Reflecting the rapid growth of a Texas high school’s audio and video production courses, the school has purchased four new GY-HM790U ProHD camcorders from JVC Professional Products Company.
In 2007, Belton High School in Belton, Texas, launched the school’s first audio and video production courses with 26 students, three old computers, and a single mini-DV camcorder.
Under the tutelage of Mark Fitzwater, a teacher in the “Career and Technical Education Department” at Belton High School, the program now has more than 160 students and is moving toward high-definition (HD) production.
“Tiger Productions”—the Belton High School student production group named after the school’s mascot—provides video production services for the 12-school Belton Independent School District. Fitzwater discovered the GY-HM790U camcorder in April 2010 at that year’s NAB Show, and oversaw their acquisition in October 2010 through Austin, Texas-based Omega Broadcast. “Our next step in growing our program was moving to HD cameras,” he said. “We wanted our students to use professional cameras so they would be able to use the cameras at TV stations.”
Tiger Productions is using the new camcorders extensively for a variety of events, including local elementary school performances and some commercial productions, Fitzwater said. In addition, high school football has been one of the major ongoing projects for Tiger Productions, with game coverage and coaches’ shows produced for local cable channel MYTX. The school does not have a mobile production unit, so game footage is recorded separately on each camera, then edited in post for broadcast.
Without remote multi-camera production capabilities, JVC’s native file recording to solid-state SDHC cards was an important selling point for Tiger Productions. It saves significant time in post, particularly for football games, as students can edit the Final Cut Pro footage immediately without digitizing or transcoding. Not only does Fitzwater appreciate the time savings, but the investment in reusable, non-proprietary SDHC cards is also far less expensive than his usual $1,500 annual tape budget.
Although the move to HD acquisition has been a challenge, Fitzwater said his students are learning through the process and are extremely excited about the opportunity to use the new JVC cameras. Specifically, he has been impressed with the Canon 14x zoom lens (KT14x4.4KRSJ) included with the camera, and with JVC’s patented Focus Assist. “We’re thrilled. The quality of our pictures has dramatically improved,” Fitzwater said. “I know my students couldn’t be any happier with the quality of the lens and the quality of the cameras.”