WCFT-TV/WJSU/WBMA, the ABC affiliate serving the Birmingham-Anniston-Tuscaloosa, AL, has purchased 20 GY-HM790 ProHD camcorders for studio and ENG work as part of an overall transition to local HD news production.
Ron Thomas, director of engineering, WCFT-TV Alabama, said the station began using four of the new cameras in July 2011 in its studio in SD mode, then made the switch to HD production on Sept. 12. According to Thomas, the picture quality has been "a drastic improvement" and the integration between the new ProHD cameras and the studio's Vinten robotic camera support system has been "flawless."
WCFT began using GY-HM790 camcorders in the field on Sept. 12 as well, replacing aging Philips LDK 700 DVCPRO camcorders. Not only are the units lighter than the previous cameras, but Thomas said they balance well when paired with the station's new Anton/Bauer DIONIC batteries.
While Thomas acknowledged station personnel faced a learning curve when they moved from a tape-based workflow, he said they quickly embraced the use of JVC's native file recording on SDHC solid-state media cards. "It has really made it faster for our news department to turn around news, especially breaking news," he said.
WCFT is affiliated with Allbritton Communications Company, which is based in Arlington, VA, and recently standardized on JVC ProHD cameras for studio and ENG work at six of its stations. The new cameras are part of an overall transition to local HD news production for all stations in the group.