RaceTech embraces Ikegami HDK-55 cameras for move to HD

RaceTech, the leading supplier of television pictures and other services to the British horse-racing industry, has chosen Ikegami HDK-55 cameras as part of a continuing major upgrade into high-definition production. The initial order is for 18 complete HDK-55 camera chains including triax adapters and base stations plus OCP-300 control panels.“After a long process of identifying a range of cameras that would suit the specific needs of RaceTech, we have decided to invest in Ikegami HDK-55 camera systems,” comments Nic Christodoulou, Director of Engineering and Technical Operations at RaceTech. “The decision was not only based on Ikegami performance, though this was a key factor, but also on the long-term support and warranties that were offered by Ikegami. Many of our courses are triax equipped so we needed the option of running the cameras over long and often unreliable triax cable. Longer term the courses will be upgraded to fibre and these cameras will allow us to phase this change in as it happens, whilst still easily allowing courses on triax to use the same cameras. Our racing fleet works pretty constantly and we cannot afford to factor camera compatibility into our logistics planning. We have begun the replacement of standard-definition equipment and purchase of extra equipment to meet our ever-increasing workload. We see a long and successful relationship ahead with Ikegami and their UK team.”

“The HDK-55 is a high-performance fully digital HDTV camera which is ideally suited to the demands of live outside broadcast sports,” adds Mark Capstick, General Manager of Ikegami Electronics UK. “Six of the 18 cameras have been delivered with SE-H750 system expanders which convert the portable camera into a full-facility studio camera. RaceTech has also ordered 20 OLED colour viewfinders. This combination of options gives RaceTech’s OB crews the freedom to equip the cameras for a wide range of productions including the ability to reconfigure quickly and easily.”

Ikegami’s HDK-55 incorporates a 16-bit A/D and matching 16-bit digital signal processing to maximise the benefits of high bit-rate quantisation, providing natural colour even in shadow areas of the picture. 2/3-inch 2.3 megapixel AIT CCDs are employed to deliver a horizontal resolution of 1,000 lines with 60 dB signal to noise ratio at F10 (1080/59.94i) or F11 (1080/50i) sensitivity. The camera can be docked to an optional fibre adapter or triax adapter. In additional to the main output, auxiliary channels are available for a teleprompter and external monitor.

A fine-detail function further increases the realism of the HDK-55’s output by compressing the detail edge component when shooting high contrast scenes. Highlight-detail and several other detail functions can also be switched in. Lens aberration correction minimises the blur and coloured edges caused by chromatic aberration in lenses. A viewfinder-detail function allows the camera operator to increase the detail edges to the viewfinder video for easy focusing. This is augmented by a Quick EZ Focus function which enhances signal edges in the viewfinder so that the camera operator can make precise focus adjustment.

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