By Corey Behnke
At Live X, we’re all about producing memorable and captivating live broadcast and streaming events for global brand leaders. We offer comprehensive solutions, from creative concept development, video and graphic design, and animation, to live production encoding and streaming. Our team is well known for its experience in delivering platform-agnostic, high-profile live streams such as the Democratic National Convention, and I originated the New Years’ Eve live webcast from Time Square in 2009 – a show I’ve been doing for 17 consecutive years. Day-to- day, we keep busy producing segments for clients like Vox Media and Daily Burn 365, for which our six-person team produces two concurrent web-based, live fitness shows every morning.
Of course the latest and most innovative technologies are critical to our work, and that goes right down to our camera support gear. With at least 10 Vinten tripods in our operation, one recent addition that’s particularly valuable to our team is the Vinten Vantage camera head paired with Vinten’s μVRC (microVRC) controller.
The Vinten Vantage is a compact and lightweight robotic head that’s available at about the same price point as a traditional PTZ camera head. What makes it different is that the Vantage offers superior motion control and supports pro camcorders from the major manufacturers as well as both full-servo and manual lens types.
The ability to interchange cameras is one of the things we love most about the Vantage. We already had four Panasonic HE130s PTZ cameras in our operation, but the disadvantage of a PTZ is that you’re locked into the sensor and all of the other features of that specific camera. With the Vantage, we can accommodate our clients’ camera choices and associated image qualities.
In addition to the HE130s, we have 12 other cameras, ranging from our workhorse Sony PMW300s and Sony FS5s to Blackmagic Ursa Micro Studios and Ursa Mini Pros that support our 12G SDI architecture for 4K streaming. With a Vantage head, we can convert any of these into a robotic PTZ setup. We can even use the Vantage with a specialized camera like a Canon C300 cinematic camcorder (we recently did a shoot for a fashion brand with one of those) or a DSLR. Plus, with a common PTZ platform, there’s no learning curve for our staff every time we attach a different camera.
Controlled by the μVRC, the Vantage provides some really smooth camera movements. We’ve gone from having to do movement off-shot with the PTZs to adding in creative movement such as simultaneous panning and zooming. In fact, the µVRC is what sold me on the Vantage when I saw the products working together at the NAB Show. The µVRC’s touch screen gives access to a rich array of features such as camera select, pre-set shots, essential shading, color matching, playback, and integration with third-party video switchers.
Together, the Vantage and µVRC controller offer outstanding features and a complete PTZ package that can be easily updated with firmware, showing alignment with our future technology developments, and all at a very attractive price point. Plus, the compact size of the Vantage makes it even more versatile. With three Vantage-tripod combinations in our operation, we can move them around in many different configurations in our studio setup. Now that our team is comfortable with the gear, we’re planning to expand our Vantage inventory for use in remote productions.
Vinten is a brand that needs no introduction in the world of high-end camera support systems. The Vantage/µVRC system packages that world-class Vinten engineering in a compact and affordable robotic solution. Working with our clients, we’re able to choose the best camera and lens for the project, and Vantage gives us even more freedom to push the creative boundaries of live streaming.
Corey Behnke is lead producer and co-founder of Live X, a full-service production company based in New York City.