CSU expands JVC & upgrades OB facility
Press release from JVC Professional
Top Australian education institution Charles Sturt University (CSU) is an international multi-campus university offering excellence in education and flexible delivery of learning. CSU is located in the cities of Albury-Wodonga, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga, Orange, Canberra and Ontario, Canada.
A highly popular and successful CSU course is their Bachelor of Arts (Television Production) degree which JVC Professional ProHD equipment plays a major part in and Patrick Sproule is a Lecturer and the Course Coordinator.
Sproule whose background is in broadcast television production, presentation, live sound and engineering as well as teaching, explained the role of the course and its affiliation with JVC Professional equipment. He said, “We have been purchasing JVC equipment since 2001. A while ago we decided to upgrade to HD and support a planned upgrade to our OB facility. JVC had just released the GY-HD251E HDV camcorder and upon evaluation it ticked all the boxes for us – reasonable price, functionality similar to broadcast cameras, provision for studio and OB interconnections and good vision quality. Over a couple of years we purchased a total of six GY-HD251Es and five BR-HD50E VTRs.”
According to Sproule CSU prides itself on providing its students with a Television Production course as close to working in the field as possible. This includes having a fully functional OB facility.
Sproule added, “All of the JVC equipment is used in a teaching environment where we are trying to emulate the environs and facilities of broadcast television production – which includes being quite tight on budget. The kit is continually used by over 100 students and thus must also be reasonably robust. Recently we completed our OB upgrade where we purchased JVC Viewfinder’s and CCU remotes to compliment the cameras. We have now also purchased a solid-state GY-HM100E camcorder and are about to order three more.”
At CSU the JVC cameras are used in both OB and single camera environments for drama production, documentary, news, sports, live concerts and events with the GY-HM100E also recently used for a shoot in the outback. The BD-HD50Es are used in the university’s Final Cut Pro and Avid edit suites as feeder decks.
Sproule explained, “Recently we have been recording a number of live concerts as they travel through the region and the cameras have now produced video for bands such as Art Vs Science, Thirst Merc, Blue Juice, Mamal and Wolf & Cub. They were also used for four days straight providing main-stage video screen coverage at the Black Stump Festival, held at the Sydney Equestrian Centre. The cameras have worked on football fields, rock concerts, in large and dusty outdoor arenas, on wind-swept beaches, in boats, cars and planes. Overall they have performed very well with minimal failures.”
Sproule sees the introduction of JVC solid-state acquisition solutions as a key part of CSU’s future strategy commenting, “We have been using the GY-HM100E as an audience wide shot at several of the band OBs and have been impressed at how well its output integrates with the material gathered from the GY-HD251Es. The GY-HM790E and GY-HM100E with their tapeless workflows through adoption of the XDCAM EX codec now offer seriously fast shoot to edit workflows. This overcomes the shortcomings of the HDV videotape workflow while offering improved quality through higher bitrates and the flexibility to shoot in 720 or 1080. The quality imagery being produced by these cameras far surpasses our expectations at this price point and I believe rivals many more expensive cameras, particularly when adorned with a good lens.”
One of the biggest projects most recently undertaken by Sproule and his team was the refurbishment of the university’s OB teaching facility which was nearly 10 years old. “Much of the technology contained in the facility was even older than that,” added Sproule. “Furthermore it was only capable of 4:3 SD production.”
Through the Better Universities Renewal Fund (BURF) CSU were successful in obtaining a $500,000 grant for a ‘clean-sheet’ upgrade of the facility, with the plan being to integrate their existing stock of GY-HD251E cameras into a six-camera HD facility.
Sproule continued, “Primarily used as our field camera stock, the GY-HD251Es were also previously purchased with this project in mind as they carry the full compliment of required interconnections such as CCU remote, Genlock and HDSDI and are scalable in formats from SD through to 1080i HD. The project took eight months with all design and construction completed in-house. To compliment the existing cameras we purchased six JVC RM-LP25U CCU Remotes and six VF-HP840U viewfinders and associated mounting hardware and cables. While there were alternative brands available the JVC systems were chosen for maximum compatibility and after-sales support continuity. The viewfinders were also found during evaluations to be superior in quality to after-market options.”
For technical monitoring at the CCU stations CSU purchased two JVC DT-V24L3D 24 inch HD studio monitors. With built in waveform display these provide the CCU operators with their critical monitoring requirements.
Commenting on the successful connectivity of the new equipment within the facility Sproule said, “The JVC equipment integrates well with a Snell & Wilcox Kahuna vision mixer, Codan routing, Compix CG, Harris multi-viewer and a selection of Blackmagic Design (BMD) and AJA interfacing and HDD recorders. We also utilise a Yamaha digital audio console and multi-track recording facilities capable of recording 64 live tracks for later mixdown where required.”
The OB facility is used to train students in live multi-camera production on a variety of events such as live sport, live concerts and conferences. Some of the larger scale productions, such as the Black Stump Festival, give students the opportunity to work and train on major events alongside industry professionals. When not in use on OBs the truck’s on-board edit suite and audio mixdown facility are used for ongoing post-production requirements.
Sproule sees the fact that JVC Professional actively helps educational institutions with their equipment and courses as a major advantage for the industry. He said, “JVC Professional equipment always represents value for money and good performance versus cost. Dealing with JVC has been a pleasure – one of only a handful of companies to actively support education. Definitely at our level of production requirements, and perhaps even above the JVC kit has delivered at least 95% of the performance at a fraction of the cost of the nearest competitor.”
Critically Sproule sees the JVC equipment as one part of the university course’s success with a solid two-way relationship with JVC itself as the other important point of difference. He concluded, “JVC have continually kept us abreast of their releases and have made a great deal of technical information available on products that suit our requirements. Further, they take an active and ongoing interest in our activities and have been very proactive in making us well aware of specials on any products we may be interested in. They have been very understanding and patient of the difficulties and time-delays sometimes encountered through large organisations such as ours. Service and support through their vendors has met our requirements with information on maintenance of our facilities and suggested upgrades always made available. I would go so far as to say that over the years this has been the most satisfying customer / manufacturer relationship we have experienced and JVC have given us great support in meeting our requirements in teaching the broadcast professionals of the future. As a result, from 2011 we hope to begin updating the GY-HD251Es with GY-HM790Es as we move to tapeless workflows and from 720P to 1080i HD.”