It was New Year’s day, 1954, when NBC made history with the first live national broadcast in “living color” over a 22-city network hastily constructed by AT&T. The event, the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, was tailor-made to show off RCA’s brand new color television technology.
Only a few thousand people actually saw the parade in color that day. For the occasion, RCA built a special run of only 200 color sets for the NBC affiliates and RCA Victor TV retail distributors. Other manufacturers, wanting to enter the color TV business, also built their own prototypes for the occasion. The idea was to build excitement about color TV, and that it did.
NBC’s cameras of the day were pre-production RCA TK-40’s—devices so large they resembled Volkswagen Beetles on tripods. It would be another 11 years before color really began to take hold on the local level. In 1966, NBC announced it would be the first “Full Color Network.”
In 1965, four manufacturers made color TV cameras: RCA, Phillips, G.E. and Marconi. That year, RCA delivered the first 60 units of the infamous TK-42, a 300-pound, four-tube color camera with internal 5-to-1 zoom lens. Within a year, it had delivered 300 cameras to local stations throughout America. The camera had a single image orthicon tube for monochrome and three vidicons (red, green and blue) for color.
The TK-42 would fit onto the standard Houston Fearless electric pedestals of the day, but needed a new, larger control ring for steering. An odd design for zoom and focus controls, borrowed from the black and white days, was built into the camera. It was unpopular, so cables were jury rigged to bypass the clumsy controls. The cables had a tendency to crimp, however, causing the zoom mechanism to stick, or “chatter.”
The TK-42 required almost twice as much light—250 foot candles or more—than the older black and white cameras that it replaced. And, it was a very high maintenance cameras. Engineers warmed up and tweaked the cameras for as much as five hours prior to a broadcast. Even then, the color in the image was often inaccurate.
“This Is Now!”
Panasonic Increases Studio Presence
Panasonic executives say the new HC3500 HD studio camera produces better pictures and the “purest image” of any 1080i native camera currently available. It’s equipped with exclusive image processing and color reproduction functions for the highest quality in 1080/59.94i and 1080/50i image acquisition.
The camera has three 2/3-inch 2.2-megapixal IT CCDs that use a single-channel transfer system, 14-bit A-D converter, and an advanced 38-bit digital signal processor LSI. There’s also spatial offset processing for high sensitivity, resolution (a full 1100 horizontal lines) as well as reduced aliasing. Its digital signal processor also features a dynamic range function that assures detailed, high quality images even when shooting scenes in a high contrast environment.
The HC3500 maintains an impressive signal to noise ratio of 60dB at F10.0 sensitivity and has a vertical smear level of less than -130dB. It produces high-quality HD images with the ability to control skin tone and smoothness in real time via a feature called “Dynamic Range Stretch.”
Panasonic’s new AK-HC3500 delivers exceptional HD images in 1080/59.94i and 1080/50i. It features an advanced single-channel transfer system and spatial offset processing that reduces aliasing while providing 1,100 horizontal lines of resolution and 60 dB signal-to-noise ratio. The camera is equipped with a 12-axis color matrix to permit precise hue and saturation adjustment of individual colors. Other functions that allow precise HD image control include: skin-tone detail; versatile gamma settings including real-time Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS) that varies the gamma correction to match the contrast within the image; cine gamma to produce warm film-like images; and a new hue protection circuit which enables rich color reproduction even in high light areas, as in a brightly lit scene.
When configured for studio use, the 10.4-pound AK-HC3500 can also be mounted onto an optional build-up unit with a "one touch," cable-free setup. The camera can also be used shoulder-mount for EFP applications.
Advanced picture enhancing features including: dynamic detail, programmable gamma, real-time contrast correction gamma, and CineGamma, an EBU color matrix preset that ensures similar color response in between HD and SD video for seamless intermixing and more.
For more information, visit www.panasonic.com.