Product Spotlight: Digital Wireless Camera System

Jan 6, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The Digital Wireless Camera System from Thomson Grass Valley. The system is based on the company’s LDK100/200 camera product line.

The system allows camera operators greater mobility close-up images and point-of-view shots at live sports and entertainment events and in the studio. It is designed for studio production and events rather than news. Such situations usually necessitate multiple cameras, and the system has minimal latency-60 milliseconds-which is necessary when more than one camera is used.

“[A wireless camera system] is like the move from wired mikes to wireless or wired phones to wireless,” said Marcel Koutstaal, product manager. “Cabling limits the flexibility and the speed of moving and can limit the creativity of shots. In a TV show where you have presenters walking the studio floor and going into the audiences or going down a corridor, they need to be followed by a camera. At a music concert if you want to be flexible with camera shots and different positions, a wireless camera helps you a lot.”

A wireless camera system is not a new phenomenon, but the Thomson Grass Valley system is unique because it relies on a modulation scheme know as coded orthogonal frequency division multiplexing, which is common in Europe and thrives in difficult transmission environments. The system handles antenna positioning automatically, Mr. Koutstaal said. The camera system uses a wavelet compression scheme for its digital signal, rather than MPEG-2. “There is no noticeable difference in picture performance [between wired and wireless], because we are using a powerful compression scheme,” Mr. Koutstaal said. The system is also completely integrated, which means its does not require any additional boxes or deck packs, like the external transmitters or receivers that are often necessary with other systems. “It makes it even more flexible and gives you the same flexibility as a camcorder,” he said.

The system is in field testing and mass production should begin in January. It will be introduced first in Europe in the first quarter of 2003 and then to the United States in the second quarter.

The Technology page is edited by Daisy Whitney, who can be reached by e-mail at daisywhitney@qwest.net or by phone at 303-777-6864.