Pro video blog…Produced by Philip Johnston DoP/Editor



While browsing the JVC web site this afternoon I came across this fantastic news…Over the course of 2013, the BBC will purchase over 500 units of JVC Professional’s GY-HM650 ProHD network-enabled camcorder, to be used in their newsgathering operations both throughout the UK and globally. Key features of the GY-HM650 are flexible dual codec capability, network connectivity, and overall ease of operational use.

John Kelly, General Manager, UK & Ireland, Scandinavia and MEA commented: “We are delighted by the success of the GY-HM650 camcorder. Following on from the recent announcement that the GY-HM600 series camcorders meet EBU requirements for journalism, this provides further confirmation of its suitability for broadcast news production.” JVC’s GY-HM600 series cameras (GY-HM600 and GY-HM650) meet the EBU’s recommendations for journalism use (“Tier 2J”). The cameras also meet the requirements for general long form HD programming (“Tier 2L”), when used with a suitable external recording device supporting 50MB/s or greater recording.

The EBU test report for the GY-HM600E and GY-HM650E can be viewed at

HDW : All the efforts of JVC over the HM600 series of camcorders has finally paid off, this is a well deserved major purchase from the BBC and JVC can be proud of themselves, everyone without exception, Alister Chapman, Rick Young and myself have had nothing but praise for the new JVC 600/650 camcorders…WELL DONE JVC.

Here is the link to the full story


Having been working in the video business since 1988 I have amassed a great amount of knowledge of both the kit and production values over the last 30 years.

44 thoughts on “BBC to buy 500 plus JVC GY-HM650 camcorders…”Well done JVC”

  1. Huge!

    Should give a big boost to sales of long-zoom, single lens cameras.

    They probably could have left out “The built-in stereo microphone is ideal for capturing natural sound” – mostly the only thing built-in mics are good for is staying turned off.

    Curiously, it seems they did not evaluate/consider Panasonic AG-AC160A.

    HDW : The Panasonic AC160 does not hit 35Mbps nor Tier 2J approved from EBU

  2. I thought the large sale might be around 200-300 units but 500 are impressive indeed!

  3. Presumably the BBC will be selling off all those Canon XF305s that they bought for the same purposes a couple of years ago.

    HDW : Having had one I will give the XF305 a miss, thank you.

  4. With NAB around the corner, do you think this camera will be updated…and is it worth waiting ?


  5. Noticed in Gy-HM650 video review- the scenes in church at the funeral- it seems like the 650 is a bit oversaturated, is this your impression as well?
    Trying to decide on xf300, pmw200 or gy-hm600.

  6. There will be an update at NAB 2013 for the 650 to enable the camera to do live web streaming. This is no secret and something we have been discussing with clients since IBC. This is a fantastic feature and again makes he 650 a unique proposistion

  7. You can tweek the colours till your content however we think straight out the box is stunning. There is a firmawre due for the option of DNR reduction which phillip at HDW is kindly going to look at when available – this month.

  8. Does anyone know whether the 650 which was used at the funeral mass video had tweeked colours? To my eye, the Sony PMW200 was a bit more natural. My biggest problem is convincing myself that any of these cameras look as good as my 10-year workhourse- Sony DSR-300. Very beautiful color, clarity, natural image, yes SD only 4×3, have to buy DVCAM tape, but still it’s hard to beat. Even after converting down my test footage of all three cameras-Canon, JVC, Sony, to SD, and then comparing them to same shots with DSR-300, my eye picks DSR-300.

    HDW : No, the camera was not tweeked by myself nor on the timeline. The Sony was an EX3. If you can still get away with SD and 4:3 then carry on.

  9. Also, with regards to my longtime workhorse Sony DSR-300- it has a very good Canon 16x lens, and professional lens control makes shooting a breeze- new cameras offer rear camera control by various manufacturers- Varizoom, Manfrotto, etc, but none appear to be on par for accuracy and ease of use.

  10. Sorry, stupid question maybe but i’m trying to learn this, what does DNR reduction do?

    HDW : 1/3″ sensors are by nature noisy so manufacturers like JVC use Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) to compensate but its a very fine line between noise and lack of noise with a smearing effect.

  11. Gwynne/Greg- PMW-200- stats look good, 1/2″ is key, seems beefier, to my eye the LCD is superbly sharp, much sharper than JVC600, but SXS cards are way too expensive, even the new SXS-1. Frankly, couldn’t tell much difference in image with Canon 300 or JVC 600. Burned to Bluray discs and watch on high end monitor, all look pretty good. Sony $1800 premium before buying media.

  12. It appears that devices for remote zoom/focus/iris control is very limited on the JVC600. This is essential in my work.
    Another question- can’t find any documentation on battry life with the IDX JVC batteries.

  13. Enjoyed the video with the woman in Glasgow. Video looked good, natural.

  14. PMW200 is circa £4425+vat
    GY-HM650 is circa £3395+vat
    GY-HM600 is circa £2750+ vat

    If you want 50mbps or greater then how about considering an external recorder and get 4.2.2 out the hdmi or sdi outputs? As suggested in the EBU report.

    The 650 gives you features found on no other camera however you might no want them so dont forget about the 600

  15. External recorder defeats what appears to be JVC’s prime reason for making the 600- portability and ease of use.

  16. Hello everyone. Which camera will be the best in your opinion for the weddings, from those 3 camcorders : xf300, pmw200 or gy-hm600 ?
    low light? stabilization ? user-friendly?
    Can you tell me your experience ?

    HDW : Simple the XF300 is poor in low light at 0dB, the PMW-200 is good in low light but if you need 50Mbps you can only use expensive SxS cards which are not good for archive.
    The JVC GY-HM600 is feature packed, good in low light at 0dB, low price and uses £20 class 10 SDHC cards that you can keep for archive and great pictures out the box…need I say more.

  17. Hi Mike,

    Its an option if you need 4.2.2 recording.

    It does not do it on to SD cards so take it or leave it. I am only trying to give you a solution to your questions.

  18. I understand, Kris- I don’t mean to disrespect a fine camera,in fact JVC has made great strides in my opinion- it’s just that it seems like I won’t be happy with less lens control than I’m used to. And I’m not sure, frankly, about the image. Then again, I’m not sure about the image on Canon or Sony either. Maybe I have to wait for the next wave!!

  19. Hi Kris,
    I Just purchased 2 of the jvc 650’s and waiting for waiting for delivery. I was just wondering if we will be able to get all the features on the updates that will be coming out in april for the cameras. We would love the streaming option when available.

    Cant wait to use the cameras

  20. Hi Mark,

    Yes of course however exactly how it will be available wont become clear till i get to NAB.

    The latest firmware for the 650 is V102 which is available from our website….however if you have a U version product (US based) you will need to check with your local JVC office as they may be using a different code name?

  21. Awesome, thanks Kris.

    We picked up our cameras yesterday from digital resources and plan to learn them today before shooting our first interview with them this weekend.

    I will come by the booth at NAB and say hi



  22. A few users claim JVC 600 does not hold auto-focus or manual focus at 23X? For my wildlife videos this could be a problem.
    I was planning on ordering the JVC 600 Thursday…. Any comments on this?

    HDW : Rogue units, take them back for tracking or replacement.

  23. Only the first batch there was an issue wih autofocus – providing you install the latest firmware you will be fine as this was corrected quite early only.
    Where are you based John?

  24. Been agonising for a few weeks over Canon 305 or the 650..mostly wild life and corroborate work with a bit of news stringing on the side. finally opted for the 650 after playing with both. Canon 305, is a great camera and looks good, but the images from the 650 completely blew me away have just put an order in for 650….if I need 50mbs..4.2.2 i wil stick a ninja on it…..

  25. Hi Kris, I am in New Zealand looking at buying into this camera for news acquisition.Just want to know how it connects to the internet. If it’s a 3G modem USB stick, will all mobile networks support it ? Or is it WiFi only and therefore requires a WiFi hot spot when on location ? Also how does it package the footage.Does it send groups of clips as a large file, or small single clips individually ?
    Unfortunately here in New Zealand we do not have a JVC Bureau and have to rely on just one dealer for Pro Video, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

  26. Hi,
    I am a owner of gy-hm 650E with the newest firmware 2.0. I buy this camera becouse my Sony hxr-nx5 have a very bad picture quality. I tried the cam and was totaly disapointed about auto focus. Auto focus is pumping all the time. I called JVC Europe, and drive to them directly. There I meat the product manager for this cam. He took the cam and make some tests. After that he told me that the pro´s doesn´t use auto focus, and the “terrible” focus is normal for this kind of cam´s. He took some scenes from my card and promised me to send them to Japan. To all who are thinking about to buy the cam, and need auto focus – i suggest you to wait, or to test before buyng. I have now 15 days time to wait or change the cam and buy something else.
    Best regards from Germany

  27. Hello Kris,

    regarding no option for 4:2:2 in camera, I think it is a fair criticism and did not call for such a terse response.

    “It does not do it on to SD cards so take it or leave it.”

    A compact ENG/documentary camera recording 4:2:2 to robust SxS or P2 media would be a winner. Sometimes having to carry and power an external recorder is not a good solution.

  28. Hi Mike,

    Within that quote i did also say:
    ‘I am only trying to give you a solution to your questions’

    I sincerely did not mean to come across abrupt.

    The 600 series cannot support 4:2:2 when internally recording on SD cards. This can not be changed so the only option for 4:2:2 and a higher bit rate (if required) is to use an external recorder.

  29. Hi Russell,

    Within that quote i did also say:
    ‘I am only trying to give you a solution to your questions’

    I sincerely did not mean to come across abrupt.

    The 600 series cannot support 4:2:2 when internally recording on SD cards. This can not be changed so the only option for 4:2:2 and a higher bit rate (if required) is to use an external recorder.

  30. I have a big project filming various college lectures. I work with Nikon D800s which are great but felt I needed a different format for this job. I am so indebted to HDW for producing the review on the 600 and 650. The 650 Is going to be perfect I hope for this project with the ability to record small files for the web and even in the future live streaming. That was only a dream a few years ago! Thank-you

  31. Good camera I purchased the 650 but became very insecure with the build quality (plasticky) and very frustrated with sd cards very unreliable even when using in back up pairing…the Bit rate also frustrating very much on the limite unles one hung an expencive recorder of the back…I ended up sending the camera back and all though an older camera when’t for the canon xf305 am now completely happy as I shoot from short form news and docs to drama and nature…slightly heaver but much stronger…

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