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FS-4 lets Simsbury Community Television Record Long Government Meetings without Interruption


Government access television presents its own unique set of challenges to the videographer. Tasked with providing public viewers with a completely unedited version of local government meetings, these stations face the inevitable question — what to do when filming a three hour meeting on tape that has a one-hour recording limit. Karen Handville, Station Manager at Simsbury Community Television, knows this challenge all too well.  

“Many times these meetings last for two to three hours, and we were using mini-DV tapes that gave us a one-hour recording time. It’s tough to disrupt a meeting right in the middle; but there’s no way you can not interrupt it and risk losing critical footage,� Handville explained. “Every time I would request a pause, all eyes would be on me; the entire meeting would need to wait until I finished switching tape. Those had to be the longest couple of seconds ever. I always felt very uncomfortable.�  

And so, Handville looked for a solution that would enable her team, mainly composed of volunteers, to record entire meetings without interruption. 



Simsbury Community Television selected Focus Enhancements’ FS-4 as a way to lengthen recording time. With its standard 40 GB configuration, the FS-4 provides three hours of recording time, while the 80 GB model offers six hours. This portable DTE recorder lets camera operators record DV or HDV streams directly to disk via FireWire. It records directly in edit-ready QuickTime, Avid DV-OMF, AVI Type 2, AVI Type 2 24p, and other native NLE formats in timeline, so there’s no need to capture tape, transfer or convert files.  

Handville and her team record meetings throughout the week. “We try to stay current and turn meetings around as quickly as possible,� she explained. “If we shoot a meeting at night, the following morning we can download the files and have a DVD ready to go on air by the end of the day.�  

Simsbury Television’s staff is primarily volunteer-based. As a result, ease of use is critical. “Operating the FS-4 has been rather simple, as far as the features we need,� said Handville. “It certainly has been easy enough to teach our volunteers how to use it.� In addition, with the FS-4 volunteer members are more likely to handle the task of recording meetings, as they no longer have to worry about the logistical challenges associated with changing tape.  



“Purchasing the FS-4 has been really positive for us,� Handville concluded. “It enables us to tape meetings for about three hours without interruption. We initially bought the recorder to help us cover government meetings, but we’ve also been using it for other location shoots, just because of the convenience of not needing to change tapes for anything that extends past an hour.�  

In addition, the FS-4 allows the local access station to benefit from the increased quality of digital recording, instead of using half-inch tape. “When it comes to access television, funding is pretty limited. When technology changes, it’s financially impossible for us to just throw out our existing technology. The FS-4 gives us a way to make improvements incrementally,� Handville said.  





As a local government access broadcaster, Simsbury Community Television must provide unedited coverage of government meetings. The FS-4 gives them about three hours of recording time — crucial to providing uninterrupted coverage for lengthy meetings.  

“Purchasing the FS-4 has been really positive for us. It enables us to tape meetings for about three hours without interruption.â€? – Karen Handville, Station Manager,
Simsbury Community Television 


Simsbury Community Television


Community Television is a nonprofit local access TV station serving the community of
Simsbury, Connecticut since 1984. SCTV provides programming for three channels: Channel 5 (Community programs of information and interest including music concerts, talk shows and local happenings), Channel 19 (Educational programs, school sports and activities), and Channel 21 (Government programs of local town meetings, state government and other political programming).  


FS-4 Portable DTE Recorder

The FS-4 brings Direct To Edit technology to DV and HDV handheld camcorders. It’s the most complete tapeless acquisition solution for digital videographers in the broadcast, sports, wedding and event, and education industries. There’s no capturing, no file transfer, no file conversion — just shoot and edit. Weighing just one pound and only 1.5 inches thick, the FS-4 is designed to excel in the field.  

Available in four configurations, the FS-4 comes standard with a 40 GB hard drive for three hours recording time and is available with an 80 GB hard drive for six hours recording time. FS-4 supports all the major DV nonlinear editing (NLE) systems, recording files to disk as RawDV, AVI Type 1,

AVI Type 2, AVI Type 2 24p, Matrox AVI, Canopus AVI, QuickTime, or QuickTime 24p. FS-4Pro models also include Pinnacle AVI and Avid DV-OMF. In addition to DV file formats, the HD models also support 1080i and 720p MPEG-2 (.m2t) files. 


About Focus Enhancements, Inc.

Innovation, efficiency, and superior quality are the foundation upon which Focus Enhancements builds its products. A world leader in advanced video production, digital asset management, and digital signage solutions, Focus delivers products that perform superbly day in and day out and backs them with unparalleled service and support.