KTWO-TV chief broadcast engineer Terry Lane (L) and broadcast engineer Chris Severson test one of the station's 10 new JVC GY-HM700 camcorders.
KTWO-TV is the ABC affiliate serving central Wyoming, and is owned by Silverton Broadcasting Co. LLC. The station has been on the air for more than 50 years and is in the final stages of a transition to local news production in high-definition. In fact, by the time you read this, we should be producing an all-HD newscast.
We produce five newscasts every weekday and two on Saturday and Sunday, plus a weekly sports program. The move to an all-HD newscast, as well as the move toward a tapeless workflow, are two very significant steps that we have implemented to enhance news on a station serving one of the smallest markets in the country. We don't have the budget available to stations in larger markets, so the transition to HD news has been an economic challenge.
MOVING AWAY FROM TAPE PROBLEMS
This spring, we purchased 10 of JVC's GY-HM700 camcorders. From a maintenance perspective, the new camcorders create few problems, as they have no moving parts (except for the Fujinon lenses, of course). This means no mechanical issues and no damaged videotapes. In looking back, a tape-based workflow could be quite a headache.
The station quickly embraced the benefits of JVC's tapeless acquisition and the use of non-proprietary flash media. With proprietary tapeless recording solutions from other manufacturers, you're simply going to pay more for storage. And because you pay more, you have to keep a very close eye on your media investment. Lost or damaged media cards are an expensive hit to the bottom line.
It's easy for us to buy lots of SDHC cards for our GY-HM700, and in an emergency, our camera crew can drop by a local electronics store and pick up more media easily and affordably. We certainly reuse our SDHC cards, but the technology is inexpensive enough so that we can archive some cards without seriously impacting the operating budget.
In other words, our new JVC ENG cameras give us all the advantages of a tape-based system, and all the advantages of tapeless workflow for our ENG work.
PLAYS WELL WITH EDITORS
The HM700 camcorders also help us in the edit suite. We use Apple Final Cut Pro to edit our news packages, exporting finished stories to the server for air. The HM700 records natively in the .MOV file format, so there's no need to ingest or transcode footage. We simply insert an SDHC card into a card reader and within seconds we're editing.
Advances in workflow are important, but they don't mean much if the video is substandard. That hasn't been an issue here, as the image quality from the HM700s is exceptional. We haven't had any problem with artifacts or glitches. The camcorders even perform well in low-light conditions.
We've spent a lot of money on equipment over the past few years as part of the government-mandated DTV transition and our own strategy to upgrade to local HD news. Our equipment investment—especially in connection with the new JVC GY-HM700 camcorders—has had a very positive effect. When you consider image quality and workflow improvements, particularly at such a reasonable price point, our new camcorders have easily given us the best bang for our buck.
Terry Lane is the chief broadcast engineer for KTWO-TV and has been with the station for nine years. He also oversees engineering for four other stations. He may be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact JVC at 800-582-5825 or visitwww.jvc.com/pro.
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