Florida Stations Upgrade ENG Ops to HD with JVC Pro Cameras

Waterman Broadcasting has successfully transitioned two Florida-based stations, NBC affiliate WBBH-TV and ABC affiliate WZVN-TV, to high definition ENG with 21 JVC GY-HM790 ProHD cameras from JVC Professional Products Company. Both stations serve the Fort Myers/Naples market (DMA #62) and operate from the same facility.

“It’s been a gradual progression to full HD production for us,” says Dan Billings, director of technical services, Waterman Broadcasting.

Both news studios were upgraded to HD in 2007 with JVC GY-HD250 cameras, which integrated well with existing Telemetrics robotics. In the field, photographers were using Panasonic P2 cameras and acquiring footage in 16:9, but Billings said the SD footage was quite noticeably softer than the HD studio images.

“I was happy to move to ProHD, which records to SDHC cards, not P2 or any other large or proprietary media cards. That’s what I wanted,” he adds. “SDHC cards work great, we like them a lot, and they cost significantly less than the proprietary options out there.”

As part of its transition to full HD, Waterman also purchased nine GY-HM790 cameras for the WBBH and WZVN studios.

“We were very happy with our GY-HD250s, but the more advanced GY-HM790s deliver even better color depth and resolution,” Billings says. “It seemed prudent to make sure our studio video was at least as good as our ENG footage.”

The company also purchased six JVC GY-HM100 compact ProHD camcorders for one-person ENG operations. Most assignments are covered with a reporter and photographer, but some basic stories are covered with only a reporter and the handheld camcorder.

“The GY-HM100 delivers great shots, uses the same SDHC cards as the GY-HM790, and provides the same ProHD workflow,” Billings notes.

Waterman owns WBBH and has an LMA with WZVN, which is owned by Montclair Communications. Footage is often shared between newscasts, but each station has its own studio and news crews. The GY-HM790s in the field are equipped with Fujinon 17x HD lenses.

“There are much more expensive camera options out there, but we really like these new cameras,” Billings says. “For the money, you just can’t beat JVC’s picture quality and workflow.”

With a modular design and a redesigned studio adapter sled, the GY-HM790 is ideal for multicore or fiber-based studios. Its three 1/3-inch progressive scan CCDs produce 1280×720 and 1920×1080 images, and its proprietary MPEG-2 encoder supports 1080i, 720p, and SD (480i) for operations that have not yet made the move to HD. The compact, shoulder-mount camera can also be used for ENG, with a dual card slot design that records to low-cost, non-proprietary SDHC media cards in ready-to-edit file formats for Apple Final Cut Pro (.MOV) and other major NLE systems (.MP4).

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