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The End of the Camera Operator


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#1 Daniel Smith

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:44 AM

Hi,

Please excuse the extremity of the topic title, no one's getting fired, or aren't they...

I wanted to know the opinions of people here on the subject of camera operators being replaced with remote hot head devices, as part of my dissertation. There are a number of products and systems now available, such as the Trace X8 claiming the capability of serving demanding applications such as sporting events, saving on the 'substantial labour' of multiple camera operators.

I've personally seen the replacement of operators with 'hot heads' within various broadcasters, even in demanding sporting applications such as Tennis.

Why aren't all camera operators being replaced with 'hot head' devices? What is it that makes 1:1 camera and operator setups so much better and/or reliable? Are there physical advantages to 'hot heads' in terms of where they can be placed, and where a human can't?

Is it possible that with the developments in 'hot head' technologies more and more camera operator positions will be delegated to remote multicamera camera control interfaces in the future?

Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by Daniel Ashley-Smith, 20 February 2012 - 10:46 AM.

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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:46 AM

Surely the remote heads still need to be operated by someone.
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#3 Daniel Smith

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 10:51 AM

Surely the remote heads still need to be operated by someone.

They do, but the Trace X8 is said to control up to 8 camera positions simultaneously, remotely by a single operator, allegedly saving on labour.
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:30 AM

They do, but the Trace X8 is said to control up to 8 camera positions simultaneously, remotely by a single operator, allegedly saving on labour.


These devices tend to be used more in TV news studios or fixed, one location set ups. They wouldn't be used on say a drama, although remotely controlled cameras do seem to be used on some documentaries set in a single location eg an A & E unit (ER in US speak).

The hot heads following fast action usually need a single operator. It's much easier for one person to remotely control multi camera set ups if the subjects are just sitting or standing in the one spot, for example covering government debates in assemblies or parliaments.

Edited by Brian Drysdale, 20 February 2012 - 11:32 AM.

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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 11:38 AM

Oh, right, I'm sure that's going to look outstanding.


P
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 12:31 PM

I've personally seen the replacement of operators with 'hot heads'


Are they not the same thing?

Oh bada bing, bada boom, brilliant Richard, just brilliant! :)

R,
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#7 Simon Wyss

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 01:20 PM

Who wants to replace the cinematographer, the cameraperson?

Fools rush in . . .
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#8 KH Martin

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:14 AM

Why is this reminding me of that STAR TREK where Kirk is going to be replaced by a computer as starship captain?
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#9 AndreaAltgayer

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 01:42 PM

Monarch Innovative has also come up with a virtual studio: www.monarchinnovative.com.
They did a demonstration at our studios when it came out, but in my opinion, it looks very gimmicky.Also, in a news situation, you still need ENG caamera operators to shoot footage.

People also seem to ignore the fact that even the most developed technology has its limitations. Mother Nature and Murphy and his famous Law always have plans of their own, which kick in when we least want them to! If a studio is entirely virtual except for the presenters, then what would happen if the server gives up the ghost, or if someone hacks into your computer system? Are virtual studios really technical gremlin-free?

Regards,

Andrea
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#10 Tom Jensen

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 01:33 AM

I've seen the Terminator series and machines will eventually take over. BUT, in the meantime, you can't replace the eye of an artist.
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