Originally Posted by TVOD
I'm a bit surprised the BBC woud be using Japanese cameras, although most people I've talked to think the 1500s are better than the Thomsons. AFAIK DWTS is also using 1500s, although it's 720p here.
Yep the most recent re-equipping round which kicked off last year is really the end of an era - it is the first time in the history of the BBC's main London studios that they have been equipped with non-European cameras. (Apart from a few JVC cameras used in small studios aimed at productions for "digital channels", and a few brief periods of Ike and Sony lightweights being deployed in news studios)
Until the recent move to Sony HDC-1500s and BVP-E30s, the BBC in London had been entirely Thomson based in the main studios (1657s, 1647s and tubed Thomsons prior to this) since the 80s - with three Philips LDK100 based news studios.
(The rumour that the reason the BBC went Thomson goes that in the 80s the BBC were buying a new camera from Link - the Link 130 - to replace the previous Links in use. Howeve the 130 effectively bankrupted the company, as the digital control system wasn't reliable enough to be usable. However the BBC had already bought the lenses. The only other European cameras compatible with the lenses were Thomsons - hence the Beeb bought Thomsons rather than Philips or Bosch. Whether this is true... I know not - but the rumour continues, along with other rumours relating to similarities between the Link 130 and cameras from other manufacturers... Nobody who saw the performance of the original Thomsons the BBC bought thought they were bought for their picture quality - though they DID get modified to implement the BBC colour matrix, black stretch and gamma requirements, which continued to be a requirement well into the CCD era, though by then many LDs were requesting that they could switch to a non-BBC matrix to increase saturation on effects lighting)
Prior to this Link, EMI, Marconi and Philips/Bosch cameras were in use in studios. In fact during the 50s and 60s - and even into the 70s - the Beeb had tried to buy British where possible, with EMI, Marconi, Link and Pye.
However BBC Outside broadcasts - and non-London studios had been using Ikegami and Sony lightweight cameras since the 70s and 80s - with BBC OBs in London being nearly universally Sony since they retired their LDK5 tubed cameras in the late 80s/early 90s.
The BBC effectively stopped buying non-lightweight cameras with the Sony BVP370s in the mid 1990s - when they moved to 16:9 cameras, with studios moving entirely lightweight with the Thomson 1657s.
I think there was probably a feeling - though this is just a guess - that the
LDK6000 Mk II camera was getting a bit long in the tooth, though of course there is now the LDK8000.
I think there was also a preference amongst vision ops for the Sony racking (i.e. lift/gain/paint) system as the LDK series panels aren't universally popular. (The BBC engineered their own solution for the LDK5s in the 70s I believe - which they also engineered for their first series of Sony CCD cameras - based on in-desk colour wheels rather than knobs, to allow finer and more intuitive control)