WAYNE, NJ (Oct. 21, 2014)– JVC ProfessionalVideo, a division of JVCKENWOOD USA Corporation, today announced KBZK and KXLF, the CBS affiliates serving
Montana’s Butte-Bozeman market (DMA #188), are using four JVC GY-HM650 ProHD mobile news cameras for ENG live shots on their nightly newscasts. Engineer Michael Regan said the JVC cameras have essentially replaced the station’s microwave truck for live shots, because they are more versatile and cost effective.
Considered part of the same broadcast market, the two cities are about 90 miles apart and have very different audiences, according to Bryan Zehntner, technical director. Owned by Cordillera Communications, KBZK (Bozeman) and KXLF (Butte) share a studio in Bozeman and produce separate evening newscasts for each station. The stations share a 90-minute morning news program as well as weekend evening newscasts.
The region’s mountainous terrain is a challenge for microwave – Regan said the station’s microwave truck requires four hops just to get a signal from Butte back to Bozeman, and it is not always possible to get line of sight to transmit. Plus, almost every reporter is a multimedia journalist working individually to report and edit stories, but the microwave truck requires at least a two-man crew. “We have a lot more live shots now that we have these cameras,” he said. “We use them all the time.”
Zehntner estimated the stations now produce at least two or three live shots per week, compared to two or three live shots per month when the microwave truck was the primary source for live shots. The facility is equipped with two Teradek decoders to process incoming live video from the JVC cameras, which allowed two reporters to deliver live standups during the same newscast from different stages at the Montana Folk Festival in Butte in July. “The cameras work great in low-light situations,” Zehntner added.
While the stations have mobile hotspots for their cameras, Wi-Fi is usually the better option for streaming live video in the region, so each camera is equipped with a Buffalo wireless USB adapter. “There are plenty of places we can’t make a phone call, let alone stream video,” Zehntner explained. “If we are outside in a clear area where a festival or something is taking place, then we will probably have decent cell service and can use the My-Fi card. When we are in downtown Bozeman, Verizon only has marginal service. Most places either have Wi-Fi and will let us access it to do the shot, or have a guest network that is stable enough to use.”
The stations began using the new JVC mobile news cameras in February, replacing some of their aging Panasonic P2 camcorders. The rest of the Panasonic camcorder fleet will be replaced with JVC cameras in 2015. According to Regan, the new JVC cameras are an early step in a transition to full HD production, which is expected to be complete next spring. “It’s a good, solid ENG camera,” he said. “It provides exactly what we need, and the live streaming is a big advantage.”