—KTVA, a Denali
Media Group property, is the Anchorage
CBS affiliate, with our market encompassing
the entire state. To put that into perspective,
it’s equivalent to a Midwestern station with
coverage from Chicago to Texas.
Last year, Denali purchased 17 Panasonic
AG-HPX600 P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorders
for ENG and nine AK-HC1500G
HD cameras for studio use at KTVA. After a
total transition to HD news, we’ve been on
the air with the gear now for three months.
We’ve assigned 16 HPX600s to the ENG department
and one is used for commercial
production. The HC1500Gs are used in our
primary studio and a smaller newsroom set.
We chose the HPX600s after a thorough
shoot-out with competitive camcorders. We
observed that the HPX600s excelled in low-light
conditions, color rendering and overall
feature set and workflow. The camcorders
are codec-friendly, with both AVC-Intra and
DVCPRO HD available, and we’ve been using
1080i DVCPRO HD for our news coverage.
The AG-HPX600 is a 2/3-inch-imager
shoulder-type of camera that accommodates
a wide variety of interchangeable
lenses. Its compact body provides superior
mobility and has the distinction of tipping
the scales with the industry’s lowest
weight—approximately 6.2 pounds for the
main unit. The camera also has a very low
power consumption—just 18 Watts.
We produce 17 live news hours weekly
and each of our 10 news photographers is
outfitted with an HPX600, as is each of our
microwave and satellite trucks. Currently, we
have a crew in Juneau for the 90-day legislative
session; by summer we’re planning a
full-time presence in Juneau, the state capital.
Some of the major events we’ve covered
recently have included a remote plane crash
and the Great Alaska Shootout, an NCAA
Division I basketball tournament. As I write
this we’re days away from our all-out coverage
of the epic Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
We’ll have 11 cameras at the start of the race,
which originates here in Anchorage, three
along the trail, and five at the finish in Nome.
The Iditarod organization itself has shot in
P2 for a decade and is pleased that we’ll have
interchangeable files this year. One of the
producers mentioned that during the past
10 years, the cold weather has taken its toll
on people, but the cameras have never quit.
All of our photographers have told me
that HPX600 operation was very easy to
learn and that they’re really happy about
the camera’s robustness, long battery life
and indestructible media. And here in Alaska,
it’s hard to overstate the benefits of low-light
performance and light weight.
Our reporters also appreciate that the
HPX600s are outfitted with wireless streaming
as this allows proxy files to be streamed
or viewed via a standard web browser on a
PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone. This feature
has allowed our reporters to view footage
on their iPhones and iPads at the same time
the photographers are shooting in a courtroom
or other remote location. The reporters
can also add metadata to the streamed
files as they’re viewing them.
Trent McNelly has been in broadcasting
for 32 years and was the first employee
hired by Denali Media in 2012. He may
be contacted at [email protected].
For additional information, contact
Panasonic Professional Video Products
at 877-803-8492 or visit www.panasonic.com/broadcast.