Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Cameras and Camcorders › Professional Camcorders › What is Broadcast Quality
- This topic has 1 reply, 9 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 5 months ago by Anonymous.
- April 4, 2015 at 11:21 AM #85306AnonymousInactive
I see that some cameras boast they are capable of "Broadcast Quality." What exactly does that mean? is it because they record at 50MB/s or have a certain audio file type/size/speed? If I wanted to produce an ad for TV would I have to use one of these cameras?
You've discovered an important point about videography gear–all this stuff is hype. Broadcast quality is whatever the broadcasting client says it is. Apple ProRes 4:2:2 is a frequent standard, but any broadcaster will have a spec sheet of their requirements. These days, when camera manufacturers hype 'broadcast quality' gear, they usually me it will record 720p or better. But some claim broadcast quality for old 480i stuff. Skip the 'broadcast quality' nonsense and go straight to the specs–what resolution will the camera record, at what bit rate?
Also – broadcast quality …… when?
The broadcasters sometimes give production companies a hard time by having very high technical standards, yet they happily broadcast programmes from the 1970s!
Thanks guys for your input. The hype is really out there. I was wondering because I'd see different cameras with different specs yet they'd both claim that they were capable of broadcast quality.
I'm an amateu videographer on a shoe string budget, with an University background in Electrical Engineering, and I have learned much about the art of shooting the best looking quality footage by reading the well written articles here (and am I allowed to say in other web sites?). I have drawn heavily on my Engineering background to attempt to understand the technical side of cameras, lighting and sound equipment.
I agree with everything mentioned by Laguna Hiker and paulears because I have had the same thoughts myself.
The Mbps rating is not a reliable measure of broadcast quality because different camera manufacturers' research and design teams will implement the same codec, using their proprietary algorithms. Also an older camera shooting with a higher Mbps, may record the same quality footage, as a newer camera with faster video processing electronics because this may allow the software engineers to implement refinements or improvements to the codec algorithm(s), reducing the Mbps rate whist delivering a similar or better quality footage.
Other competitors may have proprietary software technologies that may permit their codec algorithms to deliver a higher equivalent Mbps rate, using their older and slower electronics hardware.
Reducing the Mbps rate whilst maintaining high image quality, means the end user can use comparatively lower cost media such as SDHC/XC cards. Reducing Mbps rate whilst using older and slower electronics for producing high image quality results in the best possibe battery run times, and results in the lowest possible heat dissipation reducing the necessary size of the camera enclosure; the smaller form factor of DSLRs limits the continuous video shooting time to approximately 15 minutes, less in hot weather; the camera will automatically shut down, to allow the image sensor to cool down. For documentary film making a video camera would be a better choice, for movies or TV series shooting a DSLR would do the job; for example in the first Avengers movie, they used DSLRs to shoot some of the scenes, due to the constricted space available when they filmed from the Director's required angles.
The best way to decide which camera best fits your needs and your budget, is to make a list of your shooting requirements, including what features the camera is required to support your shooting requirements, then create a short list of different cameras. Try to narrow the list down by considering which models best suit your shooting style, and work flow. If the list still has more than one model, go the stores, and hold each model in your hands, and check the weight, the feel and the ergonomics quality of the way the layout of the controls have been designed.
If you still cannot narrow the short list to just one model, then if the budget allows, design a series of test shoots, to simulate as close as possible, every type of shooting situation you may expect to be involved in. Rent each camera in turn, taking the test shots, look at the test footage and see which looks the best straight out of the camera before doing any tweaking on post. Possibly experiment with using the same set of filters with each camera; i.e. for each camera, shoot the same scenes with and without filters, and compare the footage.
Experimen with color grading, see which camera's footage is easiest for you to work with.
Another aspect that can influence the look of the shots, is the size of the camera image sensor. For video cameras, Hollywood cinematographers work preferentially with Super 35mm sized image sensors using manual focus control, for creative flexibility, TV news or some documentary film makers work with smaller 1/2.3" sized sensors with lenses having an autofocus function and switchable automatic or manual focus, and the camera lenses are required to have a manual focus ring. Most 1/2.3" cameras feature auto focus and auto exposure with a fixed lens, enabling what TV broadcasters call "run and gun" functionality for news broadcasts.
Some professional cinematographers prefer to work with 16mm sized image sensors because this gives their films a different look compared wih 35mm or Super 35mm image sensors.
The 35mm or Super 35mm image sensor cameras, feature interchangeable lenses and with lens adapters, hundreds, may be thousands of different lenses may be used, from those used on older 35mm film photographic cameras such as Olympus or Canon, through to the Cinema quality lenses.
The 35mm sized sensors result in a larger light gathering area, improving the dynamic range, i.e. the detail that can be seen in darker parts of a scene, or in shadows. Another feature of 35mm sized sensors is they offer narrower depth of field, compared with 16mm sized sensors, allowing the camera operator to position the camera closer to the subjects of the scene, for a good bokeh effect.