Consumer camcorders have long
been used by news media to record events like China's Tenniman
Square, the Gulf War, "hidden camera" exposes, etc. Even
though these segments were aired on braodcast television, that does
not necessarily make them "broadcast quality" as defined by
One of the things we do is
news gathering for ABC, CBS and NBC local affiliates as independent
news gatherers. I have captured footage (that has aired) on
BetacamSP, Hi8, and DV (using the PC7 and VX1000.) One piece shot on
the VX1000 was satellite fed to New York for Fox. They liked the
quality. Visually the VX1000, with its 3 chip, 4:1:1 color sampling
looks great. But when we put it on a waveform and vectorscope, we can
see that it is not up to "broadcast spec". If I look at two
adequately lit video segments - one shot with BetacamSP and one with
VX1000, they both look great. 90% of the population would never tell
the difference. The differences are subtle, but they are there.
Qualitatively, both are superb. Quantitatively, they are different. I
have shot news video with the VX1000 and when my story is aired next
to a story shot on a BetacamSP, I can see the difference.
However, my personal
experience is that consumer 4:1:1 DV is outstanding. I completed a
medical video shot entirely with the Sony PC7 - a one chip camcorder.
The finished project was superb. But I could control the lighting for
every shot and this made all the difference in the world. Had I shot
with with the Sony DSR200 - Sony's 4:2:2 digital camcorder, it would
measure out to "broadcast spec" - quantitatively.
4:1:1 has 50% less
chrominance bandwidth than 4:2:2. This reduced bandwidth increases
noise and decreases chrominance dependent tasks (such as
chromakeying). So, based upon 1) measured differences, and 2)
information supplied by Sony and Panasonic industrial reps (at trade
shows), my assessment is that 4:1:1 is not "broadcast
quality" whereas 4:2:2 is.
The original question (posted
on the Videomaker Forum) was: can you achieve "broadcast
quality" on a Miro DC30? It's my contention, based upon what the
FCC has defined as "broadcast quality," the answer is - No.
But can you achieve high S-VHS quality video with the Miro DC30? -
Yes. Can you do a project with the Miro DC30 and have it played over
cable? - Yes. Does that make it broadcast quality? - No. Does that
mean it is not acceptable? - No. It may be entirely acceptable, but
the discerning eye and test equipment will see the difference.
Outside of one or two techs
at a network affiliate, it is difficult to define "broadcast
quality." The FCC specs require expensive test equipment to
dtermine if a signal is "broadcast quality." And with the
advent of ever increasing quality in consumer equipment and the
increased use of consumer-acquired footage for broadcast, the
practical use of the term "broadcast quality" has become
different from the FCC defined term "broadcast quality".
Even manufacturers misuse the
term. For example, I bought a distribution amplifier from a company
that stated that it would pass through "broadcast quality".
I found that what was "broadcast quality" going in
certainly wasn't "broadcast quality" coming out. It was low
end S-VHS quality at best, not "broadcast quality". When I
called the company to complain, they couldn't give me any
"broadcast quality" specs on the equipment and their tech
told me that their product wasn't commercial equipment, but was
designed for consumer use. Then why call it "broadcast
quality"? - marketing hype.
For what it's worth, that's
my assessment of "broadcast quality".