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Maryland Public TV Channel Acquires JVC Cameras

MCM has chosen JVC’s GY-HM700U and five GY-HM700UXT ProHD camcorders from JVC Professional Products Company.

Montgomery Community Media (MCM), a nonprofit organization responsible for two public, education and government (PEG) channels serving Montgomery County, Md., has replaced its pool of DV-based EFP camcorders with five JVC Professional Products cameras, says a written statement from JVC.

MCM has chosen JVC’s GY-HM700U and five GY-HM700UXT ProHD camcorders from JVC Professional Products Company. Three of the GY-HM700UXTs are tasked specifically for professional productions, while volunteers who produce a variety of community-based programs used the other seven camcorders, said Pat Thorpe, MCM’s network and technical manager.

According to Thorpe, MCM began researching replacements for its seven aging JVC GY-DV500 camcorders more than three years ago. With an ever-changing crew of volunteers, including people who have never had formal video production training, he wanted professional cameras with “real” controls, instead of “prosumer” cameras that rely primarily on menu-based operation.

Thorpe said the GY-HM700U has a good mix of manual operational features for basic shooting and a simple, intuitive menu design for access to advanced features, plus excellent image quality and an ergonomic shoulder-mount design.

The new cameras were purchased during the spring of 2010, and veteran volunteers were recertified with those cameras—required of all volunteers—during the summer of 2010. Thorpe said the ProHD cameras officially replaced the DV cameras in October and are performing well in the field.

While Thorpe was already convinced that he wanted tapeless acquisition, he needed to avoid expensive, proprietary media cards because volunteers are responsible for purchasing their own media. The GY-HM700U was an ideal choice because it records to inexpensive SDHC cards, while the GY-HM700UXTs also offer the option of recording to SxS media he said. The native file recording ability of the camcorders also saves significant time for MCM’s Apple Final Cut Pro-based post facilities, he added.

MCM shoots native 720p HD in the field, but its channels are still cablecast in SD. Thorpe said the JVC ProHD camcorders are part of what he hopes will be an eventual transition to full HD production. For now, completed HD projects are exported as QuickTime files and re-rendered as DV for air.

Programming runs the gamut from documentaries and news to sports and event coverage. Thorpe said the GY-HM700U is versatile enough to handle the various shooting requirements of MCM volunteers. “We really had to have a tool that would work in various environments,” he said. “We’re getting fantastic images. It’s really a terrific camera.”