Ikegami has reported a sustained level of innovation throughout 2021, its 75th anniversary year.
Founded in 1946, the company initially produced electronic components before progressing into full scale equipment development and production. Ikegami milestones over the years have included one of the first transistorised TV cameras (1960), the TGK-6TC colour flying-spot film scanner (1967), the HL-33 electronic newsgathering camera (1972), the HL-55 3-CCD portable broadcast camera (1988), the Editcam tapeless digital camcorder (1995) and the world’s first portable 8K camera, model SHK-810, co-developed with NHK (2015).
“The transition from HD-SDR to UHD-HDR is now gathering momentum across the EAME markets and globally,” says Michael Lätzsch, manager of the Broadcast & Professional Video Division at Ikegami Electronics (Europe). “Demand for high quality coverage of sport proved a key driver, particularly during the Covid-19 lockdown. The main push into UHD-HDR is coming from the pay-TV sector which in turn is encouraging established broadcasters to take a serious interest. After an initial flirtation with HD-HDR, production companies around the world are increasingly adopting UHD-HDR to maximise the commercial lifetime of their content. We responded in 2021 by introducing the UHK-X700 4K UHD camera which looks set to become the flagship of our UNICAM series. Designed for broadcast-quality video production and online streaming applications, the UHK-X700 provides the high signal quality, versatile connectivity and robust build that are essential in today’s multi-resolution world.”
Ikegami’s UHK-X700 allows full 4K UHD production in hybrid log-gamma HDR or in standard dynamic range, plus the freedom to choose between BT.2020 and BT.709 colour spaces. Image acquisition is via three newly developed 2/3-inch CMOS 4K sensors with global shutters to eliminate rolling shutter distortion and flash-banding artifacts. High frame-rate shooting at up to 2x speed in UHD or up to 8x speed in HD via the base station is possible as an option, for applications such as capturing fast motion in sport or stage events. Core of the UHK-X700 electronics is an ASIC chip which encapsulates a wide range of high-grade video processing functions into ultra-compact component dimensions. When combined with the Ikegami BSX-100 base station, the camera optionally supports simultaneous output in 4K/HD video formats. Peripheral options include the OCP-300 control panel and SE-U430 system expander. Ikegami also offers two types of viewfinder for this model: the VFL201D 2-inch LCD and the VFL701D 7-inch full HD LCD.
Complementing the UHK-X700 is Ikegami’s BSX-100 12G/3G fibre base station. This offers a stress-free upgrade path for broadcasters and production companies as they progress from SDI to IP, from SDR to HDR and from HD into HD/4K dual-format workflow. Designed as a multi-platform camera control unit, the BSX-100 is available for Ikegami HD and 4K camera systems. SMPTE ST.2110 media-over-IP interfacing is available as an option for use across 10 GbE and 25 GbE networks. An optional 4K output software key allows use of HD cameras in a variety of configurations including simultaneous HD/4K production. HDR video with very high quality reproduction from dark to bright areas is supported together with wide colour gamut as standard. Full support is provided for HLG in conformance with ITU-R BT.2100 which is the international standard for HDR. The base station includes HDR to SDR conversion and can be operated in any desired combination of HD or 4K resolution and SDR or HDR simultaneously. Housed in a 3U high half-rack-width low-mass unit, the BSX-100 is easily integrated into mobile production vehicles and other locations where space is limited.
2021 sales highlights included HDK-73 3-CMOS high dynamic range camera systems plus a Hi-Motion II slow-motion camera for integration with an Oman TV outside broadcast production vehicle. Operating from Oman TV’s headquarters in the capital city, Muscat, the newly enhanced vehicle is designed for live coverage of sports, cultural and news-related events throughout the sultanate. The equipment was supplied by Ikegami Electronics Europe via local integrator Al Nemer Al Aswad, based in Muscat. “This investment forms part of a technology upgrade designed to maximise production quality and operational versatility,” comments the senior engineer of the OB vehicle department at Oman TV. “We have had very good experience with Ikegami equipment over the years, both in terms of product specification and proven reliability, backed by a high level of support from the Ikegami ME team.”
One of Europe’s largest public service broadcasters invested in Ikegami UHL-43 compact cameras during 2021 as part of an upgrade to its production facilities. The UHL-43 is designed for applications such as robotic studios, outside broadcasting of live events such as sports, parliamentary television, point-of-view image capture, weather coverage, traffic surveillance and public security monitoring. With main-unit width/height/depth dimensions of just 145 x 155 x 169 mm and weighing just 2.6 kg, the camera head can be used on practically any support device such as a shoulder harness, long-reach arm or overhead mount. The UHL-43 employs three 2/3-inch UHD 8 megapixel CMOS sensors in the same workflow and remote control structure as Ikegami’s UNICAM XE series UHK-430 and UHK-435 cameras. Unlike cameras using a single chip or pixel-offset technology, the integration of three 3840 x 2160 resolution CMOS sensors and prism optics provides true UHD capture resolution, high quality colour reproduction and complete freedom from colour aliasing.
2021 also saw healthy demand for Ikegami monitors, notably for HLM-960WR and HLM-1760WR models. The HLM-1760WR is a 17-inch video monitor with very narrow front-to-back dimensions, light weight and low power consumption. It incorporates an LED-backlit 1920 x 1080 pixel LCD 450 nit high-brightness display panel with 10 bit processing depth, 1500:1 contrast ratio, wide viewing angle, fast motion response, and high quality colour reproduction. The monitor is equipped with a range of tools for use in broadcast production. The HLM-960WR is a 9 inch version of the HLM-1760WR with a similar feature set. Designed for use where space is at a premium, it occupies just 4U and weighs 1.7 kg. Screen brightness is 400 nits and contrast ratio is 700:1.