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Hitachi Cameras Give JMU Students Practical Experience

Cameras contribute to hands-on technical lessons and student-run productions at James Madison University

HARRISONBURG, VA–The School of Media Arts and Design at James Madison University has acquired three Hitachi Z-HD6000 HDTV cameras for its television studio.

Jon T. Wenger, Chief Engineer for James Madison University’s School of Media Arts & Design, with one of the school’s HITACHI Z-HD6000 cameras.

With much of the school’s older broadcast cameras nearing its end of life or showing signs it could need newer, more expensive repairs and parts, it just made sense to invest in a solution that was “high-quality yet cost effective,” says John Hodges, technology manager for SMAD at James Madison University.

“We wanted to stay current with technology for instructional purposes, providing students with experience that will benefit them in their subsequent careers,” Hodges added. The cameras will also contribute to the in-studio, student-run weekly productions seen on the JMU campus’ HD closed-circuit cable channel and online platforms.

For the purpose of simplifying the amount of wiring going into the cameras, Hitachi CU-HD500 camera control units using the studio’s SMPTE fiber infrastructure are employed.

The Hitachi cameras create video with 2/3”, 2.6 million pixel MOS sensors and are capable of navigating several elements, such as dual-channel communications, and prompter/floor monitor power. A highlight for Hodges is the Z-HD6000’s VF-701HDA seven-inch color viewfinder. “Our students really enjoy having the menu-driven, color viewfinders, which are great for critical focus and adjustments, and make it easier for them to follow directors’ instructions,” he said. “And we really like that we can set up one camera and copy its settings to the others, so we get an absolutely consistent look across all three cameras.”

With the three Z-HD6000’s having served a full semester of classes now, Hodges says no problems have risen.

“I think it was a great decision. Bang for the buck is such a cliché, but it’s very true here.”