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Camera Technology & TV Production

Camera Technology & TV Production
Whilst the development of technology continues at such a rapid pace, the brightest and most talented innovators amongst us persist in creating new and exciting technologies for us all to enjoy and benefit from. And it’s the media industry that often benefits so greatly from these new devices and modernisms. For television and movie productions, these technological advances allow directors and camera people a greater freedom to really share their visions precisely as they have been imagined. Not only that, but it can also offer alternative options for the director or filmmaker that may not have been a possibility in the past.
The ARRI camera is a fine example of a quality piece of filming equipment that interestingly enough was used by nearly every single Best Picture Oscar-nominated movie from 2014 (not to mention an equally impressive show in both the Best Achievement in Directing and Cinematography categories also). Notably it was their digital Alexa and 35mm Arriflex cameras that accounted for this impressive statistic.  Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, the Tom Hanks film Captain Phillips and the quirky Spike Jonze helmed romantic drama Her were just some of the big movies all to incorporate the use of these cameras to bring their visions to the big screen and audiences around the world.
Thankfully the selection of camera lenses offered a little more diversity than the cameras themselves. The Canon K35 zoom lens was used by the Oscar-winning writer/director Spike Jonze in the aforementioned techno-based romantic drama Her. Other famous brands of lenses used in the line-up included Nikon, Zeiss, Leica, Angenieux, Hawk, Cooke, and Panavision.
When it comes to the ever-evolving world of television, things are a little bit different. We’re currently in a new golden age of television and the outright quality, not just from a technical point of view, has become something that is quite incredible. The variety of cameras and filming styles used for television purposes has become increasingly varied dependent on the production in question. Every show has its own style and production value, and therefore requires its own type of cameras, lenses, audio equipment and setup. The single-camera setup in sitcoms in particular had a huge resurgence in the 2000’s which is still being used today in some of the biggest and most popular sitcoms around. Modern Family, Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are just some of the award-winning shows that still employ this popular technique.
It probably feels that as soon as you’ve upgraded your television, a new, improved and even higher resolution TV comes on to the market. And it’s true. The technology moves so quickly that keeping up can be quite a chore. But thankfully the production members and crew of these high quality TV shows are well aware of the moving times and do their utmost to keep up with equipment developments in the industry. RED Digital Cinema, for example, is a quality developer and manufacturer of high-resolution cameras in 4K, 5K and 6K and are used in a number of top TV productions such as Game of Thrones, House of Cards and popular vampire drama True Blood.
Amateur camera enthusiasts can now even pick up high-quality cameras simply to shoot their home movies. Even modern smartphones and other electronic devices not predominantly used as cameras now offer an amazing image quality and higher resolution like we’ve never seen before.
Combining these innovations has helped seamlessly enhance the audience’s enjoyment of many hugely popular television shows and major movie releases over the years. But of course it’s these technologies that have also lent themselves so wonderfully to the world of sports. They’ve revolutionized the way in which the spectator can enjoy watching the sport from multiple angles, with replays, with post-game analysis, picture in picture, pausing live television and so much more.
Even with events such as poker tournaments, the production involved is still tricky. Because it’s just a single table with little actual movement, you wouldn’t expect there to be much effort involved. However, that is not the case at all and the setup can still be an intricate one especially from the perspective of the production control room. One of the major components of any game of poker is a player’s reaction and gestures are a key element for his or her opponents to pick up. And so this is a particularly important aspect to consider for the audience, and multiple cameras are required for not just wide shots but also picking up this crucial information.
Additional cameras, such as a jib camera (a counterweighted camera) will be used for more general shots of the table itself as well as the crowds and other surroundings around the table. And let’s not forget the number of other much smaller recording devices placed around the table in order to catch a glimpse of each player’s hand as well other notable movements across the poker table itself. Further crews are placed around the tournament room picking up reactions from the crowd and the behind the scenes action of the events are all filmed using the esteemed Panasonic Varicams which offer a high quality motion picture-like look.
These progressions with the technology are frequently utilized by all the major international poker tournaments and companies broadcasting to millions of viewers around the world. Even some of PokerStars technology offers incredible digital options for watching and sharing these events.
The introduction of high definition pictures, cleaner, crisper audio and image stabilization has all combined to enhance the viewer’s enjoyment of watching their favorite game on television, online or on their mobile devices. More and more of us now own an HD TV, and if the viewing technology improves then the production equipment must also develop. A whole range of various camera lenses have even been developed for the quality camera equipment used to shoot all the action which helps bring the best possible pictures you could hope for. They include the Fujinon as well as the Canon Cinema Zoom lenses.