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Forums Broadcasting Chip size REALLY critical for broadcast?

  • Chip size REALLY critical for broadcast?

     ray combs updated 12 years ago 7 Members · 10 Posts
  • Darrell Boeck

    May 15, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Yes, I am another one of those guys with his first broadcast job. Mine is for PBS, and will be broadcast nationally.

    Specifications state that my cameras must use 1/2 inch chips. How necessary is this REALLY? I plan to capture most of the footage with the Sony EX1, but I really want to use a smaller cam for some of the creative shots, as a crash cam, etc. Specifically the JVC GY-HM100.

    Is this “1/2 inch chip” rule out-of-date, or do I need to take it seriously?


  • Bob Zelin

    May 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    Hi –
    I cannot directly answer your question. But let’s make a comparison.

    You shoot an HD job. You use Sony HDCam. You edit with Sony HDCam.
    You rent or own a HDW-1800 or 2000 VTR. It’s full uncompressed HD-SDI 1080i. It looks great.

    But PBS, Discovery, etc. demand Sony SRW-5500 HDCam delivery (about $125,000, and about $1200 a day for the rental VTR). Is it really necessary – doesn’t the Sony HDW-1800 do the job, and look great ?

    It doesn’t make a difference. You have production and delivery specs. You certainly can lie about your equipment, (I have) – but you MUST meet their delivery specs or they won’t accept your work.

    Lying works often. But you can’t tell the truth. They don’t care how “good” it looks. They create these specs for a reason, and it’s your job to meet them.

    Bob Zelin

  • grinner hester

    May 17, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    As Bob mentioned, they have specs for a reason. That reason is usually because that was what was written on the spec sheet when the current dude got the job there. Quite often, his dad is the one who wrote and he has no idea what it means.
    Bottom line, shoot on what ya want, master to what they need. Call it done.

  • maurice jansen

    May 17, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    well i guess your best friend in this issue
    is your own common sense.

    comparing quality with CCDsize is clownish.
    you have bad ccd design’s and good ccd design’s in the samesize.
    not even talking about the rest of the camera electronic’s that can
    kill the signal coming out of a good CCD.

    1/2 Inch CCD are not so common anymore all commonly used camera’s in the broadcastindustry are 2/3inch.

    off coarse you can use simpler camera’s for creative use. can you imagine a POVshot of a pilot with a ful ENGcamera on his helmet 😉
    it’s more a rule to get rid of program’s fully shot on lowprofile DV/HDV camera’s. use a fullspec camera for the normal stuff.

    and again use your common sense.
    perfectly shot DVfootage can look better than footage shot
    on a fullspec system by a amateur.


  • Darrell Boeck

    May 18, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Thanks for all this information guys. Actually, everything you all mentioned was what I was thinking. They must have specs for a reason, but I’m also sure it is more of a “guideline”. Funny Home Video’s has proven that even 3rd generation VHS can be “broadcast quality”. 🙂

    The best advice I think is to use common sense. If it is lit well, I can get away with something smaller. This shoot will take me on international travels, so I really want to avoid full-size cameras.

    Thanks again.

  • Nick Griffin

    May 19, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    [maurice jansen] “1/2 Inch CCD are not so common anymore all commonly used camera’s in the broadcast industry are 2/3inch.”

    Umm, not so fast Maurice. Here in the US many of the cable, especially news channels have people shooting with 1/2″ cameras. Ask the guys who use them. Their lighter weight makes a shooter’s day of so much easier.

    As to the original post, I believe that one of the primary issues which networks, as well as independent producers, are attempting to specify with chip size is also “the look” bigger chips give. Even with a lot of density filters it can be difficult to achieve a nice soft background with 1/3″ chips. By virtue of their smaller size they simply carry a lot more depth of field than the bigger ones do. The 2/3″ cameras make getting the look of a sharp subject standing out against a very soft background fairly simple. Less so with 1/2″, but still do-able.

    It’s also quite possible that the spec is used to determine a degree of seriousness and experience on the part of the shooter. If you’ve invested upwards of $20,000 you are more likely to be serious and good at what you do than is someone with a sub-$10,000 investment.

    As to the use of lipstick cams, isn’t it kind of a given that their use, inter-cut with the main camera, is story-driven and therefore acceptable based on how well it works?

  • maurice jansen

    May 20, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    oh ok

    learned something again here.
    that’s one of the differences between the US and Europe i guess.
    our last 1/2Inch camera was a BTS-LDK93 never seen a 1/2Inch ever since.
    i guess that’s the same thing about servofocus and the mechanical focus.
    saw a US company work with a box lens without servofocus. you never see this in europe.


  • Linus Sagadore

    May 26, 2009 at 12:17 am

    I haven’t heard anyone talk about lenses, a 2/3″ lens matched to a 2/3″ CCD makes a lot of difference plus the selection of 2/3″ lenses is awesome, better control of depth of field, the list goes on

    Linus Sagadore

  • Nick Griffin

    May 26, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Sorry. Thought it was fairly obvious that one would use a 2/3″ lens on a camera with 2/3″ chips. Less obvious is the fact that adapters make it fairly simple to put a 2/3″ lens on a 1/2″ camera. The downside is that because of the smaller sensor the apparent focal length is increased. For those who need clarification, a wide angle becomes a normal lens.

  • ray combs

    May 26, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I was in this same situation about 5 months ago. My 1/3 inch CCD cameras were great for the regional programing that I produce, but when one of my shows got picked up by a major sports network, I was concerned. Their specs required 2/3 inch CCD in 720p HD…not HDV. Since my budget did not allow for additional camera purchases or rentals, I “rolled the dice” and shot with what I had. I met the final delivery requirements and delivered on D5 to the network. Long story short, it looked great and no one ever questioned my acquisition format. I lost a lot of sleep over this issue and have gotten a few more grey hairs. For me, I made the decision that I needed to and was prepared to pay the consequences if it was rejected.

    Good luck.


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