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Improve your productions and make them look better with HITACHI cameras. We have been creating imaging technology for the broadcast and production industries for over 60 years. Our broadcast and production customers include global TV Stations and Production Houses looking for the best value in field production and studio cameras. Our camera solutions range from small HD box cameras to our top-of-the-line UHD cameras.
The following is a brief list of just some of the Broadcast and Production solutions that HITACHI offers. If you want more information, we’d be happy to have one of our camera technology experts connect with you.
SK-UHD4000 cameras deliver outstanding quality, deep controls, and exceptional usability as Los Angeles studio upgrades to support evolving client needs
In addition to serving as the Los Angeles home for American Spanish-language television network Azteca America, KJLA-TV owns and operates two greenscreen stages and production studios at its westside L.A. facility. Seeing growing demand from its studio rental clients for higher-resolution video acquisition and production, KJLA purchased four SK-UHD4000 cameras from Hitachi Kokusai to meet these requests and set the stage for future growth.
KJLA rents its studios to premium media and entertainment clientele for projects ranging from network TV shows and motion pictures to music videos and corporate video productions. KJLA also uses the studios to produce its own original content for its sister company LATV Networks, a pioneering, bilingual media enterprise dedicated to elevating the Latino voices that are redefining culture. KJLA was equipped with 1080i HDTV camera systems but received increasing requests for 1080p “full HD” production, and also saw growing client interest in 4K acquisition.
“We considered upgrading to 1080p cameras, but looking forward, that would only buy us a couple of years before we would need to go all the way to 4K,” explained Tony Solano, chief engineer at KJLA-TV. “People were already starting to ask for 4K, so we decided to upgrade all the way.”
Very satisfied with KJLA’s previous Hitachi camera purchases, Solano again turned to the company for its 4K acquisition upgrade. “Hitachi Kokusai has always offered very good products, and the customer service has always been great,” he said.
Solano points to the durability and reliability of KJLA’s earlier generation of Hitachi cameras, the 1080i Z-HD6000s, as examples of his satisfaction with the brand. “Since we are renting out these cameras with the studio, a lot of different hands have been on them over the years, but we’ve never had a camera break down,” he explained. KJLA took delivery of the SK-UHD4000s at the beginning of February, and immediately put them to work on active productions. Three of the cameras are deployed on Cartoni pedestals, with the fourth on a Jimmy Jib Triangle. Solano notes that the cameras are lightweight and “not too bulky,” making them easy to transport between the two studio spaces as needed. KJLA currently offers 4K recording – a capability its clients have already taken advantage of – with plans to upgrade its Ross switcher to a 4K model in the near future.
Solano praises the cameras’ visual quality and their ability to precisely fine-tune the images. “The quality of the Z-HD6000s was great but the SK-UHD4000s are even better, even when we’re using them to shoot HD,” he said. “I also love the depth of picture controls that we have access to, not only through the controller but also through the cameras’ integration with the Ross Dashboard software.”
While KJLA often provides camera operators with their full-service studio and equipment rentals, other times clients bring their own crew and simply use KJLA’s gear and space. Solano notes that both their own operators and client users have found it simple to get up to speed with the new 4K cameras. “The learning curve on the SK-UHD4000s is very quick,” he said. “While our clients’ crews are professionals, the cameras are so easy that I feel like almost anybody could use them.”
The exceptional sensitivity of the SK-UHD4000s has also been beneficial for productions’ lighting requirements. “The stage manager for our LATV Networks productions noted that they don’t need to do as much lighting as they previously did,” Solano explained.
Overall, the Hitachi 4K cameras have positioned KJLA to meet the evolving needs of themselves and their clients both today and in the future. “The upgrade was very smooth, and it has been a great experience,” Solano summarized. “The SK-UHD4000s let us better serve our existing clients, while giving us the ability to take on a greater breadth of new customers and projects.”
Nā Leo TV (NLTV) is the Hilo Hawaii Public, Education and Government (PEG) broadcaster. NLTV expanded its coverage to include more sporting events, it chose Hitachi SK-HD1800 cameras to elevate the quality of its productions and meet the rigorous demands of live sports.
NLTV delivers programming to citizens across the island through three cable channels, its website, and a mobile app. “We wanted to start producing more live events such as high school sports…” said Matt Cordero, production manager at NLTV. “Our president wanted a higher quality standard, and we needed cameras that would respond well in low light and could zoom all the way down a football field.
“Our previous cameras also required tons of cabling – including separate video, communications, and power – that was cumbersome for field use,” he continued. “I wanted the simplicity of a single SMPTE fiber cable for each camera, the higher quality of 2/3-inch sensors, and the ability to use longer, B4-mount lenses.”
Oahu-based Da Crew Production and Engineering Group arranged a side-by-side comparison between three major camera brands. “I liked what I saw with the SK-HD1800,” Cordero recalled. “Watching on broadcast monitors and multi-viewers, some people couldn’t see the difference between it and more expensive competitors, and the rest of us pointed to the Hitachi camera as having the best quality.”
NLTV purchased four SK-HD1800s and started using them in their studio and field productions in late summer of 2019. The cameras travel around the island in the station’s 24-foot production trailer, which is stored next to the 18-foot high, 50x25 foot main studio. This lets them use the trailer as the control room when shooting in the studio. NLTV purchased five Fujinon lenses – three 22x, one 14x super-wide, and one 99x box lens for sports productions.
In addition to being pleased with the SK-HD1800’s overall visual quality, Cordero has been impressed by the camera’s performance in poor lighting conditions. “The Hitachi cameras’ low-light handling has been awesome,” he said. “A lot of our high school stadiums aren’t very well lit, but we’re able to run the cameras at 6dB gain or less and get very good-looking results.”
The setup simplicity and ease of use of the SK-HD1800 has also proven beneficial for NLTV. “As a public access station, we utilize a lot of volunteers – including high school and college students – who may not understand all the technology,” explained Cordero. “I also like how the structure and language of the menus are essentially common sense, rather than needing to dive into too many different buttons and submenus to get at the features I’m looking for.”
While social distancing cut short NLTV’s spring sports season and temporarily reduced the number of productions in its studio, station staff are enjoying the improvements the SK-HD1800 cameras have delivered. “They have enabled us to take on more types of production projects and have enhanced the quality of our programs,” Cordero concluded. “Everything looks much better with these cameras, and people have noticed the difference in our broadcasts.”
Chelmsford TeleMedia (CTM) provides public access television for the town of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, located 24 miles northwest of Boston. In addition to serving its own government and educational channels, CTM’s 35-foot, Gerling-built OB truck is also used for Minor League Baseball games for the Lowell Spinners, an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. When the station upgraded its cameras late last year to improve its mobile productions, it selected Hitachi Z-HD5500s to deliver the quality and features it sought.
When CTM first built its mobile production truck three years ago, the budget restrictions common to non-profit organizations forced them to start with older equipment and upgrade it in phases. While their existing cameras were already HD, CTM was unhappy with the video quality they produced. Because the older cameras were not studio grade, they lacked many features the team wanted such as return video and tally. In December, CTM purchased four Z-HD5500s.
CTM chose the Z-HD5500 model out of Hitachi Kokusai’s extensive broadcast camera offerings because of its native 1080p support. While the truck’s current Broadcast Pix switcher is only 1080i, CTM has plans to replace it, and they are already feeding 1080p60 video into their Ross Mira instant replay system. The Z-HD5500’s compatibility with standard 2/3” lenses was also a significant benefit over the 1/3” limitation of their previous cameras, allowing them to rent or borrow additional lenses as projects require without needing adapters.
“We wanted to get the best bang for our buck, while future-proofing ourselves to get a long lifecycle out of the cameras,” said Tom Peterson, production engineer at Chelmsford TeleMedia. “Going with a well-known industry standard like Hitachi Kokusai also helps our ability to earn revenue by renting the truck to external clients. “We love the quality of the image the Z-HD5500 produces, and as a true studio camera, its rich feature set offers us a lot of flexibility.”
The Hitachi cameras’ superior visual quality proved immediately evident in CTM’s productions. “The picture quality we get from the Z-HD5500s is incredible,” praised Peterson. “The color reproduction is far better than our old cameras, and the skin tones are amazing. Ironically, the first time we shot a basketball game with the new cameras, the flaws in the gym – such as peeling paint – really stood out. Even though our old cameras were HD, they couldn’t see that level of detail. The difference is night and day.”
The Z-HD5500s have also enabled CTM to overcome lighting challenges at both ends of the spectrum. “At concerts, we often have hot spots from student-focused lighting and instruments without diffusion,” Peterson explained. “Being able to remotely shade the Z-HD5500s from the truck has made the complete system work much better. Conversely, our theater productions are often very darkly lit. With the Hitachi cameras, even under dark conditions we get a good-quality image without it getting grainy, and because we don’t need to increase the black level or setup, the picture doesn’t wash out.”
The Z-HD5500s’ ease of use has also been beneficial, as CTM’s productions are primarily crewed by students and volunteers. As studio cameras, operators have found the Z-HD5500s significantly easier to set up than the truck’s old “mix-and-match” approach and very easy to work with. The large, high-quality studio viewfinder has been particularly advantageous for sports production.
“We always tell students that the most important piece of equipment is the camera, as that’s where it all starts,” summarized Peterson. “Bringing in the Hitachi cameras has drastically improved the quality of our productions. We believe the best result is when people react to a change, and viewers have commented on the difference. The Z-HD5500s have been really great for us, and I look forward to the future of our productions with them.”
Jewelry Television (JTV) leverages live television, a mobile-optimized e-commerce platform and social media. Building on the quantifiable success of their first deployment of Z-HD6000 HDTV cameras from Hitachi Kokusai, the retailer purchased an additional 12) Z-HD6000 cameras this June as part of a major studio overhaul project.
Headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee and backed by a proven, 25-year history, JTV is the leading retailer of jewelry and gemstones in the United States. JTV’s live programming is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to 85 million U.S. households through a variety of television providers and the company’s website.
When JTV renovated its third studio (Studio C) and control room in 2015, they took the opportunity to replace the current studio’s cameras from a different manufacturer. “Our goal was to change the look of the studio with a more modern set and LED lighting,” said Dennis Wilson, chief engineer at JTV. “We decided to look at different cameras as part of that project. We compared the HITACHI Z-HD6000s to our existing cameras and felt that the Z-HD6000s were much better.”
The resulting business benefits were tangible, validating JTV’s choice. “With the new set, lighting and HITACHI cameras, sales from that studio improved,” Wilson explained. “That shows we’re on the right track, and it’s one of the reasons that we’re now updating Studios A and B and that we bought the additional Z-HD6000 cameras – to try to get the same boost.”
Purchased through reseller Technical Video Systems in North Carolina, five Z-HD6000 cameras are deployed on pedestals in Studio C, with four additional units allocated to each of Studios A and B. Three cameras are used in JTV’s “lightbox” for product-focused specialty shots, while another two Z-HD6000s are deployed in the facility’s recently-built, 450-seat auditorium. The auditorium’s fiber infrastructure is wired to accommodate up to nine cameras that can be brought in from the other studios for shows with live, participating audiences.
Those reduced lighting requirements benefit not only the resulting productions but also the on-camera hosts. “We need to light the jewelry to make it sparkle, while also keeping our on-camera talent happy,” said Wilson. “The Z-HD6000s adapt more easily to the lighting than our previous cameras, so we don’t have to blast lights into the talent’s eyes for hours at a time.”
“I have not had any problems whatsoever with the HITACHI cameras. Once we have them set up, we never have to go back and do anything to them. Even when we move them between sets, it’s just an easy white balance and we’re ready to go.”
Satisfied with the Z-HD6000s and the benefits they enable, Wilson plans to make HITACHI cameras part of JTV’s future projects as well. “We’ve already begun physical construction on another new studio and control room, and we will use HITACHI cameras for that too,” he noted. “I have been very pleased with the Z-HD6000s. They proved to be much better than our previous cameras, and as we replace the remaining older units, we will continue to do so with HITACHI.”
Broadcasting from Lima, Ohio, viewer-supported television station WTLW delivers high-quality Christian and family-centered programming to its viewers. When the station upgraded the production studio to HD this summer, they chose Z-HD5500 HDTV cameras to provide the rich features, outstanding quality and long-lasting durability they wanted.
WTLW operates two channels: WTLW-TV44 and 24-hour all-sports network WOSN. “We upgraded the infrastructure in our studio to HD a few years ago, but we were still using SD cameras and up-converting them to 1080i,” explained Jeff Klingler, Chief Engineer at WTLW. “Our usage of the studio is ramping up, so our goal this year was to bring our studio acquisition up to true HD. The new Z-HD5500 cameras were the last piece of the puzzle.”
While Klingler’s past success with HITACHI cameras made them the leading contender for the upgrade, it was the powerful yet cost-effective capabilities of the Z-HD5500 that solidified their decision. “The Z-HD5500 is an excellent product with a really strong feature set, and the price point is awesome,” said Klingler. “It’s a perfect fit for what we do.”
The ability of the Z-HD5500’s global-shutter CMOS image sensors to capture flawless video under varying LED lighting conditions was one of the features Klingler found appealing. “We knew that we would be replacing our existing incandescent lighting with new LED lights as part of the studio upgrade,” he recounted. “The Z-HD5500 cameras play very nicely with the different temperature ranges.”
WTLW purchased three Z-HD5500s through integrator AVI Systems. Already using solutions from Ross Video for switching, graphics and news production, the station quickly took advantage of the HITACHI cameras’ integration with the Ross Dashboard open control and monitoring platform for remote camera management.
WTLW has not owned the Z-HD5500s long enough to truly judge their longevity yet, but Klingler expects to get the same outstanding durability and reliability that he has experienced with earlier models. “Our SD HITACHI cameras were 10 years old and we never had any problems with them,” he said. “In fact, they’re still going strong, and we sold them to a local production company. Klingler also highlights the benefits of dealing with Hitachi Kokusai from a customer service perspective. “I can’t say enough about my relationship with my HITACHI representative,” he praised. “Customer service is always his top priority.”
Beyond the operational and business benefits that the Z-HD5500s bring WTLW, the viewer-facing impact has been equally positive. “It was a great upgrade from what we had before to where we are now,” said Klingler. “As an engineer, I love the robust features from a technical perspective, but it’s the resulting productions that our audience cares about. The cameras really make a difference, and what we are producing now is a lot better looking. Our viewers absolutely notice the improvement, which is what’s most important to us.”
For 30 years, the Mississippi State University Television Center has provided high-quality, cost-effective production services to the university community and clients across the country. When the center upgraded its studio equipment and infrastructure to HD, they chose HITACHI SK-HD1000 HDTV production cameras to provide them with exceptional acquisition quality at a budget-friendly price.
The TV Center at MSU produces informative, engaging, and compelling content for a variety of educational, marketing, and research projects. In addition to creating original programming for the university’s own cable channel, MSTV, the center produces projects for external clients and provides image magnification (IMAG) presentation support for university conferences and seminars. The center also provides facilities, technology and technical support for curriculum classes in partnership with the Communications department, while its studio and Ku-band satellite uplink are available for linking to news stations for interviews and emergency communications.
The TV Center had dual goals when it upgraded to high definition: improving the quality of its productions, and giving students practical, hands-on experience with HD equipment similar to what they would later encounter in the workplace. After researching camera options for the studio, they found the price/performance value of the SK-HD1000s to be compelling.
“We looked at the quality of the SK-HD1000’s imaging sensors and its processing chain, plus its rich features like SMPTE fiber support and an HD color viewfinder,” said Mike Godwin, technical and operations manager at the Mississippi State University Television Center. “To get all of that, at that quality, at that price point, made it an easy decision. We evaluated other manufacturers’ cameras at the same time, and felt we got a lot more bang for the buck with HITACHI.”
In addition to the SK-HD1000’s overall visual quality, Godwin specifically highlights the cameras’ color fidelity. “I like HITACHI’s colorimetry,” he said. “I can shade the cameras naturally to what I see with my eyes, and the results are more true-to-life – not an over-processed, over-saturated look like some other cameras produce.”
The cameras’ extensive shading controls also help Godwin overcome a challenging lighting environment. “We have a combination of incandescent, fluorescent and LED lighting in our studio, with differing spectrums of light,” he explained. “Firmware upgrades in the SK-HD1000s have given us more control and enable more flexibility in shading than other manufacturers’ cameras, making it easier to match cameras across mixed lighting.
The SK-HD1000’s robust reliability has also proven valuable, given the education nature of much of the cameras’ usage. “Operating in a student environment can be kind of rough at times,” Godwin said. “Students can be kind of rough with the cameras, but they have held up extremely well.”
Last but not least, Godwin notes that Hitachi Kokusai has been very responsive to the TV Center’s needs and questions. “Our experience has been very positive, particularly in terms of support, and my peers all over the country have had similarly great experiences with Hitachi Kokusai,” he said.
Committed to providing top-caliber facilities and resources that empower community TV producers, Cox Communications’ Connecticut Public Access Channel 15 (“PATV 15”) strives to make the most of its budget with high-quality, long-lasting equipment. Rounding out its five-year HD upgrade plan spanning three studio facilities and a mobile production vehicle, the channel recently added three Z-HD6000 studio production cameras from Hitachi Kokusai to its existing complement of ten HITACHI Z-HD5000 cameras.
PATV 15 has HITACHI Z-HD5000 cameras in the Manchester, Cheshire and Enfield facilities. With an HD-capable mobile vehicle on its way to replace its existing truck, they took the opportunity to update their Manchester studio while shifting those cameras to the field. “We knew that we would be getting the new production truck, and we wanted to roll it out in HD,” said Chris Giard, video engineer for Connecticut Public Affairs, Cox Northeast Region. “We wanted HITACHI Z-HD6000s for our studio ever since we saw their phenomenal image quality at the NAB Show, so everything fell perfectly into place.”
Supplied by systems integrator HB Communications, the Z-HD6000s have delivered the exceptional picture quality that PATV 15 expected even under challenging lighting. “The signal-to-noise ratio is impeccable,” explained Giard. “We like to have our studio lit fairly low compared to many other studios, and the outstanding sensitivity of the cameras allows us to do so without bumping the gain up.”
The reallocated Z-HD5000s have similarly brought superior quality to PATV 15’s field productions. “Our first HD production with the new truck was a 100th anniversary fire department parade, and the visual improvement was instantly obvious,” Giard recalled. The cameras really, really shined that day.”
PATV 15’s overarching goal is to provide the best public access experience possible for its community, and the HITACHI cameras have been a key part of that success. “Our users have come to expect a high quality of image output from our studio productions,” summarized Giard. “Producers have told us that what comes out of our studios looks amazing compared to other facilities. That right there tells me the investment was worth it, because our customers are seeing the value in the money we spent.”
Legislative television service The FLORIDA Channel has purchased three Z-HD5000 HDTV cameras from Hitachi Kokusai to enable high-quality video acquisition for its studio productions. The new studio cameras join 26 HITACHI DK-Z50 box cameras installed earlier in the Capitol building’s chambers and committee rooms. Located in the state Capitol building in Tallahassee, The FLORIDA Channel is a public affairs programming service funded by the Florida Legislature and produced and operated by WFSU-TV, the PBS member station owned by Florida State University.
The FLORIDA Channel produces studio programs including live “Capitol Update” newscasts, the “Florida Face to Face” interview series, and “Perspectives,” which lets members of the Legislature introduce themselves and discuss their priorities. When the channel recently performed a total overhaul of its production studio – including a new set, new lighting, new teleprompters and more – they took the opportunity to also replace their decade-old cameras as part of the project.
The FLORIDA Channel’s selection of the Z-HD5000s was fueled by their satisfaction with the previously-installed DK-Z50 units. “We were pleased with the signal quality that was produced by those box cameras, and we wanted that same level of quality for the studio,” said Terry Longordo, chief engineer at WFSU-TV/The FLORIDA Channel. “Everything on the Z-HD5000s matched what we were looking for.”
“I have been very happy with the performance and the quality we get from both the DKZ50 and Z-HD5000 cameras,” he summarized. “They have definitely brought up the quality of the programming we produce and send out to the public.”
Outstanding picture quality, reliability and value make Hitachi DK-Z50 cameras an ideal station upgrade for TV newscast production.
When WKTV set out to enhance its live news production, they turned to Hitachi and the DK-Z50 HDTV box cameras.
Based in Utica, New York, WKTV has been an NBC affiliate for decades. The station is also affiliated with The CW, MeTV and CBS. WKTV produces over 30 hours of live newscasts every week and the newscasts are also streamed live.
Five Hitachi DK-Z50 cameras are deployed throughout the news studio, under the control of a Ross Overdrive automated production system. Four of the cameras are paired with Ross CamBot 500-Series robotic camera heads for unmanned operation. A fifth DK-Z50 in the newsroom is used for ‘stand-ups’ with on-camera talent.
After seeing Hitachi cameras with Ross Overdrive at another station, Chief Engineer Tom McNicholl took a close look at the DK-Z50. He was impressed by the picture quality produced by the camera’s high-performance 2/3” CCD imagers, 14-bit A to D conversion and advanced DSP.
“The Hitachi DK-Z50 provides the picture quality we need to satisfy our viewers, while being economical enough to fit our budget,” said McNicholl. “Combining this great price-performance ratio with the positive experiences I’d had with Hitachi cameras in the past, the DK-Z50 became the clear choice.”
While Hitachi’s renowned support services were a factor in McNicholl’s decision, he has had no reason to take advantage of them with this latest deployment. “I’ve had great service from Hitachi in the past, but I’ve had no need for their assistance with the DK-Z50s so far, as everything’s working very well. The cameras have been stable and reliable, and the video they capture looks great. The HD upgrade of our newscasts has been well-received by our viewers, and the Hitachi cameras are a key part of that”.
KUSI has deployed five Hitachi Z-HD6000 HD studio cameras to improve news production quality and operational flexibility.
Chief Engineer Fred Swift selected Hitachi to improve the visual quality of their news productions. The price-performance value and comprehensive feature set of the Z-HD6000 cameras were key considerations, but the picture quality really won them over.
Swift says, “the Hitachi Z-HD6000 overall picture quality lets us achieve exactly the look we want. It’s incredible how good the Z-HD6000 makes our talent look.”
“The Z-HD6000’s wealth of built-in features not only helped us simplify wiring and power requirements, but also made the cameras very easy to integrate and deploy,” explained Swift. “The move to fiber connectivity has given us the production flexibility we needed. It’s now much easier to move the cameras around our studio, often several times per hour”.
“In my opinion, any station looking to replace their older HD cameras should check out the Hitachi Z-HD6000,” Swift concludes. “The cameras provide excellent value, quality and performance, and are easy to install.”