Z-HD5500 Cameras from Hitachi Kokusai Help Boitnott Visual Communications Impress Discerning Live Event Clientele

January 12, 2021

Flawless handling of LED backgrounds and native 1080p acquisition elevate IMAG and archiving quality for live event production experts

Woodbury, NY, October 14, 2020 — Virginia-based Boitnott Visual Communications (BVC) provides turnkey design, staging and live production services for corporate meetings and special events across the United States. When the company upgraded its camera technology last year to meet increasing client expectations, they chose Z-HD5500 cameras from Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd. (Hitachi Kokusai) to deliver the visual quality gains and operational benefits they sought.

BVC serves clients ranging from small businesses to large Fortune 50 corporations and organizations such as the Richmond Forum, which hosts high-profile events featuring speakers including past U.S. presidents, sitting heads of state, and leaders from the sciences, arts, and business. The premium nature of many of its projects makes the quality of its productions extremely important.

“Clients like the Richmond Forum are very particular about the quality of their events and related video productions, as they should be since their attendees are paying for the experience,” said A. Keith Sturtevant, video department head at BVC. “Another of our clients, a financial services company, is also well known as a technology leader, so they want top-notch quality for their live event video even if it’s only for their own internal use.”

With clients requesting higher visual quality, BVC began evaluating new camera options in mid-2019. “The cameras we had been using were getting long in the tooth,” explained Sturtevant. “They were native 720p, and we were upscaling them to 1080i. We needed to get cameras that were technologically capable of directly supporting the higher resolution and better quality our clients were asking for, so we wanted to upgrade to 1080p.”

Systems integrator Digital Video Group (DVG) pointed BVC towards Hitachi cameras, and the ability of the Z-HD5500’s global shutter sensors to flawlessly shoot against LED backdrops proved compelling. “We were using LED walls not only as a main source of IMAG display, but also for backgrounds,” said Sturtevant. “The Z-HD5500 was able to handle that setup, so the LED wall wouldn’t play havoc in the background of the video. Hitachi Kokusai is also a well-known player in the live event space with a great reputation, and you get a great camera with a lot of features for the price of that particular model. It became pretty much a ‘no-brainer’ at that point.”

BVC purchased three Z-HD5500s from DVG alongside upgraded flypacks that also feature a Ross Video main switcher; a Blackmagic Design secondary switcher for streaming; AJA distribution routers and recorders; and Behringer audio mixers. BVC typically deploys the Hitachi cameras and flypacks for larger live events with audiences ranging from 2000 to 5000 attendees, where the equipment powers large IMAG (image magnification) displays and recording for archival purposes.

The Z-HD5500s immediately delivered the quality boost that BVC was aiming for. “The Hitachi cameras have performed wonderfully,” said Sturtevant. “They provide nice, clean, crisp, bright images and great color reproduction even with just the default settings, and regardless of which video walls we’re shooting against.”

Sturtevant also noted that the Z-HD5500’s SMPTE fiber connectivity has simplified setup compared to the multi-cable requirements of BVC’s previous cameras. This combines with the cameras’ ease of use to speed on-site setup. “The new cameras have reduced our setup time, and we can now go into larger venues without cable length challenges,” he explained.

As a service provider, BVC has also enjoyed an additional benefit of the Z-HD5500’s technically-advanced appearance. “The Hitachi cameras look great both inside and out,” Sturtevant said. “You can tell they’re a true broadcast-grade camera just by looking at them, so when we roll in with them, people are impressed before we even turn them on.”

When asked to summarize his experience with the Z-HD5500s, Sturtevant was effusive. “I’d tell people ‘you need to get you some,’” he praised. “I have been nothing but happy with the Z-HD5500s since we acquired them.”

The improved visual results have also been noticed by BVC’s clients, which ultimately is the most important benefit. “Our large clients were very excited to see us step up our game, and they are impressed with the picture quality compared to our old cameras,” Sturtevant concluded.

About Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc.

Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a company that manufactures broadcasting systems, security and surveillance systems, wireless communications and information systems. For more information on Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc., please visit the company’s website at https://www.hitachi-kokusai.co.jp/global/en/index.html.