Pittsfield Community Television produces over 4,000 hours of original programming annually for its western Massachusetts viewers. At the center of its move to high-defintion, it’s outfitted its main studio with three new Hitachi Z-HD5000 1080i HDTV cameras.
Some of the Pittsfield Community Television crew “We chose the Hitachi Z-HD5000’s for their excellent picture quality and outstanding price performance,” said Shawn Serre, chief engineer for Pittsfield Community TV. “After evaluating many brands and models over a two year period, we concluded that the Z-HD5000’s offered the features we needed at a price that fit our budget. And these cameras enable us to fully realize of goal of moving into HDTV production.”
According to Serre, the Hitachi Z-HD5000 cameras make it very easy for community volunteers to learn how they work very quickly and operate them in a “live to server” production style. As a not-for–profit company funded in part by a franchise agreement between Time Warner Cable and the City of Pittsfield, Pittsfield Community Television has only seven staff members, and trains community volunteers to assist in the productions.
Hitachi Z-HD5000 As the first Hitachi purchase by Pittsfield Community Television, the Z-HD5000’s were installed in February 2010 as replacements for 10-year old SD-only JVC studio cameras. In the adjacent production control room, Pittsfield Community Television has completely upgraded its entire workflow to HD including a Ross Synergy 2 MD multi-definition switcher, Avid Deko live graphics system, and Ross Soft Metal HD server. The Hitachi cameras are equipped with optical fiber multi-format CCU’s using SMPTE hybrid fiber cable connections back to the control room, delivering pristine HD-SDI video. Additional programming is produced using a small video truck with its own SD field camera package, as well as fixed, robotic SD cameras at locations such as Pittsfield City Hall.
“Within our studio environment, the Hitachi cameras were the last piece of the HD puzzle that we needed to put into place,” said Serre. “We’re now capable of producing full 1080i HD quality studio productions. While we still down-convert our programs to SD, we’re hoping that in the near future, Time Warner Cable will carry our programming in HDTV. But we’re now ready to deliver HD quality programming to viewers.”
Programming from the station includes Access Pittsfield, a public access channel; Citylink, a government access channel, and Pittsfield ETV, an educational channel. Among the programs shot as multi-camera studio productions are “Acoustic Voices,” a showcase of vocal and musical talent; “School for Thought,” an hour-long, interactive teleconference via fiber optic network with area schools; and local coverage of political debates and election news.
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