“It’s a really nice piece of equipment, and it’s the right tool for the job for us,” said Mark Bryant, director of broadcast services and development for Big South. “I’ve gotten positive feedback from virtually all the members – they are appreciative of having these JVC cameras in their arsenals. These are top-notch camera setups.”
When Bryant first arrived at Big South 12 years ago, he said the video equipment across the conference was a “ragtag collection” of technology. When the conference began streaming its sports content to its website, an agreement between the 11 member schools created “centralized video planning” with a basic production infrastructure and workflow to provide some consistency in coverage.
Since then, the conference has adopted a staggered upgrade path that continues to set new benchmarks in quality. Bryant said the need for a camera upgrade coincided with the move from the Big South website to ESPN+. “Last year, we knew it was time to do the cameras,” he explained. “We wanted to make a serious investment, and we wanted to do it right.”
The conference purchased 36 camera packages – three for each of the 11 member schools and three for the conference office in Charlotte, N.C. – that included the GY‑HM850, interchangeable FUJINON lens with hand grip focus and zoom controls, ProHD seven-inch LCD viewfinder, and Miller tripod. Camera packages were delivered last fall, with all schools equipped in time for basketball season. Bryant said the new cameras are a significant improvement over the Big South’s previous camcorders, which were smaller, handheld models with integrated lenses.
“What we wanted was the ability to tell our schools, ‘Here’s everything you need,’ and execute that within our budget,” Bryant explained. “JVC really understood what the conference was attempting to do and where we were going. There was really one clear winner on that.”
As part of the Big South’s agreement with ESPN+, each school provides at least a three-camera shoot for all home games for nine different sports – football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, baseball, softball, volleyball, and lacrosse – plus championships and other sporting events as scheduling allows. The conference streams hundreds of sporting events throughout the school year, and provides a package of about 50 contests to ESPN3. The new JVC cameras are also used to provide coverage of press conferences on the Big South website, and each school’s athletic department can use the cameras for other projects across campus.
The GY-HM850 offers full HD image capture and delivery, plus a built-in streaming engine with FTP and 4G LTE connectivity. It features three, 1/3-inch CMOS sensors that provide 12-bit readout, F11 sensitivity (60Hz), and excellent signal-to-noise ratio. Dual SDHC/SDXC card slots allow simultaneous recording for instant copy/backup or relay recording for continuous shooting. The camera supports multiple native file formats at a variety of bit rates, frame rates, and resolutions. Other features include a four-channel audio system with stereo AUX inputs and two XLR inputs with phantom power, 12 assignable user buttons, and genlock and time code terminals for multi-camera setups.