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MTSU students get hands-on HD experience with Canon lenses, camcorders

With more than 25,000 students Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is the state’s largest undergrad school.

At its Department of Electronic Media Communications (within the College of Mass Communications), however, student training is strictly one-on-one when it comes to learning how to use the latest television production equipment to create real-world broadcast-quality programming. Included among the department’s impressive complement of leading-edge imaging technologies are advanced HD portable ENG and EFP lenses and professional file-based HD camcorders from Canon (opens in new tab).

MTSU recently took delivery of a new 40ft $1.7 million mobile HD production vehicle, which is used by the student-run EMC Productions to cover football, basketball, music performances, awards shows, news events, theatrical performances and parades for local broadcast and cable stations and a national cable network.

Separately, “class” shoots of collegiate baseball, softball and volleyball provide hands-on student training for actual academic credit. Central to all of this production work is the university’s choice of HD portable lenses for the truck’s complement of ENG and EFP cameras, as well as its selection of small high-performance integrated file-based HD camcorders.

A longtime Canon user, MTSU chose a family of 2/3in portable lenses that include two Canon HJ18ex28B portable HD super-telephoto EFP lenses (with 2x extenders), five Canon KJ17ex7.7B portable HD ENG lenses, one Canon KJ10ex4.5B portable HD wide-angle ENG lens, and two Canon XF305 professional file-based HD camcorders to deliver the imaging quality required by the university and the distribution channels it feeds.

“We previously had an SD truck that was built in 1991, and it used Canon lenses exclusively,” said Marc Parrish, MTSU director of technical systems. “We love our Canon lenses for sports. We use the HJ18ex28B portable HD super-telephoto EFP lenses during football games in the end zones. They’re compact, yet fast enough to get enough light in them for our ‘hero shots’ of players and coaches.”

Canon’s HJ18ex28B portable HD super-telephoto lens is designed for challenging location productions where video capture is needed over a long range of focal lengths using portable HD EFP cameras with 2/3in imagers. The HJ18ex28B delivers a focal length range of 28mm to 500mm (up to 1000mm with its built-in 2X extender), and has an optical speed of f/2.8 up to a focal length of 286mm.

“We also have the Canon enhanced digital servo zoom controllers on our two HJ18ex28B lenses, and we love the focus on them,” Parrish added. “We run these lenses in basketball games under low lighting. Our basketball arena is not set up for TV, but these lenses can zoom in and really capture pristine imagery in there — even on a tight shot with low light — and enable our HD ENG and EFP cameras to produce really great colors.”