Founded in 1963, the Big Sky Collegiate Sports Conference consists of 10 full members in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), which includes Idaho State University, Portland State University, Sacramento State and Weber State University, among others. Overseeing 15 championship events per year, Big Sky recently began streaming to ESPN+ and decided to upgrade its productions. In need of easy-to-use, high-quality broadcast cameras, Big Sky team turned to JVC Professional Video’s GY-HC900CHU CONNECTED CAM™ solutions.
As the conference transitioned to streaming sporting events on ESPN+, it was essential that each school had the ability to produce top-notch broadcasts. Like many other colleges and universities, several of the Big Sky schools rely on students to assist in production. As a result, accessibility and functionality were also vital factors in choosing its cameras.
After receiving recommendations to use JVC from a colleague in the collegiate athletics industry, Jon Kasper, Senior Associate Commissioner at the Big Sky Conference, along with the rest of the team, decided on the brand’s GY-HC900 CONNECTED CAM cameras. “A friend at Cal State Fullerton mentioned that he was using JVC for the Big West schools and suggested that I reach out to the company as well,” says Kasper. “He had previously worked at a Big Sky school, so he had an idea of what our schools were doing and what we’d need to produce for ESPN+. He said that JVC had really good cameras with great quality, and that they were reasonably priced―which was ideal.”
Four Big Sky schools officially integrated JVC’s GY-HC900 cameras last year, producing approximately eight to 10 live sports broadcasts per week for ESPN+. According to Kasper, each of the schools has had nothing but good things to say about the cameras.
“The schools that purchased the cameras have been very happy with the functionality―how easy they were to learn to use and, most importantly, the video quality that they produce. I have weekly calls with ESPN, and they were also thrilled with the overall production quality in the Big Sky Conference in our first year. There’s no doubt that upgrading the cameras at those schools that needed them has helped with the fan experience of watching the games,” says Kasper.
The schools’ production teams echo Kasper’s sentiments as well, with Zack Kellogg, Director of Broadcast and Creative Content at University of Idaho, sharing: “With the new resources and expectations for our broadcast productions at University of Idaho, JVC’s shoulder camcorder has been an excellent addition. Since the GY-HC900 has dual viewfinders, multiple viewfinder configurations, an easy-to-use interface and reliable mechanics, there is no doubt this will be a product that is an integral part of our broadcasts for years to come.”
In addition to the four aforementioned schools, the Big Sky Conference is also comprised of Eastern Washington University, University of Idaho, University of Montana, Montana State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Northern Colorado.