You might be wondering, why is your camera portable and affordable, while TV cameras were, are, and will be huge and expensive. Right now, you will find out…
You take pictures and videos with your phone every day. Amateurs and professionals do photoshoots with compact cameras and everything looks stunning. Progress never stops. As a civilization, we went from a bulky tripod-only camera to compact and fast cameras are can deliver beautiful pictures and videos at the demand of your thumb. Yet, it seems like while other cameras have gotten smaller and more affordable, TV cameras are remaining the way they were before, and it is a fact, that they will proceed to be that way. In this article, we will discuss how and for what purpose the manufacturers and professionals think that TV cameras will remain their matured look in the future.
In its core, a camera body itself is relatively compact and cheap. It is not that hard to get your hands on a good TV camera. It is hard to get it to operate the way it is supposed to work. It means, that the camera itself needs additional accessories to reveal its full potential. Starting from a tripod to a lens, those are the vital parts in the camera’s work.
You can find different TV lenses on the market ranging from $100.000 all the way to $250.000. It can get up to seventy times as expensive as a camera itself. Moreover, it is very heavy. Why are they so expensive and heavy?
Let’s start by discussing the camera’s placement. Usually, the TV cameras are placed quite far from an object that is needed to be filmed. Therefore, a lens needs to provide a sharp image while not losing the object in focus. All the TV cameras need to have a parfocal lens. It means that the camera will keep its focus on the object at all times. They have to have a pretty big focal range too. Nowadays, TV camera lenses can have up to x300 optical zoom. Moreover, the lens needs to support extremely fast zoom-ins and zoom-outs. Adding to that, it is occasional to have perfect filming conditions. For example, it is really hard to film at night and indoors with little-to-none sunlight. Thus, the lens has to have a big aperture to be able to capture every single detail in low lighting. On top of that, image stabilization is a must. Without image stabilization, it would be impossible to see a coherent active picture. The motorization of the lens is also important as it is used for remote control with high precision.
It is good to compare, as an example, the focal ranges on DSLR lenses and TV lenses. While the DSLR lens of 70-200mm or 100-400mm can do x2,9 to x4, some TV lenses can do x107. It is a huge difference. TV lenses can provide an operator with lots of flexibility when it comes to getting a good shot.
Meanwhile, you can argue that DSLR lenses have those features too, I just have to switch them. That is the point – filming on-spot and on-air does not give you much time to react accordingly and keep changing lenses. The DSLR lenses might possess the same features as TV lenses, but none of them have all the features listed above at the same time. It is crucial to understand that TV scenery is different from the one DSLR lenses are made for. Therefore, a complex of features that are available right-here-right-now is a must. On top of that, it is hard to manufacture such TV lenses. In order for a producer to include all the features that TV professionals need, it needs to acquire many hard-to-manufacture parts.
On average, a tripod for a TV camera can range from $5.000 to $30.000. Tripod is a tool used by the camera operators to stabilize the camera in one place. As well, its purpose is to make sure there is no vibration and it must absorb movement with its stabilization. When the camera is zoomed-in every small unwanted movement can have an impact on video. Professionals say that even heartbeat can impact an image if the tripod used does not provide enough stabilization. It has to be sturdy in order to support big weights of up to 80 kilograms. Itself, the tripod can be really heavy too – ranging from 25 to 55 kilograms.
It is also good to mention that a tripod must have a comfortable grip and additional hands for better manual use. If the tripod has additional mechanized remotes, it is a big advantage over those who have none. Remotes can be usually bought separately.
Monitor and Fiber
The TV camera monitors are used to grant a camera operator an instant image of what the camera sees. It has to have an anti-glare screen protector and really accurate color representation. If the monitor fails to provide accurate colors, an entire filming session can be straight-up ruined and will have to go through digital processing that might be able to fix it. The TV camera monitors can go all the way from $500 to $2100.
Fiber is an add-on that lets a TV camera operator adjust the colors, aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and other settings on-the-go. It is extremely useful and a professional cameraman can not do the work without it. It has to provide quick access to every setting of the camera and lens. Normally, you can get your hands on it for $2.000 to $4.000.
While we already established that you have to have several expensive accessories for your TV camera to have it working properly, there are still several accessories that are less bulky and expensive, yet, it is good to point out that such accessories as a camera adaptor, a camera bag, and a spare Ford F150 to carry all of it would be good to have. In my opinion, I think the professionals know what they need most, and I doubt that the TV camera game will change anytime soon. It is good to mention that there are physical limitations to have such cameras in a smaller form factor. Moreover, I would not recommend you to get such a camera if you would like to film your Minecraft lets-plays. Get the OBS instead!
Thank you very much for reading!