Written by Bryan Venhorst, Director of Engineering, Nighthawk Video. Originally published in TV Technology here.
Nighthawk Video was founded at an interesting time for the live event industry – in Q4 2020 during the Covid pandemic. Along with others I have worked with for almost 15 years, we had a vision to combine and offer the very best in personalized and customized services with the latest in video technologies and solutions. Global touring acts such as the Eagles, Rolling Stones, KISS, Paul McCartney, and Lady Gaga trusted our team enough to continue working their worldwide tour with us at Nighthawk Video, which proved our vision to be successful.
Throughout the years, we’ve worked with Grass Valley cameras and switchers, but their newest camera, the LDX 150 is a game changer. I don’t write this lightly.
Let me explain why we’re so excited about the LDX 150 for our live event clients.
From a technical standpoint, the global shutter and high sensitivity of the LDX 150 4K camera makes it perfect for live events. It helps vastly achieve consistent picture quality in a dynamic lighting environment. As artists will use lighting color and brightness for telling the story, we show the picture of that story from low light moments to the sun’s full brightness plus the diverse palate of colors to follow. The Grass Valley LDX 150’s optimal sensitivity and low noise – with wider dynamic range for HDR – is instrumental in creating pictures in the most challenging environments better than ever before. But for our clients and our shaders, the biggest impact has been the LDX 150 combined with Grass Valley’s Creative Grading. This is something that no one has ever seen in a show. Creatively, it’s the biggest thing: A night and day difference between how we used to do a show and how we do it now.
Lighting, a camera’s best friend, can give the camera shader/colorist a run for their money. In the past, the vision of the video picture or “look” would be managed from a remote video control location or truck without sight of the actual display or proper monitoring of such. This would often create deviations of interpreted looks from out in the venue to the video production camp and lead to many discussions in which precious time is consumed.
Not anymore. Now we shade “on-the-fly” grabbing a tablet running Creative Grading, walking out to front of house and actually seeing what we need to see. Shaders can quickly get to the adjustments they need to make from anywhere in the venue. They can compare settings between cameras, troubleshoot problems, create profiles and creatively make live adjustments at a rapid pace.
I can sit with a creative designer and bring up “snapshots” – a whole bunch of quick, different looks and bounce back and forth between them. This allows the designer to rapidly see the changes in desired picture attributes meeting expectations efficiently and quickly. The way the app is designed, it takes a minute to figure it out and once driving it, you feel like you’re sitting in a Ferrari.
One other thing I want to touch on…
The NFC app is, as well, extremely useful. It makes identifying cameras and installing licenses super simple. Daily Licenses are a big thing for us as we can adapt the cameras to each customer’s requirements when needed, for the time it is needed, at a fraction of the cost.
Bryan Venhorst has been involved with live concert/events production for about 15 years, working with the same people at three different companies over that time span. He has a degree in mechanical engineering from Northern Illinois University. In his spare time, he restores cars as a hobby. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nighthawk-video.com
Caption: EIC in action: Iain Donham using the Creative Grading App to create masterful picture quality in 4K HDR.
Want more information? Well, you’re in the right place! Complete the form below and we’ll be in contact ASAP