SAN DIEGO—Bay City Television operates
XETV, producing 5.5 hours of live daily
morning newscasts, as well as an hour-long
10 p.m. news program, with everything produced
in native 1080i HD. To stay competitive
in local markets, stations must produce
high-quality live HD newscasts while holding
the line on capital and operating costs.
We transitioned to HD in 2011, while implementing
a fully automated, file-based news
The Hitachi DK-Z50 HD box camera
We took a somewhat unconventional approach
in our choice of cameras, robotics,
and newsroom automation, but our strategy
has proven to be extremely cost-effective
and successful. We were able to keep our
capital investment low, and reduced the cost
and complexity of our news operation.
Instead of going with full-sized HD studio
cameras with their triax cabling and
controls, we opted for Hitachi’s DK-Z50
multiformat HDTV box cameras. The savings
we realized between these units and
conventional studio cameras allowed us to
purchase six DK-Z50s instead of four larger
models, and the additonal cameras gives our
newscasts a more dynamic look and pace.
These compact Hitachi box cameras
weigh only 3.3 pounds and are an ideal fit
for our Ross Video CamBot robotic camera
system. CamBot controls the cameras’ Canon
lenses, and interfaces seamlessly with our
Ross OverDrive automated production control
system, which serves as the centerpiece
of our news automation.
The DK-Z50’s are shaded remotely from
the control room via Hitachi’s SU-1000
setup control unit via a TCP/IP connection,
with all six camera heads are individually
handled via a single user interface.
Four of the DK-Z50’s reside on CamBot
Series 600PT robotic heads, one is mounted
on a jib and the remaining camera is attached
to a pedestal.
Our studio has a split-level design, with
five DK-Z50 cameras operating on the main
news set on the lower level and one DKZ50/
CamBot pair operating on a smaller
news set constructed on the upper level.
ONE PERSON DOES IT ALL
One TD single-handedly manages the
entire news production. (The TD alternates
each hour with an off-line TD person and
uses the time to help prepare for the next
show segment.) Such a compact operational
workflow is made possible, as the Ross Over-
Drive automates control of our production
switcher, audio mixer, electronic graphics
system, and, of course, the CamBot robotic
The new Hitachi DK-Z50 cameras replaced
Hitachi SK-2700W widescreen SD
cameras that delivered exceptional performance
over many years. Our experience
with the older cameras as well as Hitachi’s
responsive sales and service were compelling
factors in staying with Hitachi camera
products. And the 2/3-inch 1.0 million pixel
3-CCD imager systems and 14-bit A/D converters
on the DK-Z50 cameras guarantee
really sharp and clean picture quality.
Automating news from content creation
to delivery is absolutely essential nowadays,
and the Hitachi DK-Z50 cameras and Ross
CamBot systems have played a key role in
moving us into this cost-effective news production
Paul Redfield is director of technology
at XETV. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact
Hitachi at 516-921-7200 or visit www.hitachikokusai.us.