Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Handling the Truth

The Dead Pool
Once upon a time, sharing courtroom video took little more than a gentleman's agreement and the toss of a tape (or two). No more. It's rare these days for any two stations within the same market to record video on the same format, let alone ALL of them. So when some judge stops brushing crumbs off his robe long enough to decide he can abide but ONE camera in his courtroom, a delicate, digital dance begins. Except it ain't so delicate. Not with a handful of fully grown A/V geeks scrambling around bug-splattered news wagons. Pop quiz, Hotshot. Your biggest competitor's got hot footage of the star witness blowing her nose under cross examination. He'll share it with you, too - but only if you make it easy on him. Too bad his station records images on used solar panels, while your employer prefers computer cards the size of postage stamps. Hey, did I mention everyone's boss is screaming into their headsets for you vested oafs to figure it and feed the video NOW so that said Star Witness can wrinkle her Kleenex on the promo leading into Dr. Oz? Well, they are, so you'd better daisy chain those cameras together and pray in the name of Saint MacGyver that Missus Witness pops up on that one inch screen. But don't think all your energy's going to waste. Somewhere in a courthouse window, a judge is chewing a toothpick and humming a familiar tune as he watches blue-collar Joe's do the Hokey-Pokey.

And isn't THAT what it's all about?


Anonymous said...

Our station is currently dealing with a similar problem.

Big murder trial coming up and only one camera allowed.

Of course we're all shooting w/ different equipment with different codecs and formats!

Weaver said...

If one or all of the stations would just get an HD-SDI D/A - that Distribution Amplifier, all this hubbub would be done.

All of the different formats go in and out of the cameras/record decks / live trucks with an SDI hookup.

I can only speak to our market - but an SDI D/A would work 95% of the time as long as each station brought a live truck.

30frames said...

We have "the box" up here. It has enough SDI outs to feed an army of photogs.
One station sets up and shoots feeding into it and everyone else can plug in either a deck or camera to record out. HD, SD, XDcam, SxS, P2, Beta, you name it.
It does work 95+% of the time.
The only down side is we don't get the chance to practice our Hokey-Pokey.

Oreo said...

You should see the daisy chain just outside the courtroom here in Houston. Only problem is that our babycams can't take in analog video, so we have been having to bring a Beta SX 'portable' deck.

Maybe now that NewsFix has started, I can get the engineers to get us a spare Matrox A/D D/A box to hook up to my laptop. Would make that a lot easier.

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