Sky News in the UK have decided to invest in a new ecosystem using a number of different Sony XDCAM camcorders in a move to future proof their news production. All the cameras chosen feature Sony’s built in streaming and ftp functions. To go with the cameras Sky are also investing in a number of PWS-100RX1 live streaming receivers that feature Sony’s QoS system that ensures high quality images even when using low quality data connections.
The cameras chosen include the PXW-X400 shoulder camera (which from next year can be upgraded to 4K with a new sensor system). The PXW-X200 and the PXW-X70 (also 4K capable).
According to the Sony Press release:
George Davies, Head of Operations at Sky News UK said: “Sky News is constantly looking to improve its news service and customer experience. Core to Sky News is the ability to increase speed to air with accurate information. IP is now an integral part of the news infrastructure and the cameras we are purchasing will allow a revolution in the workflow for Sky News in the field. The Sony cameras and network system will allow Sky News to have permanently connected cameras with bi-directional information to ensure we get the pictures back but also have metadata to ensure we know what they are and where they are from”.
In the last few days I have received a lot of questions along the lines of “which camera is going to be best for me” or “which monitor should I buy”? These are very common questions.
Before the internet, when you wanted a new camera you would either try one belonging to someone else or go to a camera store and try out the camera you were interested in for yourself. That way you could hold it in your hand (or on your shoulder), look through the viewfinder, take some clips and look at the picture quality. Today however it appears that a lot of very important purchasing decisions are being entirely based on online reviews and opinions. I can write a review and say “look how wonderful this camera is” because I think it is great. But just because I think it’s great doesn’t mean it’s going to be great for everyone else (I do try to consider other peoples needs and wishes, but I’m only human). Likewise someone else might say “this camera is rubbish” and of course they are completely entitled to express that view and if they think it’s rubbish, well…. then they think it’s rubbish. But those views and opinions are just that, opinions…. and yours may differ.
Once upon a time equipment dealers used to make quite respectable profit margins on the sale of an expensive video camera. Today however margins are very slim (often less than 5%) as online price cutting forces dealers into ever deeper discounts. As a result dealers are now often not able to lend you a camera to test. Many will still have demo units in their showrooms for you to play with, so support your local dealer, go to them and take a look at the camera (or whatever it is you are buying). Then buy from the dealer, that way you can build up a relationship with your dealer that can help when you need spares or accessories in a hurry. But what if the dealer doesn’t have a demo unit, what’s the solution in that case?
Hire a camera before you buy it. If you purchase a camera and then decide you don’t like it, sure you can sell it, but you’ll loose a lot more money than a days hire charge. Renting a camera for even just one day will allow you to put it’s through it’s paces. To hold it, shoot with it, test the workflow and look at the image quality. A days rental isn’t going to break the bank.
Camera setup, reviews, tutorials and information for pro camcorder users from Alister Chapman.