EVANSVILLE, Ind.—WFIE is the NBC affiliate serving southwestern Indiana, northwestern Kentucky and southeastern Illinois. In the summer of 2018, we took ownership of a JVC ProHD Studio 4000S live sports production and streaming studio, in time for the high school football season. We had been considering streaming live high school sports online, and JVC’s studio-in-a-box solution seemed like an affordable way to consolidate the equipment needed for multicamera productions.
The 4000S gave us the basics of everything needed to produce a ballgame. We rackmounted the system into one of our live trucks to anchor a three-camera shoot, with one camera providing wide coverage from the stands and two others gathering footage from the sidelines.
If you’re a sports fan, you want to see replays—without it, the production is missing a key element. The built-in replay feature in the 4000S is fantastic, especially compared to how we used to do replays. Just having it included in the unit itself is great.
After successfully covering five football games, we streamed three high school basketball games in the winter using a two-camera setup. Although only available online, we had up to 1,000 fans watching the live action simultaneously.
With our sports coverage such a success, we decided to use the system to stream breaking news. We converted part of an old conference room into a small studio, moved the 4000S out of the truck and began training our evening anchor, Beth Sweeney, to become a one-woman band for streaming live news updates to the WFIE website and other social media platforms.
Our setup includes one of our older ENG cameras on a tripod, along with a basic three-point lighting system and a mic positioned above our anchor on a C-stand. The backdrop is an extra piece from our current news set mounted to the wall. Generally, we shoot a medium close-up to avoid showing the 4000S and audio board, which Beth operates during the updates from a table positioned in front of her.
When we’re ready to stream, we turn on the equipment and load any still images or graphics into the 4000S using a flash drive. (The 4000S has a built-in CG, but we import our own station graphics.) We make sure the mic is off and a slate appears on the screen. When Beth is ready and the stream is live, she opens the mic, switches to the camera and begins the webcast. Once the update is complete, she returns to the slate, kills the mic and ends the stream.
We successfully tested the system with a Facebook Live stream for our “River City Weekend” Facebook page and app, provided by our marketing department that highlights events and activities in the area. The segment promoted the Evansville Police Department Foundation SWAT Challenge, a local 5K run in early May. River City Weekend reporter Ally Tsimekles interviewed a police officer, rolled a video package and even included graphics.
The built-in multiview has been very handy for training—in fact, the whole system is very user friendly for someone who’s not necessarily a trained TD. Our sports directors tend to use the touchscreen for switching, but others prefer the keyboard and mouse. That flexibility is a big positive, because the 4000S operator can use whatever interface works for them.
Jason Gravens is the news operation manager for WFIE, the NBC affiliate in Evansville, Ind. (DMA #103), owned by Gray Television. Contact him at email@example.com.
For more information, visit jvc.com or call 310-639-9000.