MTV's Pegasus HD Truck Uses Ikegami HDTV Cameras

Mobile entertainment production rocks when MTV Networks' 53-ft. Pegasus HD truck rolls. The location production nerve center of MTV Networks’ Remote Unit Division, Pegasus is equipped with 16 Ikegami HDK-79E full digital HDTV cameras. The MTV Networks Remote Unit Division’s Pegasus truck, which is used to produce content such as live concerts and awards shows, also is equipped with Ikegami TA/CB-79HD fiber/triax systems and SE-79D System Expanders to add unparalleled flexibility and ease of use on the road or in the studio.

“It’s been very exciting for me to watch the evolution of HDTV technology,” says Mike Bivona, VP of Engineering and Production Technologies at MTVN. “Advancements in equipment have enabled us to provide cost effective in-house technical facilities for MTVN that rivals anything our out-of-house suppliers can offer. Throughout my career, Ikegami has been the best broadcast camera manufacturer out there, and they continue to be just that as we move to HD. They’ve consistently performed for me over the last 20 years, and it was natural to look to them for Pegasus.”

Based in Nashville TN, the Pegasus HD mobile production unit represent an ambitious foray into HDTV, enabling MTVN to create high-profile original multi-format HD/SD programming for the MTV Music Awards, CMT’s Crossroads, and other major events for channels under the MTV Networks umbrella. With all content bound for multi-platform distribution, ranging from HD broadcast to Web distribution, Bivona and his team depend on 16 Ikegami HDK-79E cameras to ensure superb imagery on the front end.

“The picture quality of Ikegami cameras is excellent and they have proven to be extremely reliable over the years,” Bivona explains. “Their HD systems exhibit the great color imagery that you associate with Ikegami. The capabilities of the HDK-79E in low- light situations were also a big factor in our decision to purchase them for Pegasus. We are geared for producing mostly entertainment shows, which are typically shot in non- ideal lighting conditions. Camera sensitivity was critical for us and these cameras outperform everybody else in that area.”

The HDK-79E cameras from Ikegami incorporate 2.2 million pixel 2/3-inch FIT CCDs, 12-bit A/D conversion/38-bit internal digital processing circuits, and multi-standard simultaneous broadcasting. Additional features such as advanced DTL correction and Super KNEE build on the Ikegami tradition of unsurpassed image quality. With HD SDI output from the camera head, on-line diagnostics, and a low center of gravity, the Ikegami HDK-79E is easy and efficient to use, in the field or the studio.

Ikegami’s TA/CB-79HD triax system greatly enhances the HDK-79E’s versatility in the field, allowing either triax or fiber camera cable to be used without any reconfiguration of the mobile unit. “Ikegami has the best fiber/triax system for our needs,” states Bivona. “We don’t always have the luxury of rolling into venues that are pre-wired for fiber. Being able to connect our HDK-79E’s to Ikegami’s fiber/triax system gives us great flexibility in any situation.”

MTVN’s Pegasus also makes full use of the Ikegami SE-79D System Expander, which enables the use of the 7-inch viewfinder and full studio lenses, converting the portable camera into a full-facility studio camera in under a minute. “We really like the system expander for our application,” Bivona says. “It’s easy to use, sturdy, and has performed flawlessly.”

Pegasus is rolling MTV Networks into the HDTV future of cable and broadcast production, and—with Ikegami HDK-79E cameras on board—Mike Bivona is confident that the network will continue to create the revolutionary content that it is known for. “HD adds tremendous value to our shows, whether the final delivery format is HD, SD, or even the Web,” he concludes.