USER REVI EW | JVC HC500
So it’s perhaps no surprise that the camera company really leading the headlong charge into streaming for non-traditional broadcasters is one that has loads of experience making workhorse kit for TV companies. JVC has taken what it has learned from years of working with television and blended it with the latest large-chip sensor technology in new cameras such as the GY-HC500, the most affordable of the range. The predecessor to this camera, the JVC GY-HM660, sold in bucketloads to TV firms who wanted a broadcast-ready, ENG-style portable camera that could be used by trained cameramen or news journalists grabbing a camera for run-and-gun work. The BBC alone bought over 700 of them, and they are still in daily use. 4K AND HDR But technology has moved on, and the demand is now for larger sensors with their great low-light performance and shallow depth-of-field giving a cinematic look, plus 4K and HDR as well as streaming. All those things are in the new HC500 – at £3180/$3900 actually cheaper than the HM660 – which uses three smaller sensors and has no 4K or HDR. It’s easy to understand why the demand for the HC500 has been high since it was unveiled to the public. Filmmakers have to wait a little longer to get their hands on one – the camera may be available to pre-order, but its spec and firmware has not been finalised. We got our hands on a fully-functioning prototype but as it’s not a final product, it would be unfair to take a critical look at the actual footage. We’ll do that when the finished version is out. Getting up close with the camera shows it’s a seriously professional bit of kit, with a significant weight and ruggedness to it. It’s meant to be tough, and has a splash proof body made out of magnesium, and the JVC- branded lens has a decent amount of glass in it, in order to be useable in manual focus mode as well as to provide a fast maximum aperture and an image circle large enough to cover the one-inch CMOS sensor. CONNECTIVITY What really makes the HC500 special is its connectivity, and JVC has gone
to great lengths to ensure it comes with more options, currently, than its rivals. This allows streaming via a range of networks to most of the popular streaming services, including Facebook and YouTube. To stream, you can either plug the camera into a wired network via its ethernet socket, or use an inexpensive plug-in Wi-Fi or 4G dongle. The camera’s big brother, the more expensive HC550, comes with its own Wi-Fi built in. It also has the TV-standard MXF format, GPS and broadcast overlays so is more suitable for TV use. The HC500 camera can stream in HD or SD at up to 24Mbps with very low latency of around 0.5secs. That’s a high bitrate for streaming, as Facebook Live only runs at 5Mbps and Sky Sports transmits live football at 12Mbps. So 24Mbps is way above what anyone currently needs and is a great future-proofing option. When the camera is connected to a network, its controls can be altered remotely via a smartphone or PC and there’s an auto FTP mode,
so as soon as each clip is shot, it automatically transfers to an FTP server ready for editing. And straight from TV land is the Return over IP function, which allows the camera to receive video footage from a remote location – such as a TV studio or base station. Television crews have used it for years, but it’s new technology for independent filmmakers. Of potentially more interest is that the camera has the right RTMP format for shooting directly to Facebook Live and YouTube, where many rival cameras – even those marketed as connected cameras – still don’t. With this camera and a 4G dongle, you can start streaming to the most popular sites in minutes. LARGE SENSOR Where the camera also delivers is as a very capable large-sensor machine offering some very robust codec, for serious grading and a cinematic look. This is ideal for not only ENG work but documentary and more creative films. The headline is that it records 4K/60p in 4:2:2 10-bit in Apple ProRes, with support for its own Log colour gamma to maximise dynamic range in post processing and built-in HDR/ HLG for the latest TV sets.
TOP The HC500 enables direct live streaming to YouTube and Facebook Live ABOVE Large- capacity SSDs are compatible: just plug them in using the optional SSD adapter – and go
“TECHNOLOGY HAS MOVED ON, AND THE DEMAND IS NOW FOR LARGER SENSORS”
68 DEF I N I T ION | JUNE 20 1 9
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