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article imageTV news station replaces film cameras with iPhones

By James Walker     Oct 9, 2015 in Technology
A Swiss news station has recently replaced its professional-quality TV cameras with a fleet of iPhones, citing greater portability, equivalent image quality and lower operating cost as the chief reasons for the change.
PetaPixel reports that Swiss news channel Léman Bleu abandoned all its traditional camera rigs over the summer. Instead, each reporter was issued with an iPhone 6 that allows them to shoot and edit stories from anywhere while on the go.
The reporters use tripods and auxiliary microphones with the iPhones to ensure footage is stable and audio quality maintained. The video comes entirely from the 8-megapixel camera that Apple fits as standard.
The station isn't the first to follow this approach. A Scandinavian broadcaster already relies on iPhones for its own footage while Charlotte state's Fox46 ran a trial in the U.S. last year. The results weren't so positive as with their European counterparts though: a concluding report found "viewers turned away" because footage was "plagued by technical problems" and had an "amateurish quality."
Léman Bleu director Laurent Keller told Swiss newspaper Le Temps why the station opted to go all-iPhone. He said: "It's a search for lightness and responsiveness, but also a way to reduce the costs of producing a newscast." He added that it lets the channel move with the times and better reflects the instantly-accessible nature of the news today: "It's up to us to reinvent the grammar of the image, to learn to shoot differently."
By giving reporters their own individual recording devices that fit in their pocket, Léman Bleu hopes they will be able to capture footage much more quickly and easily. With the possibility of shooting, editing and broadcasting video on one device within moments of a live event happening, the iPhone will be able to simplify the news creation process and give the reporter more control.
Output from the iPhone 6 has proven to be consistently accurate so viewers shouldn't be able to notice any major differences between footage captured on a phone or with TV cameras. The usage of an older device does mean the station won't be able to broadcast in 4K without an upgrade though; a 12MP sensor like that on the iPhone 6S is required for 4K capture to be possible. The channel hasn't announced details of why it chose the iPhone over its competitors — many of which have larger cameras with better low-light performance — or how often it intends to upgrade the devices over time.
Recently, a professional photographer found the iPhone 6S consistently produces better daylight video footage than that of a $3000 Nikon DSLR camera setup, proving that Léman Bleu's new recording devices should be capable of holding their own against other stations. However, it remains to be seen how the phones will perform during constant use and it's possible the entire experiment could end in the same dismal manner as that of Fox46.
More about iPhone, iphone 6, Camera, Video, Footage
 
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