The goal of live sports broadcasting is to immerse the viewer in the experience so much that they believe they are actually at the event. The advent of UHDTV has provided broadcasters with the frame rates and pixel resolution to make this almost a reality. Even though at the time of writing the specification and delivery of UHDTV is still to be defined by the interested parties, there has been a number of widely reported sporting events including the recent FIFA World Cup that have been trialling and broadcasting in UHD.
The latest generation infrastructure including production switchers and wireless transmitters are able to work with both HD and UHD sources and mix/convert between to simultaneously provide a multi-format output for the multi-platform and multi-device consumption being targeted to today’s viewer. However, one of the (many) remaining issues facing broadcasters with the move to UHDTV is that other traditionally available solutions may not yet be available with UHDTV support.
One specific item is the small form factor camera often referred to as the ‘mini-cam’. These cameras are used in situations where a studio camera is not suitable or practical; examples are goal-cam, aerial camera or point-of-view (POV) as used with increasingly popular reality television shows and second screen applications in live events. To solve this particular issue IO Industries has launched the Flare 4KSDI at IBC2014. The 4KSDI is a single piece highly compact 4K/UHDTV camera.
Multi-angle camera arrangements are one way to increase the viewing experience and can also add to advertising revenues. Multi-camera systems in today’s live sports have been introduced by Fox Sports with their Diamond Cam and Hyper Motion and the popular Sky Sports 360.
With this increased call for multi-camera systems, a mini-cam will be considered so long as it retains the same features and image quality as the studio cameras. Their advantage of a smaller footprint and lower cost makes these multi-camera systems increasingly more accessible.
Historically mini-cams could have been forgiven on image quality or output format due to the specialist view they can create – but these shortcomings are no longer accepted by the broadcaster or the viewer. The Flare 4KSDI uses a global shutter APS-C/Super 35mm image sensor and has full colour processing within the camera for colour matching. It can be controlled by either the same handheld remote as used by the 2KSDI or via RCP (the protocol is freely available).
The Flare 4KSDI marks the start of a new generation of mini-cam performance. With UHD and 4K output via quad 3G-SDI outputs at frame rates of up to 60p, it is built to meet the demands and uncertainty surrounding the technical requirements of the next standards in broadcasting.