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T356 Spring 2014 - Week 7

Agenda/reality check

  • Graphics/Studio gear and signal flow quiz next week
  • Cover switchers and other studio equipment
  • News exercise in lab this week. Our anchors/reporters are:
    • Monday: Hayleigh, Matt, Seth, ???
    • Wednesday: Jason, Eric, Kyle T, Paige, Kevin & Caleb
  • Produce Demonstration Videos next week and the week after.
  • Then the performance piece and then the PSAs.

PSA Reality Check - We will schedule PSAs in just a few weeks. Please check with your client to see if they are still willing to have a PSA prodcued and if they have a specific time preference. (Every pair will get a 25-minute block of time) If you don't have a preference, I'll simply block it out to try to group all of the projects with similar production treatments.

Demonstration videos. I've created groups and posted a schedule. We start producing these next week. We'll take lecture time today for you to meet with your group member. Be sure to delegate responsibilties: audio design, graphics, set & lighting design, etc. We're shooting these starting next week.

Cybercollege Readings - 57 (timecode) & 60 (studio)

Signal Flow in the Studio

In a TV production studio you often hear the words "upstream" and "downstream." These terms use the analogy of water flow to represent the flow of the video signal to various pieces of equipment in the studio. Think of a camera as being the most upstream element in the studio. This is where the signal originates. After the signal comes out of the camera CCU, it flows downstream into the input of the switcher. Once inside the Grass Valley switcher in Studio 5, the signal flows from the Preview and Program busses to the keyer. So the keyer is downstream of the program bus. After the keyer, the video flows to the Master/Panic Black switch. So whatever we do on the Program or keyer stage can be covered by the Master/Panic Black button. After leaving the switcher, the video flows downstream to a VTR.

Studio Equipment

There are several important pieces of studio equipment that you should be familiar with: TBCs (time base correctors), waveform monitors, vectorscopes and switchers.

TBC (time base corrector)

A TBC, is a piece of equipment used to correct instabilities in analog video signals, provide synchronization between video signals, and adjust phase differences in signals to correct color or make them consistent with other signals. TBCs usually have a "proc amp" which lets you "tweak" or adjust the video's brightness, hue, saturation and setup.

If you have a copy-protected VHS tape or DVD that you need to dub, you can run the video through a TBC. It strips the old sync, which has been modified to create dubbing problems, and replaced it with new sync.

Waveform Monitor

A device used to examine the luminance portion of the video signal and its synchronizing pulses.

  • Analog (NTSC) black should register at 7.5 IRE on a waveform monitor
  • ATSC/Digital black levels should be 0 IRE
  • White level (both NTSC and digital) shouldn’t be any greater than 100 IRE on a waveform monitor
  • 20 IRE units equals one f-stop

Vectorscope

A vector display measuring device that allows visual checking of the phase and amplitude of the color components of a video signal. NOTE: You can't adjust or manipulate a video signal just by using a waveform monitors and vectorscopes. They simply let you examine the signal. You must use a TBC, a camera control

Sync generator

Provides synchronizing pulses that are fed to the TBCs and cameras to keep them all running. All the horizontal/vertical retracing and scanning must happen at the same time in order to blend the video signals together with a switcher.

Switchers

Video switchers allow the user to select and mix video signals. They also provide a limited degree of effects.

Basic functions:

  1. Select appropriate source from several inputs
  2. Perform basic transitions
  3. Create/access special effects

Switchers can have a number of different busses. A buss is simply a row of buttons, which allow the operator to select which input goes out to a particular destination. Usually there are at least three different busses on a production switcher:

  • Program bus: whatever source is selected goes to the program monitor
  • Preview bus: identical in appearance to the program bus
  • Effects bus: used to select sources for different effects

Basic Operation:

  • Cut or take (Ready 1- take 1)
  • Flip flop of program/preview bus
  • Dissolve: (standby 1- dissolve to 1)
  • Super (superimposition: using the fade bar and keeping it halfway between sources)
  • Fade: (a dissolve with black)

Special Effects & controls:

  • Wipes & wipe patterns (see below)
  • Key & clip controls (chroma key, luminance key)
  • Downstream keyer
  • Color background controls

Wipe: when one image replaces or uncovers another (Write deko does this)
Soft wipe: you can set the border to be soft (fuzzy) by a knob on the switcher

Wipe pattern: the geometric shapes you can choose from (diamond, circle,) these are standardized and referred to by numbers so that EDLs (edit decision lists) can pull them up consistently from various switchers

Wipe positions and directions: al wipes can be reversed (by pressing the reverse button on the switcher) or stopped partway by stopping the fader bar.

Split screen: if you stop a horizontal, vertical or diagonal wipe halfway you get a split screen.

DVE (digital video effect) allows you to actually squeeze, rotate, flip, shrink or expand the image. Grass Valley uses the abbreviation DPM (Digital Picture Manipulation) instead of DVE- but they both mean the same. DVEs or DPMs allow for shaping or distoriting the video in interesting ways, including perspective, squuezes, page turns, flips etc.

Keys: When using keys, the switcher replaces part of the video signal with video from another source. There are several types of keys you can do with a production switcher: luminance keys, chroma keys and external keys.

  • Luminance keys work on brightness. If someone is standing in front of a black background, you can use a luminance key, adjust the threshold, and key out the dark areas. Similarly you can key out the brightest areas of an image. The problem with this type of key is that it's not very precise to remove video based on luminance. If we key out the dark areas, everything else that's equally dark will be removed as well (shoes, pupils in eyes, buttons, etc)
  • Chroma keys work by selecting and removing specific colors. This is usually how the weatherman standing in front of a map is produced, or "on-location" shots of news people who areen't really on-location. The two most popular colors to use are blue and green. This is because these colors are usually farthest away from the color of people's hair and skin. Studios and production companies usually have both a green and a blue screen. If the talent shows up wearing blue, you use the green screen and vice-versa.
  • External or Linear keys are fed by an external source, such as a character generator. The external device sends two video signals: the key and video fill. The key signal acts like a cookie cutter telling the switcher what video to remove. The video fill is what goes into the cut out portion.

Chromakey examples:

You should also be aware of the term downstream key, which is a key that happens downstream or after the video leaves the switcher. It's possible to get a downstream keyer that inserts the station ID or weather warnings, etc.

Switcher types & functions

The Grass Valley switcher in Studio 5 is just one type of switcher. There are several different types of switchers designed for different applications.

  • Production switchers are used for live production. (like the Kayak Grass Valley we have in Studio 5)
  • Post-production switchers (used for primarily for editing) Most of the switcher's functions (such as wipes, dissolves, etc.) can be remotely controlled by the Editing Control Unit. These are now rare as most editing is being carried out with non-linear systems (Avid, Final Cut Pro, etc.).
  • Master control switcher: These are optimized for switching and controlling numerous video sources and playback devices (VCRs digital cart machines, etc.). These generally won't have a lot of effects but focus on video previewing and insertion of station IDs and weather warnings.
  • Routing switchers: Similar in function to a patch bay. Some routing switchers are nothing more than a row of buttons. Some are computer-based and can be programmed with a variety of setups.


Production Switcher


Master Control Switcher


Simple Routing Switcher

Don't forget Audio

Audio follow video switchers. Audio switching is sometimes done by a separate device (other than the video switcher) The term "audio follows video" refers to devices that control or trigger an audio switcher. The result is that when you swicth a video source, the audio follows along.

Infrastructure overhaul

In the recent past, broadcasters across the nation replaced their old analog gear with digital. Stations that might have used analog RGB routers, distribution amps, and switchers had to toss/sell/scrap/retire the gear and build an entirely new system based on an HD-SDI infrastructure.

Video Recording Systems

Tape - Videotape can be in the form of open reel or more commonly found cassette shells. (miniDV, DVCPro, HDCAM, etc.)

Magnetic Disk - Uses one or more magnetic disk drives (commonly referred to as a "hard drive"). Mutlple drives are often cofigured as a RAID (redundant array of independent disks).

Optical Disk - Many camcorders write video directly to optical disks. Sony's XD Cam is one example (E.g. BluRay).

RAM-based (uses solid state memory) Now found in computers (SSD) and on consumer and professional camcorders. (Panasonic P2 cards, Compact Flash, Memory Stick, etc.)

Cables and Connectors

How does one get video from one device to another? Typically through a cable and a connector. For analog video, the choices include:

  • Composite (single cable) This is the "lowest common denominator." Every video recording & playback unit has this. Try to avoid as the composite video signal is prone to a variety of artifacts. Connectors: RCA (consumer) & BNC (porfessional)
  • Y/C (a.k.a. S-Video) The idea is to keep the signal broken down into the luminance & chrominance components. This is much better quality than composite. You can find Y/C ports on everything from consumer camcorders to high-end digital VTRs. Connectors: single, multi-pin connector on each end.
  • Color difference / Component The signal is split into three components: Y, R-Y, B-Y.; YUV; or Y'Pb'Pr'. The Y is for luminance, the U is for the blue color difference, the V is for the red color difference. Most high-end VTRs (Beta, MII, DV and digi beta, etc) have these connectors on them. This is the norm for getting Beta SP footage into an editor. It's a tad better than the Y/C system. Connectors: Usually three BNC connectors on each end. RCA connectors are often used on consumer DVD players and projectors.
  • RGB (true component) The Red, Green & Blue signals are kept separate. Not as common as the color difference system. While found on higher end broadcast interfaces, true component takes a great deal of bandwidth. Connectors: BNC & custom multipin connectors (triax).

Digital video:

  • Firewire (a.k.a. IEEE-1394) - a computer bus which has been accepted by most of the AV equipment manufacturers. You can squeeze DV down a firewire conection.
  • USB (universal serial bus) another bus now more commonly found than firewire
  • SDI (Serial Digital Interface) Found on high-end digital video devices. Can include embedded audio along with the video.
  • HD-SDI - The high-definition version of the SDI digital interface.
  • HDMI - High-Definition Multimedia Interface. Carries audio. (DVI-D, a computer display connector is partially compatible with HDMI but carries no audio.)

Digital audio:

  • AES/EBU (AES3) Developed by the Audio Engineering Society and the European Broadcast Union. Typically uses 3 conductors with XLR connectors. Found on professional gear.
  • S/PDIF (Sony / Philips Digital Interconnect Format) - Can be transmitted over coaxial (2 wires) or over optical (TOSLINK). Mainly found on consumer gear.
  • TOSLINK (Toshiba Link) - Fiber optic.

Arri's new L-Series light

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFYjo8p-aDY

This light is unique in a few ways:

  • It's a fresnel LED fixture.
  • You never need gels! It has variable color temperature.
  • It can be controlled via the DMX port. (And upgradable firmware via a USB port.)
  • It uses less electricity and operates at a lower temperature. It puts out more lumens per watt than a tungsten or halogen-based lamp.

More info can be found at http://www.arri.com/l-series/index.html

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