Ikegami Cameras the Centerpiece to Earl Miller Productions’ HD Upgrade

Earl Miller Productions, Inc. (EMP), based in Austin TX, is transitioning its fleet of mobile production vehicles to HD. Prominent in the company’s long list of new HD equipment is the recent purchase of six Ikegami HDK-77EC full-digital native multi-format HD CMOS camera systems for EMP’s Mobile Unit #2 for coverage of sports and entertainment events.

Even though EMP has been an Ikegami user for almost 30 years, the selection process for the new HD cameras began with an equipment shootout, explains EMP VP Mike Miller.

“We compared the Ikegami HDK-77EC HD native multiformat CMOS camera with models from all of the major manufacturers,” Miller notes. “Our camera shootouts were fairly rigorous. We looked at the cameras in real-world sporting environments for several days, cross-examining the performance and feature sets of each one. After looking at image quality, feature sets and price, Ikegami was the clear winner. The picture from the HDK-77EC was clean with less noise than the other cameras we looked at, owing to the three advanced 2/3-inch 2.5 megapixel CMOS image sensors that they employ.”

Capable of delivering both exceptional 1080i and 720p HD 16:9 video (or 4:3 SD), Ikegami’s HDK-77EC is an economical docking-style camera with an advanced design providing such benefits as reduced power consumption and a lower operating temperature. The HDK-77EC can be used with Ikegami’s CCU-890M camera control unit for built-in fiber (and optional triax) connectivity for convenient mobile and studio flexibility. Users can choose the type of camera cable with a simple switch at the CCU, combined with mounting the docking FA fiber adapter (or TA triax adapter) to the camera head. An optional 1080/60p dual-processing capability is also available.

“We’re pleased that these Ikegami cameras can be used with either fiber or triax, which for us is key,” Miller adds. “The HDK-77EC allows us to be ready for both, with a minimum investment of time or effort to adapt to the client’s infrastructure. We’ve even used them on coax in some facilities and have had great results with no external power needed. We use the cameras in hard and hand-held configurations, as well as on the jib, and the HDK-77EC has the versatility to excel in all of those situations.”

Additional operational versatility is provided by Ikegami’s high-performance 9-inch color LCD viewfinders, which Miller notes are a favorite among EMP’s camera operators. “They provide an unparalleled image in a studio configuration,” he says. “Size really does matter, and the Ikegami viewfinder provides operators with a large, beautiful image that assists them with getting in focus and shot composition.”

Also important to EMP is reliability and service, Miller emphasizes. “Our equipment is on the highway daily, constantly working with different crews, going quickly from extreme hot environments to freezing cold,” he states. “We’ve already seen that Ikegami cameras work well, no matter what conditions. Our experiences with the HDK-77EC continue to be consistent in that regard.”

“A manufacturer also needs to be able to support its products for a long time,” Miller adds. “Obviously, when you’re making an investment like this, it’s not short-term. Sometimes we need service response in 24 hours or less, and we’ve always gotten great results from Ikegami in those situations. As we continue to transition to HD, Ikegami gives us technology that we – and our customers – can have 100 percent confidence in. Ikegami has been a primary name in mobile production for a long time. There have been other camera manufacturers to enter the sector, but Ikegami has always been an extremely consistent performer. Our clients expect the highest possible quality every time, and having Ikegami onboard is a proven way to meet and exceed those expectations.”

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