C-Span is widely recognized as the best known and most watched non-profit cable news network focused on federal government proceedings and other public affairs programming. But even C-Span can face challenges in this rough-and-tumble political age, when so many newsworthy events are happening at such a rapid pace, it's tough to keep up with things.
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As the Director of Field Operations, Kevin Washburn knows how challenging it can be to get consistently great coverage. They [crew] need to be as efficient as possible to get the maximum amount of programming. “We cover the meet and greet and rope lines the candidates do after events. Until recently we covered these with two cameras that were the same ones used to cover the speaking portion.” The problem is these cameras are often in the back or side and far away from the candidate. “These cameras frequently got blocked by other people and sometimes you couldn’t see the candidate."
"We needed to get above the scrum with a device that was easy to use and not resource intensive with manpower."
C-Span’s requirements reflect their no-nonsense approach:
Get above the scrum with a device that was easy to use.
Not resource intensive with manpower.
Be able to go live, both audio and video and be able to transmit either via a bonded cellular device (LiveU) or COFDM.
Lightweight for the operator to carry and quickly move from place to place.
Compact enough to be able to check in on a plane.
C-Span recognized early that something like DigiBoom would be great, but two attempts to piece it together with existing technology or handheld gimbals just didn’t work "We either had trouble with the output, operator monitoring, audio issues, audio/video sync issues, or just general reliability/usability issues." C-Span has Deployed DigiBoom for many political and social events, including 75th D-Day Anniversary, Iowa State Fair, and Iowa Steak Fry with presidential candidates. DigiBoom has been used live on-air for multiple hours, where getting clean shots of the candidates is paramount.
Looking forward with DigiBoom
As for their results and future with DigiBoom? "So far, we've enjoyed our experience," explained Kevin. "We will continue to use this to follow candidates around for the upcoming election year. Also, possibly using it as a mini-jib" (Redrock offers the DigiBoom Jib Adapter that converts DigiBoom into a lightweight jib using the fluid head tripod you already own). As for advice to others, DigiBoom is for "anyone that is looking for a lightweight, low cost solution to get up high and see over things."
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