KSTP Moves Into HD ENG With Panasonic

We tested the HPX300 extensively before making a purchase decision. First and foremost, the image quality is exceptional.
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KSTP-TV chief photographer Joe Caffrey with the Panasonic AG-HPX300 camcorder. Photo courtesy of KSTP-TV ST. PAUL, MINN.
KSTP-TV is the ABC affiliate for this market and is owned by Hubbard Broadcasting. The station recently implemented a broad upgrade to HD newsgathering and studio acquisition with Panasonic's new AG-HPX300 P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorders. We have outfitted all our news, sports, and promotion photographers with the HPX300s and we are also using the HPX300 in a studio configuration in our news and production studios.

Our staff of videographers shoots more than 50 hours of live local coverage weekly, and the Panasonic P2 HD product line provides an excellent selection of tools to meet our live broadcast needs. The HPX300 is a remarkable camera, offering advanced technologies, such as 2.2 megapixel imagers and AVC-Intra recording, which we'd been hoping for in a full-size, cost-effective broadcast package. We like the P2 workflow, and the new HPX300 full native HD resolution images are really spectacular. The camera offers the flexibility of interchangeable lenses but comes standard with a 17x HD Fujinon lens which suits our needs very well.

MANY DESIRED FEATURES

We tested the HPX300 extensively before making a purchase decision. First and foremost, the image quality is exceptional. The camera's shoulder-mount construction delivers the durability in the field we require from a news camera. The interchangeable lens design gives us the flexibility to use a wide range of broadcast specialty lenses for our investigative news and our sports shooters. And we also like the built-in multichannel wireless receiver with embedded audio in the HPX300's SDI output, which allows us to use just one cable when connecting to the ENG or SNG truck.

Our chief photographer, Joe Caffrey, helped manage the HD field camera upgrade which was timed to coincide with the June 12 DTV transition date. Joe observed afterwards that the transition from years of shooting with other cameras was smooth, and that our photographers have found the HPX300 to be very user-friendly—and they really enjoy being tapeless.

DOESN'T NEED MUCH LIGHT

The HPX300 performs very well under low lighting conditions and the video is very clean with added gain. The 24 dB gain position provides new additional shooting opportunities in dimly lighted situations, and the camera is also light enough for quick live shots done off the shoulder. The multichannel wireless drop-in receivers help maintain great camera ergonomics, and the sound produced is crisp and clear.

Our photographers are shooting around the clock with the HPX300s, including overnight spot news and daily news stories. And our reporters are shooting packages and live shots. Our sports department is covering summer sports, and we'll be taking the P2 HD cams on the road for coverage of the Minnesota Vikings this fall. In addition to our HPX300s, we have a number of AG-HPX170 P2 HD camcorders that we issue to multimedia reporters and also use in our investigative department.

To complement our HPX300-based ENG operations, KSTP is implementing an entirely new tapeless newsroom system. This is powered by the Gallery Sienna networked news automation system, a fully integrated MOS-based news workflow that the station utilizes with the ENPS News System, and a Final Cut Pro-based QuickTime media infrastructure.

Overall, the HPX300 is a tremendously exciting product that has very effectively moved us into the HD acquisition domain.

Dick Rice is director of engineering at KSTP-TV. He may be contacted atdrice@kstp.com.

For additional information, contact Panasonic Broadcast at 201-392-4127 or visitwww.panasonic.com/P2HD.