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ony’s HDV range provides an entry level path into the world of HD, with the format proving essential for TV productions shot on a budget,

in remote locations or in difficult conditions. All cameras in the range offer down-conversion capability of their 1080i recordings for operation in SD, while providing the flexibility of a migration route to HD. Sony's line up includes the HVR-A1E, the smallest, lightest professional HDV camcorder, as well as the HVR-Z5E, with G Lens, and the Z7E, offering interchangeable lenses and hybrid operation with CompactFlash recording. Here we look at how the Z5E and Z7E have become firm favourites for reporters at ITV’s regional news, and describe how the HVR-Z1E was used to good effect on feature documentary How to Re-establish a Vodka Empire. Recently Sony introduced its first professional AVCHD camcorder, the NXCAM, further expanding its ‘entry level HD’ range of cameras.

Why size is everything

Sony’s HDV cameras are proving themselves in a range of applications, from regional news reporting to documentary features

REVOLUTIONISING REGIONAL NEWS How the HVR-Z5E and HVR-Z7E have changed the way in which reporters work in ITV’s regional news teams

ITV News’ recent decision to buy around 100 HVR-Z5E and HVR-Z7E HD camcorders for its regional news teams has proved to be a big hit with reporters on the ground. According to ITV director of technology for news

Paul Stevenson, the Sony camcorders have helped revolutionise ITV’s regional newsgathering operation. “The diverse and reactive nature of field reporting means that versatile and lightweight kit is essential for our reporters,” explains Stevenson. For Meridian reporter Mike Pearse, the real benefit is he can spend more time doing what do does best – reporting the news. Recording to CompactFlash memory, Pearse finds he can now download a 20- minute piece shot in HD to his Dell laptop for an Avid edit in just seven minutes. “What it means is that journalists never have to go to the newsroom. We can work with laptops and send

28 theproducer Summer 2010

in our video reports over 3G networks or wireless internet. Sometimes I don’t go into the office for a month.” Pearse adds that his rivals in regional news are jealous of the flexibility the HVR-Z5E and Z7E allow. “I’m not a technical person – I’m a journalist – but I still find it very satisfying to shoot a piece, edit it, then send it. When I watch it I can think ‘I’ve done everything on that report’.”

He reveals that the simpler HVR-Z5E, which comes with a wide-angle lens plus a 20x optical zoom, without the HVR-Z7E’s interchangeable lens option, is the favourite option among journalists who are not trained camera operators.

Both cameras are much less obtrusive than shoulder-mounted alternatives. “What I find is that if you go in with a big camera you find that people won’t talk to you. A smaller camera is much less intimidating.”

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