CMG station WSB-TV (Atlanta, GA) is currently enhancing electronic newsgathering operations with P2 Cast, and WSOC-TV (Charlotte, NC) tested the system during its coverage of the Carolina Panthers' Super Bowl outing. (CMG, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises, last year initiated a group-wide ENG upgrade with three Panasonic AVC-ULTRA camera recorder models, the AJ-PX5000G 2/3" P2 HD shoulder-mount, the AJ-PX800 2/3-type P2 HD shoulder-mount and the 1/3" AJ-PX270 P2 HD handheld.)
According to CMG's Director of News Technology Dave Sirak, P2 Cast's chief asset is its ability to allow news producers to see and download video as it is shot, without having to interrupt camera operators in the field.
P2 Cast leverages the advanced features of Panasonic's latest P2 HD AVC-ULTRA camera recorders, integrating their networking capabilities so content uploaded to the cloud is immediately available for reviewing and editing on the web. P2 Cast expedites the delivery of news to air, while also expanding the editing function to any device connected to the internet. A significant P2 Cast advantage is its ability via the cloud to move low bit rate, yet high-quality proxy video off a camera recorder in the field, create a video sequence of the desired clips, and then allow newsroom systems to automatically pull back high-resolution video for air from the camera.
AVC-ULTRA cameras in the field are connected with the newsroom through mobile networks (4G/LTE, Wi-Fi, or dedicated connection) making it possible to instantly produce news out of events as they occur.
"With the surge and demand for digital and social 'broadcasts,' news cycles are no longer driven by traditional deadlines of our television newscasts--we need to be able to share content when it is ready," Sirak said. "The present demand for news is now, and with P2 Cast we are able to immediately air proxy video in breaking news situations, and we routinely push proxy video on our social media platforms."
Sirak explained that WFTV began experimenting with P2 Cast last November, and fully launched the system in January. "Over the past few years, we've become accustomed to working without a live truck with cellular backpacks," he noted, "but the drawback was that we could lose contact with the photographers. That simply doesn't happen with P2 Cast: the system moves us well beyond broadband cellular routines."
He recounted recent instances where P2 Cast accelerated news to air. "The system is great in court, where we're not always connected to a live feed. In that case, when there's a development, or a verdict, we've been able to pull the video directly and get it on the air in virtual real time."
"We had a case of covering teachers who were testifying in front of a county committee: the video was shot at 4:50 p.m. and we had it on the air at 5:03 while the photographer was still shooting," he continued.
Sirak added that P2 Cast was also being utilized by creative services. "That department has an earlier deadline, and if a story is shot later in the day, creative now has the ability to look at video and select clips for a promo, which has resulted in better promotion of upcoming stories."
"P2 Cast has been instrumental in helping us get a jump on the day's news," Sirak said. "While we continue to do most of our editing in the field at WFTV, P2 Cast affords us more editorial oversight of stories as they're being produced, especially when we're dealing with dynamic or sensitive material.
"P2 Cast has been highly effective for us, it works out of the box, and with it we're able to watch stories develop anywhere on the planet."