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What's the difference between "studio cameras" and ones used for film?

Studio cameras Film TV

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#1 Harry Weaks

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 05:49 PM

Whenever I watch a talk show or sitcom being filmed, they always seem to distinctively refer to the cameras used to film their programs as "studio cameras". They don't seem to be the same types of cameras I've seen/heard of being usef for film production --and look different as well. They can be seen being pushed around on things noted as pedestals, and are confusing me as I don't know why they are specially used for those types of programs versus ones for film. Film cameras i'm referring to may be ones from Arri or Red for instance --or certain DSLRs. 
 
Here's an image of the type of cameras I see being used during the type of programs mentioned:
 
HDC-1000350.jpg
 
Are they capable of certain things the other cameras noted above are not? If so, what? Are they used differently? If so, how? If not, why not? Could the same types of programs mentioned be filmed on Arri or red cameras? Certain DSLRs? If so, why aren't they --at least from what I can tell? If not, why not? What differences are their between "studio cameras", and ones --like those noted above-- used for film?

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 06:19 PM

These cameras & pedestals are designed for the operator to pull their own focus and do their own booming up and down and pushing in and out (requiring a smooth floor).  Usually these cameras don't have internal recorders and they are fed to a control booth where there is live switching going on, though the feeds are recorded also in isolation in case they need to do some re-editing.  The cameras generally have a powerful zoom on them, meaning they also aren't very fast, though since these cameras almost all use 2/3" sensors, the extra depth of field plus being on sets lit above an f/4 makes things a little more forgiving in terms of focus.

 

A traditional film-style camera on a dolly requires a focus puller and a dolly grip as well as the operator.  Plus you're usually shooting on a 35mm sized sensor with 35mm cine optics.

 

There are a few hybrid shows, generally sitcoms, that have a mix of the two approaches.  There are union issues involved in the staffing requirements for the two types of shows.


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#3 John E Clark

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Posted 08 October 2015 - 08:09 PM

The 'studio' camera is a descendant of the analog video camera used for most most of the history of TV for live broadcasts (even if they were recorded for broadcast in timezones other than the East Cost, and after the introduction of video tape recording, 'previously recorded' shows.

 

The traditional studio camera set up was 3 cameras, and they were connected to the control room, where the program director, would control which camera was feeding the broadcast. As such they were bulky, had all the capability to move around the studio floor smoothly, but never intended for 'outdoor' work in general... although for major news events when there was enough time to bring in truck loads of equipment, the cameras were used outdoors.

 

Since they were 'video' cameras, at the time the standard resolution was 525(480 visible) lines in NTSC land, and 625(576 visible) in PAL land. In addition the 3 cameras would be synchronized with the 'house timing system' so that there would be no momentary 'flashes' or other artifacts (rainbows in color systems...) of changing the signal source when switching between cameras.

 

Modern digital cameras of course now have HD resolutions, but the principles are the same.

 

In most cases for Narrative Film, 1 camera is used. For 'big' actions shots and special effects, numbers of cameras may be used. And I have seen some references to productions that have used more than 1 camera in settings that would have otherwise been one camera. One justification was that there was less set up required so the shoot could proceed faster. But then lighting may be less tailored and dramatic for the 'one camera point of view'...


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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 09 October 2015 - 02:50 AM

Studio cameras have control units which allow them to be colour corrected as a programme is being transmitted live (or pre recorded).


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