The new CONNECTED CAM broadcast camcorder from JVC Professional Video, a division of JVCKENWOOD USA Corporation, is being put through the paces in the newly built HD control room at Philadelphia’s Parx Casino and Racing. Now equipped with nine JVC CONNECTED CAMS, the casino’s thoroughbred horse racing division selected the cameras to help boost production for its live simulcasts, expanding its reach beyond the racetrack, to online audiences around the world.
Included among the studio’s new high-end gear are six JVC GY-HC900STU studio and three GY-HC900CHU broadcast cameras, which offer built-in streaming and connectivity options, and advanced low latency. Nearly all of Parx’s nine JVC CONNECTED CAMS are used in actual broadcast settings, with one camera reserved as a spare. Six of those locations are in camera towers around the track and can be used to help officiate during a race. The cameras are positioned strategically around the track to capture all angles for review – in case there’s an objection or an inquiry against a horse. Parx also has cameras in the paddock, where the horses get saddled up and jockeys receive their instructions before they go out onto the track. The venue plans to use the spare camera as a mobile and/or streaming unit, when it’s ready to expand into more wireless streaming productions.”
According to Rich Romano, director of video operations at Parx Racing, the cameras form the foundation of the all-new HD control room, which features the latest production technology. This includes monitors, switchers, and a replay system, among others, replacing what he describes as “legacy analog equipment that, in some cases, has been in place since I started 27 years ago. We decided it was time to come into the 21st century and upgrade to HD.”
The build-out of the new control room began earlier this year and was finished in time for Labor Day weekend, which Romano says kicks off the most important month in the Parx racing season. “Now, our racing signal is simulcast to other racetracks and casinos,” he says. “It also goes to horse racing shows, like TVG, a national horse racing network based out of California that presents HD broadcasts of races from all over the country. Broadcasting in 1080i to those sources has proven to be a gigantic leap forward in our production and made our video offerings a lot more attractive to broadcast providers. That was really the drive behind the upgrade, to basically put us on par with the major tracks in the industry.”
Already familiar with JVC cameras, since Parx had been using them throughout its casino, Romano says he had a chance to demo some of the CONNECTED CAM models before making any final decisions. “The reason we went with JVC, first and foremost, the price point was right,” he says. “Secondly, the quality and versatility that we get for that price point is outstanding; we can broadcast in either 1080i or 1080p if we wanted. The streaming capabilities of the cameras will allow us to expand and do different types of productions in the future without having to buy new equipment, which is also huge for us.”
JVC’s GY-HC900STU and GY-HC900CHU models feature three 2/3-inch CMOS sensors and an industry standard B4 lens mount; produce HDR images; and offer built-in WiFi, low-latency streaming/FTP performance up to 20Mbps. The cameras also offer SMPTE 2022 forward error correction and Zixi error correction with automatic repeat request. Other features include dual SDXC card slots, three XLR inputs, 50 Mbps 4:2:2 10-bit recording and MPEG-2 recording up to 35 Mbps.