JVC GY-HM650 ProHD Cam Is A Favorite at KATC

KATC multimedia journalist Akeam Ashford shows off the station’s JVC GY-HM650.

LAFAYETTE, LA.—KATC television is owned by Cordillera Communications and is the ABC affiliate for the Lafayette market. Last year, we purchased a JVC GY-HM650 ProHD mobile news camera as part of a multimedia journalist (MMJ) kit. The camera was supposed to be assigned to one reporter, but it’s quickly become a very popular piece of equipment around our station.

Camera focusing is phenomenal, and the built-in 23x zoom lens is impressive. When I watch our news at home, I can always tell when something was shot with the GY-HM650; you don’t need a “good eye” to tell that it’s a much better picture. There’s another plus too: We’re a Harris house, and the JVC camera records native files for our Velocity NLE systems, so there’s no transcoding to slow down our workflow.

The GY-HM650 uses SDHC and SDXC solid-state media instead of proprietary media, and I can outfit three MMJs for the JVC camera for less than the cost of a single card for one of our other cameras.

What makes the camera really impressive is its built-in HD streaming. We typically use the GY-HM650 coupled with a Verizon 4G LTE mobile hotspot to feed a Teradek decoder for live shots several times each week. This is easier than some of the other systems out there. I don’t need the hassle or expense of five modems in a backpack system to get signals back to the station; I can get the same results with our JVC camera and a “hotspot” shoved in a shirt pocket.

In December, our local University of Louisiana at Lafayette football team was invited to the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. We had a satellite truck to produce multicamera video from the stadium, but we also took the GYHM650 along to produce additional live segments. We had no problems getting an HD signal back to the station, and the pictures looked better than the images we were getting from the satellite truck.

That said, there is a learning curve. Once, we sent an MMJ out who couldn’t get a strong signal and we weren’t able to go live, however, this was a reporter and not an engineer. However, coverage from the event wasn’t a total loss; the reporter was able to use the built-in FTP feature to send video to the station, and we were still first to get the story on the air.

We’ve budgeted for two additional GYHM650s, and we’re planning to purchase six of JVC’s new GY-HM890 shoulder-mount models. Eventually, all our MMJs and photographers will have cameras that allow us to go live from the field.

We can even take a live feed from another Cordillera station’s GY-HM650 camcorder straight into our switcher by establishing an IP connection between the two stations and programming our decoder to accept the signal. For station groups like ours, this opens up all kinds of news coverage possibilities.

JVC’s in-camera live HD transmission technology is making our job a whole lot easier and it’s cost-effective also.

Don Mouton, Jr. is chief engineer at KATC television in Lafayette, La. He may be contacted atdmouton@katctv.com.

For additional information, contact JVC at 800-582-5825 or visitpro.jvc.com.