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BYU productions shine with new Hitachi HD cameras

Brigham Young University-Hawaii (BYU-Hawaii) has purchased four Hitachi SK-HD1000 native 1080i HDTV studio/field production cameras to produce HD programming for its Web site and TV station, known as BYU Television.

BYU-Hawaii and its sister colleges BYU (in Utah) and BYU-Idaho all produce their own programming‚ which is seen on BYU TV, the Brigham Young University-run TV network that reaches more than 50 million homes nationwide on DIRECTV, Dish Network and cable systems, and a global audience via the Internet. While most of this programming has been produced in SD, BYU-Hawaii bought the Hitachi SK-HD1000 cameras because the demand for HD is steadily increasing.

The price and performance of the Hitachi SK-HD1000 cameras has allowed the university’s video department to go HD four years sooner than it had planned. Reliability was also a key concern for BYU, because it can be difficult to get camera parts or repairs on the Island nation.

Prior to the new SK-HD1000 cameras, BYU-Hawaii used a complement of Hitachi Z-3000W 4:3/16:9 switchable SD cameras. Because more than four cameras are needed to cover sports action at the school effectively, the Z-3000Ws are still in service alongside the new HD cameras. Currently, the HD video is downconverted to SD prior to broadcast.

The SK-HD1000s, outfitted with 5in black/white viewfinders and Canon HD lenses, are usually mounted on tripods in the campus TV studio. Many educational programs are produced in the studio, such as a business management class that could be accessed on demand from the Web site. Switching is done using a Ross Synergy 3 switcher from an adjacent production control room.

In the field, BYU-Hawaii has used the Hitachi SK-HD1000 cameras, transmitting signals on fiber cabling, to produce several BYU-Hawaii Seasider men’s and women’s basketball games, which were streamed on its Web site, as well as transferred in real time as video over IP to BYU TV. When shooting from remote campus locations, such as playing fields and the auditorium, two of the SK-HD1000 cameras are mounted on tripods, and two are operated as handhelds.