Bergen Community College taps Hitachi HD cameras

Bergen
Community
College, in Paramus, N.J., recently purchased three Hitachi SK-3020P HDTV Studio/EFP cameras for
its new production studio. Both the main production studio, control room and an
adjacent student production studio and control room are located in West Hall, a
new campus building designed to consolidate all arts and communications
facilities under one roof.
While the three Hitachi SK-3020P’s
are native HD cameras, productions in the main studio are currently shot in SD
because the switcher in the control room is SD only. When full HD production
is required, Bergen Community College has the flexibility to switch the Hitachi SK-3020P’s
through a new Thomson Grass Valley Kayak HD switcher in the students’ control
room. And a second Kayak HD switcher is on order for the main studio
control room.
“When we ran the Hitachi SK-3020Ps through
the Kayak switcher and onto HD monitors, the picture quality absolutely bowled
us over,” said Jim Quimby, director of studio operations for Bergen Community College.
“We’re genuinely pleased with the cameras’ picture quality, detail, and
clarity, as well as the way they respond to varying lighting situations.”
The three Hitachi
SK-3020Ps are primarily used to produce public affairs programs for cable TV,
such as “Suburban Trends” and “Inside Bergen,” both of which focus on the
workings of local government; and a half-hour series, called “World Beats,”
which studies the influence of music on world cultures. The main studio
and control room are also booked occasionally by outside entities, such as
national networks, that want to rent the facilities, and this revenue helps the
College defray capital costs.
The new Hitachi SK-3020Ps
replaced four Hitachi Z-4000 SD cameras, which have since been moved to the
student production studio. They are used to train the students in
production skills as part of the broadcast television curriculum. Also,
students are often given the opportunity to operate the hi-def cameras in the
main studio.
“We feel it’s vital to
provide our students with training on the kind of top-notch quality equipment
they’re likely to find in today’s broadcast studios, such as Hitachi HD
cameras, so they’re ready to graduate into good production jobs,” said Quimby.
“Operating the 3020’s is a great experience for our students. They especially
like seeing their shots composed in 16:9 HD color video as opposed to a small
black and white picture.”
As a long-standing Hitachi
customer, Bergen Community College has been buying Hitachi cameras for many
years, going as far back as Hitachi FP-Z31P
Plumicon cameras, which the school replaced with Hitachi Z-One-C’s, followed by
Hitachi Z-2010’s, then the Z-4000’s used in the student studio, and now the
SK-3020Ps. With each successive camera generation they purchased, Quimby
said that Hitachi
greatly improved the picture quality and light sensitivity, while maintaining a
familiar operator interface.
“While we wanted to have
HD cameras in our new studio, we weren’t sure our budget would allow it,” said
Quimby. “But Hitachi
offered us an attractive promotional deal that put the cost of SK-3020P HD
cameras—a higher end model than we originally planned to buy—within reach of
our budget. The HD cameras arrived just as we finished wiring and cabling
our new studio.”
“We also just completed a
1,500-foot fiber optic cable run between our production studio and the campus
theater. We can now setup the Hitachi
3020’s at the theater, have our students run them and switch them remotely from
one of our control rooms. This makes it easier for us to produce HD shows
from the theater, such as bi-annual performances by the Bergen County Symphony
Youth Orchestra, local political debates, and other events traditionally held
on our stage,” said Quimby. “Our plan going forward is to really maximize the
use of these new Hitachi HD cameras and to strive for higher production values
as we expand our HD capabilities.”