Fair Go and Sunday to Go HD But Not 1 News – Yet

Fair go — two of TVNZ 1’s longest-running local shows, Fair Go and Sunday, will go HD the same week Hyundai Country Calendar returns on a new night.

As of February 12, Country Calendar will screen 7.00 Sundays and the Kiwi factual content that used to screen in the slot, like the upcoming Te Radar’s Chequered Past, will take over the rural warhorse’s traditional Saturday berth.

The first episode of 2017 will visit North Canterbury after the November 2016 earthquake to see how the people running a large farm there handle the initial shock, cope with immediate damage and still keep the farm running.

Calendar’s latest season will premiere ahead of Sunday, which at last will go full HD after a couple of years of broadcasting field reports in HD but not studio links.

Sunday’s switch to end-to-end HD precedes Fair Go at last providing HD value for money when it returns for its 40th season on February 13 at 7.30.

But there’s no word on when 1 News at 6pm will follow rival Newshub’s HD lead.

At present, news footage coming into 1 News is converted to SD to maximise the amount of storage and because TVNZ’s studios aren’t HD-capable.

However, a deal with Panasonic suggests the conversion may be edging nearer. According to Panasonic NZ, TVNZ will soon be taking broadcasting to “another level“:

At the end of 2016, TVNZ made a large purchase of Panasonic AJ-PX5000G 2/3-inch sensor shoulder-mount camcorders and Panasonic 1/3-inch sensor AJ-PX270EN camcorders in a move that General Manager of Operations for TVNZ News and Current Affairs, Andrew Fernie, has said will result in “fantastic images”.

However, the high-end cameras’ visual capabilities are not what got the team at TVNZ the most excited. It is the transformative workflow technology that Panasonic has integrated into the cameras which promises to drive efficiency up and costs down that will allow TVNZ to achieve their goal of go-live-from-anywhere future for news gathering.

“It was Panasonic’s P2 Cast workflow that clinched the deal,” Fernie says, referring to the cloud-based networking service provided by Panasonic with the cameras.

Billed by Panasonic as automatic FTP transmission and on-air streaming, the Panasonic P2 Cast system allows proxy files to upload to the TVNZ newsroom in the background while the cameras are shooting. The developing story can then be edited at the newsroom and the metadata pushed back to the camera.

At the instigation of the newsroom, only the necessary hi-res files are uploaded to the ingest server ready for transmission. The process is fast and cost-efficient, and means the crew don’t have to stop shooting for uploads or wait for links.

“Panasonic is leading the way with this kind of system,” says Rick Haywood, Managing Director of Pro Video Systems, the exclusive New Zealand distributor for Panasonic broadcast and professional video equipment.

“The Panasonic solution seamlessly integrates into TVNZ’s existing network systems, and it will help them get high quality content online and to air much faster than they ever could before. It is an exciting prospect and we are excited to be working so closely with them on it,” he said.

However, when asked if this development and Sunday/Fair Go’s new eras were related, a spokesman said: “The Panasonic cameras are not linked with our current affairs shows going HD as we use a range of cameras in news and current affairs.

“Regardless, it’s a combination of technology from the cameras right through to editing and transmission that enable us to broadcast in HD. In this case we’re pleased to have the right mix for the new series of Sunday and Fair Go.”

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4 Responses to “Fair Go and Sunday to Go HD But Not 1 News – Yet”

  1. Interesting Country Calendar is going to Sundays. Always rates its socks off on Saturday but is that due to a lack of competition?

  2. Competition has varied, according to the appeal of TVNZ 2’s movies and the strength of Sky’s live rugby coverage. I think the shift is long overdue recognition of Calendar’s consistent excellence and will provide Sunday a more reliable lead-in for most of the year than the variable quality of TVNZ 1’s factual commissions. Sunday nights are far more important commercially than Saturdays, so Calendar’s relocation should solidly bridge the top-rating 1 News and popular Sunday.

  3. TVNZ 1 news’ reluctance to go HD is on a par for rubbish-ness with Prime NOT switching on HD on the Freeview platform … Who is worse? … Yeah, the Sky/Prime situation by a country mile! Haha

  4. Ditto, Sky/Prime wins the Suckiness Award.

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