When Wahroonga Adventist Television (WAT) needed to replace all of their SD production equipment they approached Videocraft to help. Little did they know that this technology upgrade and refresh would lead to the innovative production facility winning TV industry awards half way across the globe. Wahroonga Adventist Television produces around two hundred half-hour TV programmes per year broadcast on Sydney TVS, Foxtel and seven other international networks including Direct TV in the USA eight times a week. WAT are also a significant programme producer for the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church and can also be found on the Hope Channel – the SDA international satellite channel available worldwide and in Australia via the Optus satellite that carries Foxtel.
WAT Production Manager Andrew Hunt explained the upgrade and subsequent awards, “Recently I spent a large amount of time trialing and testing all the available HD products in our price range. In a previous life I managed an older HD flyaway kit and was looking to significantly improve picture quality. As ever, before any major equipment purchases, I spoke with Shane Jones and the team at Videocraft to get their opinion on which cameras would suit us best and what other kit we could combine them with to give us a top class HD flyaway kit.”
WAT and Videocraft have had a long and successful partnership so Hunt was confident the right solution could be found.
“After much discussion and research we decided the cameras most suitable that would give the picture quality improvements we required and stay within our budget was the Sony EX3. In the end we coupled four EX3s to a Panasonic switcher and an AJA KiPro HD hard disc recorder. I must say the AJA KiPro is by far the outstanding performer of all the hard disc recorders we tried as it can record in multiple formats and various compressing settings. It also transcodes both up and down and is the best value for money.”
As part of the flyaway kit WAT’s four EX3 cameras are fed into a Panasonic AV-HS400AE multi-format HD/SD switcher which Hunt described as, “another excellent product that offers a tonne of user goodies including a built in multi-viewer.” He added, “It’s hard to believe now but it was less than two years ago that if you wanted a multi-viewer you had to invest around $15K for a dedicated unit and that’s all it did. The Panasonic AV-HS400AE multi-format HD/SD switcher gives you so much more for far less money.”
Having just returned from the USA Hunt was particularly impressed with how the flyaway kit travelled. He said, “We really liked the outstanding picture quality of the EX3s, the versatility of the Panasonic switcher and especially the versatile AJA KiPro, a product that’s worth three times what you pay for it in terms of functionality and technology. We also use our kit in our studio at Wahroonga shooting and editing four 30-minute programmes a week without any issues at all.”
The TV industry awards were won by Hunt and WAT on their most recent trip to the USA where the flyaway kit was used almost continuously. Hunt explained, “We shot seventeen 30-minute docos on location in three weeks. These included music videos, ‘talking head’ Christian programmes, kids TV shows and ‘Footy Show’-like panel discussions. The kit performed faultlessly and has done ever since we bought it. We have also had excellent feedback from our broadcast partners about the sharpness, clarity and quality of the images we produce. After the docos were shot and aired we were fortunate enough to win three TV industry awards for them which was great recognition for the quality of the programmes, the equipment used and the effort made by the people responsible for them at WAT. We were delighted.”
Hunt and the team at WAT are a good example of a professional high-output team who need to keep a strict control on what they spend but refuse to compromise on quality.
Hunt concluded, “I would recommend that anyone who needs to produce high quality programming on a tight budget talk to Videocraft before they spend a cent. Videocraft is my first choice for all my professional broadcast equipment needs – they have the expertise and industry experience that I require – this is so important when you are spending a good deal of money on equipment. You don’t want to invest in outdated technology and it is very important that your equipment supplier is well connected and well informed on issues surrounding the direction of the industry. Videocraft also has a huge rental department which has been very helpful in providing equipment in order to get me out of those inevitable tight spots that sometimes occur. Recently I had a situation where I needed to get my AJA KiPro upgraded but time didn’t permit so I was very grateful that Videocraft lent me one of their units whilst mine was unavailable. Try getting an Internet box seller to help you out like that and give that level of service, that really is impossible!”
Hunt and the team, at Wahroonga Adventist Television move directly on from their award-winning TV docos to shooting on location in Sydney and the NSW Central Coast for their Sydney TVS Saturday and Sunday morning programmes.
Recent programmes made by Wahroonga Adventist Television can be found at: