Jump to content


Photo

Possible ENG Models NBC Was Using?


  • Please log in to reply
86 replies to this topic

#1 Macks Fiiod

Macks Fiiod
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 747 posts
  • Director
  • Og from DC, Now in NJ

Posted 30 November 2016 - 09:05 AM

For a while, I've had the idea of creating some kind of video emulating the look of pre HDTV news cameras.

Here is a sample video of what I'm talking about:

 

 

Has anyone here worked for NBC or other major news outlets during this specific era 15 years ago? Could have more concrete answers.

 

Thanks for your time.


  • 0

#2 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2741 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 30 November 2016 - 10:21 AM

Cameras used in those days for news gathering would likely have been Sony Betacam camcorders.

 

http://thestudiocent...ds/DSCF3186.jpg

 

They were analog 3 chip SD 4:3 cameras available in PAL and NTSC versions.

 

The colors and softness that you're referring to were a known 'feature' of the NTSC standard, which was sometimes referred to as "Never The Same Color". To be fair, the images straight out of the cameras weren't that bad, but by the time they had been mangled by transmission, they were often very soft and oddly chroma'd.

 

When Betacam was phased out in the broadcast world, some countries adopted Digital Betacam, which was a 16:9 SD format, 10 bit 4.2.2, and some (like the U.S) went over to HDCAM, which was 8 bit 3.1.1, but was HD.


  • 1

#3 Brian Drysdale

Brian Drysdale
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 4859 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 30 November 2016 - 10:36 AM

Since it's what looks like a live event, they may be using OB cameras with triax as a multi camera setup into a truck, rather than Betacams used for news gathering.


  • 0

#4 Macks Fiiod

Macks Fiiod
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 747 posts
  • Director
  • Og from DC, Now in NJ

Posted 30 November 2016 - 10:58 AM

The colors and softness that you're referring to were a known 'feature' of the NTSC standard, which was sometimes referred to as "Never The Same Color". To be fair, the images straight out of the cameras weren't that bad, but by the time they had been mangled by transmission, they were often very soft and oddly chroma'd.

 

When Betacam was phased out in the broadcast world, some countries adopted Digital Betacam, which was a 16:9 SD format, 10 bit 4.2.2, and some (like the U.S) went over to HDCAM, which was 8 bit 3.1.1, but was HD.

 

There's currently an eBay listing very similar to the image you posted.

http://www.ebay.com/...r4AAOSwXyVYJPhG

 

In theory, could one output via the BNC to an Atomos recorder retaining the nice color and all?

 

Thanks for the history on these.


  • 0

#5 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11593 posts
  • Other

Posted 30 November 2016 - 11:32 AM

Cameras pre-digibeta are unlikely to have SDI (that is, digital) outputs and most modern recorders do not support standard definition in any case. Plus, as you seem to suggest, at least some of the characteristics you're interested in are likely to be artifacts of the tape recording, as much as of the camera.

 

To make it look as bad as the image you've posted, you'd probably have to record it to VHS!

 

Or transmit it, I guess.

 

P


  • 0

#6 Kenny N Suleimanagich

Kenny N Suleimanagich
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 899 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York

Posted 30 November 2016 - 11:58 AM

You could also upscale the signal through an AJA box (or a simple, cheap component to HDMI box) to a recorder. I do this with my 416 video tap. 


  • 0

#7 Michael Rodin

Michael Rodin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Riga, Latvia

Posted 30 November 2016 - 12:29 PM

Sony BVW-D600 was a workhorse camera on 2000's TV. There were also older analog BVW400 and Ikegami HL55 still in use and some newer Beta SX, DVCPRO and Digibeta cameras. 

Many OB vans and studios had Sony BVP500…900 heads or Ikegami HL57/59 with triax adapters.

That DXC series camera on eBay was a cheap one for cable, corporate, etc, not used much on major networks. 

 

Those old SD cameras were very different in image quality. Ikegamis were miles ahead of anything including Sony and Philips, vastly superior. Ikegami HL59 used to hold up quite well on big screen, better than cheap HD cameras. 


  • 0

#8 Macks Fiiod

Macks Fiiod
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 747 posts
  • Director
  • Og from DC, Now in NJ

Posted 30 November 2016 - 12:29 PM

Or transmit it, I guess.

 

The plan all along, Phil!


  • 0

#9 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2741 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 30 November 2016 - 12:36 PM

Some of the later Betacam camcorders like the BVW D600 had digital signal processing, so it's possible that they had an SDI output, but like Phil says, much of the look came from multi generation tape copies and transmission.


  • 0

#10 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2978 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 30 November 2016 - 01:13 PM

I'd just grab an analog camera with betacam recorder and you can pick up a playback deck on ebay for peanuts. You'll want to record onto tape to help generate the analog look. A lot of these cameras look really good if you record the component output with a digital recorder, so the tape noise helps considerably.

I think the BVW-300A was the last "all analog" camera. The UVW-1600's are also perfectly fine playback decks. They're kinda poorly made, but you can nab that and a camera head for a few hundred bux on ebay.

I'd also nab a sony 12v power supply for the camera, don't bother trying to make the battery work because every facility had a different battery standard, some Anton Bauer mount, others V mount and some Sony. Batteries are expensive to buy and the older nicad cell's don't last long, so by the time your done screwing around with that stuff, you will have doubled your budget. If you need portability, then maybe try to make something work, otherwise plug it into a wall with the 12v adaptor.

You'll also need a digitizing device, but I think you already have one from the VHS project right? Remember the betacam playback deck has XLR audio and BNC video, so you'll need a match box to get RCA audio for a lower-end capture card, if you're using the analog audio, which sounds great. The BVW-300A only records on the linear, dolby C encoded, analog audio tracks. So they have an "analog" sound to them. Some of the bigger models with dockable decks, record AFM audio as well.

Lenses won't be expensive either, there are literally hundreds on ebay at any given time.
  • 0

#11 Michael Rodin

Michael Rodin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Riga, Latvia

Posted 30 November 2016 - 01:31 PM

I think the BVW-300A was the last "all analog" camera. The UVW-1600's are also perfectly fine playback decks. They're kinda poorly made, but you can nab that and a camera head for a few hundred bux on ebay.

 

Ikegami HL55 was more like a final analog camera. There was an all-analog BVW400 after the BVW300A.

 

Can't agree about the UVW decks. Those were already utter crap in their day, never intended for professional use. Consumer-grade mechanics, shitty electronics - they actually had a limited bandwidth. If you buy one it can easily break down in a hour. Better get a Sony PVW deck and Ampex-made BVW is as good as it gets. 


  • 0

#12 Robin R Probyn

Robin R Probyn
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1354 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Tokyo

Posted 30 November 2016 - 08:00 PM

 

Ikegami HL55 was more like a final analog camera. There was an all-analog BVW400 after the BVW300A.

 

Can't agree about the UVW decks. Those were already utter crap in their day, never intended for professional use. Consumer-grade mechanics, shitty electronics - they actually had a limited bandwidth. If you buy one it can easily break down in a hour. Better get a Sony PVW deck and Ampex-made BVW is as good as it gets. 

 

I had a BVW 400AP that was analog..my first camera, before getting a digibeta .. (the 790 in my opinion was the first decent video camera,with a 16-9 chip and VF).. when I shot for NBC as a freelancer.. they had a Ikegami HL55.. what a beast ! when I compare that to my F5 now.. ! thank you engineers .. great strides !


  • 0

#13 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2978 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 30 November 2016 - 11:16 PM

Ikegami HL55 was more like a final analog camera. There was an all-analog BVW400 after the BVW300A.


Yea, yea I forgot about the 400. The Ikegami HL55 was a great camera head, I had one with a portable deck for a while, worked great. Maybe hard to find with a dockable deck wouldn't ya think?

Can't agree about the UVW decks. Those were already utter crap in their day, never intended for professional use. Consumer-grade mechanics, shitty electronics - they actually had a limited bandwidth. If you buy one it can easily break down in a hour. Better get a Sony PVW deck and Ampex-made BVW is as good as it gets.


THe UVW's were crap, but believe it or not, I've seen more BVW issues because people just destroy them and the heads are far more complicated, which means it's just hard to find a good working one for cheap. The dynamic tracking machines simply fall apart too quickly and weigh a metric tone. So I generally suggest people pickup UVW's for playback purposes because they don't weigh much and they're A LOT simpler.
  • 0

#14 Michael Rodin

Michael Rodin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Riga, Latvia

Posted 01 December 2016 - 11:15 AM

Dockable decks are dirt cheap, no matter Beta SP, SX or DVCPRO. Nobody needs them anyway. Decent camera heads, especially 16:9 versions, are harder to find though. 

 

I'd rather buy a PVW deck. The mechanism is simpler and easier to service than on the BVWs, and they're pro decks with adequate electronics. They don't spoil your image quality the way UVWs do. 


  • 0

#15 Macks Fiiod

Macks Fiiod
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 747 posts
  • Director
  • Og from DC, Now in NJ

Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:41 PM

I've located 2 more Betacams which seem to be at reasonable prices. Could anyone give a "legit check" on if these models were respected in their respective eras, or if they'd be the wrong look I'm searching for?

 

The first is a BetaCam SP

http://www.ebay.com/...nsAAOSwXshWqAle

 

The second (Phil's point had me searching elsewhere) is a digital Betacam

http://www.ebay.com/...PMAAOSwcwhVMCrJ

 

Really want to thank everyone posting here again. Information for this era of technology is nearly non-existent. Suppose it was coming out before the blogosphere blew up.


  • 0

#16 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2978 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 02 December 2016 - 01:53 PM

How bout

http://www.ebay.com/...116868226&rt=nc

http://www.ebay.com/...hcAAOSwOyJX7TJY
  • 0

#17 Macks Fiiod

Macks Fiiod
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 747 posts
  • Director
  • Og from DC, Now in NJ

Posted 02 December 2016 - 02:07 PM

I've seen those, but was hesitant because of Michael Rodin's "That DXC series camera on eBay was a cheap one for cable, corporate, etc, not used much on major networks" statement.

 

Would outputting through the SD-SDI of a digital betacam not give me the look I'm searching for at all? Am I splitting hairs? I've never touched one of these things in my life and am completely in the dark lol.


  • 0

#18 Tyler Purcell

Tyler Purcell
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2978 posts
  • Other
  • Los Angeles

Posted 02 December 2016 - 03:20 PM

You will never notice the difference between the two models, especially if you use the Betacam SP system to capture onto tape, which will give you that nice analog look.

Digibeta cameras are very good, they aren't much worse then early 720p cameras. In my opinion, they're too "good" looking.
  • 0

#19 Stuart Brereton

Stuart Brereton
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 2741 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 02 December 2016 - 03:34 PM

Honestly, the easiest way to get this look is shoot on a small sensor camera, like a Black Magic Pocket cam, crop to 4:3, then soften and then mess with the chroma in post. If you're determined to dig up some old cameras, remember that the images straight off the sensor weren't that bad; it was the Beta SP recording, multi generation duping and transmission that created that 'look'.


  • 0

#20 Michael Rodin

Michael Rodin
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 102 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Riga, Latvia

Posted 03 December 2016 - 01:29 PM

You will never notice the difference between the two models, especially if you use the Betacam SP system to capture onto tape, which will give you that nice analog look.

 

There isn't much of a look to first-generation BetaSP recordings. It's mostly the camera head which gives you a "look". That DXC637 will look vastly different to, say, an Ikegami HL59. It's like a Hi8 Handycam vs Alexa. 

 

Digibeta cameras are very good, they aren't much worse then early 720p cameras. In my opinion, they're too "good" looking.

Compared to hi-end Beta SP cameras, they are only cleaner and sharper, which you couldn't really see on SD Tv but might see on big screen. Again, Ikegami HL59 will look better than any Digibeta camcorder but DVW970. 


  • 0


Zylight

ZoomCrane

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

CineTape

Tai Audio

Rig Wheels Passport

Ritter Battery

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Paralinx LLC

Pro 8mm

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Quantum Music Works

Abel Cine

The Slider

Technodolly

Glidecam

Zylight

Pro 8mm

Willys Widgets

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

ZoomCrane

CineTape

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Visual Products

Tai Audio

Glidecam

CineLab

Quantum Music Works

Aerial Filmworks

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Technodolly

The Slider

Ritter Battery

rebotnix Technologies

Paralinx LLC

Broadcast Solutions Inc