Charlie Yeagley, a special projects and creative services photographer for WWSB Sarasota, Fla., didn’t have to pack much gear when he traveled to Arizona to watch Nik Wallenda, a Sarasota resident, tightrope walk across the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon last month.
The ABC affiliate sent Yeagley and anchor Lauren Dorsett on the 1,500 mile trip to cover Wallenda’s 23-minute-long historic walk using only the JVC GY-HM650 ENG news camera and its built-in streaming capability to go live to air in Florida.
“There was a guy from a Phoenix station that walked up to us after unraveling two spools of cable and placing it under a boardwalk and took a picture of our camera to send back to his station,” says Yeagley. “He was pretty jealous.”
Yeagley calls the HM650 a liberating camera. The JVC camera uses a single Verizon 4G LTE modem to go live to air in HD or to FTP video files back to a station. The station still broadcasts in standard definition, but the HM650 can only live stream in HD, says Yeagley. It was down-converted to SD when it arrived at the station.
Wallenda’s press conferences, prior to the tightrope walk, was held in Flagstaff, Ariz., where Verizon recently completed a 4G LTE network buildout late last year.
The station aired live shots before Wallenda’s tightrope walk and the press conference afterwards, in addition to some local stories around the local tightrope walking legend with an Arizona angle. “The camera worked great for us,” says Yeagley. “There was only one time near the end of one our live shots where it froze up a little bit, but other than that, it was really solid.”
Between locations, while Dorsett was driving, Yeagley would use the camera’s built-in clip trimmer to edit and FTP specific clips back to the station.
Here’s a shot with the HM650 prior to Wallenda’s walk:
By using the HM650, the station saved an estimated $10,000 in satellite truck rental costs, according to Jack Dillon, director of engineering of Calkins Media Broadcast Division.
The most recent version of the HM650, which sells for about $6,000, uses two independent encoders that allows the camera to stream live HD video and record to SDHC or SDXC cards simultaneously.