The Harris Videotek HD-Star
I spend much of my professional time on the road, working as a freelance engineer for multiple broadcast networks. A large part of my job is setting up remote broadcast feeds for major golf events and tournaments.
Setup for each event involves running miles of fiber and other cabling between cameras, broadcast and production trailers and various talent locations. The complexity of the system requires portable test and measurement devices to verify signal integrity during setup and the live event. This is why I chose the Harris Videotek HD-Star to help me to accomplish these tasks.
The HD-Star is a portable, handheld unit that includes a generator for HD and SD video and embedded audio signals, and is also a video/audio monitor. Its battery-powered operation and multiformat capability provides the versatility we need for signal measurement and verification on the course. In preparing for broadcasts of golf tournaments, I take the HD-Star around the course to verify the integrity of all the interconnecting fiber and cables.
MOVING BARS ARE BETTER
Its signal generator section provides a moving set of bars that feed a small transmitter. This allows me to walk around the golf course to verify the entire RF video path. I prefer this to other handheld devices that use the standard, static set of bars, which are really not able to identify digital freeze-frames and break-ups.
The moving bars on the HD-Star also have freed us from having to carry the RF camera units around the course in order to verify RF paths. Instead, we can set up the cameras at the compound and send the RF transmitters into the field along with the HD-Star, instead of walking the course with expensive cameras in sometimes bad weather.
I also use the device in setting up camera outputs to ensure the right signal is being received. In auto-detect, the HD-Star automatically tells us what signal we're receiving. This allows us to match the source to the appropriate standard and confirms that the frame rate is correct. The HD-Star can remain connected to the source, with signal adjustments made on the fly if a problem arises. A glance at the HD-Star quickly verifies that the source is spitting out the right signal following any adjustments.
Battery life is great, which is really convenient in the field. The instrument also has a variety of waveform and vectorscope features that provides me with maximum flexibility in making my mobile/handheld tests and measurements.
I've used the HD-Star for many large events and this multifeatured instrument has proven itself over and over. It's very flexible and its reliability just can't be beat. I can't think of anything better for testing multiple feeds and systems in what often proves to be very complex and challenging broadcast and production environments.
Jason Shank is a freelance video engineer who spends a lot of time on the road. He may be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Harris Videotek at 800-231-9673 or visitwww.broadcast.harris.com.
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