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Around the camera at BVE

New developments in camera control from Camera Corps, a new ultra-wide-angle lens from Polecam, camera grip, matteboxes and follow focus from OConnor, and friendly advice from the Guild of Television Cameramen.

Camera Corps’
compact camera control

Camera Corps will introduce new Switchpad and Mini Joystick controls at BVE, as part of a fully operational programme production system including its Q-Ball robotic cameras.

Switchpad is a multi-camera control unit that increases from five to 96 the number of remote camera heads that can be operated via the company’s Joystick Control or CCU Panel. It can also be used with Camera Corps’ Multi Camera Combiner to allow up to four Joystick operators and up to four CCU engineers to control the 96 cameras and pan & tilt heads simultaneously, using only one data line.

It can drive many different types of video router, enabling the picture monitor to follow camera selection at any of the eight operator positions. Up to 255 channel numbers and routing-matrix assignment numbers can be selected via the keypad for easy integration of the 96 sources with existing camera channel configurations on video matrices with up to 256 inputs.

Switchpad uses a basic three-digit entry system. This can be shortened by ending the entry sequence with the ENTER button. UP and DOWN buttons can be used to step up and down through the channel numbers. LEFT and RIGHT buttons will step through a sequence of the most recent eight channels used. Four MIX buttons on the keypad can be preset to any four channel numbers as a means of quickly displaying up to four ‘stream’ or ‘mixer’ outputs. Up to eight channel numbers can be pre-assigned to the Joystick panel’s own selector buttons.

Switchpad is compatible with many different types of camera as well as the Q-Ball. Connection is via a robust interface, which encodes control data onto a standard audio line at user-selectable bit-rates.

The Mini Joystick Control has been developed for applications such as commentator-camera control or OB vehicles with restricted space, this compact control is compatible with Camera Corps and Egripment pan and tilt heads. The joystick and control buttons have the same tactile responsiveness as those on Camera Corps’ full-size controller, including fully adjustable pan, tilt and zoom speeds and reverses. Zoom is controlled by rotary twist of the joystick. Up to five separate heads can be operated from a single panel. Reverse settings and control speeds for each of the five channels can be stored in non-volatile internal memory.

Camera Corps’ generic audio data communication system is employed to allow unlimited operating distances between Mini Joystick Control and the remote heads. Each of the five channels has its own red and green cue/tally light switch. Individual channels can be locked to prevent inadvertent alteration of presets. Focus can be remote-adjusted manually or switched between manual and automatic when used with cameras that support these features. Mini Joystick Control operates from 9v to 18v DC power adapter or battery. Total panel dimensions are 190x140x110mm. Weight is 400g. – Stand: B-10

Polecam ultra-wide-angle lens

Polecam is distributing the Theia MY125M ultra-wide-angle effects lens, which is designed for use with 1/3-inch single-CCD or CMOS cameras of up to 5-megapixel resolution, and captures a 125º horizontal field of view with high geometric precision and 10cm to infinity focal depth.

Aperture is manually adjustable between F1.8 and fully closed. The MY125M weighs just 100g, is 54mm long and 36mm in diameter, and can be used across a temperature range of -20 to +60 Celsius. Being a rectilinear lens, the image is top-down so the camera must be mounted upside down or the output inverted electronically. It is claimed to have less than 3% barrel distortion, giving it greater geometric accuracy than traditional fisheye lenses, allowing production in confined spaces such as a car.

It was used in Toshiba’s Space Chair Project when it delivered broadcast-quality video in combination with a Toshiba IK-HR1S camera from the edge of space, 98,000 feet above the Nevada desert, and allows huge areas of a sports stadium to be covered from a single viewpoint without need for a pan-and-tilt head. – Stand: B-10

OConnor in focus

OConnor‘s new CFF-1 Cine Follow Focus features modular construction that eliminates the need to juggle separate bridge plates.

The CFF-1 has the lowest clearance available in a double-sided studio unit, and sports a large diameter lens-friendly design. It integrates with existing accessories such as whips, gears, cranks, and is designed to be both camera versatile and to accommodate future accessories.

Another recent innovation is OConnor’s O-Grips Handgrip system. They feature single-handle ball joints with high-load capacity, and a rod bridge that fits all three rod standards. The modular O-Grips are stackable for custom applications and can be configured to create double or even multi-joint handles. Each grip is fully adjustable and is capable of a half sphere of stepless articulation. By combining two grips, the range can be extended to a complete sphere.

The brand-new O-Box WM mattebox (pictured) is designed for 16:9 format full-size sensor camera setups, including HD DSLRs. It is compact and accommodates lenses up to 18mm in focal length; some wider. The mattebox can mount up to three filters: two in top-loading filter frames (two each 4×4-inch and 4×5.65-inch, frames included), with the rear frame rotatable through 360º. A third 138mm round filter fits in the optional bellows ring. O-Box WM is claimed to be the first commercially produced mattebox to have integrated handgrip interfaces.

OConnor will also be showing its new 2065 Fluid Head, designed for cameras like the Red One, Sony F35, and Arri Alexa. Features include: stepless, ultra-smooth pan and tilt fluid drag, and sinusoidal counterbalance that provides, accurate balance at any tilt range point. – Stand: I-30

Guild of Television Cameramen

The GTC exhibits at Broadcast Video Expo every year, and offers camera users the chance to talk to experienced, unbiased experts who won’t be trying to sell you anything – except, of course, membership of the Guild.

It is an independent international organisation that cares about TV camerawork and the people who make it their craft, with members in all areas of broadcasting. As well as organising an extensive schedule of workshops and seminars, which are free to members, the GTC publishes a highly regarded magazine filled with items of practical interest to cameramen (copies will be available on the stand) and an informative and topical regular newsletter for members. One daily attraction is its email forum, which enables cameramen from all around the world to exchange ideas, advice, experience and information. It also provides an online ‘search for a cameraman’ facility featuring members’ CVs. – Stand: I-66