Vermont broadcaster kicks off HD newscasts with P2 HD camcorders

WFFF-TV, the Smith Media-owned FOX affiliate licensed to Burlington, VT, is relying on Panasonic P2 HD camcorders to support its first-in-the-state local HD newscasts.

The station is using four Panasonic AG-HPX500s and two AG-HPX200s as the linchpins of its electronic newsgathering operations. A pair of HPX500s in studio configuration reside in the station’s news studios in Colchester, VT.

WFFF has a sprawling geographic footprint that encompasses large sections of upstate New York and New Hampshire as well as the entire state of Vermont, except Bennington County. WFFF also produces newscasts for WVNY, the local ABC affiliate.

According to station director of engineering Matt Servis, the fact that WFFF’s was a start-up news operation meant it did not have to dismantle an existing collection of news technology. The station opted for the solid-state P2 acquisition solution because it fit well into WFFF’s plan for newsroom editing, he added.

WFFF maintains 20 desktop editing seats in its newsroom where reporters can edit their stories in full HD. The station runs Thomson Grass Valley EDIUS NLE software on Dell computers. Each desktop is equipped with an AJ-PCD20 five-slot P2 drive for instant access and continuous editing of all recorded P2 content in sequence. News is played out on a Digital Broadcast server.

WFFF’s four full-time photographers are each assigned an HPX500, and two video journalists cover the market with the HVX200 camcorders. All the cameras are loaded with 16GB cards. The station also maintains an HD satellite truck with an AJ-PCD20-equipped laptop running EDIUS. Edited packages are fed over microwave or satellite back to the studio via a FireWire bridge.

WFFF airs a daily 30-minute newscast at 10 p.m. and produces a daily 30-minute 7 p.m. newscast for WVNY. WFFF is on with two hours of news in the morning and is about to launch a two-hour ABC morning show. Live shots, cut-ins and select content will be shot on the P2 HD cameras.

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