TV Azteca, the giant Mexican broadcaster, has purchased 46 Ikegami DNS-33W Editcam3 camcorders and related gear in a deal valued at more than $1 million.
That makes TV Azteca the largest commercial broadcast user of the system, which is based on hard-disk technology akin to that which records video and audio in laptop computers and iPods. (Government-run Armed Forces Radio and Television uses more than 150 units.) The deal validates the Editcam system, giving broadcasters and content creators three distinct approaches to tapeless acquisition: Ikegami's hard disk, Sony's XDCAM optical disk and Panasonic's P2 solid-state recording system.
The Sony and Panasonic systems have garnered most of the attention, but it was the Editcam system that broke the tapeless barrier, introduced by Ikegami and Avid 10 years ago. It's designed to remove what Ikegami Product Specialist Jose Rosado says is the most unattractive feature of nonlinear editing: the need to first transfer the material from videotape onto an editing server.
Since its introduction, potential customers have been scared off by a hard disk that wasn't able to record reliably under all conditions and the simple fact that most of them didn't have nonlinear editing and server-based storage in their facilities.
But now in its third generation, Editcam appears ready for its close-up: KXNV Phoenix has also purchased Editcam units, adding 19 to its newsgathering arsenal.
TV Azteca Director of Production Services Jorge Pickering says that, after testing, he's satisfied about Editcam's reliability.
TV Azteca chose Editcam mainly because it relies heavily on Avid editing and newsroom technologies. The Avid systems instantaneously access content on the hard drives, and TV Azteca has purchased 36 Ikegami SAT-100 readers so laptop editing can also be done in the field.
“We'll be able to complete stories in half the time of a tape-based system,” Pickering says. “The drive is hooked into the editing bay, and the editors can grab the pieces they like or add them onto a central server so others can access them. That's much faster than having to transfer the whole story or videotape.”