TV camera gets power from battery pack (Apr, 1964)

TV camera gets power from battery pack

Using a new portable TV camera and battery pack, a telecaster no longer has to drag power cables behind him. All he needs for audio and video transmission to a booster unit a mile away is the five-pound camera in his hands and the 25-pound power pack on his back.

The Newschief system was modified, with the help of American Broadcasting Co. engineers, from Sylvania’s closed-circuit transistor apparatus. The back pack contains transmitter, broadcasting equipment, and a nickel-cadmium battery good for an hour. While it is being recharged, a new battery can be clipped on without loss of signal.

ABC-TV used the News-chief first to telecast the Olympics at Innsbruck, Austria, last winter, and will use it at the national conventions. RCA and NBC are developing a similar portable system.

7 comments
  1. Jari says: July 9, 200911:09 am

    Near zero c temperatures, windy, no gloves, no hat, no tripod for the camera… What was he thinking? ;-)

  2. Harry says: July 9, 20093:42 pm

    He’s probably trying to pry the camera from his frozen face.

  3. -DOUG- says: July 9, 20094:38 pm

    Dang, this comment thing has just GOTTA work today. This is from my field, but definitely before my time. But I want to at least question the accuracy of the article.

    At one of my first jobs the head of the department had framed an ad from one of the trades where I think General Electric was reprinting old promotional materials about the “Walkie-Talkie-Lookie,” bring the viewers at home ‘Elbow to elbow with the delegates,’ at a 1956 political convention. I wish I had a picture of it, but I’m thinking this was much like the current Goldwing motorcycle you could see at your local Honda dealer.

    Could their have been this great an advance in 8 years? Well, I know that another 4 years after this article the Olympics were covered with some enormous mobile cameras on platforms that required more than one person to push, and there was a separate 2 man pack to power it and act as the Camera Control Unit. One man wore it on his back, another pushed it like a wheelbarrow, with a single wheel underneath and a pair of arms sticking backward. If they could use such a small device in 1964, why so big in 1968?

    In 1972 Ikegami introduced the HL33 camera, a rather large introduction to the camera on the shoulder with a side eye size viewfinder that would be so common in the 1980′s. When I was getting started and got the chance to handle one of those huge relics I couldn’t believe they had ever run up and down the sidelines at football games carrying that. But it was great progress in their time, someone figured out how to wire their own cables to plug into consumer portable 3/4″ recorders and let the deck power it, and ENG (Electronic News Gathering) was born. 3/4″ went from strictly home use to virtually the ‘International Language’ of the broadcast world, as even the most high end facilities made use of it, regardless of their primary format.

    Perhaps this system was only getting a field test, never getting on the air. That camera, I can’t imagine it getting on the air. That has to be a Sylvania CCTV camera with nowhere near the quality the networks would demand. In addition to the merely poor picture quality, there was such circuitry required to produce a STABLE picture that would meet technical standards. 25 years later they would struggle to adapt much more advanced equipment of that size to modulate to RF.

    (One shot at posting, if the system wonks, your loss. Or maybe it’s AOL’s fault, not even sure why I’m still using it after the diasterous Bebo merger last year.)

  4. Casandro says: July 11, 20091:08 am

    Well quality surely was an issue with this system. The other problem was that this system probably didn’t work, at least not with colour video.

    The problem is simple, to be usefull for a studio all cameras need to be precisely synced to eachother. Otherwise you couldn’t switch or fade between the cameras. To do this you’d need a second link providing the sync signal to the cameras. However both links can only operate at light-speed. Therefore there are delays which, in monochrome pictures would make the picture move a bit to the left or right, in PAL would make the colours fade out and in NTSC would shift the hues completely. Those delays would have to be taken into account at the camera. So the cameraperson would constantly have to adjust the camera, that’s not practicable.

    Today those systems can be done because we can now have free running signal sources. Back then the only way to do something like that would have been to film the picture of another monitor. This has been done, but results in bad pictures. Today we have solid state framestores which can sync anything to anything and even hide drop-outs in the picture to some extend.

  5. -DOUG- says: July 11, 20093:31 am

    NTSC – Never The Same Color
    Always been my understanding that they DID adjust the color at all times. Glad it was before my time.

    I think they already had some pre-frame synchronizers in 1964. As we know them was almost a decade way, but there was live transmissions at the scene of disasters were occuring in the 1950′s. I’m thinking the first, right here in Southern California, was in 1949. All people were told at the time is there was a ‘Collection of little black boxes’ that made it all possible. They had some way of locking in. But I guess these broadcasts suffered some lip sync problems because they were delaying the frame of video until just the right moment, and the audio didn’t have lock in problems so there was no delay.

    It just amazes me that the 2″ Quad system didn’t need a Time Base Corrector. Later formats would struggle to lock in even with the TBC’s.

    Amazes me more that there’s almost nothing about early TV online. I was thinking I was going to find who invented the frame sychronizer and when, info on live remotes, etc., and absolutely nothing came up when I searched. I would have at least expected to find ‘The Legend of the Blue Banana.’

  6. Casandro says: July 11, 200912:01 pm

    Well althought NTSC certainly has problems with unprecise recievers, colour television in general had it’s problems well into the 1970s. For example at the 1972s olympics the “Zauberspiegel” used to show television in colour had to be alligned daily. Convergence was a really big problem back then.

    Well storing a frame in 1964 either meant storing it on a CRT or on a disk. The second is not quite usefull for synchronisation.
    What German stations did until the early 1990s when they switched to local programming was to just not care about synchronisation and simply flip the switch. As this only happened twice per day it was completely acceptable.

    2″ Quad actually needed a TBC for colour. But the mechanics were so precise they only needed to compensate yitter of a fraction of a line.
    Well one source might be Tim Stoffel, but he’s mostly specialiced in VTRs.

  7. Mike says: July 13, 20097:26 pm

    Doug, you might enjoy this site:
    http://www.pharis-video…
    The site is difficult to navigate but has some great old broadcast equipment.

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