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Construction Week|August 2020
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A deep dive into how cameras have evolved drastically to encompass greater capabilities
ANISHA GAKHAR

Our TV watching habits have changed considerably in the past few decades. But if we look back in time, we can see how broadcasting technology has been changing continuously since the first television programs were telecasted for the first TV sets, and how broadcasters have innovated to keep us entertained. Productions or broadcasts, irrespective of whether they take place remotely or locally, begin with a common starting point—the camera. They are the arguably the eyes of the workflow.

Cameras have evolved too. If we look at the history of cameras, it took a lot of light to make an image that wasn’t that good. However, once the basic circuit was made, people used it as a foundation to make better cameras. In the late 1940s, the image orthicon was invented, and that was when TV as we know it today really got its start. The monumental move from black and white to colour marked the beginning of an era, and there has been no looking back since.

In live production environments, cameras give production teams the flexibility to work in varied ways, whether with remote or at-home production or a more traditional mobile production approach, be that over traditional SDI, 12G SDI or over IP. Most media houses opt for fully glass-to-glass solutions, the ability for vendors to offer customers integrated workflows is of the utmost importance, and this starts with the best cameras.

NEED OF THE HOUR

Where today’s broadcasters and production companies are being asked to provide services across multiple platforms, delivering strong stories and arresting images is more important than ever to keep audiences captivated. “We are seeing a growing demand for 4K/UHD and HDR cameras and lenses, but this differs from region to region, and from customer to customer, depending on their budgets and requirements. While consumer take-up of 4K television sets is rising, the majority of viewers worldwide are watching their content on HD sets – so we still have many customers asking for HD camera systems,” said Greg de Bressac, VP, Sales – APAC, Grass Valley.

In some regions, next-generation production formats combine resolution, dynamic range and colour gamut (e.g. 1080p with HDR and WCG). This doesn’t always require 4K cameras, though. Camera technology companies, today, serve a wide range of subjective requirements with solutions optimised to the particular scenario.

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August 2020