The trickle of changes in television capture and delivery continues to flow. But as next-gen TV inches toward finalization as a standard, those drips will turn into a torrent. Broadcasters and camera vendors alike are getting serious about how to prepare for these changes while maintaining and improving existing HD workflow and program delivery.

Indian Market Dynamics

The Indian market in 2016-17 is estimated at 121.62 crore, with Doordarshan's procurement at 46.57 crore and of the private sector at 75.05 crore.

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Some of the major buyers in 2016-17 were DD, Network 18 (65 studio cameras), Republic TV (12 studio cameras and 30 ENG cameras from Sony), Times TV, Raj TV, BloombergQuint, India Today, and ABP.

The rental business is thriving as the smaller channels and production houses prefer this option. Backpack cameras which had gained immense popularity seem to be gradually losing the race to ENG models, which also offer streaming capability now.

Global Scenario

The global digital broadcast and cinematography cameras market is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 1.23 percent during the period 2016–2020. Flourishing use of handheld mobile devices and disposable crash models that capture superior resolution videos at 240 FPS (foot pound second) and are capable of operating 100 meters under water are anticipated to facilitate media and broadcast industry sectors.

Camcorders. Global camcorders market is poised to grow to USD 8.5 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of close to 8 percent over the period 2017–2021, according to Technavio. The entertainment industry has increased its focus toward covering projects for movie productions, television, live events, and concerts. The entertainment industry is dependent on not only the crew, but also on filmmaking equipment such as cameras, camcorders, and tripods. The swift growth of the film industry will have an impact on the entertainment industry. The resultant increase in the revenue generated from concerts and films will drive the demand for camcorders.

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4K video for the masses. Some camera manufacturers were quicker to embrace 4K video in their camera bodies than others, but at this point, most have at least one or two models that can shoot in this higher resolution. 4K camera market size is estimated to witness steady growth over the several forthcoming years, at a CAGR of over 2 percent from 2016 to 2023. The crisp and high-quality images and videos offered by this device are anticipated to drive industry growth. 4K technology market is expected to drive the change in the industry accompanied by high innovation all through the broadcasting system.

The advent of mirror-less ultra-high definition devices is likely to facilitate the user by furnishing with compact size and also offering better focusing system. In addition, bigger sensors offered by these gadgets are likely to positively impact the industry demand for 4K camera market. Furthermore, flexibility with respect to interchangeable lenses is likely to elevate the industry growth of these products. However, high cost accompanied by hefty size of the zooms preferred by professional broadcasters is likely to hamper the demand for 4K camera market. Companies are now looking forward to the development of 2/3-inch ultra-high-definition models as they reflect the industry standards for outdoor broadcast for live sports production applications. The high-resolution versions with 2/3-inch sensor size are anticipated to deliver appropriate sensitivity and ultimate depth of field sports as well as studio production applications.

Asia-Pacific 4K camera market share is expected to witness substantial growth, and it is likely to be the fastest-growing region. The surge in demand can be subjected to intensely proliferating adoption of these devices in the region. Emerging economies such as India are expected to experience high demand for these products. It is expected to incorporate technological breakthrough and elevate the standards for next-generation video production.

3-D cameras. The global 3-D camera market is poised to grow at a CAGR of around 47.8 percent over the next decade to reach approximately USD 64.5 billion by 2025. Among different application segments of 3-D camera, professional camera is estimated to dominate the global 3-D camera market. The increased demand for 3-D content in media and entertainment industry is one of the major factors driving the global 3-D camera market.

Improvements in 360-degree cameras. Questions remain about the place of VR and 360-degree content in the broadcast and media landscape, but manufacturers and vendors are continuing to release tools for capturing and crafting immersive content. They are not quite traditional cameras, but 360-degree cameras are having their moment, in part because of the increased interest in virtual reality. ABI Research forecasts professional-grade cameras and mid-tier, prosumer 360-degree cameras to hit nearly 2 million shipments by 2021, with consumer 360-degree cameras to top 4 million by the same year. The professional user's segment will dominate the market for the next few years. One of the major end users of this segment includes content studios that are expanding their content offerings. For instance, The Walt Disney Company invested heavily in 360-degree cameras to 360-degree VR content for movies such as The Jungle Book. Moreover, a number of 360-degree movies are expected to be produced during the forecast period, which will increase the demand for 360-degree cameras.

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Lenses. The trend toward large-format digital has driven a concurrent evolution in lenses. The choice of glass has always been a crucial decision for any cinematographer aiming to create a specific look, but the advent of digital has made lens choice even more important. Large-format sensors require lenses that work with the bigger target, and lens-makers have quickly met the demand by fashioning new products. As these cameras are compatible with a wide range of lenses with different focal lengths and resolutions, the end-users are readily investing in various types of lenses to capture different subjects. Although market share of the lenses segment is likely to decline in the predicted period, it will continue to dominate the market until the end of 2020.

Technology Update

Broadcast camera is transitioning – whether that means support for multiple formats, adding image enhancements like high-dynamic range, new connectivity options, or even affordability. The major camera manufacturers are coming out with multi-format cameras that can switch between 4K or UHD or 2K or HD. The rationale is they see this as a year of transition – and probably an extended transition where HD is going to continue for many, many years, but 4K UHD is looming.

With ATSC 3.0 on the horizon, broadcasters are engaging in serious discussions about how best to use their over-the-air bits and what precisely they should deliver to the home viewer, specifically 4K with high-dynamic range (HDR) or 1080p60 with HDR. A 1080p60 HDR future for broadcasters may be further propelled by TV manufacturers that are racing to sell 4K UHD sets that include upscalers. Camera makers also continue to tweak waterproof-and-rugged point-and-shoots. And mirror-less cameras – small, interchangeable lens cameras with the quality and versatility of SLRs – remain one of the few relatively bright spots in camera sales. There are two differing HDR formats for broadcast: Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), developed and backed by BBC and NHK, and Dolby Laboratories' Perceptual Quantizer (PQ). As a result, many vendors are offering new broadcast cameras with built-in support for both HDR formats.

IP connectivity – whether wirelessly from the camera or via a wired IP connection to the camera or CCU – showed up this time on the NAB 2017 exhibit floor. IP is already supported by CCUs, but the ongoing work by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers on the SMPTE ST-2110 professional video IP standard means vendors will respond. The technical recommendations play foundational roles in the new ST-2110 standard. When the standard is completed, upgrading the new base station will require only a firmware update.

While not new, another important trend in broadcast cameras is affordability. Some companies are disrupting the cameras market by offering lower-cost broadcast and digital cinema cameras. However, to give customers even greater value for their camera dollars, they are placing an emphasis on making it easy to repurpose cameras for different uses.

Cameras – hand or shoulder? Shoulder camera, better known as ENG, is the essential tool that increasingly includes technology. There is a growing trend toward inexpensive cameras with streaming docking facilities. The dynamic range 4K has also gained ground in this line, taking as a decisive factor the cost of the storage medium. Today the most widespread solution is usually the adoption of a combination of hand and shoulder cameras that meets all needs and applications in a season. It is, therefore, very important that handheld cameras and shoulder cameras must be compatible, in terms of recording mode, codec, and digital processing, allowing a homogenous image in the operation, regardless of the type of camera that has been used in the recording. While it is true that some handheld cameras are comparable to their counterparts' shoulder characteristics, the reality is that both camera types have their merits depending on the type of operation, most often on a channel. The main advantage of a handheld camera or semi-shoulder is its portability, low power consumption, and lower price. Shoulder cameras are still favored by customers who prefer more robust ENG cameras, with a more professional appearance – ideal for interviews and official events – and with the versatility of turning them into systems study and to select freely the type of lens to be used.

Several years ago, shooting video on DSLRs was a big new trend, and then video manufacturers responded with their own large-sensor camcorders. So, what place do the latest DSLRs have in broadcasting? A large-format-sensor still camera was introduced that could also shoot 1080p HD video eight years ago; it was just responding to professional photographer's request to shoot video occasionally. Instead, it ushered in an era that would see many TV shows and even movies shot on relatively small, fairly inexpensive DSLR cameras. There are now a whole host of accessories, from shoulder-mount rigs to monitors/recorders that improve the ergonomics, usability, and recording quality of DSLRs, making them handle and perform more like a proper video camera, but camcorders themselves have changed in response, to offer some of the benefits of the DSLR, such as larger sensors and lower prices. Consumer digital cameras now shoot HD videos and video camcorders shoot multi-megapixel photos. And the trend has continued into professional DSLR cameras, which have evolved to add the ability to shoot HD video. Video DSLR was originally conceived as a way to help photo journalists expand their repertoire, and it has grown quickly to become attractive to videographers as well. Combined with high ISO ranges from image sensors much larger than typical camcorders, the result is great flexibility in shooting in low-light situations. However, these cameras are still primarily designed for still photography, and not for studio or event use; so they do not have features like built-in stereo microphones, and they typically shoot only short clips, around five to ten minutes. In addition, the video modes do not provide the full capabilities of the traditional photographic modes, with limited manual control and/or limited auto focus or exposure options. Even with all this excitement, video DSLR cameras are still in the early phases of development. There are obvious areas of improvement, some of which are already appearing in the newer, higher-end models, from longer recording times to more complete photo-like control when you are shooting a video.

Way Forward

Camera technology is quite advanced, and there may not be much scope for improvement besides 8K and 16 or 17 f-stops. That is the reason why the trend is toward multi-camera systems. The data from multiple cameras can be used to get a kind of 3-D presentation. The 4K and connection for streaming facilities are some of the features of the new cameras for news that are on the market today. The immediacy and mobility requiring television news makes it imperative that professionals and equipment to meet the demanding needs should be available all the time.

"With increased competition in the Indian broadcast Industry, particularly in the quick news delivery area, more and more Indian broadcasters are preferring direct live cellular transmission from the camcorder itself. This is now possible due to availability of new JVC ENG camcorders with features of integrated streaming with Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity, which allow live HD transmission directly to hardware decoders or CDNs. Now, with increased availability of 3G/4G technology, improved infrastructure, and with cellular bonding, solutions make it even more practical."

Jayant Padhye
Chief Executive Officer,
Mhatre Electronics Pvt. Ltd.

"Today, broadcasters are under increased pressure to deliver a richer viewing experience, and the newest generation of cameras is making that goal more achievable. Committed to improving flexibility for customers in India, Grass Valley, a Belden brand, is making it easier to work in formats that are most in demand at any given time – from SD and HD with SDR to HD and 4K UHD with HDR.

Customers in India tell us that they want to future-proof their camera purchase with features that provide for the 4K/HDR/IP requirements as needed. Our unique e-License upgrade path enables customers to keep their hardware and add features on an as-needed basis.

Grass Valley recently introduced the LDX 86N Native HD/3G/4K/High-Speed System Camera, which offers the flexibility to choose either native 4K UHD imaging or native 3G/HD as required. Additionally, the new LDX 82 Series cameras and all LDX 86 and LDX 86N Series cameras now support a native HDR workflow to give broadcasters more production flexibility.

All of the national cricket coverage in India is provided by Grass Valley cameras. As the most popular sporting event in India and the highest revenue earner, cricket is a major opportunity for broadcasters, and there is a huge emphasis on quality and reliability.

Most recently, we have closed significant sales in India of our new LDX 82 Series cameras with Zee WION and Republic TV. The camera market in India is very exciting right now, and we are well positioned to help customers deliver the richer content viewers expect."

Somu Patil
Regional Sales Director, South Asia and ASEAN Region,
Grass Valley

Shailesh Parab

"In 2016-17, Cineom had the challenge to design a world-class news workflow for Republic TV. From studio to uplink, the world's best technology was integrated with advanced camera systems, with highest light sensitivity, with dynamic depth of field ability because of a huge video wall used as a backdrop. A very advanced routing system with inbuilt processing capabilities to minimize glues connectivity and a 4 ME multi-format switcher was installed. The newsroom system is one of the fastest responded mechanism systems along with asset management, with world-class 2D-3D graphics system support. Leading brands like Grass Valley, Avid, Harmonics, and Viz were chosen to support workflow and Cineom successfully integrated the entire solution from design to installation in record 120 days to put the channel on air."

Shailesh Parab
Director,
Cineom Broadcast India Pvt. Ltd.

Klaus Weber

 

 

"We have to be format-agnostic. It will either be HLG or PQ, but it will not be one standard for the whole world, that's very unlikely."

Klaus Weber
Senior Product Marketing Manager-Cameras,
Grass Valley

John Humphrey

 

"The average viewer sits 9 feet from the TV in the home, and at nine feet on a 65-inch TV you cannot see the full resolution of 4K, but you absolutely can see the improvement in the picture due to HDR from much further away – 12 to 15 feet. There is only a 0.5 percent overhead change when adding HDR to any camera, and doing so means bandwidth, storage, and workflows essentially remain the same. HDR provides so much more bang for the buck than resolution alone."

John Humphrey
VP-Business Development,
Hitachi Kokusai