Big South Conference Embraces JVC ProHD Camcorders for ESPN+ Coverage

The Big South Conference, an NCAA Division 1 collegiate athletic conference, has standardized on ProHD GY-HM850 shoulder-mount camcorders to provide multicamera coverage of sports for the ESPN+ streaming subscription service.

The Big South has purchased JVC equipment and Fujinon lenses to meet its production needs.

“It’s a really nice piece of equipment, and it’s the right tool for the job for us,” says Mark Bryant, director, broadcast services and development, Big South. “I’ve gotten positive feedback from virtually all the members. They are appreciative of having these JVC cameras in their arsenals. These are top-notch camera setups.”

When Bryant arrived at Big South 12 years ago, he says, the video equipment across the conference was a “ragtag collection” of technology. When the conference began streaming its sports content to its website, an agreement between the 11 member schools created “centralized video planning” with a basic production infrastructure and workflow to provide some consistency in coverage.

Since then, the conference has adopted a staggered upgrade path, which continues to set new benchmarks in quality. Bryant says the need for a camera upgrade coincided with the move from the Big South website to ESPN+. “Last year, we knew it was time to do the cameras. We wanted to make a serious investment, and we wanted to do it right.”

The conference purchased 36 camera packages — three for each member school and three for the conference office in Charlotte, NC — that included the GY‑HM850, interchangeable Fujinon lens with hand-grip focus and zoom controls, ProHD 7-in. LCD viewfinder, and Miller tripod. The packages were delivered last fall, in time for basketball season. According to Bryant, the new cameras are a significant improvement over the Big South’s previous camcorders, which were smaller, handheld models with integrated lenses.

“What we wanted was the ability to tell our schools, ‘Here’s everything you need,’ and execute that within our budget,” he explains. “JVC understood what the conference was attempting to do and where we were going. There was really one clear winner on that.”