LAS VEGAS, NV, NOVEMBER 30, 2006–KLAS-TV, the CBS affiliate in Las Vegas, NV, recently launched its top-rated local news programming in HDTV. With the HDTV version of its Channel 8 Eyewitness News now available on DTV channel 8.1, KLAS-TV has the distinction of being the first station in Nevada to broadcast its local news in HD.
While KLAS-TV has been carrying the CBS primetime tier in HDTV for years, upgrading its entire local news operation represented a major investment in its station infrastructure, as well as a quantum leap in quality for its live local news product.
For HD newsgathering and commercial production, KLAS-TV purchased 18 new Fujinon HS16x4.6ERM HD lenses, which are used in conjunction with 18 Sony PDW-530 XDCAM HD camcorders.
Since the HD launch, the Sony XDCAM camcorders and Fujinon lenses have been used extensively in daily news acquisition both in the field and in-studio. According to Matthew Adams, chief photographer at KLAS-TV, the lenses have performed well in all types of weather and lighting conditions, as well as on a wide range of news stories.
“Because the HD picture is very rich in detail and resolution, we didn’t just want to shoot in SD 16:9. We wanted to shoot in the best possible native HD image quality with a wide field of view,” explained Adams. “While the Fujinon HS16x4.6ERM HD XDCAM HD lens is a relatively compact, lightweight package, this lens can go very wide with almost a complete lack of curvature to the image.”
The equipment upgrades at KLAS-TV supporting the native HD news gathering and production are being handled in phases, including the XDCAM HD acquisition gear, five Grass Valley Aurora nonlinear editing systems, and early in 2007, a new HD news helicopter.
“A key factor in our selection of this Fujinon lens is the fact that it offers a wide field of view without sacrificing the telephoto capabilities,” said Adams. “It also helps that this Fujinon lens is rugged and our field crews don’t have to treat them like fragile eggs when they’re chasing a breaking story.” The KLAS field crew includes 18 photojournalists all standardized on this particular XDCAM HD lens. They shoot 1080i 16:9 HD; however, they always protect for the 4:3 safe area because the SDTV audience watching KLAS on Channel 8 still represents the majority of viewers.
Among the features that Adams said were particularly important to KLAS’ photographers are Fujinon’s One-Shot Preset and Auto Cruising Zoom: “Since we have the 2X extender on our lens to double the zoom capability, we’re able to pull back from a tight zoom to a very wide shot. The 2X extender is a ‘must’ for news gathering,” said Adams. “But, with One-Shot Preset. I’m able to set a limit or automatic stopping points to keep from going as wide as the lens can go. This keeps me from getting things that I don’t want in the shot, such as the ‘barn doors’ and matte boxes on the lenses,” said Adams. “When I set-up an official stop point, the zoom on the lens will stop precisely wherever I want it to.”
Adams also said that Fujinon’s Auto Cruising Zoom enables shooters to achieve precise zoom control with minimal camera movement. After starting the zoom, the operator no longer has to come in contact with the camera until the shot is completed. “Another zoom feature that I use a lot is the Quick Zoom feature, which is a very fast servo mechanism that allows you to quickly zoom into the picture to either check the focus or just get a tighter shot. Without these zoom features, there is room for mistakes.”
Adams also appreciates the “Hot Shoe interface” running from the lens through the bayonet mount to the camera, as opposed to an external cord running on the outside of the components, as on most camcorders. “This interface supports the transfer of communications and power from the camcorder to the lens,” said Adams. “But by running the cord through the bayonet mount, instead of having it hang on the outside, means that there is no opportunity for that cord to snag on something and break off, bringing production to a standstill.”
Among the first stories that KLAS news crews covered with the new lenses were: a murder in the State Treasurer’s office; a controversial pipeline designed to carry water from Northern to Southern Nevada; and a story on wild horses running free in Nevada, which Adams said “produced remarkably breathtaking footage.”
Introduced at the 2006 NAB show, Fujinon’s new series of XDCAM HD lenseswhich includes the HS16x4.6ERM, HS18X5.5ERM, HSs18X5.5RM, XS13x3.3RM, XS17x5.5RMwere designed specifically for use with Sony’s XDCAM (1/2-inch chip) HD camcorders, including the PDW-510 XDCAM HD for DVCAM recording and PDW-530 XDCAM HD for MPEG IMX and DVCAM recording. Designed for ENG applications, the HS16x4.6ERM HD lens has a high zoom ratio, wide angle, and a built-in 2x range extender.
Fujinon is a major manufacturer and distributor of optics and lens assemblies for the broadcast, digital cinema and industrial markets. The company’s line of television zoom lenses are used in virtually every segment of the broadcast industry, including electronic newsgathering, studio and field production, and high definition television. For more information about Fujinon broadcast and communications products, call (973) 633-5600 or visit our web site at www.fujinonbroadcast.com.