On March 26, NBC's "Nightly News with Brian Williams" began broadcasting in 1080i HD from its New York headquarters, making NBC one of the first networks to deliver its national evening newscast in HD. The HD launch has been in the works since 2003.
The "Nightly News" program will include upconverted SD 4:3 video from the field, with side panels to fill the wider 16:9 screens. NBC has yet to standardize on an HD format for its ENG operations, but has been testing Sony's XDCAM HD optical-disc system. Select segments captured with Sony's HDCAM tape format will be used as well.
The effort is the result of the network's companywide strategy to create a flexible environment within its "30 Rock" main broadcast facility, which is being used for a variety of programs (including "Today" and Saturday Night Live"), with studios, control rooms and adjacent buildings securely connected with GigE fiber cabling and network connectivity. Any production area in the building can now be set up and reconfigured quickly. "Today's" Studio 1A is located at 10 Rockefeller Plaza, across the street from the network's broadcast facility, but its equipment is seamlessly tied in.
The "Nightly News" studio will use Sony HDC-1500 handheld cameras reconfigured for studio use with Sony HDLA sled mounts, fed into Studio 1A, with its Sony MVS-8000 HD production switcher, Calrec digital audio console and virtual monitor wall made up of five Barco projectors displaying Evertz Maestro multi-image software.