WTJR Camera upgrade 2012 three cameras for local studio.

This is a ongoing post so items will change as data comes in… (last update 6-21-12)

current studio model ht10 cameras in action
current studio model ht10 cameras in action

WTJR has 3 Hitichia ht-10 1/2″ 3 CCD cameras setup in studio configuration that we have have been using for 20+ years. We produce on average 12 1/2 hour shows per week. The cameras are trucked in studio from set to set. They all have been rebuilt, some multiple times. We Paid approximately $30K for 3 cameras, including 3 CCU’s, two 30′ CCU cables per camera, 5″ B&W studio viewfinder, remote zoom and focus, 3 tripods with wheels and arms.

The picture is now soft and mushy, whites blooming, and some video noise.

It is time to upgrade. Corporate says it would be wise to have HD capacity in the new cameras. WTJR production says they would like at least one robotic camera but like the old style studio config. Engineering says it would be preferred if all 3 cameras the same type so they match. Also we need tally lights and intercom like we have now. Accounting says as cheap as possible to get the job done with good quality.

Many things have changed over the last 20 years. We now have many different options.
1. Upgrade to current studio cameras like we have now but latest version.
2. Use small HD Robotics camera that have built in remote capability.
3. Upgrade camcorders to a studio setup.

Lets look at these options in detail.

model z-hd5000_mg_0570
model z-hd5000_mg_0570

1. Upgrade to current studio cameras like we have now but latest version.
Since we have Hitachi cameras now lets look at what they would cost today.

The studio camera packages on the Z-HD5000 range in list price from $28,830 per camera. This is a HD camera.
(See all Data at end of this post for more options and prices)
Three low noise 2/3-inch, IT-CCDs
800 TVL of resolution
58dB HDTV Signal to Noise ratio
14-bit analog to digital conversion
Optional CCU’s available with switchable 1080i/720P HD-SDI switchable outputs.
CCU HD-SDI outputs with embedded audio (2-chnl)
2 independent program returns (IFB’s) w/ incom mix.

Pros: Standard Studio Camera, with tally, intercom, all on one cable.
Studio grade camera lens with remote zoom focus on camera arm. In control room CCU’s for camera control of video shading.
Cons: Price. Not robotic. It is possible to automate this camera with a third party camera robotic system.

WTJR ENG Comments: Very good, but too much money for us. Old school way of doing things.

2. Use small HD Robotics camera that have built in remote capability.

Robotic Panasonic (or Sony) Cameras (robotic small)
Panasonic AW-HE120s

Panasonic awhe120

$8900 per camera ***
Three 2.2 megapixel U.L.T. MOS imagers supporting Full HD video capture(1/3 progressive 2.2 megapixel, 3MOS sensor)
1000 TV lines of resolution
60dB signal-to-noise ratio
20X optical zoom lens
RS-422 serial control and IP control with dedicated RJ-45
• HD/SD-SDI and HDMI outputs are standard as well as analog component and SD composite.
• Supports international HD and SD video signal formats including: 1080/59.94p (HDMI only), 1080/59.94i, 720/59.94p, 480/59.94p (HDMI only), 480/59.94i, 1080/50p (HDMI only), 1080/50i, 720/50p, 575/50p (HDMI only) and 576/50i.
***add to price cables Remote control and Intercom and Tally (no manual zoom or focus)

Camera has built in robotics here is example controller for Panasonic camera shown.

awrp50n camera robotic control

Sub-compact remote camera controller
U.S. List Price: $2,135.00
AW-HE50 series cameras via IP, and up to five Panasonic cameras and pan-tilt heads using RS-422 serial control. The RP50 is capable of accessing up to 100 presets for each Panasonic Integrated PTZ camera (the AW-HE50 and AW-HE100), and up to 50 presets for other Panasonic AW-series pan-tilt heads.
Pros: Price. Full robotics. High Quality Picture.

Cons: Tally lights would be a custom add on from switcher. Intercom would now become wireless and need to be acquired. Small lenses. No local operation except trucking and pedstaling camera. No view finder (could be added). Light wieght needs metal plate for tripod head. Camera cable needs to be made up to have all options in one cable. Looks like a security camera.

WTJR ENG Comments : This is the future for many , but no manual control at camera we still do that.


3. Upgrade camcorders to a studio setup.
Option 1. JVC GY-HM790U ProHD ENG / Studio Camera w/Canon 14x Lens


Price: $8995
Horizontal Resolution 1080 Lines
Signal-to-Noise Ratio Not specified by manufacturer
1/3″ Progressive 3CCDs
Modular Studio/Field Design
Bayonet Lens Mount
4:2:2 Color Space, Up to 35Mbps Bitrate
1080i/p, 720p, 480i Multi-scan
Native MOV & MP4 Recording
Dual SD/SDHC Slots
Timecode & Genlock
FireWire Output

Add following items as required


KA-790 Studio Sled $2099

KA-790 is a mechanical adapter for studio use for the GY-HM790U and KA-M790. (ENG says: dont need it)

It supports the VF-HP790 LCD studio viewfinder on the top and stabilizes the entire system including an optional teleprompter.
A hinged side panel makes it easy to remove the camera for shoulder use.


KA-M790 Multi-core Studio Interface Unit $2,499

The KA-M790 is a small and compact interface unit that enables Studio/EFP operation.

It differs from the interface used with the GY-HD250 system in that all studio functions are now contained within a single unit attached to the camera body.

The GY-HM790/KA-M790 system is now more mobile for EFP applications.

JVC studioVF

VF-HP790 LCD Studio Viewfinder ($4,169) (what!? outrageous 3rd party cheaper or just drop it)

The VF-HP790 is an 8.4″ XGA (1024 x 768 pixels) LCD studio viewfinder designed to work with the GY-HM790U or the GY-HM700U. Designed to mount to the KA-790 Studio Sled, it is equipped with a large tally indicator and screen hood. A fully digital interface provides all of the camera’s viewfinder indications: safety markers, focus assist, power and clip management. The VF-HP790 is also provided with an HD-SDI input for monitoring an external signal.

Remote Camera Control Connector
A 6-pin remote connector provides a TTL interface to an optional JVC RM-LP25U, RM-LP57U, or RM-LP55U control unit. Extensive control options are available including shading, paint, iris, gamma level, knee, gain, shutter and black level. Functions vary with each unit.

Complete Studio Kit price and options per camera:
JVC GY-HM790U ProHD ENG / Studio Camera w/Canon 14x Lens
JVC HZFM15U Rear Manual Focus Control
JVC HZZS13U Rear Servo Zoom Control
JVC KA-790 Studio Sled
JVC VF-HP790 8.4″ LCD Studio Viewfinder
JVC KA-M790 Multicore Studio Interface Unit
JVC RM-HP790DU HD/SD Camera Control Unit

Price: $23,379.50 (so over double the camera and lens price?!)
B&H Kit
Mfr# GY-HM790ST

1/3″ Progressive 3CCDs
Modular Studio/Field Design
Bayonet Lens Mount
4:2:2 Color Space, Up to 35Mbps Bitrate
1080i/p, 720p, 480i Multi-scan
Native MOV & MP4 Recording
8.4″ LCD Viewfinder, Studio Sled
Rear Focus & Zoom Controls
Studio Interface Unit
Camera Control Unit

Pros: High Quality Picture and camera lens. Lots of options for studio configuration.
Cons: Price when all options added, options not cheap or reasonable price. Need camera control unit not shown. Need cable not shown.
Not robotic. It is possible to automate this camera with a third party camera robotic system.

WTJR ENG comments: The sled and viewfinder we do not need. We do need tally lights so I wonder if dropping viewfinder loses tally? We are looking at each camera separate and order parts per camera. One camera would have telemetric robotics. Maybe more robotics later.

Option 2.
XF305 High Definition Camcorders (to convert to studio use with video genlock)
***Need tally intercom zoom focus added and firewire camera control software

cannon XF305

Price: $6,995 per camera***
3 Native 1920 x 1080 CMOS Sensors
Horizontal Resolution Not specified by manufacturer
Sensitivity Not specified by manufacturer
50Mbps MPEG-2 Recording
4:2:2 Color Sampling
60p, 60i, 30p, 24p
18x HD L-Series Zoom
Multiple Bit Rates, Resolutions
HD/SD-SDI, SMPTE Time Code, Genlock

Pros: Price. Picture quality.
Cons: Add cable interface, and remote zoom focus, add intercom , add tally, Not robotic. It is possible to automate this camera with a third party camera robotic system. No real CCU but software can interface with camera.

WTJR ENG says: Lots of mixing and matching to get in studio config.

Option 2 (updated without video genlock)

Panasonic AG-HPX170
Panasonic AG-HPX170

The Panasonic AG-HPX170 is a handheld P2 HD camera which builds on the tradition and success of the AG-HVX200. The camera’s enhanced sensor provides lower noise levels while increasing sensitivity in low-light situations. Unlike the AG-HVX200, the AG-HPX170 does not include a tape drive, opting for a lighter and more durable frame. In this case, “less” certainly means more: removal of the deck translates into a variety of extra features, including a 75mm lens with improved wide-angle capability, vectorscope, waveform monitor, HD-SDI output, a 6-Pin locking FireWire port, and 3 focus-assist modes.Product Highlights
1/3″ 3CCD
P2 Solid-State Technology
DVCPro HD Recording
1080i/p, 720p, 480i
60i, 60p, 30p, 24p
Variable Frame Rates
HD-SDI, Component, Composite, Firewire
Input and Output Connectors Component Video: Video Terminal (x1 Output)
Composite Video: RCA (x1 Output)
HD/SD-SDI: BNC (x1 Output)
Analog Audio L/R: 3-Pin XLR (x2 Input)
Line: Pin-Jack (x1 Output)
FireWire: 6-Pin Locking
USB 2.0: MiniB
Camera Remote: 2.5mm Super Mini (Zoom), 3.5mm Mini (Focus/Iris)
Price: $3,395.00


Varizoom VZ Pro
Varizoom VZ Pro

Varizoom’s VZ Pro-PZFI Zoom/Focus/Iris Controller gives your Panasonic camcorder the highest degree of lens control for nearly every acquisition situation. By combining a pressure-sensitive thumb control with a separate but easily accessed dial speed adjustment, the VZ Pro-PZFI provides exceptional control. This rugged, uniquely styled device attaches to a tripod handle or support bar and brings precision, range, and variable speed to your camerawork. Ideal for tripods, jibs, and other forms of support. $339.95

Eartec SLT24
Eartec SLT24

This Simultalk 24G Communication System from Eartec provides full-duplex digital wireless communication in a compact design. The SlimLine Single headset is designed for those who need comfort in addition to durability. The internal spring steel headband is adjustable to provide the right amount of tension for each user. Soft padding on the headband and earpiece provides added comfort.

The system includes 4 Simultalk 24G beltpacks and 4 SlimLine Single headsets. The Simultalk 24G beltpack is compact, lightweight, and easy-to-use requiring no base station for operation thanks to standard 2.4GHz technology. It features a built-in volume control and a talk/standby switch. The molded belt clip keeps the unit securely fastened to your clothes.  $737.50List Price: $800.00



The TL-2 Tally Light is compatible with the tally outputs on the front of the TriCasterTM 300 and provides both a red program and green preview indicators for the camera operator and an ultra-bright LED tally for the on-camera talent. The talent tally can be disabled via a jumper if desired. It connects to the TriCaster TCXD300 via a stereo 3.5mm(1/8) phone jack.

Used directly with a TriCaster Studio or Broadcast you get the red program and ultra-bright talent LEDs. Again this is connected via the 1/8 jack.

The TL-XD is also compatible with the TLC-6 tally light controller for all standard def TriCasters. It connects to the TLC-6 via the RJ-45 jack and Ethernet-style cable. With this configuration you get the red program, green preview and yellow effects LEDs as well as the talent tally.

When used with a TLC-8d controller and a TriCaster 850 or 450 the TL-2 supports the red program and bright talent tally. $49.95 http://www.markertek.com/Video-Equipment/Tally-Lights/Digital-Arts/TL-2.xhtml?DIGA-TL-2




Varizoom VZ-TFT-7 16:9 7 Inch LCD Monitor

Mount this 7″ LCD monitor on top of your camera as a studio-style external viewfinder for a more comfortable shooting approach, or use it as a remote source monitor or playback screen in the field. Switch between 4:3/16:9 with a simple press of a button!

The VZ-TFT7 16:9 7″ monitor can be used a variety of ways, most importantly as a large external video display that allows the shooter to step back from the camera rather than standing hunched over while looking through a typically inadequate viewfinder. It can also be used as a lightweight field monitor, remote viewing display, or portable playback screen. This monitor easily switches between 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratio as well as helpful image orientation controls for DOF adapters. When combined with VariZoom lens controls, you have a studio package comparable to much more expensive setups. For the greatest versatility and value, we recommend the VZ-TFT-7U kit that includes all monitor accessories, including battery, shoemount, sunhood and carrying case.
Vivid, sharp 7″ color screen in 16:9 aspect ratio
Low power consumption (12V input, 10W max)
Lightweight, compact, rugged design
Includes universal AC adapter (100-240VAC input) and 4′ RCA cable
Compatible with NTSC and PAL standards (autoswitch)  $284.05


Add on Camera Robotic Systems



Telemetrics offers a comprehensive line of camera robotics and control systems for broadcast, industrial, educational and military applications.

Our specialized line includes: camera robotics systems including programmable computer controlled pan/tilt mechanisms, weatherproof camera robotic systems, motorized camera trolley systems, advanced control software, and a wide variety of programmable controllers.

Price will be mod per camera item.

Discussion and Data:

When looking at these numbers the question quickly becomes how much does want to spend. As all options will give HD picture output. The cheap way is to get a camcorder and convert it for studio. One of the drawbacks is no genlock on cheaper models, and what of Iris control?, Manual or Auto at camera it appears, not in control room, except via Firewire with the cannon. Also how many wires and of what type do you need to run the camcorder as a studio camera?

The next question is manual vs. robotic control. The panasonic AW-HE120s can not be run in manual mode yet have good robotics.

The “cheap way to robotics is the Sony and Panasonic cameras designed for that purpose, if you can live with a studio camera looking like a little R2D2 Unit.