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CAMERAS GO SHOPPING WITH ROBOTIC SYSTEMS

05/12/2001

Home Shopping Europe is the latest multi-portal transactional shopping channel to be launched by H.O.T Networks AG, who operate and develop shopping channels across Europe. The new channel was launched on October 17 with the promise of 'around the clock' shopping broadcasts.

The channels in Germany, Italy, Benelux and France have been operating with Vinten AutoCam equipment for some time. Home Shopping Europe therefore had no hesitation in selecting the same equipment to satisfy their camera support needs on their new channel.

Robotics as camera support systems are perfect for this kind of programme where there is limited subject movement, and what movement there are being fairly predictable with minimal camera moves. However the moves that are made are critical for the presentation of the products on sale and therefore need to be very high quality. Products are displayed in appropriate environments such as kitchen, lounge and beauty and healthcare areas and these areas all need to be accessible by the camera systems, so that the control panel operator can cut from one to the other with ease. Home Shopping Europe found immediately that production qualities from the robotic systems were very high, giving a smoother, more professional quality output than hand-held camera work with faster shot acquisition and superior on-air movement.

John Constable (Head of Camera and Lighting at Home Shopping Europe) has worked with Vinten products for a number of years and says
"Vinten pedestals are the best in the business. I see AutoCam as a crucial means of allowing more cameras to be operated in a small space".

AutoCam gives the controller the option to store a number of shots, freeing up up other cameras to be used purely for capturing unusual angles and developing creative work. The more creative the visual output for this facility, the more appealing the channel is to viewers, which in turn improves sales.

Graham Barnett Head of Video and Sound says
"The excellent technical support we received from Vinten, both pre and post launch, was most welcome at a critical time in our business venture"

The presenters have found the equipment to compliment their skills. Ronnie Cowing, Programme Co-ordinator, said
"It's important to have no distractions when presenting live so having fewer people around the studio is a real bonus. Its also less stressful having fewer people watch over you when doing live work"

A typical Robotic system comprises between one and five pan and tilt heads, which can be wall, ceiling, pedestal or tripod mounted, depending upon the application. The heart of any AutoCam system is the control panel, ranging from an extensive multi-axis, multi product, touch-screen system, through to a simple heads only solution, the choice is down to application.

The system installed at Home Shopping Europe comprises HS2010 heads - specifically designed for remote or manual operation, providing excellent on-air performance in either mode. These heads were mounted on AutoCam Quattro-Z servo/manual hybrid studio pedestals capable of supporting any combination of camera, lens, viewfinder, teleprompter and head up to 120 kg (264 lbs).

John Constable added:
"The system performs excellently and has exceeded my expectations. It is much smoother and more reliable than I would have expected from a robotic system. I would have no hesitation in recommending this system to anyone else. It is a pleasure to work with"

Home Shopping Europe are just one of many satisfied customers with Vinten AutoCam installations. The trend towards robotic solutions is on the increase and the period of return on investment continually falling. This makes AutoCam a necessity in regards of both quality of output and financial viability.

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