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HD ENG takes off with demonstration at NAB2005

During last week’s NAB convention in Las Vegas, Helinet Aviation Services transmitted live HD ENG shots from a specially equipped helicopter as far away as the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of Helinet Aviation and Mark Forman Productions.

Demonstrating for the second consecutive year that HDTV and ENG are not mutually exclusive acronyms, Helinet Aviation Services shot and transmitted live high definition footage from a specially equipped helicopter during NAB2005 in Las Vegas.

Transmitting aerial shots from as close as overhead to as far away as the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, the demonstration underscored the growing viability of HD as an acquisition format for field reporting.

Broadcasting at a distance of more than 80mi from the helicopter to a receive site at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Helinet's HD solution gave convention goers the chance to use two-way radio communications directly from the show floor to the helicopter to direct shots being displayed of the Grand Canyon.

The Helinet aerial HD solution consisted of a Helinet helicopter featuring the Cineflex V14 HiDEF gyro-stabilized camera system, a Troll Systems C-100 Pegasus HD microwave antenna pod system and the MRC Strata COFDM transmitter.

According to Helinet’s CEO, Alan Purwin, about 200 helicopters are used around the country by local television stations for electronic newsgathering, with the highest distribution of ENG choppers in the top 30 markets. Interest is growing among broadcasters to convert these airborne platforms to accommodate HD acquisition, he said. Already, KUSA in Denver contracts with Helinet for an HD-equipped news gathering helicopter and other stations are expected to take flight with HD platforms soon, said Purwin.

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