Montgomery Community Media Upgrades with JVC Camcorders
Montgomery Community Media (MCM), a nonprofit organization responsible for two PEG (Public, Education, and Government) channels serving Montgomery County, MD, has replaced its pool of DV-based EFP camcorders with five 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 the other seven camcorders are used by volunteers who produce a variety of community-based programs.
According to Pat Thorpe, network and technical manager, 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 menu design for access to advanced features, plus solid image quality and an ergonomic shoulder-mount design. The new cameras were purchased last spring, and veteran volunteers were recertified with them last summer. (Equipment training and certification are required for all volunteers.) 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.
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 explained. “We’re getting fantastic images. It’s really a terrific camera.”