SVGE Analysis: Why France’s AMP Visual TV bought first i-Movix 4K camera in Europe
French facilities and production company AMP Visual has bought the latest X10 camera from slow-motion specialist i-Movix, which the Belgium company launched at NAB integrating Vision Research‘s Flex 4 K high-speed system. “We have already sold the camera into Korea and the USA, but this is our first sale in Europe,” says sales manager Stéphane Ducobu.
A key feature of the camera is its ability to shoot in wireless situations thanks to its RF transmission capability, an essential requirement for AMP. “The camera is portable, very flexible and it has a high frame rate. It can be used for shooting sports where speed is an issue, for instance a horse race like the Paris Grand Steeple-Chase or a competition like Les 24 heures du Mans,” explains François Valadoux, AMP Visual TV CTO and vice-president. The X10 UHD RF operates in ultra slow motion mode to deliver instant replays of up to 3000 FPS in 720p or up to 2000 FPS in 1080i.
The camera will initially be used for HD shooting scenarios only, as RF transmission cannot yet handle 4K. But it is also a bet on the future: AMP Visual TV is in the process of renewing its first generation of i-Movix slo-mo X10 cameras and is planning to equip a 4K OB van which will be launched next spring. “We are testing a number of 4K systems and are planning to finalise things after IBC. Sony, which like i-Movix, is one of our historical partners, is in the running but we are also looking at Grass Valley’s 4K camera,” he reveals.
AMP Visual TV is planning to acquire around 15 new UHD cameras by year-end, a big commitment for the French outfit, which in a few years has expanded its business well beyond French borders to become a important player on the world scene. “It’s a tough decision to make because the choice has strategic implications for us. You can’t afford to make a mistake when your business is live sports coverage.
“Once you buy a system, you want to be sure it will be the right one for the next ten years as well,” he states. AMP Visual TV has built a reputation on its adoption of cutting edge-technology, as Ducobou points out. “AMP is an early adopter and I am not surprised that the company is our first European client. We have been working together for years and AMP has always given us a lot of feedback about how to closely match our technology to their needs,” he indicates. Getting the timing right with 4K is also a strategic gamble for i-Movix. But Ducobu is rather optimistic. “There is still some way to go on the production side of things. But more and more broadcasters will be investing in 4K systems for live sports coverage – Sky and BT Sport in the UK, for instance — and we have a strong card to play because our system is the only one out there to offer ultra slo-mo 4K capture in live situations.”