Grass Valley Xtreme camera, new LDX 4K system find fans

Grass Valley’s IBC stand is highlighted by a number of technology innovations, but it is the LDX Xtreme Speed camera, with up to six times super-slow-motion playback, and the LDX 4K/UHD camera system that relies on 2/3-in. sensors that are turning heads among sports-production professionals.

“Until now, there has been a clear border between live slo mo and ultra motion because there was a transmission bottleneck from the camera to the base station,” explains Klaus Weber, Grass Valley, senior product marketing manager for cameras.

For example, slow-motion replay at 10 times real time involved an operator’s selecting an input and output of a clip and then transferring the clip in real time from the camera record drive to the replay server.

“So the latency, between the download and the decision-making, could be upwards of 20 seconds, and, for many sports, that is simply too late,” says Weber.

The Grass Valley solution to that problem involves transmitting six 720p or 1080i signals over three 3 Gbps. That gives the camera the same workflow as the three-times slow-motion option, which means that playback can begin almost instantaneously.

The camera also uses AnyLightXtreme, a Grass Valley feature that produces flicker-free images, and has many of the same features and capabilities as a regular HD camera.

“It can easily integrate into the current camera workflow with the same outstanding sensitivity,” says Weber.

Also seeing a lot of interest at the show is the LDX 4K/UHD camera, which uses three 2/3-in. sensors instead of a full-frame sensor. That allows it to have infinite focus and, more important, the ability to be used with all existing 2/3-in. lenses.

“You need to compromise for 4K whether or not you use a single large sensor or three smaller sensors,” explains Weber. “A single-sensor camera is a compromise in terms of shooting angles, the use of zoom lenses, and depth of field. It is ideal for film but not really for a live show.”

The Grass Valley solution involves taking three 2/3-in. sensors and having a half-pixel of offset from one to the other. It then records 4:4:4 RAW signal and upconverts it for maximum quality.

“It’s not true 4K, but it comes close,” he adds. “But the advantage is the same sensitivity, depth of field, and dynamic range as a regular 1080p camera.”

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