NBC Olympics Focuses on Canon for Vancouver Lens Needs

Canon U.S.A. will provide advanced HDTV lenses, remote-control robotic HD cameras, and a Canobeam Free Space Optics HD video transceiver system to NBC Olympics for its coverage of the Vancouver Winter Games from February 12-28. The announcement was made today by David Mazza senior vice president of Engineering, NBC Olympics and Ken Ito, senior director and general manager, Broadcast and Communications division of Canon U.S.A.

“We have just 17 days in which we need to capture every nuance of what goes on here in Vancouver,”explains NBC Olympics SVP of Engineering David Mazza. “There are no second chances when you are shooting the Olympics, especially in HDTV. For that reason, all of our gear has to be up to the mission-critical nature of the Games, and our vendors need to be there and ready to support us. We get both from Canon, and that’s why we have trusted them to be NBC’s exclusive lens provider for Vancouver and the past seven Olympics as well.”

The lens lineup includes HJ14ex4.3B wide-angle portable HDTV lenses, XJ27x6.5B HDTV studio lenses, and XJ100x9.3B and XJ86x9.3B long-zoom HD field lenses with Canon’s Optical Shift-IS image-stabilizer technology. Additional Canon HDTV production technologies to be used by NBC include BU-45H remote-control robotic pan-tilt-zoom HD POV (point-of-view) camera systems, and the Canobeam DT-150 HD Free Space Optical wireless video transceiver system.

The new HJ14ex4.3B is presently the widest-angle portable HD zoom lens in the professional realm of 2/3-inch lenses. The product of Canon’s latest development tools, newly developed glass elements, and highly advanced optical coatings, the HJ14ex4.3B combines an extended 14 times zoom range and unprecedented 4.3mm wide angle with exceptional optical performance. In addition, a newly developed Digital Drive unit provides improved operability and ergonomic advances for user comfort and convenient control of lens functions.

“Canon’s newest lenses continue to give our directors more creative choices,” adds Mazza. “Whether in the cold Canadian winter, or the summer of ’08 in China, Canon has always delivered the performance we need.”

Ken Ito, senior director and general manager, Broadcast and Communications division of Canon U.S.A., says that Canon has supplied NBC with lenses for its Olympic coverage since 1992.

“A wide variety of Canon’s most advanced HD lenses will be used by NBC Olympics to image all of the action at the many winter sports venues in Vancouver,” says Ito. “Canon remote-control robotic HD cameras and a Canobeam Free Space Optics HD video transceiver system will also be instrumental in this effort. The superior performance, reliability, and advanced technology of all Canon equipment will ensure that NBC provides viewing audiences in the United States with HDTV pictures of stunning brilliance and clarity. And of course, Canon professionals will be on-hand with NBC in Vancouver to ensure a positive production experience.”

NBC will also be using Canon’s XJ27x6.5B HD studio zoom lens, the “next step” in HD studio lenses with quality wide-angle performance and a focal length of 6.5mm to 180mm. The lens also offers an optional BWA-271 0.9x Wide Attachment, the industry’s first wide-angle attachment for an HD studio lens. This “zoom-through” Wide Attachment enables users to begin with a wide shot and go telephoto without experiencing negative effects on light transmission. This feature alters the range of the zoom on wide settings by ten percent toward the wide side, making a new zoom range of 5.85mm to 162mm.

In addition to the many different models of Canon HD lenses NBC will use for its coverage of the Vancouver Winter Games, the network will also capture some of its video using Canon’s BU-45H remote-control robotic pan-tilt 16:9 HD camera system, which is designed for HD POV sports shots and other camera positions where an operator can’t be present. The BU-45H features a Canon HD camera equipped with three 1/3-inch (1,670,000-pixel) CCD sensors, a Canon HD zoom lens with 20X optical zoom ratio (4.5 – 90mm), a remote-control ND (neutral density) filter, genlock input, HD-SDI output with embedded audio as the primary video, and a standard-definition composite NTSC feed for monitoring. The lens incorporates a built-in Auto Focus function, and Canon’s sophisticated Image Stabilizer technology.

Lastly, Canobeam DT-150 HD wireless video transceiver system will be used in Vancouver (in Beijing it helped transmit video signals across the pedestrian pavilion). The Canobeam DT-150 HD employs point-to-point Free Space Optical light beams to provide reliable bi-directional, uncompressed 1.5 Gbps transmission of embedded digital HD video, audio, and camera-control signals on a single HD-SDI stream with no delay.

The Canobeam DT-150 HD can relay embedded HD-SDI and SD-SDI video from multiple cameras or other HD/SD video sources, along with embedded return video and audio to the camera operator, and even robotic camera-control data. The Canobeam DT-150 HD has a range of up to one kilometer and, like all Canobeam DT-100 series products, features Canon’s exclusive Auto Tracking feature to maintain beam alignment despite vibration due to wind, rain, or unsteady platforms.

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