Public Access Television (PATV)-15 channel of Manchester, Conn. has acquired three Hitachi Z-HD5000 studio and field high-definition television (HDTV) cameras.
For PATV-15 to buy three broadcast-quality HDTV cameras at once was a major capital expense that consumed much of the channel’s annual equipment budget, said Chris Giard, the station’s video engineer. “We consider such large purchases carefully because we hope to keep the equipment in service for at least 10 years or more,” he said.
The three new Hitachi Z-HD5000’s cameras in Manchester are each outfitted with optical fiber camera adapters, 7-inch HDTV LCD color viewfinders, Hitachi CU-HD500 camera control units, and Hitachi’s RU-1000-VR remote control panels, critical for remote camera set-ups, such as color balancing and iris control.
Despite lacking HD lenses—which are on the station’s wish list—the Hitachi cameras produce superior image quality and meet their technical specs even with standard definition lenses, Giard said.
Because Hitachi Z-HD5000’s are multi-standard cameras—with integrated format conversion—PATV-15 operators can shoot in HD and output down-converted 4:3 480i SD-SDI video until the broadcaster has completed its entire HD workflow.
The budget constraints prompted PATV-15 to tackle the HD studio upgrade in three phases, with phase one focused on the cameras. Cox Communications is going to help the channel with phase two and purchase a Broadcast Pix Mica or Granite HD production switcher among other production gear, and phase three is to be full HDTV distribution.
Cox Communications says residents in the three-franchise areas—Manchester, Cheshire, and Enfield, Conn.— can produce a show or a series for air on PATV-15 after taking a television production-training course. In addition, Cox plans to buy additional Hitachi Z-HD5000’s to convert the Cheshire and Enfield studios to HDTV.