Ikegami Celebrates 60 Years

Ikegami Tsushinki Co., Ltd., the Tokyo-based, world-famous innovator of broadcast television production and display technologies, marked its 60th anniversary on September 10th. Founded by Mr. Kosei Saito, Ikegami’s first president, on that date in 1946 as a maker of telephone components, Ikegami moved into television studio equipment manufacturing five years later. A long series of historic achievements followed, including 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), the first all-electronic, computer-controlled studio camera (1981), the first full-digital studio and portable companion HD cameras (1998), the first practical tapeless broadcast ENG camera (1999), and the first tapeless portable HDTV camera (2005). Recognition for Ikegami’s technological achievements throughout the years has included two Technical/Engineering Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), and an Engineering Citation from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS).

“Ikegami is proud of its 60-year history of innovation and success in developing high-quality professional broadcast equipment, CCTV, and medical imaging products, but what truly excites us are our latest products, which are transitioning television broadcasters and video content-creators throughout the world to digital and high-definition television,” states Mr. Tomohiko Saito, President & CEO of Ikegami Electronics (U.S.A.), Inc. “From our Editcam and Editcam HD tapeless camcorders to our newest CMOS-imager-based HDTV portable and studio cameras, to our multiformat LCD monitors, to our new production switchers, Ikegami has the technologies the world needs for growth and success in the dynamic, tapeless, wireless, and seamless future of digital and high-definition television in all its many forms.”

Ikegami has a long history of integrating the latest technologies into its products, and was the first company in Japan to use transistors in broadcast equipment. Responding quickly to the revolution in personal computers, Ikegami introduced the first studio cameras with automatic computer setup (the models HK-312 and HK-357A), an innovation that garnered Ikegami its first Emmy Award, in 1981, from NATAS for Outstanding Achievement in Technical/Engineering Development. Ikegami’s early broadcast designs were developed in cooperation with the renowned Technical Research Laboratory of NHK (the Japan Broadcast Corporation), a relationship that yielded the EC-35 Electronic Cinematography Camera, which was recognized with a Citation for Outstanding Achievement for Engineering Development from ATAS in 1983. Ikegami won an additional NATAS Emmy in 1994 for Outstanding Achievement in Technical/ Engineering Development for controlled edge enhancement utilizing skin hue keying. This feature reduces detail enhancement exclusively in the flesh-tone color portions of the video image while the remainder of the picture maintains full detail. The result is that the face of the on-camera talent has a smoother, more youthful appearance. This feature is now widely used and often demanded by on-air talent.

In 2000 Ikegami made history yet again by developing a full digital process ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) chip, precision-designed at 0.18um rule, which was the world’s first product of its kind installed in portable and studio broadcast cameras. This ASIC provides up to 38-bit full digital performance for unsurpassed video-processing power and image quality. Ikegami also led the industry in integrating new multi-format CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) imaging sensors into its cameras. CMOS camera-imager technology provides several advantages over previous imager technologies, including decreased power consumption, smaller camera size, multi-format video capture, and high-speed imaging capabilities.

Most historic of all of Ikegami’s many achievements in broadcast television technology was its pioneering introduction of the first portable hand-held TV camera. The camera made its worldwide debut in the United States in May 1962, when CBS used it to document the historic launching of NASA’s Aurora 7 manned space flight. Ikegami continued to lead the industry in the development of revolutionary portable video camera technology and in 1972 introduced the HL-33, the first compact hand-held color video camera for ENG. A revolutionary concept at the time, compact ENG cameras made live shots easier and—when combined with portable videotape recorders—provided an immediate alternative to 16mm television news film, which required processing before it could be broadcast. Ikegami accelerated the trend toward ENG even further with its 1978 introduction of the HL-79A top-of-the-line portable color camera. Although not the first camera to enclose its entire electronics package into one compact unit, the HL-79E brought a unique combination of excellent picture quality, lightweight ergonomic design, and high reliability; as a result it became an industry standard and a best-seller.

In 1995 Ikegami again revolutionized portable camera technology by announcing the arrival of DNG (digital news gathering) in the form of the DNS-11 Editcam, the first portable tapeless nonlinear camcorder. Providing tapeless workflow efficiencies that dramatically shortened the time between shooting, editing, and broadcasting breaking news stories, Editcam’s hard disk- or Flash-based FieldPak media provides direct import into nonlinear editing systems, eliminating the need to transfer video as with DVD-based systems. Now in its third generation, Ikegami’s Editcam3 DNS-33W tapeless camcorder is used by major broadcasters around the world.

Ikegami advanced DNG even further in 2005 by introducing the HDN-X10 Editcam HD camcorder, which is not only tapeless but is also the first camcorder to use Avid’s DNxHD high-quality mastering codec to deliver HD resolution, full-raster (1920 by 1080) images that can be edited on laptop and desktop systems in real time. The Editcam HD currently employs a data rate of 145 Mbps (Megabits per second) to provide 1080/60i, 1080/24p, and 720/60p recording and playback using FieldPak2 recording media.

Building on its 60-year history of innovation, Ikegami is today designing cameras and other products to transition the broadcast industry to digital and HD television. Ikegami’s industry-leading line of full-digital HD, SD, and multiformat studio, portable, and “box-style” cameras include the HDK-725P and HDK-75EX Full Digital HDTV Companion Camera Systems, configurable for portable or studio use with a System Expander kit. Both provide full-digital image-processing features and multi-format video performance powered by Ikegami’s next-generation digital ASIC chips and enhanced by versatile system accessories.

Other high-performance Ikegami HD cameras include: the CMOS-based HDK-79EC/HS, which operates in standard and high-speed HD formats; the HDK-79EC, a top-of-the-line portable camera featuring docking-style triax and fiber capability from the same CCU; and the HDL-40C one-piece full digital native multi-format HDTV “box-style” camera for specialized applications such as goalpost and point-of-view shots.

Ikegami’s tradition of integrating the latest technologies also extends to its video display monitors, which include 22-, 17-, and 8.4-inch HD/SD multi-format color LCD models with multiple inputs and outputs and embedded audio indicators. Ikegami also makes a range of high-resolution CRT monitors, including a flat-surface 19-inch master quality monitor, in sizes ranging from 19 inches to 5 inches, both portable and rack-mountable.

Complementing Ikegami's full line of HD and SD cameras and monitors are its HSS-3000 HD/SD Large Production Switcher and the HSS-300 Compact Production Switcher. The HSS-3000 supports a total of 96 inputs and 64 outputs, with all output signals fully assignable; it features four M/E's (mix/effects buses) with either HD or SD signals assignable to each. The HSS-300 Compact Production Switcher is based on the same technology and is available in one- and two-M/E versions.

Ikegami products capture and display the highest-quality broadcast HD and SD video in television stations, stadiums, news locations, and media production facilities the world over, each and every day. From major-league sports and entertainment events to broadcast and cable news, the picture quality, brilliant color, and reliability of Ikegami cameras, monitors, switchers, and other products confirm the company’s 60-year history of achievement and innovation and its commitment to the future of high definition television and digital media production.

Ikegami Electronics (U.S.A.), Inc. is a leading supplier of professional broadcasting products in the Western Hemisphere. With U.S. offices in New Jersey, California, Florida, Texas, and Illinois, the Ikegami name is recognized worldwide for its state-of-the-art television cameras, closed circuit TV equipment, video and computer display monitors, industrial power supplies, and medical camera systems. Ikegami’s universal High Definition TV cameras have been widely accepted by the broadcast industry as it continues the transition to the High Definition Television Format.

For more information and the location of the Regional Office nearest you, call Ikegami’s Maywood NJ headquarters at 201-368-9171 or visit www.ikegami.com or editcam.ikegami.com.