Canadian weather network streamlines production workflow with tapeless camcorders

The Weather Network in Oakville, Ontario, is moving to maximize the efficiency of its production workflow with the acquisition of four new Ikegami tapeless GFCam HDS-V10 Flash RAM HD camcorders.

The network’s video is used on-air, on the Web, on mobile devices and other multimedia sources as well as by MeteoMedia, its French-language sister network in Montreal, said Kiko Grusecki, director of broadcast operations at The Weather Network. “The Ikegami GFCam will be a benefit for both networks because we will be taking our files, downloading them and sending them to MeteoMedia as well,” Grusecki said.

While The Weather Network was attracted to Ikegami GFCam’s robust, rugged construction, the most important aspect of the camcorder is its file format, which fits easily into the file-based workflow of the broadcaster and allows the network to move files around effortlessly. “The file format of the Ikegami GFCam helps us a lot because we can wrap and unwrap our files easily, and it is supported by all of our editing software, including Avid and Final Cut Pro,” Grusecki said.

Ikegami’s GFCam HDS-V10 camcorder records HD images using MPEG-2 compression and the MXF file wrapper. MXF, a widely supported open-source file format, has become a de facto standard, ensuring workflow compatibility with many edit systems and video production infrastructures. Ikegami’s GFCam employs an MPEG-2 4:2:2@HL codec to record full-resolution 1920 x 1080 HD images in either 50Mb/s long GOP or 100Mb/s I-frame only. The GFCam camcorder can be outfitted with native 1080i or 720p CCD sensors.

Recording media for the Ikegami GFCam HDS-V10 camcorder consists of flash RAM contained within a rugged GFPak that includes a USB port and a high-speed SATA interface, both of which allow for instant access to GFCam video from laptop or desktop editing systems.

Working with Ikegami’s GFPak flash media is an advantage for The Weather Network, especially when doing ENG, Grusecki said. “Our guys on location in the field can just plug the GFPak into their laptop and preview the material without carrying around other equipment,” he said.