Orange County Studio Switches To HD with Grass Valley

Jeff Burke WESTMINSTER, CALIF.—We’re a production facility located just south of Long Beach, Calif, and specialize in live insert shots, two-way interviews, satellite media tours, corporate teleconferencing, and more. We’re currently producing the CBS Sports Network’s “Rome” cable TV show, with some 200 episodes slated for production this year alone.

When we converted to high definition earlier this year, we knew it was something we had to do in order to maintain the clients we had and also to attract new ones.

There are quite a few HD cameras on the market now, offering all kinds of features. However, image quality was the most important factor in choosing one camera over another.

We shopped for some time before making our decision to purchase four Grass Valley LDK 3000+ HD cameras. They offered all of the features we needed—such as working in multiple HD formats—and included lots of others we hadn’t considered, such as skin tone detailing and secondary color correction. They also feature double digital sampling and dual integrated A/D converters that provide high-quality, razorsharp pictures.

The best part is that while the cameras offer all of these great features—along with 2/3-inch, 2.4 megapixel CMOS imagers— they were also economical, allowing us to pair them with an HD upgrade for our Grass Valley Kalypso video production center switcher, as well as add Grass Valley K2 Summit and K2 Solo HD video servers to our facility. This allowed us to upgrade our entire operation to HD at the same time.

For “Rome” we’re using the Grass Valley cameras in the 1080i50/60 format with the same lenses we used on our old cameras. That was another big selling point of the LDK cameras—we could use our existing lenses without having to upgrade. The LDK 3000+ color viewfinder is also a great feature.

We operate the cameras with triax transmission systems in our newly renovated 5,000 square-foot HD studio. We can also take them into the field for standup interviews. Another benefit that came with the LDK 3000+ cameras is their ability to operate with our existing triax infrastructure.

We also like the Grass Valley cameras because they are easy for our freelancers to use and are easy to maintain.

Another advantage of the LDK 3000+ is it low weight—about 11 pounds, including the seven-inch color viewfinder. In addition, the operator control panels are compact, easy to handle and very user friendly. They make matching the four cameras in the studio very easy.

The cameras went online in March and we have not had a single problem. I’ve been using Grass Valley equipment since 1979 and made the decision to buy the cameras because I was confident of their reliability, value and unmatched quality. The combination of a new set, new lighting and new cameras has really been a home run for us. The pictures look fantastic and everyone is very pleased with their performance. That’s what will keep our business successful for many years to come.

Jeff Burke has served as vice president of operations at Orange County Studios since 2003. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Grass Valley at 800-547-8949 or