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The Weather Channel commits to tapeless ENG

The Weather Channel has acquired five Panasonic P2 HD AJ-HPX2000 2/3in shoulder-mount camcorders and five AJ-HPM100 P2 Mobile recorders to use for all major electronic newsgathering (ENG) by its headquarters and regional bureaus.

The Weather Channel made its initial move from tape-based electronic newsgathering to solid-state P2 with its purchase of six HVX200 DVCPRO P2 HD camcorders for live coverage and field production of special reports fed to Atlanta studios. According to John Thayer, senior manager of broadcast operations for The Weather Channel, the tapeless workflow has brought increased efficiency to field operations.

Before going tapeless for ENG, The Weather Channel shot DVCPRO 50 video. With the new solid-state recording approach, editing can be done immediately after a shoot, he said. Rather that waiting to transfer and digitize tape footage, the network's ENG crews can begin editing immediately on laptops they take into the field. By the time they drive back to the network's truck, packages can be edited and ready to be fed to the studio, he added.

On the scene in Cleveland during the recent Valentine's Day blizzard, The Weather Channel videographer Will Rembert was one of the first to experience the performance of the HPX2000 during extreme cold-weather conditions.

The HPX2000 camera sat on a tripod at the shoot for about eight to nine hours during below-zero winter conditions. Because of the extreme cold, the crew frequently took shelter in the van to keep warm, but the camera "held up very well" in the extreme conditions, Rembert said.

Operating under the same conditions with a tape-based ENG camera would have required dealing with condensation and servo problems, he said.

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