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Front-end of RCA HC-2
RCA CCD Camera HC-2
RCA CCD - Portable CCD Production Model
shown at NAB, named HC-2 for Hawkeye Camera 2. The prototype CCD Camera was
first shown at the NAB 1983. A few were manufactured and shipped to customers
Need: Grab a
Problem: How to
build a camera from an exceptional new video sensor?
RCA Corporation had developed a remarkable new CCD imaging device: It had the
equivalent of 2 f-stops greater sensitivity compared with previous sensors
and had a resolution that was suitable for the critical broadcast television
In the past vidicon tubes were the choice for production TV cameras. The new
device was capable of replacing this tube and run with lower power and
greater sensitivity. It was ideal for the hand-held news-gathering camera.
Approach: The challenge was great:
How can three devices be mounted so that the resulting color components were
in focus and in registration. How can the assembly be stable for many years,
work equally well in the Arizona desert and the Alaskan tundra,
and yet be repairable since it would be a very expensive component?
At RCA Laboratories, Paul Schnitzler built a multidiscipline team of video
and mechanical engineers, chemists, and mathematicians to solve this problem.
Half of the top management of the Labs was certain that this could not be
done: Make the three color images align to better than 2 µm? No way!
Through the use of electronic image comparison, differential mechanical
screws, thermal expansion analyses, and specialized organic adhesives, all of
these issues were addressed and met.
Two different mechanical approaches were developed; one was used to mount the
optical components, the second was used to confirm the success of the
Results: The camera was designed
around an existing vidicon-based camera called the Hawkeye. We replaced the
optical assembly with a CCD-based unit (see left photo). In six months the
design, manufacturing process and two prototypes were completed. The Vice
President of the Broadcast Systems division told us that we saved the company
two months on a one year plan.
The HC-2 went on to win an Emmy for technical excellence from the Academy of
Television Arts & Sciences. The design team won a David Sarnoff
Achievement Award for their work.
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