DMA 58 (ALBANY-SCHENECTADY-TROY, NY)

WMHT Adds Five Ikegami Studio Cameras

Now approaching its 50th anniversary, noncommercial WMHT Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. (DMA 58), recently upgraded its production and broadcast facilities with new digital HD equipment, including five Ikegami HDK-77EC full-digital multi-format HD CMOS camera systems.

Anthony Tassarotti, the station’s chief technology officer, said the choice was based on evaluations of several HD camera brands and models. “We had a shootout with at least five different models and manufacturers,” Tassarotti said. “All of them had to achieve a certain level of quality, reliability, and price in terms of performance and our ability to maintain them going forward. We were most impressed with Ikegami’s HDK-77EC cameras. The picture quality was outstanding, they’re reliable, and we were able to get the number of cameras we needed at a price we could afford.”

Offering both 1080i and 720p video-capture capability, Ikegami’s HDK-77EC is a docking-style portable multi-format HD camera with three 2.5 megapixel CMOS imaging sensors that deliver video with native interlace and progressive 16:9 format flexibility combined with reduced power consumption and lower operating temperature. The HDK-77EC can be used with Ikegami’s CCU-890M camera control unit for built-in fiber (and optional triax) connectivity for mobile and studio flexibility.

Users can choose the type of camera cable with a simple switch at the CCU, combined with mounting the docking FA fiber adapter (or TA triax adapter) to the camera head. An optional 1080/60p dual-processing capability is also available. WMHT has opted to use a triax connection for its five HDK-77EC cameras.

“Triax works just fine for our needs, and it’s nice to have the ability to upgrade to fiber optics, should we want to do that in the future,” Tassarotti says. “All we’ll need to do is just change the backs on the cameras and run the fiber.” Four of WMHT’s Ikegami HDK-77EC HD cameras are configured for studio use with 9-inch Ikegami color LCD viewfinders, compact HD studio lenses, and studio pedestals. The fifth HDK-77EC is on a jib with a wide-angle lens for overhead shots. Although the station shoots in 1080i, Tassarotti notes: “We can run these cameras in 1080i or 720p HD mode or even in 480i SD 4:3 mode, which is very convenient, should a client ask for that.”

Operating from its two video-production studios and a single control room, HD programming produced at WMHT includes a weekly statewide public-affairs show and several other studio productions, including a new health series, a financial planning show with a live studio audience, and periodic fundraising telecasts. Client work varies from week to week, and includes both live and taped broadcasts. “We are doing from 20 to 40 hours of studio programming per month,” Tassarotti said.

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“The video looks great, and we’re very happy with it,” Tassarotti added, regarding WMHT’s Ikegami HDK-77EC HD cameras. “That portion of our audience that has HD TV’s — especially those who receive the station over the air — is reacting very well to how we look. Our production clients are very happy with the picture quality as well. Best of all, our engineers — who tend to be very picky when they set up cameras and look at the pictures — are satisfied, so everyone is happy.”


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