WBBM Goes HD Newsgathering - Broadcasting & Cable

WBBM Goes HD Newsgathering

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CBS-owned WBBM Chicago is transitioning its newsgathering to high-definition television, although not its news.

To make the move, the station is buying 25 Sony XDCAM HD cameras and Canon HD lenses and will convert its live trucks and traveling crews to new desktop computer editing. The new equipment also allow for editing in the cameras. The station will begin deploying the equipment within two months.

The station is not yet moving its studio to high-definition, however, and its news will remain standard-definition. Only a handful of stations in the country -- and none in Chicago -- broadcast news in high-definition, such as Gannett's KUSA Denver and Fox-owned WJW Cleveland.

“CBS 2 is proud to be the market leader in HD video acquisition,” said Joe Ahern, president and general manager, in a statement. “High-definition will soon be the new standard in broadcasting.  When that happens, CBS 2 will be ready with years of archival material in HD.”

The station is also buying microphones that can store audio as computer files.

The new technology will take "our newsgathering to the highest technical level in Chicago,” said News Director Carol Fowler.  “These HD cameras will allow CBS 2 photographers to record video and audio of superb quality directly onto a DVD-like disk, which gives us a competitive edge. CBS 2 gains the ability to report spot news faster than technology has ever allowed before. The days of shooting videotape, which takes longer to screen and edit, are over.”

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