Every reporter knows the feeling of wanting to get closer to the action. There are a lot of traditional ways to achieve this – inside sources, telephoto lenses, news helicopters, just to name a few. But now that ever-cheaper drones can be outfitted with cameras, journalists have a whole new way to get a better angle on a story. And they want to use it. The problem is that in the United States, despite the increasing use of drones for things like photographing real estate, there are no real rules to control their commercial operation. The FAA is in charge of regulating “unmanned aircraft systems,” but they have been slow to formulate guidelines, and have admitted they won’t meet the 2015 deadline for doing so. In the meantime, it's technically illegal to operate a UAS for commercial use, and can result in a $10,000 fine, though that law is only enforced on occasion.
As police responded to a deadly car crash, they noticed an increasingly familiar sight: a remote-controlled aircraft, equipped with a video camera, hovering over the wreckage. The Federal Aviation Administration has opened an investigation of the drone, which was used by an on-call employee for a Connecticut television station. The FAA is developing new rules as the technology makes drones far more versatile, but for now operators can run afoul of regulations by using them for commercial purposes, including journalism. The case of the Hartford crash, in which the victim's body was left hanging out of a mangled car, highlights some of the safety, privacy and ethical issues that journalists will wrestle with as interest grows in using drones for newsgathering.
JVC Professional Products Company, has unveiled two new ProHD shoulder-mount camcorders--the GY-HM890 and GY-HM850--that deliver full 1920x1080 HD image capture; while a built-in streaming engine, FTP and 4G LTE connectivity allows live HD transmission directly from the camera without the need for external bonded cellular solutions. The new cameras also feature a new interchangeable Fujinon 20x autofocus zoom lens and three 1/3-inch (2.07 megapixel) CMOS sensors. The imagers provide 12-bit readout, F11 sensitivity (60Hz), and excellent signal-to-noise ratio. The new Fujinon wide-angle 20x zoom lens features auto focus, built-in optical image stabilization, and chromatic aberration correction. The interchangeable 1/3-inch bayonet lens also includes manual focus, zoom, and iris rings. "We believe the future is with the live video streaming and FTP service fully integrated into the camera, as demonstrated with the new GY-HM890 and GY-HM850," explained Edgar Shane.
When the Communication Arts Department at the Long Island campus of the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) began the process of upgrading its studio to HD last year, the school looked for a reliable, cost-effective switcher. NYIT uses video production for hands-on classroom training and for show production for its global digital network, so the video switcher had to be easy to use and flexible for a variety of production scenarios. The school selected FOR-A's HVS-390HS switcher, which has proven an ideal fit since its installation last September. "Our 2 M/E HVS-390HS is a cost-efficient unit that provides NYIT with a variety of features, including extensive DVE and keyer options on each channel, and a variety of multi-viewing and routing capabilities built right into the switcher," said Herb Savran, NYIT's Chief Engineer of the Communication Arts Department.
The Tiffen Company has unveiled its new Steadicam Curve camera stabilizer system for users of the GoPro HERO compact video camera. Besides personal sports action shots, the rig helps video journalists operate their GoPro camera with one hand. The small Curve rig, which weighs in at a mere half-pound, made its debut at the CES 2014 show in Las Vegas. Its compact form factor gives GoPro HERO users the freedom to shoot shake-free video using Steadicam's legendary stabilization technology with clever options to lock the camera to frame, using it as a handgrip for rock-solid performance on the wildest of adventures.
Schneider Optics' line of five interchangeable iPro lenses for smartphones has expanded its offerings to include more devices, such as the iPhone 5, 5S, and 4/4S, Samsung Galaxy S4, and iPad Mini. Designed by professional lens and filter maker, Schneider Optics, the iPro Lens System enables journalists of all skills to capture professional quality photographic and video imagery with smartphones and iPads using Macro, Wide Angle, Super Wide, Fisheye, and Telephoto lenses. The iPro Lens System's professional optics are simple to use, easy to handle, and smartly self-storing in an integral black case that doubles as a handle.
Sony's new HXR-NX3 professional handheld HD camcorder includes useful features like Wi-Fi capability and MP4 recording for seamless connectivity with computers, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. It will be available in January 2014 for a suggested list price of $3,495. As the latest addition to Sony's NXCAM line, the compact HXR-NX3 model combines superior lens and sensor technology with a new large-scale integration (LSI) chip. The result is advanced noise reduction and distortion correction technologies to handle image processing, allowing clear, low-noise recordings even in low light with enhanced texture and detail. "Video professionals need to deliver content for the web and mobile platforms, as well as traditional production applications," said Chiyoko Yannette, senior marketing manager for Sony Electronics' Professional Solutions of America group. "The HXR-NX3 is flexible enough to handle any videographer's needs, and is destined to become the next 'go to' camcorder for handheld field production, combining high-quality performance, adaptability and ease of use."
The broadcast communications department of the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte has deployed a bonded cellular transmitter from Dejero to capture pregame video for the opening game of the first football season in the school's history. The system uses readily available cellular networks to send video from the camera to a receiver quickly and reliably. The student news crew was then able to leverage the university's Ethernet network to transmit the HD video back to the UNC Charlotte studio. The technology can be used to bring live and recorded video back to the studio from any location on campus or within the city Charlotte. And the school can now include remote live shots in its broadcasts, a capability not possible before due to cost.
Making pictures to support television news has changed dramatically over the past few years. From the medium's beginning in the 1950s until 1975, images were shot on 16mm motion picture film. First it was black and white and then color beginning in the late 1960s. In 1975, film images began to be replaced by video--shot using a new generation of back-breaking "ENG" (for electronic news gathering) cameras and recorders. The discipline of film was lost with video. With film, the camera operator either got it right (exposure, lighting, precise film loading) or there were no images. With video, the process began to become much more fool-proof, though not necessarily good in terms of production value. Today, news is transitioning from much smaller video camcorders to self-contained DSLRs. The reason is television news is not just for television anymore. It's now for web pages, smartphones and tablets, as well as the home TV.
Mediabistro's Celebrity and Entertainment Reporting course starting online February 19 teaches aspiring entertainment journalists how to successfully cover the industry today. As the Entertainment Director for both Life & Style and In Touch magazines, instructor Jordi Lippe has made a career of covering the lives of the rich and famous. Whether she's reporting on breaking news stories or writing a feature article about the hottest celebrity, Lippe is rubbing elbows with Hollywood's elite.
Are you a student filmmaker? Know someone who is? We want your help. If you're a student, we want you to make a short film -- and have the chance to show it right here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the first-ever White House Student Film Festival. If you're a parent or a friend, pass this on to a student you know.
The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles is expanding the video and audio technology within its Wallis Annenberg Hall, a new building that's part of a multimillion-dollar technology investment. A videojournalist's delight, the project includes television and radio broadcast production and post-production systems and will result in a new 20,000-square-foot converged newsroom/media center. Professional video and audio systems integration firm Advanced Broadcast Solutions (ABS) has been awarded the contract to design, integrate, and deploy the required technology and systems.
As a longtime owner of Bose QuietComfort 15 noise cancelling, over-the-ear headphones, I liked the technology and was pleased to learn of a new model coming with improved noise cancelling circuitry in a much smaller in-ear version. When the new Bose QuietComfort 20i phones were introduced at a demo of the headphones at a Bose event in New York City several weeks ago, I knew immediately that I wanted a pair. I ordered them when they became available in early September. Though I like the quality and comfort level, my main issue with the larger Model 15 headphones was size. They were simply too large and bulky to have on me all the time. So I relegated them for home use and they were terrific.