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Mulitunit 4K camera setups for television?

David Levy

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Hi everyone! I'd like to ask what you think about the following,

If you were to shoot a multicam television show in 4K to future proof it for the coming UHD technology and broadcast specs.... what would you shoot it with?

I was looking at the pros and cons of renting either RED Epic, RED Scarlet, Sony F55 CineAlta, and the Panasonic 4K Varicam.

How would you keep cost low as possible while maintaining a smooth workflow for a 3 unit camera setup? And what would you do differently for a talk show as opposed to a reality show?

For a talk show, I've been told 60fps in HD is the normal recording format to give a live feel, I was under the impression that was the case only because many television cameras captured frames interlaces and not progressive? So considering most of these 4K cameras (I think) capture progressive, would 60fps still be needed?

And to wrap this up with a final question, how would you both stream each of the 3 4K feeds to a switch as well as record all 3 stream individually? While keeping costs as low as possible.

Sorry for all the questions, it's just it's a new frontier and I haven't found a whole lot published about this.

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I suppose you could get away with 30p as opposed to 60p but would probably depend on what the network would want. Another option would be to buy some 4K black magics with the 4K HDSDI output into the bm switcher which takes in 4K (forget the name of it).


Talk show is easier, but you'd want prompters, since you can set up lighting ect. For a reality show, I would be taking a lot more into consideration besides just resolution. Reality is very much like documentary, so you need to think about power draw, media management in possibly remote locations, low light and sunlight performance (F5 would be a goodish idea here since it has built in NDs for example).


There's not much published about it because currently there is 0 need to really get into it, ya know. We only just recently got 1080p in most houses, so i'd say 4K broadcasting is still a ways off.

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The life expectancy of most multi camera shows is so short it's hardly worth going through the process of future proofing. Unfortunately, most productions don't have a life beyond a couple of years, however, given that the content gives a production a longer life HD will look good on 4k displays. 4k only really offers an advantage on landscapes and other detailed subjects rather than human faces.

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Thank you Adrian, I googled the switch, ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher, found this while reading on it, person said it's really picky on frame rates only accepting 59.94.

The reason I'm looking to future proof, quite honestly is because of a situation where no one else is getting particular interviews, and if that trend continues... well I thought it's worth looking into 4K over just upscaling later for (maybe) better value. I've also read Sony is shooting their TV shows now in 4K...


Thank you Brian, good point. The only counter point I would have right now is how 4K anything is in high demand overseas (eg Samsung) according to a distributor I've talked to recently. But I do appreciate your comment, thank you.

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the 59.94 isn't too big of a problem if you go with a bm 4K camera since I believe that will output 4K 59.94, but I'm not sure. I haven't had to deal with live recorded feeds in awhile.

one of the biggest issues, however, is that there really is no "live" standard, as far as I know for 4K yet. There is 6GSDI, but apparently, there is also a competing 12GSDI standard coming out.

For the moment, it may make more sense to live output 1080p and then record to 4K for archival, but that in and of itself will generate significant costs.

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About recording/storage, what's being used to record the 4K ISO simultaneously? I would guess the switch output would need to be recorded separately unless there's a turnkey system that takes care of all of this in one massive unit. Thank you Adrian!

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If no one else is getting particular interviews the format re HD v 4K hardly matters. They''re shooting Bond films on the Alexa and they've a long shelf life. Shooting 4k on live TV cameras isn't going to be low cost for some time, although nothing to stop you shooting with the current 4k cameras and doing a multi camera edit on a NLE. I guess the Blackmagic camera may work out the cheapest, with interviews everything tends to be controlled, so you don't need the widest dynamic range camera, they'll all do the job.


I guess the easiest method is to create a 4k master and archive that and don't keep the rushes.

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