KJLA-TV Selects Hitachi 4K Studio Cameras
- 15 June, 2021
USA: In addition to serving as the Los Angeles home for American Spanish-language television network Azteca America, KJLA-TV owns and operates two greenscreen stages and production studios at its westside L.A. facility. Seeing growing demand from its studio rental clients for higher-resolution video acquisition and production, KJLA purchased four SK-UHD4000 cameras from Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd. (Hitachi Kokusai) to meet these requests and set the stage for future growth.
KJLA rents its studios to premium media and entertainment clientele for projects ranging from network TV shows and motion pictures to music videos and corporate video productions. Clients can use the studios’ in-house equipment or choose to bring in their own gear. KJLA also uses the studios to produce its own original content for its sister company LATV Networks, a pioneering, bilingual media enterprise dedicated to elevating the Latino voices that are redefining culture.
KJLA was equipped with 1080i HDTV camera systems but received increasing requests for 1080p “full HD” production, and also saw growing client interest in 4K acquisition. “We considered upgrading to 1080p cameras, but looking forward, that would only buy us a couple of years before we would need to go all the way to 4K,” explained Tony Solano, Chief Engineer at KJLA-TV. “People were already starting to ask for 4K, so we decided to upgrade all the way.”
Very satisfied with KJLA’s previous Hitachi camera purchases, Solano again turned to the company for its 4K acquisition upgrade. “Hitachi Kokusai has always offered very good products, and the customer service has always been great,” he said.
Solano points to the durability and reliability of KJLA’s earlier generation of Hitachi cameras, the 1080i Z-HD6000s, as examples of his satisfaction with the brand. “Since we are renting out these cameras with the studio, a lot of different hands have been on them over the years, but we’ve never had a camera break down,” he explained.
KJLA took delivery of the SK-UHD4000s at the beginning of February, and immediately put them to work on active productions. Three of the cameras are deployed on Cartoni pedestals, with the fourth on a Jimmy Jib Triangle. Solano notes that the cameras are lightweight and “not too bulky,” making them easy to transport between the two studio spaces as needed. KJLA currently offers 4K recording - a capability its clients have already taken advantage of - with plans to upgrade its Ross switcher to a 4K model in the near future.
Solano praises the cameras’ visual quality and their ability to precisely fine-tune the images. “The quality of the Z-HD6000s was great but the SK-UHD4000s are even better, even when we’re using them to shoot HD,” he said. “I also love the depth of picture controls that we have access to, not only through the controller but also through the cameras’ integration with the Ross Dashboard software.”
While KJLA often provides camera operators with their full-service studio and equipment rentals, other times clients bring their own crew and simply use KJLA’s gear and space. Solano notes that both their own operators and client users have found it simple to get up to speed with the new 4K cameras. “The learning curve on the SK-UHD4000s is very quick,” he said. “While our clients’ crews are professionals, the cameras are so easy that I feel like almost anybody could use them.”
The exceptional sensitivity of the SK-UHD4000s has also been beneficial for productions’ lighting requirements. “The stage manager for our LATV Networks productions noted that they don’t need to do as much lighting as they previously did,” Solano explained.
Overall, the Hitachi 4K cameras have positioned KJLA to meet the evolving needs of themselves and their clients both today and in the future. “The upgrade was very smooth, and it has been a great experience,” Solano summarized. “The SK-UHD4000s let us better serve our existing clients, while giving us the ability to take on a greater breadth of new customers and projects.”