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How to get a consistent video look from 2 JVC and 2 Sony

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Leland Talbert
How to get a consistent video look from 2 JVC and 2 Sony
on Sep 23, 2009 at 1:27:44 am

How do I get a consistent video from 2 JVC HD250 and 2 Sony BRC-300. We are using SDI for all for cameras. The one HD250 handles the primary shot and the second handles the ISO/talking head. The one BRC-300 handles the sanctuary (wide) and the second handles limited ISO. What would be the best way to balance the video to have a consistent look across all four cameras?

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Mark Suszko
Re: How to get a consistent video look from 2 JVC and 2 Sony
on Sep 25, 2009 at 2:37:43 pm

This is what CCU's and dedicated "camera shaders" were for in the analog days. Tweaking the cams without a CCU, if possible, may mean getting into menu settings of the individual cams, or spending money for SDI-based proc amp/Time Base Corrector type boxes that will do the same functions. Those are not cheap. But for live church work, I think this is what you're looking at to get it done. In post, not as big a deal to color-correct and match the cams.

One thing I would do first is get your hands on a scope, even if only a virtual one from your NLE system, then line up all the cameras on the same white balance target and then on the same color bars chart, not using the internally generated color bars signal, but working with what is actually coming thru the camera optics and imaging chip. Now you have an objective way to describe and measure the differences, and then you can start to scientifically experiment on correcting them.


If you're not very far off, perhaps just using carefully-chosen dedicated white balance cards for each brand will make them average out to something more uniform. "Camera three needs the pinker-looking white balance card to make it match 2 and 4". Or you might find a gel to color-correct in front of the lens on two of them to match the other two. Hard to say without being there. If you have a switcher that can tweak each camera source individually, like a video Toaster, maybe you could fix it there.

I'm thinking the SDI is going to be a problem though.

Some makes and models of cameras use flash memory cards to store setups and special "looks". If these cams of yours have that, you can use one card as a master template and use it to set all the others to match. Problem is, you have two different brands/makes.

Frankly, I don't hold much hope that you can "fix" this cheaply and have it actually work dependably. But playing with the balance cards and chart for an hour or two is probably as good and inexpensive a starting point as any, and it may help you discover something that will help.

Please do let us know what happens with this, it is an issue many people face when they start doing multicam.



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Leland Talbert
Re: How to get a consistent video look from 2 JVC and 2 Sony
on Sep 25, 2009 at 4:30:19 pm

Hello Mark,

Thanks for the insight. Can you recommend any SDI proc amp?

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