HD at sea: Carnival Cruise Lines shoots high-def

Carnival Cruise Lines has begun using JVC ProHD cameras on several of its cruise ships to provide video coverage of both onboard and shoreside activities for its guests. The move is part of an overall transition to a tapeless workflow for the cruise line.

James Riccio, Carnival's supervisor of AV media, said Carnival Magic was the first ship to begin using JVC cameras in May 2011. Since then, two other ships have replaced their tape-based cameras with ProHD models.

Carnival Breeze, the newest ship in the fleet set to debut June 3, will have two GY-HM750s and one GY-HM150 camera (the standard complement of cameras per ship), and plans are in place for two additional Carnival ships to begin using ProHD cameras in 2012.

Each ship produces a live morning show, which features the cruise director, usually in one of the ship's lounges, discussing the day's activities. It's a simple production — two GY-HM750s on tripods capture the action. The cameras are tethered to "camera panels" that tie them directly the ship's broadcast room, which also serves as a control room and edit suite, where graphics are added and the show is distributed throughout the ship. Currently, Carnival Magic and the upcoming Carnival Breeze are the only ships in the fleet that have an HD infrastructure; the other ships downconvert the HD footage and distribute it in SD.

After the morning show, the video crew covers a variety of onboard events, contests and activities, which are recorded to SDHC media cards, then edited using Adobe Premiere Pro in the broadcast room. The JVC cameras record to MOV and MP4 files so footage can be accessed immediately without transcoding or ingest required.

For each cruise, the video team also assembles a documentary filled with trip highlights, including shore excursions. Videographers join passengers on shore excursions, and Riccio said the small, handheld GY-HM150 is good for recording memories without being intrusive.