The Comrex LiveShot
WICHITA, KAN.—As Wichita’s top-rated television news station, KWCH’s cutting-edge newsroom has a history of testing promising new technologies to provide the best news coverage for our viewers. Whether it’s software to cut operational costs and allow us to hire more journalists, technology that offers clearer images, or equipment that allows us to get information to viewers faster, we want to be the first station in the nation to employ it.
This is why we agreed to beta test the new Comrex LiveShot Video IP codec mobile live unit. Our crews were eager to see if what we had been hearing about the technology would benefit our operation.
QUICK SETUP AND OPERATION
We found that the unit is compact and easy to run. The video inputs (HD-SDI, composite and HDMI) and audio inputs (embedded or analog XLR), along with a built-in IFB for reporters, work together to make this a piece of gear our crews can grab quickly and set up in a matter of minutes. The LiveShot Portable fits onto a standard Anton/Bauer battery plate and—unlike older portable live units—requires little power to run. We use Anton/Bauer ProPak 14 batteries, and their digital readout showed a nine-hour run when attached to the LiveShot Portable.
We also like the minimal transmission latency associated with the LiveShot—less than one second of delay seems to be the norm—and the transmitted images are high quality. We mostly use the LiveShot’s included Wi-Fi modem to connect to a Verizon 4G LTE Mi-Fi Hotspot.
In the past, if we wanted to go live over IP, we’d have to plug a camera into a video/ audio device feeding a computer and put up with less than perfect video. The Comrex unit is much easier to use and provides image and sound quality almost the same as that from a traditional hard-wired live unit.
PLAYS WELL WITH SMARTPHONES
Another advantage with the Comrex Live- Shot is its smartphone application (available for iOS and Android), which crews can use to control the unit. If we need to adjust the image quality or bit rate, we’re can easily adjust the settings with the app.
Working with the folks at Comrex has also been a pleasure. As part of our beta testing, we’ve been saving our live shots and providing feedback on any issues encountered. After a few months of running Live- Shot, we asked about some software and/ or hardware upgrades and the company shipped us new production units of the LiveShot Portable and the LiveShot Studio Rackmount to continue our testing.
To date, we’ve used this new technology in many varying scenarios: live shots in the Wichita metro area, live coverage after the governor’s state of the state address from capital building, and or coverage of breaking news in a small town where Internet access has sometimes been known to be spotty. The unit has given reliable service with surprisingly minimal delay time and relatively high audio/video quality for the past four months. We’ve been very pleased and think that the unit is certainly worth the investment.
Brian Gordon is chief photojournalist at KWCH television. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Comrex at 978-784-1776 or visit www.comrex.com.