Hitachi Cameras For Chelmsford TeleMedia

Public access network Chelmsford TeleMedia, located near Boston serves government and educational channels and operates an OB truck for external productions including MLB 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 four 1080p Z-HD5500s from ​Hitachi.

“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 CTM. “Going with a well-known industry standard like Hitachi Kokusai also helps our ability to earn revenue by renting the truck to external clients.”

While the truck’s current 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.

Peterson said, “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.”

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