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The Best High-End

Cameras for Live Production


Keeping in mind the numerous essential components involved in producing a 4K live production — primarily a 4K encoder and the latest-generation streaming/recording tools — the first step typically involves the selection of an appropriate 4K camera (or cameras!) that would best suit your needs and deliver the desired results. Broadcast Video Producer explores the different types of 4K cameras out there in the market and helps you identify which camera type is most appropriate for your live production.

Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro


It is the most versatile camera for all sports. It is a “three cameras in one” because it combines high-end digital film quality with the ergonomics and features broadcasters need. It’s ideal for any kind of work from high-end feature films, television shows, and commercials, to independent films, broadcast news, and even studio and live production! While shooting a sport, whether you are capturing indoors or out, from near or far, the URSA Mini Pro has features that will help you capture that key sporting moment.

URSA Mini Pro features beyond Ultra HD 4.6K resolution plus 15 stops of dynamic range, all with a super wide color gamut and DaVinci color science so you always capture cinematic quality images. With interchangeable mounts, the URSA Mini Pro unlocks your lens collection’s production potential. EF, PL, B4 lens mounts allow you to shoot close up for badminton and wide enough for soccer. With its versatility and light weight, placing the camera in a good shot position is no worry. The super compact body features broadcast camera ergonomics and advanced operating software that makes it faster to set up and use than any other camera! Whether you’re on set, on location or shooting run and gun, URSA Mini Pro has the image quality and features you need to work on any type of project!

Often in sports, there are multiple sports happening at the same time in different venues. If you’re at the Olympic beach volleyball event, you can quickly make the transition to gymnastics. Should you not have time to reset your white balance and configure your camera, having industry grade color codecs and 3 stops of ND filter allow you to retain the most amount of post production options. Never lose your precious sporting moments to extreme exposures. The URSA Mini family are powerful and robust cameras that are available in five different versions, so you can choose the camera that best suits your needs. Choose the affordable URSA Mini 4K and URSA Mini 4.6K models with cinema quality, fixed EF or PL lens mounts, and dual C-Fast card recorders. Or choose the all new, advanced URSA Mini Pro 4.6K that adds built in ND filters, an interchangeable lens mount, dual C-Fast UHS-II SD card recorders and powerful broadcast features and controls!

URSA Mini Pro is designed to include everything you need in a handheld camera so you can take it anywhere! Unlike cheap plastic cameras, the evenly weighted camera body is made out of a super tough magnesium alloy. It’s a true professional camera with full redundancy on every control, even the power switch! Plus, the tactile controls allow full setting changes without having to take the camera off your shoulder! There’s an external high visibility LCD status display so you can see critical shooting information and a 4” foldout touch screen for reviewing shots so you don’t have to carry an extra on-set monitor! You get professional connections such as 12G-SDI, XLR audio, a built in high-quality microphone and more. The optional electronic viewfinder and shoulder mount kit let you go from tripod to handheld shooting in seconds, or you can turn URSA Mini Pro into the ultimate live production camera by adding a URSA Studio Viewfinder!

Canon EOS C700 Camera


Put Canon’s mastery of image processing into a cinema-grade production-ready form factor and you get the EOS C700 Cinema Camera. This version of the C700 comes stocked with Canon’s EF lens mount with a positive-locking mechanism, minimizing play found in traditional spring-loaded bayonet-style mounts. Beyond the lens mount is the first stop in the C700’s imaging pipeline, the 4.5K CMOS image sensor. With a physical resolution exceeding that of DCI 4K and a dynamic range of approximately 15 stops, the C700 is ready for today’s 4K and HDR productions.

The C700 is capable of 4K recording at 60p to CFast 2.0 cards using the XF-AVC format. Also available are Apple’s well-regarded ProRes formats for direct-to-edit workflows. Raw recording is another possibility through Canon’s separately available Codex Digital Recorder which simply clips onto the rear of the C700’s modular design. While the C700 is a fairly advanced piece of equipment, Canon has implemented a familiar user interface. Most basic functions can be accessed through the six buttons surrounding the screen. More advanced settings can be found using the simple selection dial and set buttons.

I/O options for nearly any application can be found on the C700’s side panel. Video, audio, control, and power inputs and outputs are available for implementations ranging from ENG-style run-and-gun to high-budget cinema productions.

While the C700 is a production powerhouse all on its own, its modular design lets the user customize the form factor to fit their use case. The rectangular body has enough real-estate to be shoulder-mounted for handheld shooting or secured to a dovetail on professional grip equipment with ease. And for the first time on a Cinema EOS camera, native V-mount battery support is available via an installed IDX battery plate.

The inclusion of Apple’s ProRes codec inside the C700 enables shooters who require a quick turn-around to go direct-to-edit on many NLEs without any transcoding necessary. In 4K the 422 HQ flavor is implemented and is supported up to 30 fps. In the 2K mode, 10-bit 422, 10-bit 422HQ, and 12-bit 4444 can be used. The high frame-rate recording is supported up to 180 fps using the 10-bit 422 flavor combined with the 2K center crop. All formats are conveniently recorded directly to the CFast 2.0 cards. Using the SD card slot, low-data-rate proxy files can be recorded simultaneously with XF-AVC or ProRes on the CFast 2.0 cards.

12-bit DCI 4K raw files will be recorded onto separately available Codex Digital Capture Drives and will be instantly compatible with the robust Codex Digital workflow. Following in the tradition of the EOS C series cameras, the C700 offers Canon Log, Canon Log 2, and Canon Log 3 curves for recording.Canon Log 2 emphasizes post-production grading and Canon Log 3 uses a gamma designed to simplify grading by tightening dark areas and adjusting gradation. With phase-detection pixels covering 80% of the sensor area, quickly achieving accurate focus with compatible EF lenses is as simple as selecting an area and have the camera automatically focus on it. Face detection will lock the focus on a face inside the frame and track it as it moves through the frame. Different faces inside the frame are selectable. To ensure that focus is smooth, sensitivity can be adjusted in the menu.

Sony HDC-4300


The HDC-4300 puts you in total control of your content. For the first time, one camera platform is all you need to handle 4K, HD, and super slow motion – helping you generate maximum returns on today’s production budgets. Delivering uncompromised image quality, the HDC-4300 integrates seamlessly with HD infrastructures and accessories as well as the world’s most advanced 4K live production workflows. Optional software upgrades let you add amazing 4K 2x and HD 8x super slow motion and 4K image capture to standard HD outputs. All the flexibility and control you demand are right there in a single high-performance platform.

The HDC-4300 joins Sony’s widely acclaimed HDC Series family of live production solutions. The operation is reassuringly familiar to operators and cameramen, so you’re up and running faster without expensive re-training.The HDC-4300 is fully compatible with a wide range of existing products and workflows, including viewfinders, large lens adaptors, and camera control units. There’s no need for investment in additional accessories, keeping costs and inventory down.

Featured in the HDC-4300, cutting-edge Sony technological innovation and unparalleled hands-on live production experience are crystallized in the design of the world’s first three 2/3-inch 4K imaging device. This advanced optical system supports the next-generation ITU-R BT.2020 color gamut, enabling more precise color reproduction in live broadcasts. You’ll see the difference with vibrant, true-to-life images that make viewers feel as if they’re actually there

The HDC-4300 works directly with B4 lenses. The B4-mount supports both HD and 4K lenses, allowing you to use B4-mount high power large lenses to capture sports scenes with a deep depth of field.

With optional software, the HDC-4300 has the function of capturing 4K images. For the HDC-4300, Sony has brought together its leading-edge technologies and deep experience to design and build the world’s first three 2/3-inch 4K imagery with ultra-precision alignment technology used to mount the chips to a newly developed prism. This new optical system supports the wide color gamut of ITU-R BT.2020, enabling more precise color reproduction in live broadcasts.

HDC-4300’s real 4K imagers capture at four times the resolution of HD. In HD shooting, this can be used to achieve extreme high-speed image capture at a maximum of 479.52/400 fps with the optional software upgrade.

The frame rates of 59.94/50, 119.88/100 and 179.82/150 fps are available as standard. In 4K shooting, a maximum of 119.88/100 fps can be achieved.The real-time full digital process is applied to each frame even at high-frame rates in the BPU-4000/BPU-4500, producing the same quality in the images as one at the normal speed. Captured images can be recorded to the PWS-4400 or the PWS-4500 4K/HD multi-port AV storage unit for super slow motion replay

Sony’s innovative software technology enables a full HD image to be cut out from a 4K picture in real-time. Two modes are available: you can select either Zoom & Perspective mode or Simple HD mode. Keeping the camera in a fixed position, any portion of the captured image can be cropped to provide a close-up HD image to viewers as if the camera had been panned. In Zoom & Perspective mode, one portion can be cut out while performing the perspective transformation, according to the lens focal length. In Simple HD mode, two portions can be cut out at the same time.

The HDC-4300 is designed to fit into the growing Sony 4K live production environment alongside the PMW-F55 and F65 live camera configurations. With an optional software upgrade, the HDC-4300 enables 4K capture for multiple 4K and HD outputs, working directly with the BPU-4000 baseband processor unit and the HDCU-2000 or HDCU-2500 camera control units.

Panasonic’s AG-DVX200


The HDC-4300 puts you in total control of your content. For the first time, one camera platform is all you need to handle 4K, HD, and super slow motion – helping you generate maximum returns on today’s production budgets. Delivering uncompromised image quality, the HDC-4300 integrates seamlessly with HD infrastructures and accessories as well as the world’s most advanced 4K live production workflows. Optional software upgrades let you add amazing 4K 2x and HD 8x super slow motion and 4K image capture to standard HD outputs. All the flexibility and control you demand are right there in a single high-performance platform.

This 4K Handheld Camcorder with Four-Thirds Sensor and Integrated Zoom Lens brings professional features and familiar camcorder ergonomics to the Four Thirds sensor format. It features a single MOS sensor with 4K resolution that captures up to 12 stops of dynamic range with Panasonic’s V-Log L gamma curve. The camcorder supports DCI 4K production at 24 fps, UHD 4K at up to 60 fps, and HD at up to 120 fps, providing you with a camcorder that is at home in a variety of production environments.

Recording 4K to MP4 or MOV and offering AVCHD recording of 1920 x 1080 HD video, your footage can be easily integrated into most modern post production workflows. The integrated 13x Leica zoom lens features three lens rings that give you manual control over focus, zoom, and iris. The camera records to SD cards and requires U3 speed class cards to record 4K video. The camcorder features timecode in / out, a 3G-SDI output for HD video and an HDMI connector that provides 4K output.

The integrated LEICA DICOMAR lens features a 13x zoom range, which when shooting DCI 4K is equivalent to a 29.5 to 384.9mm lens on a 35mm camera. The lens has individual lens control rings built into the lens for focus, zoom, and iris as well as a power zoom rocker. Including a five-axis Hybrid Image Stabilizer and 4 x correction-area Image Stabilizer that produces clear images without blurring, and a micro-drive focus unit that improves focus speed, tracking and capture performance, facilitating 4K focusing and shallow focus shooting.

The V-Log L gamma curve allows you to capture 12 stops of dynamic range. Capturing in V-Log L will produce a flatter looking image that provides more latitude for post color correction. The V-Log assist function allows you to adjust the look of your video on the output to a more normal looking image without affecting the recorded footage.

The dual SD card slots allow you to record in the relay, backup, and simultaneous modes. The relay allows you to swap a full card out for an empty card so you can record virtually endlessly. The backup mode allows you to record continuously on one card, while you start and stop recording on the other card. Simultaneous record duplicates your recording on both cards, and dual codec recording allows you to record using a different codec to each card, so you can record 4K on one card and HD on the other. Please note that dual codec recording is not available when recording 4KDCI or UHD 60p