of the hire business is careful attention to detail, ensuring all the vital cables needed with a product are actually in the box when the client needs it and do actually work when connected to form a system. Discovering that at vital element of a rig is missing or defective is stressful enough for broadcasters or production staff working at their base studio, and a great deal more if they are operating on location.

Responsive investment

Equipment purchases are based on frequent discussions with regular customers about their likely needs in the mid-term future. We are a listening company and invest on a basis of proven demand rather than chasing new technology for its own sake. We also monitor technical trends at major shows such as NAB and IBC Keeping our eyes and ears open ensures we are not wrong-footed in our investment strategy.

A key element of success in the modern broadcast equipment supply sector is being seen by clients as a technology provider going beyond traditional dry-hire. We now have a hire and sales divisions working together to enable a constant flow of the very latest equipment in our rental fleet. When ready, we release into the market well maintained ex-rental equipment in excellent condition.

Our investment plan for the 2018-19 financial year alone anticipates a £2 million spend on new equipment which will equip the hire fleet to the latest technical standards, including 4K/UHD and HDR. We have already taken a delivery of Sony HDC-4300 and HDC-4800 cameras and associated 4K Canon lenses. Other recent additions include EVS XT3 ChannelMax and XFile3 production servers.

High-grade maintenance

It is obviously important to provide the expertise essential to ensure returned equipment is maintained in first-class condition. We are one of the few hire companies that employ a team of full-time bench engineers to ensure we not only deliver great kit but clients know it has been through engineering checks before it goes back out on hire. Our technical team includes Michael Bullions, Lenzel Dyke and Richard Morey, led by Chief Engineer Andrew Mckenzie.


Tags: iss132 | finepoint | hire | 4k hdr | Clive Northen
Contributing Author Clive Northen

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Download PDF
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Hireacamera at BVE 2014

    Hireacamera at BVE 2014

  • Hireacamera at BVE 2013

    Hireacamera at BVE 2013

  • Hireacamera at BVE North 2012

    Hireacamera at BVE North 2012

  • Hireacamera at BVE 2012

    Hireacamera at BVE 2012

  • Hireacamera at ProVideo2011

    Hireacamera at ProVideo2011

  • Hireacamera at BVE North 2011

    Hireacamera at BVE North 2011

  • Lynx Technik Evie 4k HDR to SDR Conversion at NAB 2019

    Lynx Technik Evie 4k HDR to SDR Conversion at NAB 2019


Related Shows
  • How is the recent budget going to help or hinder the TV, film & media production industry in the UK

    How is the recent budget going to help or hinder the TV, film & media production industry in the UK


Articles
The Cloud - a measured approach
Ciaran Doran

With the buzz of ‘cloud’ everywhere in our industry it would be natural to think that cloud is the only game in town. Isn’t it time to step back and consider very carefully how, or whether, you make that journey to the cloud?

Tags: cloud | rohde and schwarz | rohde | schwarz | Ciaran Doran
Contributing Author Ciaran Doran Click to read
Meeting the specification
Chris Smeeton

A good technical specification will detail precisely what is required, from the equipment to the cables connecting it. Many specifications will give  particular manufacturers and model numbers. On many occasions, this makes tendering simple and gives vendors a secure and fair way to bid.

Tags: CPR specification | argosy cable | fire safe cable | eu standard cable | chris smeeton | Chris Smeeton
Contributing Author Chris Smeeton Click to read
Avid and Rohde & Schwarz
Ciaran Doran

Rohde & Schwarz is the perfect ingest partner to build flexible workflows with Avid.

Tags: Rohde and Schwarz | avid | spycernode | editing | asset management | venice | Ciaran Doran
Contributing Author Ciaran Doran Click to read
Sennheiser MKE 400 hands on review and test
KitPlus

Sennheiser have just released two products aimed at simplifying audio on the move, the MKE400 shotgun microphone and the XS Lav Mic, in this review we’re looking at the MKE400.

Tags: sennheiser mke400 | sennheiser mke 400 | sennheiser mke 400 quality | best microphones for youtube | mic for youtube videos | sennheiser mke 400 hands on | microphone review | iphone videography | microphones | sound for video | camera microphone | microphone for iphone | microphone for youtube | video microphone | shotgun mics | smartphone microphone | vlogging mic | best microphone for video | shotgun microphone review | mke 400 | sennheiser mke 400 hands on review | sennheiser mke 400 test | KitPlus
Contributing Author KitPlus Click to read
A Broadcasters Guide to Microservices
Roger Persson

The word “microservices” has been creeping into the conversation about software-centric systems recently. Is it really a different approach, what does it mean, and what are the advantages?

Tags: nxt edition | microservices | modular software | Roger Persson
Contributing Author Roger Persson Click to read