TNDV continued to build out its 4K infrastructure with a significant investment in 4K camera technology. TNDV added ten Panasonic AW-UE150 4K/60p professional Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) cameras and five companion AW-RP150 remote camera controllers for use in its trucks and flypacks.
“This acquisition is largely in response to strong customer demand for robotic PTZ cameras,” said Nic Dugger, chief marketing officer, Live Media Group Holdings. “Nearly every show we do these days requests robotic PTZs in addition to our full-size broadcast cameras. Because of how quickly and flexibly PTZ cameras can be deployed, they have proven to be indispensable for the live sports, entertainment, and corporate video productions we’re hired to do.”
The new 4K robotic cameras complement the vast array of full-sized broadcast cameras that TNDV has in its inventory and assigns to the mobile units in its fleet. And, having 4K/60p picture quality ensures that video from the new PTZs will mix well with video captured by the full-size, high-end broadcast cameras.
According to Dugger, the AW-UE150’s robotic control and compact size make them advantageous to mount in places where it isn’t practical or possible to station a camera operator, such as near the tennis net, above the bowling pins, or on the basketball backboard. In live music, a PTZ camera mounted on the drum kit will reliably capture a compelling shot of the drummer, and then pan to the bass guitarist without a cameraperson obstructing the view. In the corporate meeting world, customers often prefer to limit the number of video crewmembers in the room to reduce distractions and manage production costs.
Dugger cited one large corporate event recently where attendees walked up to one of twelve microphones to ask their questions. TNDV aimed multiple PTZ cameras back at the crowd, and the operator programmed camera presets on the remote camera controller corresponding to the microphone number to frame each of the microphone shots. When someone walked up to microphone number three, the operator simple chose “3” on the controller and the PTZ camera swung instantly into the proper position. This achieved the shot of microphone number three far faster and easier than a camera operator could have manually positioned it into place. It also required significantly less space and budget.
“Being able to mount a robotic PTZ camera in places that you can’t put a traditional camera gives your show a perspective you wouldn’t otherwise get. And what’s unique about the robotic PTZ versus traditional fixed point-of-view (POV) cameras is that if we need to adjust the shot by panning, tilting, or zooming a bit, we can make those changes remotely on the fly,” Dugger said. “That capability is especially effective and popular for sports.”
Based on the very positive experience that Dugger and his team have had with their previous Panasonic acquisition of 1080/60p PTZ cameras and controllers, Dugger says they were predisposed to buying again from Panasonic. Nevertheless, they did their due diligence and shopped around only to verify that Panasonic’s offerings were the way to go. Dugger adds that his company has custom-designed road cases with wheels to store and move the equipment in sets of two cameras with one controller. One camera can serve as a backup for the other, or customers can request one or more cases for their multi-camera shoots.
The Panasonic AW-UE150 4K/60p PTZ camera features simultaneous 4K/HD operation, 75.1-degree horizontal viewing angle, a 20x optical zoom and image stabilization, and support for versatile outputs, including 12G-SDI, HDMI, optical fiber, and IP, as well as Free D protocol for AR/VR camera tracking. Panasonic AW-RP150 remote camera controllers feature a big 7-inch touch display to access all menus, an SDI input for reference camera feeds, three-axis pan/tilt/zoom operation with focus and camera speed controls, as well as the ability to operate multiple cameras in groups.
“The more tools available to our customers, the better,” said Dugger, “This acquisition signifies our commitment to move to a 4K/60p workflow, to further expand our camera inventory, and to continue to grow and succeed as a company.”