Newport Television Upgrades to HD with JVC

Newport Television owns and operates 50 stations in 22 markets around the country.
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WKRC in Cincinnati is one of several Newport Television stations using JVC ProHD GY-HD250 cameras in the studio and GY-HM700 camcorders for ENG work for local news.
Newport Television, which owns and operates 50 stations in 22 markets around the country, is upgrading its local broadcast news operations to high definition with JVC ProHD cameras for ENG and studio production. The station group is standardizing with GY-HM700 camcorders in the field and GY-HD250 cameras configured for studio use.

Based in Kansas City, Mo., Newport has 14 stations supporting local news operations. According to Dione Rigsby, vice president and director of engineering, Newport began purchasing JVC cameras in late 2008. Four stations have already been fully equipped with new cameras, and the transition is nearly finished for four other stations. Rigsby expects to have the company-wide conversion to JVC complete by 2011.

WAWS in Jacksonville, Fla., WKRC in Cincinnati, WOAI in San Antonio, and KTVX in Salt Lake City have a full complement of GY-HD250 cameras for studio production and GY-HM700 camcorders for ENG use. Each station has at least four GY-HD250s and 13 GY-HM700s. Stations currently upgrading to JVC include WHAM in Rochester, N.Y., KOKI in Tulsa, Okla., KLRT in Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark., and KGET in Bakersfield, Calif.

WKRC had its JVC cameras in place for months, even though the station did not begin broadcasting its local news in HD until recently. Rigsby said the GY-HD250 cameras improve SD broadcasts while stations prepare for the inevitable local HD transition. “We can revitalize a studio with HD cameras and downconvert to SD,” Rigsby explained. “We get a better look with these great cameras.”

For ENG work, Rigsby said she is very pleased with the GY-HM700 camcorder. “Price was key, of course, but our shooters really like the ergonomics of the JVC cameras,” he said. He also praised the use of inexpensive, non-proprietary SDHC cards as recording media. “It’s a very, very inexpensive solution for acquisition,” he noted, “and was one of the key selling points for us.”

Beyond reusable solid-state media, Rigsby said the GY-HM700s will require far less maintenance than tape-based ENG camcorders, because they do not use tape heads or moving parts for recording. “It will have a huge impact on overall operating and maintenance costs,” he explained. “It will bring down the total cost of ownership for the camcorders significantly.”

The move to JVC ProHD camcorders is also helping Newport migrate to a tapeless newsroom. Rigsby said the company is working with Bitcentral to create a file-based workflow, complete with nonlinear editing suites equipped with SDHC card readers that can instantly access the .mp4 files recorded by the GY-HM700s—no transcoding or ingest required.