CMOS imaging is the wave of the future

On the 60th anniversary of Ikegami Electronics, company president and CEO Tomohiko Saito considers the newest technology.
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Ikegami Electronics — for years a wellspring of technological achievement in the TV industry — is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

Among its list of accomplishments is the first practical hand-held broadcast video camera (1962), the first compact color hand-held video camera (1972), the first lightweight, highly reliable electronic news gathering (ENG) camera (1978) and the first all-electronic, computer-controlled studio camera (1981).

Ikegami has led in HD as well with the first fully digital studio and portable companion HD cameras (1998), the first practical tapeless broadcast ENG camera (1999) and the first tapeless portable HDTV camera (2005).

HD Technology Update took the occasion to ask Ikegami Electronics president and CEO Tomohiko Saito to share his perspective on where the company and industry are headed.

HD Technology Update: Among Ikegami’s important achievements throughout the past 60 years has been the development of a number of pioneering hand-held cameras including the hand-held HL-33, which played a significant role in establishing electronic newsgathering as a new, viable tool for covering stories in the field. Today, ENG is undergoing another revolution in at least three areas: high definition; file-based acquisition (tapeless) and workflow; and the potential to use public wireless broadband networks for contribution. What is your perspective on these emerging trends in ENG and Ikegami’s vision to address them?

Tomohiko Saito: Ikegami is proud of our history in the ENG field, and we look forward to continuing the trend of bringing high-quality products to market. One of the most exciting current product lines is our innovative Editcam tapeless camera, available in both SD and HD versions.

HDTU: Tubes give way to CCDs for imaging. CMOS sensors emerge. What are the significant trends in imaging technology that you foresee for the next few years?

TS: We believe that CMOS technology is the wave of the future. We will also continue to market products with CCD imagers, but are confident that CMOS technology will be technically superior and will also eventually be more affordable.

HDTU: Could you address the challenges faced in delivering to the market HD studio and field cameras that meet the broadcaster’s requirement for quality, but fall within the capital budgets of most stations and groups — especially in light of their significant capital expenditures during the past several years to build out their DTV transmission facilities?

TS: One of the most challenging aspects in delivering a quality HD product for studio and field requirements is meeting every client’s need in terms of format and cable requirements. With our extremely diverse line of products, we have the capability to meet every need, whether it is full-blown production with all flavors of HD requiring both fiber and triax transmission systems, or a fixed installation with a limited budget.

HDTU: Ikegami recently announced an OEM relationship with InPhase Technologies to provide the company’s holographic recording technology as an archival medium for Editcam and Editcam HD camcorders. Could you please discuss the significance of that agreement and how whether such OEM agreements will become a significant tool as Ikegami charts its future path?

TS: We believe that our relationship with InPhase is key to providing a complete workflow solution for our Editcam and Editcam HD product lines. We are excited about the technology and look forward to the new addition to our product line.

HDTU: What are the key lessons Ikegami has learned throughout the past 60 years that position the company to continue to succeed now and into the future?

TS: Ikegami has always been a customer-oriented company and that is not going to change. We have always been willing to listen to our customers’ needs and produce top-quality products to suit their applications. We are also very proud of our reputation as an industry leader in terms of providing service and support that is second to none. Customers matter to us — not just today when they are buying the product — but all through the life of the product as well.

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