Competing Stations Dub JVC GY-HM650 ‘Magic Cam’
WAYNE, NJ – JVC Professional Products Company, a division of JVC Americas Corp., recently announced that KOAA, the NBC affiliate for Colorado Springs-Pueblo, Colo. (DMA #89), used the built-in live HD transmission functionality of its new GY-HM650 ProHD handheld mobile news camera to provide live coverage of the deadly Colorado floods earlier this month. 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.
According to Quentin Henry, KOAA chief engineer, the GY-HM650’s live streaming functionality was pressed into service “so we could cover these flood areas that could not be accessed by the live trucks.” The station had just completed two days of streaming tests with a Teradek decoder, which had been recently installed.
News teams took the GY-HM650 into canyons and other troubled areas to document how quickly the water rose. Henry said the 720p footage from the GY-HM650 was “one of the higher quality pictures we had on the air” during the Colorado floods; the station’s Ku band satellite truck had some breakup issues because its uplink path to the satellite was obstructed by heavy cloud cover.
The camera’s dual codec design allowed KOAA to record its live standups and other footage on an 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 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. “JVC popped up as a very solid, high quality player, with service equal to if not above others,” Henry explained. 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 issue when it came to budgeting.”
KOAA is one of 10 television stations that are owned by Cordillera Communications, Inc., and produce local news. Henry said the station was used as a testbed 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. (DMA #124). KOAA photographers, who have been using the GY-HM650 since June, have praised the camera’s light frame, sturdy build, and built-in 23x zoom lens.
Since the floods, KOAA used the GY-HM650 for live coverage of controversial city council meetings in Denver. Henry said shooters from a major Denver-based network station began taking pictures of KOAA’s “magic cam” because they were amazed that it could produce a live transmission without a wired connection to a truck or a backpack video transmission system.
Cordillera had previously 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 have given us what we need,” Henry said. “We can do this with only one Verizon data account instead of six to nine. That brings down the cost considerably.”
ABOUT JVC PROFESSIONAL PRODUCTS COMPANY
Headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey, with West Coast operations in Long Beach, California, JVC Professional Products Company is a division of JVC Americas Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of JVC Kenwood Corporation. JVC is a leading manufacturer and distributor of broadcast and professional video and audio equipment, D-ILA front projection systems, and Super LoLux HD video security products. For further product information, visit JVC’s Web site at http://pro.jvc.com or call (800) 582-5825.