Original article written by Christine Gebhard in German and published in Film Tv Video
Lang AG, a German company specialized in providing premium products and services for the professional AV market, recently invested in Grass Valley LDX 135 cameras.
Based in Lindlar, Germany, the company operates as a professional video solutions provider, catering to a wide spectrum of clients. They offer services for large-scale stage productions, including live video production, 4K projection, and drone shows, as well as smaller, intimate lounge events. Their service offerings encompass the entire project lifecycle, spanning from initial planning and conception to project installation and execution.
To ensure optimal success, the company places significant emphasis on research, development, and market analysis, while also maintaining a strong presence within the equipment and events sector.
Sven Bauschke, Product Specialist in Image Processing & Event IT at Lang AG, emphasizes, "We can make the right investment decisions only when we comprehend our customers' needs and their preferred technologies."
Lang AG has recently undergone a comprehensive technological upgrade and expansion in the intercom and wireless video sectors. The company is now gearing up for a similar modernization and expansion initiative in the camera domain, and they have selected Grass Valley cameras for this purpose.
Investing in Grass Valley cameras
"We are always looking to keep our rental fleet up to date and rejuvenated," explains Bauschke. "That's why we recently invested in 13 Grass Valley LDX 135 broadcast cameras, as well as their compact C135 version."
Grass Valley first introduced the LDX 135 at IBC 2022 in Amsterdam. Basically, the LDX 135 is the smaller brother to the more expensive LDX 150, which has more features.
"However, it provides an affordable entry point with a significantly lower price compared to the LDX 150, as it doesn't focus on high-speed functionality," explains Thomas Weigold, Sales Manager DACH at Grass Valley.
Bauschke is enthusiastic about the new camera systems and comments, "Just as in other domains, we sought an innovative, future-proof product that supports UHD and seamlessly integrates with our existing infrastructure, including our video radio systems."
Similar to the LDX 150, the LDX 135 belongs to Grass Valley's LDX 100 camera series, utilizing Grass Valley's advanced 2/3-inch Xenios sensor. This sensor stands out for its exceptional functionalities, including impressive sensitivity (F11@2000 lux) and an exceptional high dynamic range exceeding 15 f-stops, as emphasized by Grass Valley.
At a glance: LDX 135 key specs
- The camera is capable of UHD and HDR and is equipped with a 2/3-inch Xenios imager with global shutter.
- It features high sensitivity and high dynamic range.
- The native IP camera does not necessarily require a separate base station. It also offers integrated JPEG-XS compression, and up to five codecs can be activated in the camera head. The compression is continuously variable from 5:1 to 20:1.
- The camera can be used in a wide variety of remote workflows.
- The LDX 135 eliminates the need for conventional SDI connections, allowing a high degree of production flexibility. When teamed with an LDX 150, the camera is also suitable for large productions.
Compact version: the LDX C135
At NAB 2023, Grass Valley introduced the LDK C135, the compact counterpart to the LDX 135. Just like the LDX 135, the LDX C135 provides the flexibility to utilize SDI and NativeIP connectivity following SMPTE ST 2110 standards directly, eliminating the need for external conversions.
Bauschke explains Lang AG's rationale for investing in the LDX C135:
"We consistently encounter scenarios where clients require high-quality cameras, but they also need them to be compact for specific applications, such as pairing with Steadicam or robotic systems. For these use cases, we incorporated the C135 into our equipment pool."
The global shutter sensor in both the LDX 135 and the LDX C135 offers numerous advantages. Bauschke comments: "The global shutter sensor effectively eliminates colored moiré effects, and the inclusion of an optical low-pass filter further diminishes gray moiré effects." He goes on to mention, "Many of our clients leverage the benefits of the global shutter sensor during significant events, such as concerts, festivals, annual general meetings, or large-scale trade shows. It proves to be exceptionally beneficial in these scenarios."
Color and look
Light-sensitive cameras are crucial, especially for indoor events like concerts, as they are essential for capturing high-quality images. Bauschke states, "Sensitivity and high dynamic range were non-negotiable factors for us during the decision-making process." He further elaborates, "Grass Valley cameras are renowned for their excellent color science, and many of our clients highly value this visual quality. This is yet another reason why we opted for the LDK 135 from Grass Valley."
Moreover, in addition to its faithful color reproduction, he appreciates the flexibility provided by the light sensitivity adjustment options. "The availability of three modes, each offering customized adjustments to on-site conditions," Bauschke explains, "provides a high level of versatility.
SDI and IP camera
Each LDX 135 is rented from Lang AG as a package with an XCU base station with 12G connection as well as a grading panel. "This means that the camera is immediately ready for operation in a classic OB environment," says Bauschke.
However, the camera is also a stand-alone IP device by design, which can be directly integrated into a network environment at up to 100 Gbit/s and can then transmit the camera signals without a traditional base station.
In the end, all that's required for the integration of an LDX 135 into an IP setup is a straightforward IP switch, rendering routers unnecessary.
"With 12G signals, you are already reaching the limits in some cases,” says Bauschke.
For Lang AG, incorporating IP functionality into their Grass Valley equipment is not only an immediate advantage but also a strategic move for long-term investment security. Bauschke expresses the sentiment, saying, "We anticipate that the industry will gradually shift towards SMPTE 2110, even if this transition is currently progressing at a measured pace."
"We are also already seeing that we are now reaching the limits with 12G signals at many events. This is where we expect SMPTE-2110 structures to provide us with new options," states Bauschke.
However, with bridging products such as the Matrox ConvertIP, an SMPTE-ST-2110 converter that can convert ST-2110 signals into HDMI or SDI signals, Lang AG is already in a position to work in a hybrid mode and combine the SDI and IP worlds.
JPEG XS option
When a Grass Valley camera operates in an uncompressed mode, it imposes a relatively substantial bandwidth demand when distributing signals via IP. To address this, the camera is equipped with JPEG XS compression capabilities. This means that uncompressed data can be compressed down to just 10% or even 5% of its original size. This feature also enhances the camera's suitability for remote applications.
Creative Grading Panel and CCS-ONE
The Creative Grading Panel is a powerful camera control system that is now also part of the Lang AG pool. Basically, with the Creative Grading System, Grass Valley has not only enhanced the classic RCP, but rethought it. "The Creative Grading System really offers a lot of new possibilities for us and, of course, especially for our customers, which make every day’s work easier," says Bauschke.
Camera shaders can make image adjustments very easy with the Grading Panel.
The Creative Grading System consists of a grading panel (CGP 500) and an app that can visualize the numerous setting options for camera control on a connected tablet and offers help messages if needed by the user.
Camera shaders can easily make image adjustments, such as transitions from indoor to outdoor lighting. Thanks to the close connection between the control panel and the controller, as well as the dynamic adjustment to any format (HDR, WCG, 4K UHD and more), this real-time correction of the images is done extremely quickly.
Lang AG uses the grading panel in conjunction with the CCS-ONE Camera Control Server, allowing it to take advantage of additional Creative Grading features such as tablet connectivity.
It is also possible to work only with the Creative Grading Panel and without CCS-ONE, but when using the CCS-ONE server, there are additional advantages.
Bauscke explains: "CCS-ONE is the “brain” of the system, and the Creative Grading Engine runs on it. We chose CCS-ONE because it makes it possible to set the color and look of the image intuitively via the grading panel. This greatly simplifies the task for our customers. For example, CCS-ONE allows us to share the settings of one camera with another very easily and quickly. One CCS-ONE can host up to 99 cameras. And it makes a great difference if I have to adjust each camera individually or whether I can transfer the settings so easily and so quickly."
Bauschke is highly optimistic about the potential of this configuration and firmly believes that numerous customers will reap its benefits in the future.
"We've conducted several workshops at our company to demonstrate the system's advantages to our customers. Many of them saw the system's great potential and realized that there's no need to be apprehensive about using it," Bauschke explains.
The LDX 135 offers recording capabilities not only in HD and UHD resolutions but also in HDR. It boasts remarkable flexibility, supporting S-Log, HLG, and PQ, effectively covering all prevalent HDR formats. When it comes to rental equipment, durability and resilience are paramount.
The age-old adage, "Don't be gentle; it's only a rental," still holds true today. Often, users don't exercise the same level of care with rented equipment as they do with their own. This underscores the importance for a provider like Lang AG to offer products that are exceptionally robust and dependable, capable of withstanding challenging conditions and providing reliable performance.
In the case of cameras, it is of paramount importance that they can endure the demands of daily use in various settings such as events, concerts, and more. Bauschke highlights a significant advantage, stating, "The LDX 135 comes rain-protected right out of the box, which is undoubtedly a major benefit for us." He also touches upon another aspect, adding, "Grass Valley has consistently prioritized communication with camera operators and incorporated their feedback and requirements into the design process. This is evident in the cameras themselves: they are user-friendly, ergonomically designed, and feature a streamlined interface, allowing cameramen to work efficiently and effectively."
According to Bauschke, camera operators also find the LDX 135's quick startup time and user-friendly status displays highly advantageous. These features enable them to commence their work promptly. Furthermore, the onboard diagnostics, accessible even during the setup of the rest of the system, offers real-time feedback on camera readiness. The viewfinder menus provide a quick overview of resolution and frame rate. Bauschke concludes, "All these functions contribute to simplifying our customers' workflow."
Wireless with VideoSys
Last year, Lang AG invested in five wireless UHD camera transmission systems provided by VideoSys. These Epsilon systems include receivers, telemetry components, and fiber optic converters connected via SMPTE cable.
Epsilon is engineered to facilitate rapid setup and reliable transmission, even for technicians with basic knowledge. Bauschke underscores that these VideoSys systems are compatible with the new LDX 135 and the LDX C135, stating, "This enables seamless wireless operation for Grass Valley cameras."
Bauschke and his team are confident that their investment in the LDX 135/LDX C135 is the correct path forward. The camera's numerous features provide the essential future-proofing required for such a significant investment. Bauschke concludes, "The exceptional versatility of the LDX-135 is apparent not only in its ease of use but also in its cutting-edge technology. The incorporation of the SMPTE 2110 standard further guarantees that the camera is well-prepared for future demands."
About Lang AG
Lang AG is a prominent European distributor specializing in the rental and sale of visual presentation equipment and its associated peripherals. The company is dedicated to delivering top-quality products tailored for the professional AV market.
Through continuous research and development initiatives and a strategic market focus, Lang AG prides itself on offering a comprehensive portfolio of products that meet the specific needs of both rental and purchasing customers.
Lang AG maintains strong partnerships with leading manufacturers worldwide. Their market independence and the expertise of their specialists facilitate robust exchanges of knowledge throughout product development, project design, and the decision-making process before purchases are finalized. Furthermore, Lang AG provides services and functions as an authorized service center for renowned manufacturers, thereby enhancing their sales offerings and completing their range of services.
In early 2017, Lang AG established two autonomous subsidiaries in Switzerland and the UK, followed by another in Spain in mid-2019. Collaboratively, with Lang Baranday AG in Zurich, Lang UK in London, and Lang Iberia in Barcelona, Lang AG serves the entire European market comprehensively.
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