When were HD video cameras first used and what were they recorded to? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-16-2014, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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When were HD video cameras first used and what were they recorded to?

I recently watched a program dating from 1992, it was Bob Dylan's The 30th anniversary Concert Celebration. I could tell right away it was true HD but didn't have the look of film and when I occasionally caught a gimps of the camera men it sure looked like they were using video as apposed to film cameras. My internet search of exactly when HD cameras were first used didn't result in much, I do remember TV programs into the early 00s still being shot in 4:3 SD so in '92 I'd have to think HD cameras must have been in it's infancy. I also wonder what would have recorded the HD material.....if an analog format is sure looks good, even by todays standards.
I'd also like to know specifically how the Bob Dylan program was shot and recorded, usually IMDb helps on such thing, but not on this program.

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post #2 of 17 Old 08-16-2014, 10:30 AM
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Struck from a new High Definition video master with remastered audio, The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration - Deluxe Edition makes this historic all-star musical event available for the first time on DVD and Blu-ray.
Read more: http://www.bobdylan.com/ca/news/bob-...#ixzz3AZb5iiWb

Shot in HD I guess...Or nicely upscaled...
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-16-2014, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
I recently watched a program dating from 1992, it was Bob Dylan's The 30th anniversary Concert Celebration. I could tell right away it was true HD but didn't have the look of film and when I occasionally caught a gimps of the camera men it sure looked like they were using video as apposed to film cameras. My internet search of exactly when HD cameras were first used didn't result in much, I do remember TV programs into the early 00s still being shot in 4:3 SD so in '92 I'd have to think HD cameras must have been in it's infancy. I also wonder what would have recorded the HD material.....if an analog format is sure looks good, even by todays standards.
I'd also like to know specifically how the Bob Dylan program was shot and recorded, usually IMDb helps on such thing, but not on this program.
While technically, research into HD had been going on as far back as the 60's, right around 1980 that we started seeing anything close to the HD standard we ended up with.

In 1979, NHK came up with the MUSE system, which was very similar to modern HD, only analog component instead of digital. Reagan saw a demo of it and made it a national mandate to come up with a system for the US. From there, the FCC pursued a standard that could fit an HD signal into the current 6Mhz system used by broadcasters. That meant going digital.

A whole lot of testing took place in the late 80's and early 90's. By 1996, ATSC had been adopted as the US standard for 1080i and 720p and for 480i SD. At that point, you saw early HD formats like HDCam, which was based off of digital Betacam. Those early formats were usually 1440x1080 instead of a full 1920x1080.

This concert was shot prior to the earliest digital HD tape formats using the NHK Muse system I mentioned above. Apparently, the tapes have been sitting in Japan all this time waiting to be transferred to a digital HD format.

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post #4 of 17 Old 08-16-2014, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
I recently watched a program dating from 1992, it was Bob Dylan's The 30th anniversary Concert Celebration. I could tell right away it was true HD but didn't have the look of film and when I occasionally caught a gimps of the camera men it sure looked like they were using video as apposed to film cameras. My internet search of exactly when HD cameras were first used didn't result in much, I do remember TV programs into the early 00s still being shot in 4:3 SD so in '92 I'd have to think HD cameras must have been in it's infancy. I also wonder what would have recorded the HD material.....if an analog format is sure looks good, even by todays standards.
I'd also like to know specifically how the Bob Dylan program was shot and recorded, usually IMDb helps on such thing, but not on this program.

I have a 1987 Genesis concert that was recorded in HDTV video. My copy is a fairly old NTSC DVD transfer so I can’t comment on the “original HD quality”.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0459294/...ef_=tt_dt_spec

Here is some wiki info on the Sony 1125-line HDVS analog HD video system.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_HDVS

I have a few concerts shot on 35mm film and transferred to SD DVD and I have to say those look a lot better than the Genesis concert shot on HDVS and transferred to SD DVD.

I am familiar with later HDCAM system those cams used CCDs rather than tubes – looking at the Genesis footage I’d say those HDVS cams used tubes.

BTW, I have the PBS version of the Bob Dylan 30th anniversary concert but again, I have it archived in SD to my RDR-HX780

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post #5 of 17 Old 08-16-2014, 07:37 PM
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Ok I shuffled a little through my WS SD copy and two comments.

1) These are for sure video cameras, not film but video cams.



2) Judging by the footage - it looks like these are CCD cameras. My Genesis concert seems to use tube cameras. I have been shooting broadcast and production video since 1980 and I can tell the difference between tube and CCD shot footage.
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-17-2014, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Nice IMDb listing for that Genesis concert, wish they had got as detailed as to the equipment used on the Bob Dylan tribute. Wow mid 80s HD, you don't think the Dylan tribute was shot on HDVS do you? Most of the equipment mentioned by NetworkTV was mid 90s and after the concert.
Yes those are the cameras I saw and they sure look like video. On another note I sure feel sorry for your PBS feed......not only it's station bug large and mostly non opaque it's in the 4x3 safe area a real pet peeve for me on a HD channel!
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-17-2014, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
Nice IMDb listing for that Genesis concert, wish they had got as detailed as to the equipment used on the Bob Dylan tribute. Wow mid 80s HD, you don't think the Dylan tribute was shot on HDVS do you? Most of the equipment mentioned by NetworkTV was mid 90s and after the concert.
Yes those are the cameras I saw and they sure look like video. On another note I sure feel sorry for your PBS feed......not only it's station bug large and mostly non opaque it's in the 4x3 safe area a real pet peeve for me on a HD channel!
As I already mentioned, the Dylan concert was shot using the NHK MUSE system that was first introduced in 1979.
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-17-2014, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post
As I already mentioned, the Dylan concert was shot using the NHK MUSE system that was first introduced in 1979.
Sorry, I misunderstood your original post, now I got it
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-18-2014, 05:09 AM
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And if you consider 819-lines interlaced HDTV - then the French were using that back in 1949 in B&W. (In modern parlance it was 737i) The BBC described the 1936 all-electronic 405 line (aka 377i) as "High definition" in 1936, as it was considered massively better than than the early 32-240 line mechanical TV that it replaced. http://www.currybet.net/images/blog2...bbc-plaque.jpg has an image of the plaque proclaiming the launch of the service as "High Definition"

I'm sure that the fact that 819 was just a little bit more than twice 405 had nothing to do with the French adopting it. (Anglo-French rivalry is legendary!) As with the UK 405 line system, 819 line production stopped as soon as regular 625 line productions started (the second French channel was 625, just as BBC Two was) and by the time the 405 and 819 line services were ceased in the mid-80s all production was 625 and then converted to 405/819 for transmission.

As for early HDTV recordings as we know them, there were quite a few productions in the 80s shot on the Japanese NHK HiVision system (MUSE was the broadcast system rather than the production system), and in the late 80s/early 90s some shows were also shot on the European Eureka 1250 system (both 1992 Olympic Games in Albertville and Barcelona, as well as Wimbledon for a number of years - initially with BTS KCH1000s and Thomson cameras, then the early 1" LDK CCD cameras)

Originally analogue 1" reel-to-reel Videotape machines were used to record HDTV. There were some digital 1" open reel designs, and in Europe a lot of recording was made to D1 SD VTRs (which launched around 1987) either using 4 decks to record losslessly (the image was split into 1440x1152 and groups of 4 pixels were split to create 4 parallel 720x576 feeds which allowed editing in the SD domain followed by an autoconform for the other three recordings) Eventually a low-latency compression system was used (which also allowed a visible SD 720x576 image of limited bit depth) to allow recording onto a single D1 deck. Similar techniques were used to convert SD D5 decks to HD D5. For portable recording the Japanese HiVision system included a Betacam SP/MII-like format called UniHi. It was analogue component, and not quite as high quality as the 1" analogue recorders, but it could be used for recording in planes, helicopters or for single-camera recording.

The BBC and NHK co-produced a drama in 1989 on the HiVision system called "The Ginger Tree". http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096595/ This was shot on location but using a small van with the 1" VTR and remote camera "racks" (aka "shading") in the style that was common for location single-camera video shooting at the BBC (and I guess NHK) in the 80s. Unfortunately there was no 1125 to 625 converter available back then, so UK viewers saw an 1152 to 525 to 625 double conversion, so didn't get the benefits of higher resolution. I'd love to see this drama released on Blu-ray... (And it would be interesting to see the Barcelona and Albertville 1992 stuff in HD - I only watched the HD-MAC broadcasts in SD)

Sky Arts in the UK recently broadcast the Montreux Jazz Festival from the late 80s in HD. Obviously shot on tubed cameras by the amount of comet tailing in specular highlights. When I saw HDTV demos at IBC in Brighton in the late 80s/early 90s, there was often footage shot on HiVision gear from the 1984 Olympics in LA (including the bloke with the jet pack). If it hadn't been for the US boycott of the Moscow 1980 games (and the tech embargo) NHK have said they would have shot stuff at the 1980 games.

This website is interesting. It appears that Peter Wilson worked on the Montreux, Genesis and Ginger Tree early HD productions! http://www.hddc.co.uk/principal.html
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-18-2014, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post
As I already mentioned, the Dylan concert was shot using the NHK MUSE system that was first introduced in 1979.
Suspect it was shot using HiVision gear rather than MUSE - but this detail is always confused.

AIUI technically MUSE was the transmission system (similar to ATSC or QAM these days). HiVision was the production format branding (encompassing a range of production systems) rather than MUSE.

So in Japan it would have been shot on HiVision gear and broadcast in MUSE.

Unlike the days of composite - where PAL and NTSC were used both for production and transmission, even the early HDTV systems were similar to the present day where we use SDI/HD-SDI in studios and ATSC 8VSB or DVB-T for broadcast, rather than a single system throughout the production chain.

There were some exceptions - as MUSE was used for pre-recorded Laserdisc releases and some other pre-recorded formats (just as HD-MAC - the European rival to MUSE - was used experimentally on VHS decks by Philips in Europe) so it wasn't purely a broadcast format, but it was a "final leg in the chain" system. It used quite simple sub-Nyquist encoding with crude global motion vectors. (HD-MAC used block-based motion vectors with the DATV data encoded in blanking , which is also how MAC audio was handled. Ironically the development of block-based motion vectors was a contributor to the death blow to analogue broadcasting of HDTV - as it allowed for MPEG to be developed in parallel)
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post #11 of 17 Old 08-18-2014, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post
I have a 1987 Genesis concert that was recorded in HDTV video. My copy is a fairly old NTSC DVD transfer so I can’t comment on the “original HD quality”.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0459294/...ef_=tt_dt_spec

Here is some wiki info on the Sony 1125-line HDVS analog HD video system.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_HDVS

I have a few concerts shot on 35mm film and transferred to SD DVD and I have to say those look a lot better than the Genesis concert shot on HDVS and transferred to SD DVD.

I am familiar with later HDCAM system those cams used CCDs rather than tubes – looking at the Genesis footage I’d say those HDVS cams used tubes.

BTW, I have the PBS version of the Bob Dylan 30th anniversary concert but again, I have it archived in SD to my RDR-HX780
Originally HDTV used system cameras (i.e. cameras without integrated recorders, instead running over Triax or Fibre to a remote control room in a truck or studios). These were tube based (Saticons mainly) during the 80s, and the migration to CCDs started in the very early 90s. By the time HDCam was developed in the mid-90s, CCD cameras were standard. The same was true for Digital Betacam (the SD digital camcorder format which arrived in 1994 for the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, and was only ever released with CCD front-ends).

Early HDTV stuff was recorded either on 1" reel-to-reel VTRs in a truck or studio control room, or on a separate 1/2" cassette based UniHi analogue recorder (a bit like a BVW35 or 50 portable BetaSP field-recorder, or a uMATIC BVU50 or BVU150 uMatic ENG-recorder) (I've mentioned the European Quad-SD recording system used with D1 SD VTRs in Europe elsewhere)

https://pro.sony.com/bbsccms/assets/...mats_Guide.pdf is quite interesting.

It suggests that Sony launched HDVS (their High Definition Video System) with a 1" analogue VTR and 1" HDC-100 Tubed camera in 1985. The 1" HDC-300 Saticon camera arrived in 1988, with the HDC-500 HD CCD camera arriving in 1992. (Philips also had HD CCDs in 1992) Their digital HD recorder arrived in 1989, and their UniHi analogue HD cassette recorder in 1990. Their first HDCam camcorder arrived in 1997.
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Thanks for the international prospective Sneals2000, yes I was talking about more modern HD than the early French B&W standard which I've read about(probably from your posts).
So it looks like the Japanese HiVision/MUSE may have been the earliest of what I'd call modern HD. For sure the Bob Dylan tribute looked as good or better than much of the HD I currently see.
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On another note I sure feel sorry for your PBS feed......not only it's station bug large and mostly non opaque it's in the 4x3 safe area a real pet peeve for me on a HD channel!
That bug is not that bad under normal circumstances, it only stands out in dark scenes. For a while KCTS was running a short crawl of upcoming programs – that was very annoying glad they stopped doing that.


Sneals,
as always thanks for the very informative posts. You’re like a walking encyclopedia of the broadcast and production world.

I remember when I first started shooting and production around 1980 – did a lot of EFP work and carried around a ¾ inch porta pack. Worked at a small town station. I remember when my boss handed me my first battery belt; I thought I was in heaven. Now If I was careful and rolled only on important stuff I had enough power to last ‘till lunch. No more big box of batteries to carry around.

I remember a couple of years later when a guy from the competition showed up with one of the first Betacams. WOW a one-piece camera and recorder – he pointed the thing at the white ceiling pushed a button and it white balance within’ a few seconds – I was blown away as our cams had to be tweaked manually to WB.

I remember doing my first multi-cam triaxed shoots – They were small town sports events usually, we used our same EFP cams in triax mode and I remember we had to run the same amount of cable to each camera because our CCU units in the truck didn’t have any way to compensate for the longer runs and the levels would be out of whack. One day our engineer surprised us by putting some dimmer type switches in the CCU units to compensate. Now we could run 300 feet of triax in cam 1, 150 feet in cam 2 and 25 feet in cam 3.

I personally haven’t touched any HD gear until the early Sony HDCams came out in the late 90s. Back then only on certain national high-end EFP shoots would you get to shoot with those. You were considered lucky to be handed a Betacam BVW400 SD. Which I think were really nice cams for the day – a lot better then those early two-piece tube porta packs I started my career with.

I bet you have a million stories to tell.
Thanks for all your info.

That Peter Wilson / Genesis concert article was interesting. Come to think of it I think I might have a SD DVD of one of the mid 80s to 90s Montreux concerts shot on HD. I have to go through my collection.

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Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post
Suspect it was shot using HiVision gear rather than MUSE - but this detail is always confused.

AIUI technically MUSE was the transmission system (similar to ATSC or QAM these days). HiVision was the production format branding (encompassing a range of production systems) rather than MUSE.

So in Japan it would have been shot on HiVision gear and broadcast in MUSE.

Unlike the days of composite - where PAL and NTSC were used both for production and transmission, even the early HDTV systems were similar to the present day where we use SDI/HD-SDI in studios and ATSC 8VSB or DVB-T for broadcast, rather than a single system throughout the production chain.

There were some exceptions - as MUSE was used for pre-recorded Laserdisc releases and some other pre-recorded formats (just as HD-MAC - the European rival to MUSE - was used experimentally on VHS decks by Philips in Europe) so it wasn't purely a broadcast format, but it was a "final leg in the chain" system. It used quite simple sub-Nyquist encoding with crude global motion vectors. (HD-MAC used block-based motion vectors with the DATV data encoded in blanking , which is also how MAC audio was handled. Ironically the development of block-based motion vectors was a contributor to the death blow to analogue broadcasting of HDTV - as it allowed for MPEG to be developed in parallel)
I'm not sure what the recordings were made on, but it was shot using the MUSE system. The original show was a live PPV event.

From what I know about it, the tapes have been stashed away in Japan for some time and only now are being released after Sony aquired them. It turns out, one of the Sony lawyers was a big fan and pushed to get the deal done.

It's possible the recordings of the broadcast were made on HiVision, but I don't have any confirmation on that part. I only know MUSE was the source for the actual TV production.

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post #15 of 17 Old 08-19-2014, 05:20 AM
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I'm not sure what the recordings were made on, but it was shot using the MUSE system. The original show was a live PPV event.

From what I know about it, the tapes have been stashed away in Japan for some time and only now are being released after Sony aquired them. It turns out, one of the Sony lawyers was a big fan and pushed to get the deal done.

It's possible the recordings of the broadcast were made on HiVision, but I don't have any confirmation on that part. I only know MUSE was the source for the actual TV production.
I think you are misunderstanding me. For broadcast production and transmission you shot on HiVision and broadcast in MUSE. You didn't shoot in MUSE as MUSE wasn't a production format. You didn't get MUSE out of the back of a camera and route it through the vision mixer (aka vision switcher). That would have been HiVision kit (also now branded HDVS by Sony - High Definition Video System)

The MUSE encoding happened at the point of broadcast (or in the case of laser disc release - mastering). It MAY have been that MUSE was also used as a link standard if the broadcast was live-to-air, but the production wouldn't have been "in MUSE".

HiVision was the overarching brand for HDTV production and broadcast, MUSE was just the transmission system, and MUSE wasn't a format used for production.

I think what has happened, through the mists of time, is that because the end-user needed a MUSE decoder, and because MUSE was the only HDTV format consumers needed to know about in Japan, and because MUSE was part of HiVision, people have decided that MUSE was the production system as well. But it wasn't. MUSE wouldn't have been feasible as a production system.

Thankfully any HDTV productions from this era will have been recorded on either analogue or digital videotape (the Sony 1" digital VTR was uncompressed as well I believe) so won't have the quality loss that MUSE broadcast would have introduced (it used 4-field interlacing on static information)

I was peripherally involved with HD productions in the late 80s and early 90s in Europe (I was in both 1250/50 and 1125/60 production trucks and demonstration studios, and my father was a supervising engineer on some early UK HD productions in Europe in both formats) and can absolutely guarantee the 1125/60 stuff wasn't using MUSE in the production process. Signals were routed baseband analogue component between camera control units, monitors, switcher/mixers and VTRs.

I was recently clearing out some old paperwork collected from IBC in the late 80s and early 90s (when IBC was in Brighton not Amsterdam) and have the early Sony HD catalogue. Nothing about MUSE for production in it...
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post #16 of 17 Old 08-19-2014, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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It sounds to me like the term MUSE is similar to the term PAL(or SECAM or NTSC for that matter) and is just the broadcast format. People(including me at times) use the term PAL for all European 50 hz material including baseband 50hz video, which I know is incorrect but thats what most people understand, at least in N. America
This Wiki article seems to sum things up well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multipl...pling_encoding

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post #17 of 17 Old 08-19-2014, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post
It sounds to me like the term MUSE is similar to the term PAL(or SECAM or NTSC for that matter) and is just the broadcast format. People(including me at times) use the term PAL for all European 50 hz material including baseband 50hz video, which I know is incorrect but thats what most people understand, at least in N. America
This Wiki article seems to sum things up well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multipl...pling_encoding
Though in the days of analogue composite, PAL and NTSC were both the production format and transmission format, with camera CCUs outputting PAL/NTSC composite, vision mixers (aka switchers) cutting and mixing composite signals, and the signal staying in the composite PAL/NTSC format all the way through the transmission chain to the receiver (in latter years possibly even going through a digital composite synchroniser to time it - though some will have decoded to component) In the 50s (NTSC colour) and 60s (PAL colour) up until the early 90s we were effectively producing and broadcasting largely in the same standard.

It was with component production that introduced the split between the production standard and the broadcast standard. Analogue component signals were routed at baseband with the broadcast either using MUSE, or MAC (Multiplexed Analogue Components - where the luma and chroma were time compressed) - though there was a studio S-MAC system developed few people actually used it (just as there was a clever Composite Compatible Component system called Com3 developed at the BBC that allowed composite gear to produce near-component quality pictures using modified encoders, decoders and D3 VTRs with higher-frequency low-pass filters)

SECAM was the odd one out as it wasn't possible to run standard SECAM composite signals through a vision mixer - as whilst PAL/NTSC chroma subcarriers could be mixed by weighting and adding together, SECAM used FM rather than Quadrature Modulated AM, and the subcarriers couldn't be weighted and mixed in the same way. Which is why SECAM areas :
a) in many cases eventually used PAL internally and transcoded just for transmission
b) were some of the early adopters of SDI digital component production (Canal+ in France was one of the first SDI installations in Europe ISTR)
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