“I forgot to mention – these monster zoom lenses with ratios of 55:1 were all f1.8 or better. How could they make such amazing lenses? Because the resolution of TV cameras was and still is crap. In 625 line PAL SD, that’s about 585 active lines x 3/4 = 0.256Mp in today’s terms. For an HD camera, it’s 1920×1080 = 2.073Mp. That still applies. Full HD is only 2Mp!
That meant the lenses could be designed with very low optical specs and still look acceptable, hence the f1.8 on monster zoom ratios. If we could accept 2Mp sensors on our still cameras, we too could have 50:1 zooms. Look at camcorders. They have amazing zoom ratio lenses of f1.8 or f1.4, in a tiny package at a tiny cost. That’s because they only have to cover a tiny sensor of 2Mp resolution. It’s all relative.”
“Now I’ve got a Panasonic FZ200 with a 20mm – 1200mm 60x zoom! It’s f3.5-f5.6 onto a 1/1.7” sensor. Lovely pictures in good light. I like it. It’s not the long end so much as that 20mm wide end that I like so much. Very versatile camera which I use for travel. Full HD video too. I love it.
“NB. Even more amazing – lenses are now compensated for in the camera – lens distortions and CA are removed in the jpg output. Add in image stabilisation and a ~$450 price and we’re getting absolute bargains.”
Those Vinten gas pedestals alone cost $10,000 or more, and there were usually four per studio. As you can see, they were designed to support camera/lens combinations weighing 50Kg or more. Being gas filled, they could be adjusted to balance the weight of the camera and the cameraman could lift or lower the camera with one hand, silently, and glide around the floor. Notice the lead weights above the steering ring.
Everything about TV station gear was expensive. Cameras cost $50,000 upwards each, without lens. Add a lens at around $30,000. When they used tubes, which gradually “wore out” and had to be replaced, each tube cost about $5,000 and there were three, Red, Green, Blue.
So camera = $80,000, pedestal $10,000, vision switching desk about $100,000, 24 channel or 32 channel audio mixer at about $30,000, monitor speakers at about $3,000 each. Lighting control panel another $50,000. Add videotape recorders at around $70,000 each. That’s just one studio, and we had three. Broadcast TV equipment cost BIG money. Plus we had a big Outside Broadcast truck fitted out for up to six cameras with all the audio as well, probably $1m.
Now, it’s all junked. Literally sold for scrap value or thrown into dumper bins. I’m not kidding – it’s been happening at Channel 7 and the entire premises at Tuart Hill where I worked for 33 years are now gone, demolished.
These days I can record and play Full HD video and audio in my SLR cameras, with a quality just as good as these $100,000 monsters produced. I can transfer the material to this computer and edit to a higher standard than we had when we paid $150,000 for an edit system. I can do video effects with ease in Full HD, in real time, to a higher standard than the $70,000 Ampex ADO that I used to slave over.
An entire vision/audio/editing/recording system is now a box that can be picked up in one hand, at a cost of about $5,000.
Everything has changed! It all seemed to happen around 2000, and I retired in 1999. Yippee!
I’ve been saying it repeatedly, constant vigilance is needed in supermarkets. Yesterday I did my grocery shopping in Coles and asked for $100 cash out as well. I was just about to walk away with the money in my hand when I checked – I’d only received one $50 note. Fresh new notes tend to stick together and I thought I had two fifties, but no. I was able to thrust my hand out just as it had been when the checkout guy had handed it to me and he could see I was right. Lucky. Watch out.
I’m still having the pleasurable experience of trying to decide on a car. I’ve looked at other cars but nothing has the prestige of a Mercedes. There are two contenders at the moment. The first is another CL500 like the Melbourne one, but this one’s in Sydney: