KOAA, the NBC affiliate for Colorado Springs-Pueblo, CO (DMA #89), used the built-in live HD transmission functionality of its new JVC GY-HM650 ProHD handheld mobile news camera to provide live coverage of the deadly Colorado floods. Wirelessly paired with a Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot, the HD camcorder was able to transmit live footage during the event from locations that were inaccessible by traditional live trucks.
For most live shots, KOAA relies on one of its three JVC GY-HM790 cameras, equipped with a KA-AS790G ASI module that is connected directly to the microwave truck via BNC. However, many of the areas affected by the floods did not provide line-of-sight to the station’s tower, which meant microwave trucks could not be used. Satellite trucks could work, but rising flood waters and muddy roadways made for treacherous driving conditions.
The station had just completed two days of streaming tests with a Teradek decoder, which had been recently installed. The GY-HM650’s live streaming functionality was pressed into service so the station could cover flooded areas that couldn’t be accessed by live trucks
News teams took the GY-HM650 into canyons and other troubled areas to document how quickly the water rose. The 720p footage from the GY-HM650 was one of the higher quality pictures the station had on the air during the Colorado floods. The station’s Ku band satellite truck had some breakup issues because its uplink path was obstructed by heavy cloud cover.
The camera’s dual codec design allowed KOAA to record its live standups and other footage on SDHC media cards on-site in higher 1080p resolution during its live shots. The news team was then able to edit that footage into packages back at the station, without searching for a copy of the broadcast. KOAA uses Harris Broadcast Velocity NLE systems, and the GY-HM650 records native .MP4 files that can be dropped directly into the editing timeline without transcoding.
While KOAA has been broadcasting in HD since 2010 and has had a tapeless workflow with Panasonic P2 camcorders for more than five years, the station recently began the addition of JVC ProHD cameras. Not only was JVC’s support of live HD transmission a major selling point, but the company’s use of inexpensive, non-proprietary SDHC media cards was a huge budgetary issue. KOAA is one of 10 television stations owned by Cordillera Communications that produce local news. The station was used as a test site for the GY-HM650 — and following its successful use during the Colorado floods, another GY-HM650 was recently deployed at KATC, the ABC affiliate serving Lafayette, LA. KOAA photographers, who have been using the GY-HM650 since June, praise the camera’s light frame, sturdy build and built-in 23X zoom lens.
The station had researched the various backpack systems on the market, but decided against investing in technology that required multiple air cards for operation. The JVC GY-HM650 and the Verizon Jetpack fulfills the station’s needs, and it is accomplished with a single Verizon data account instead of six to nine.
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