Lincoln University of MO taps Hitachi for studio

Lincoln University of Missouri in Jefferson City, MO, recently purchased three Hitachi Z-4500W professional SD cameras for use in its on-campus JCTV (Jefferson City Television) studio. The JCTV studio is used to train students in broadcast production, as well as to produce public affairs programming that runs on the local Public Educational and Governmental (PEG) cable access channel serving the community.

The three Hitachi Z4500W cameras, which are used exclusively within the studio setting, were delivered with Fujinon A20x8.6 BRM lenses and complementary Camera Control Units (CCUs). Two cameras are mounted on movable pedestals, while one is set on a high-quality tripod.

“The Hitachi Z4500W’s are just wonderful cameras. The picture quality is stellar, with no degradation. I just can’t say enough nice things about these cameras,” says Dan Yeager, chief engineer for Lincoln University’s JCTV studio. “If you are a novice, the Z4500W is a very user-friendly, intuitive camera that you can just ‘put in automatic’ and get fabulous results. But if you want to take advantage of the wide range of settings and adjustments the camera offers, then the creative latitude it gives you is practically limitless.”

The Hitachi Z-4500W SDTV handheld professional color camera can be configured for studio or field operations and is 16:9/4:3 switchable. While students currently shoot in 4:3, Yeager says it is extremely appealing to know that they can flip a switch and start shooting in 16:9 when they’re ready to upgrade their production standards.

The rest of the studio is already 16:9 capable, including a Ross Synergy 100 production switcher, a 360 Systems video server, and Compix Media LCG-8000R character generator. The teleprompters, tally, and intercom signals are carried on a single cable from each CCU. The studio also has a full lighting grid with 24 dimmed channels.

“Our older cameras required a lot of light and so it would get really hot in the studio. But since these new cameras are so light sensitive, we need far less artificial light, which is driving down our electrical and AC costs,” Yeager says. “There are also many operational benefits. It’s extremely easy to white balance and shade the cameras. Another great feature is the memory card which lets you save all your settings. In the event that somebody has fingers in the wrong place and throws the settings off, it’s a simple matter to just reload your preferred settings back in from the memory card.”

JCTV, which is funded through a partnership between Lincoln University and Jefferson City, also has three 20-year old Sony cameras which reside on its production van. The van is used twice a month for live remote production of City Council meetings. Members of the community often use Lincoln’s studio facility, and the Hitachi cameras, at no charge to produce programs in the public interest. And the students attend production workshops in the studio, and produce their own news stories and special programs, many of which air on the local PEG channel.

“Earlier this year, when we began our search for studio cameras to replace the old Sony’s, we found that there was nothing on the market in the Z4500W’s price range that could touch what they could do,” says Yeager. “While our budget would not allow us to spring for HD cameras, we felt that the picture quality and 16:9 capability on the Z4500W’s would give our productions a crisp, contemporary look over many years of service.”

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