Grass Valley has added four new high-speed cameras to its LDX range, including two XtremeSpeed 6X models, and announced the first purchases of these by outside broadcast companies for sports production. The first users of the XtremeSpeed cameras are US OB companies Lyon Video and Mobile TV Group (MTVG).
Lyon Video bought two LDX XS cameras after testing them on NHL Hockey for Fox Sports. It is installing one LDX XS and a K2 Dyno Replay System into its new Lyon-14, an expanding 16m HD truck, and will use the second LDX XS across several of its other trucks - which will be helped by the ease that the new XCU XtremeSpeed XF Fiber transmission system can be transferred.
“The initial camera that we tested was used to follow player action in the rink, and we were immediately impressed with the camera’s capabilities,” said Lyon Video’s President, Bob Lyon. “Even under the indoor lighting conditions of the hockey rink, the LDX XS was powerful enough to capture 6X speed imagery with top-notch results. Another great feature with the LDX XS is that you don’t have to wait for it to transfer clips from an internal in-camera storage device, which is a huge time saver.”
He also likes the K2 Dyno's integration, “ease of use” and AnySpeed technology (“we get the smoothest 6X playback possible”), while the AnyLightXtreme flicker reduction system “means that we don't get annoying light flicker when used in venues that rely on artificial lighting. Added up, that means great sports coverage for our clients and the fans at home.”
MTVG has bought 16 LDX XS cameras and eight K2 Dyno Replay Systems for live sports coverage for seven OBs for Fox Sports regional networks and one for Root Sports Rocky Mountain. Each mobile unit will have two ultra slow-motion cameras. It already owns more than 250 Grass Valley cameras and 28 of its production switchers, but this is its first K2 Dyno purchase.
According to Philip Garvin, MTVG’s general manager, the company had planned to use the LDX XS and K2 Dyno on a field trial-only basis. “Initially this began as a test run with Fox Sports regional networks and Root Sports at the spring training baseball games, but after we saw the stunning image quality and ultra slow-motion instant replays from the new workflow, we decided to go ahead and order the gear immediately,” said Garvin.
“This is an outstanding development in super slow-motion and ultra slow-motion production, and we expect it to be a real game changer in the industry. The 6X images from the LDX XS captured such fine detail, and the speed of the K2 Dyno, which includes AnySpeed dynamic playback, was truly unmatched.” MTVG plans to order additional 6X workflows over the next two years.
The LDX XS (XtremeSpeed) and LDX Compact XS boast instant time-to-air capabilities and should integrate seamlessly into live workflows with either 3X or 6X speeds. The cameras will deliver images in 1080i and 720p with 150 and 179.82 triple-speed frame rates and 300 and 359.64 sextuple-speed frame rates, as well as 150 and 179.82 triple-speed frame rates in 1080p, as well as having a 1X standard speed live output.
The ultra slow-motion video from the LDX XS and LDX Compact XS is available immediately, without having to wait for the camera to transfer clips from an internal storage device. Both the LDX XS and LDX Compact XS transfer acquired footage in real time to an external server so it can be used on-air immediately without missing any action on the field of play.
There are also two new 3X cameras, the LDX HS (HiSpeed) and LDX Compact HS, which are successors to the LDK 8300 3X super slow-motion camera and support 1080i and 720p with 150 and 179.82 triple-speed frame rates, as well as live 1X output. Both HiSpeed cameras are software upgradable via GV-eLicenses to the LDX XS and LDX Compact XS, respectively.
The four cameras are built around Grass Valley’s Xensium-FT CMOS imagers, which boast high sensitivity and high dynamic range.
“Today’s live productions require a high-speed camera solution that provides versatility, flexibility, and easy integration into the live production workflow,” said Mike Cronk, Senior Vice President Strategic Marketing, Grass Valley. “These new additions to our LDX line deliver pioneering technology that’s going to break new ground for broadcasters and content creators across the spectrum.”
The cameras also work in tandem with Grass Valley’s K2 Dyno Replay System and K2 Summit 3G Production Client, which, using K2 Dyno's AnySpeed technology, allows for smooth playback at any speed from 0% to 200%. “The combination of the LDX XS and K2 Dyno therefore dramatically expands the ability to tell a compelling story during replays,” said Cronk.
To eliminate the problem of light flicker in ultra and super slow-motion image capture, the LDX XS and LDX HS system cameras come with AnyLightXtreme, to correct artificial light flicker which can be visually disturbing to viewers.
To fully support triple-speed 1080p and sextuple-speed ultra slow-motion operations, Grass Valley developed a new fibre transmission, the XCU XtremeSpeed XF Fiber, which utilizes the same XCU cradles as its single-speed range of XCU base stations. Because the XCU's cradle can be pre-mounted and pre-wired in the rack, it can quickly and easily be transferred between OB vans or studios, which extends its usability.