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KOAA contributes live HD coverage of Colorado flooding

KOAA, the Cordillera Communications-owned NBC affiliate serving Colorado Springs-Pueblo, CO, used the built-in live HD transmission functionality of its new GY-HM650 ProHD handheld mobile news camera to provide live coverage of the deadly Colorado floods in September.

Wirelessly paired with a Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot, the HD camcorder was able to transmit live footage during the event from locations that were inaccessible by traditional live trucks.

For most live shots, KOAA relies on one of its three JVC GY-HM790 cameras, equipped with a KA-AS790G ASI module that is connected directly to the microwave truck via BNC. However, many of the areas affected by the floods did not provide line-of-sight to the station’s tower, which meant microwave trucks could not be used. Satellite trucks could work, but rising flood waters and muddy roadways made for treacherous driving conditions.

According to Quentin Henry, KOAA chief engineer, the GY-HM650’s live streaming functionality was used “so we could cover these flood areas that could not be accessed by the live trucks.” The station had just completed two days of streaming tests with a Teradek decoder, which had been recently installed.

News teams took the GY-HM650 into canyons and other troubled areas to document how quickly the water rose. Henry said the 720p footage from the GY-HM650 was “one of the higher quality pictures we had on the air” during the Colorado floods. The station’s Ku-band satellite truck had some breakup issues because its uplink path to the satellite was obstructed by heavy cloud cover.

The camera’s dual-codec design allowed KOAA to record its live standups and other footage on an SDHC media cards on site in higher 1080p resolution during its live shots. The news team was then able to edit that footage into packages back at the station, without searching for a copy of the broadcast. KOAA uses Harris Velocity NLE systems, and the GY-HM650 records native .MP4 files that can be dropped directly into the editing timeline without transcoding.

While KOAA has been broadcasting in HD since 2010 and has had a tapeless workflow with Panasonic P2 camcorders for more than five years, the station recently began the addition of JVC ProHD cameras.

KOAA is one of 10 television stations that are owned by Cordillera Communications, and produce local news. Henry said the station was used as a test bed for the GY-HM650. Following its performance covering the Colorado floods, another GY-HM650 was recently deployed at KATC, the ABC affiliate serving Lafayette, LA.