BBC approved video cameras...

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drcoffee
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Is there a database of BBC (& other network), approved video cameras?

Is a Sony Z1 / V1 regarded as good enough for broadcast?

Also is a Canon A1 used at all for any broadcast programming?

Kind Regards
Jon

Jenp
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Joined: Sep 16 2007

I used to work for the BBC and still go back for the odd frequent job.
They don't to my knowledge use the V1 or the Canon A1.
The Sony Z1 is the favourite. I think they are slowly switching over to the Z7 now.
I've shot loads for broadcast on the Z1 for the BBC and a few films for Teachers TV on it too.
Obviously it's not as lovely as digibeta!

Jenp
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Jenp wrote:
I used to work for the BBC and still go back for the odd frequent job.

Of course, I meant freelance! Doh!
:rolleyes:

Alan Roberts
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Go to the BBC Commissioning website and click on HDTV; there, you'll find all the advice you need.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

drcoffee
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Thanks for than Alan, but I can't find any info about which camera are recommended, is that because they don't want to be seen to be promoting brands?

Would you say Sony V1 footage shot SD in camera would be suitable for news / documentary type broadcast. I've read your R&D papers on both the Z1 and V1 and it seems that they are both equally bad in recording SD in Camera? Would you say recording HDV in camera, editing and then laying off to DVCAM would produce a nicer final image?

PaulD
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drcoffee wrote:
Is a????? regarded as good enough for broadcast?

HI
Deliver a transmitable-legalised high-fascination story on a DigiBeta master tape with no 'amateur' filming moments - the jobs a good'un.... ;)

)

Alan Roberts
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If you want to shoot something for broadcasting, talk to the broadcasters first. I don't set the rules, I only measure, report and recommend.

But I've yet to see any HD camera that makes a good SD picture. The best way to get SD from any HD camera is to record in HD and then to use a good downconverter to get to SD. S&W boxes use proper filtering, few other processes do.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

Jenp
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When I go out filming for the BBC, they still ask me to set my Z1 to SD.
I use all the menu settings for the Z1 from DV Solutions at the Beeb and that still clearly states to use SD not HD for filming.
Last time I even got asked to film mini-DV not DVCam!

infocus
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drcoffee wrote:
Is there a database of BBC (& other network), approved video cameras?

Is a Sony Z1 / V1 regarded as good enough for broadcast?

I doubt there is a simple answer to that, and any answer is likely to be along the lines of "it depends what it's for".

If you're thinking of doing a peaktime drama, I'm pretty sure a Z1/V1 wouldn't be seen as even close. If it's for an observational documentary, and it's essential to be low key, it's likely to be OK. Other programmes may have policies in between - allow a Z1 only as a second camera, maybe.

The SD use of the Z1 (for SD programmes) may be as much to do with workflow as quality issues. As HD starts to become the norm, I expect the bar to go a bit higher.

Alan Roberts
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No HDV camera is deemed good enough to use as a camera for shooting HDTV. And I endorse that view. I don't particularly like them for SD either, see my measurements for the explanations. The main issues are the compression artefacts of HDV recording, and the spatial aliasing.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

drcoffee
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How come the Z1 is so popular if the SD quality is so so, and the HDV isn't even really broadcastable?

The reason I originally asked was because I'm looking to get a £3000-5000 price range camera, to be a safe semi future proof option? with broadcast qualities? hopefully SD and HD... and a friendly delivery format i.e. tape

infocus
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Joined: Jul 18 2003
drcoffee wrote:
How come the Z1 is so popular if the SD quality is so so, and the HDV isn't even really broadcastable?

It's cheap, the small size can be an advantage sometimes, and for much work the quality can be "good enough". I suspect they're looking at something more like the EX as an equivalent camera come HD, by which time it'll be time to replace the Z1s anyway.

To be true "broadcast quality" you need to spend a lot more than £3,000-£5,000, and I'm not sure the words "future proof" and "tape" go together. ;) That sort of money will get you a camera which may be OK for broadcast with limitations.

SimonMW
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Hmmm. The BBC seem to have two different versions of what is acceptable. Those in their guidelines for third parties, and those that they use to shoot their own programmes!

Mad_mardy
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SimonMW wrote:
Hmmm. The BBC seem to have two different versions of what is acceptable. Those in their guidelines for third parties, and those that they use to shoot their own programmes!

yep ;)

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Jenp
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Last year, I know for a fact that whilst my friends in house at the BBC were shooting films for the One Show on their Z1s, at least one local indie was also making films for the One Show and hiring digibeta crews for the day.
I think that company has also switched to Z1s for their One Show films - at least for some of them anyway!

Alan Roberts
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The Z1 was accepted for SD at a time when the BBC's stock of PD150s was getting long in the tooth, and the prospect of HD was close. There was no other small HD camera available then (except the FX1). It was adopted as an interim camera, until better appeared. It was not accepted as an HD camera simply because HDV isn't good enough. But for DV recording at SD, it's just about ok provided the production involves no colour keying and minimal grading.

When you doubt these statements, just remember that the BBC's SD output has to look reasonably good on Freeview. At the 4.5Mb/s or so that BBC1 has, it's not too much of a problem, but on the squeezed data rates of the other channels, the artefacts produced by the camera itself, and those of the HDV compression, throw up extra MPEG2 compression artefacts and make the pictures look far more noisy than they should be. I have two pretty good demonstrations of this effect that I use in my training courses, showing not just what the problems look like, but how they can be avoided or at least ameliorated by clever camera techniques. Lots of people now understand this and are making better programmes as a result.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.

drcoffee
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Joined: Dec 10 2007

Thanks for the info guys, stuff to think about

Cheers
Jon

infocus
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Alan Roberts wrote:
It was adopted as an interim camera, until better appeared.

Just to dot i's, I'm sure Alan means that it was adopted by them for occasions when a PD150 would previously have been used, rather than as a general use camera.

Whether or not it was for BBC use I'm not sure, but I have heard of a move from Digibeta to Z1 use, then a move to back inbetween with a DSR450. The quality drop to a Z1 was just felt to be too great, and the move to a 2/3" DVCAM saved a large percentage of the cost difference, but with quality much closer to the Digibeta than the Z1.

"Quality" should here be taken to mean much more than sheer technical facts, but also concerning usability aspects and depth of field etc.

Alan Roberts
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Of course, yes, as a replacement for the PD150. That was the essence of my first sentence :)

Other factors were that the Z1 has reasonable an accessible manual controls for the lens and sound, and decent mic amps. Much of the reasoning for approval of a camera has little to do with the pictures, it's often far more to do with the ergonomics and connectivity.

Get my test cards document, and cards for 625, 525, 720 and 1080. Thanks to Gavin Gration for hosting them.
Camera settings documents are held by Daniel Browning and at the EBU
My book, 'Circles of Confusion' is available here.
Also EBU Tech.3335 tells how to test cameras, and R.118 tells how to use the results.