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Chopper 7 HD brings home clearer picture

Monday, May 08, 2006

For the past week we have been featuring our new Chopper 7 HD. The new high-definition camera brings ABC7 into your home with a much clearer picture.

While traditional broadcasting has a 4 x 3 ratio, HD has a 16 x 9 ratio. Even without high-def, you'll still notice the difference from Chopper 7 HD. Chopper 7 HD is the only news chopper in Chicago with a high-definition camera, and only one of about a half dozen in the country! The clarity and precision of the picture makes you feel like you're there.

"Even if you're watching on a regular TV set, you'll see a crisper, better looking picture, but if you're watching on 7.1 HD, you'll see the real deal," said Craig Strom, WLS-TV assistant director of engineering.

From breaking news to traffic reporting, the enhanced video from Chopper 7 HD helps gather information quickly and accurately.

"When we arrive on the scene, we don't really know too much about what's going on, so we can use the camera to investigate, see if everybody's alright and see how the accident may have occurred," said Rolando Banda, Chopper 7 HD cameraman.

There are actually four cameras on Chopper 7 HD, one on top of the instrument panel, photographer Rolando and a camera in the back, another camera near the tail of the bird and the main camera the audience sees at home is on the front of the chopper.

"It's a nose camera, mounted on a gyroscopically stabilized nose ball that takes out all the vibration from the helicopter that gives you a nice smooth picture," said Erich Schmid, pilot, Chopper 7 HD.

Chopper 7 HD can fly up to 150 mph, getting from its heliport in Schaumburg to downtown Chicago in 12 minutes. The HD camera has an 84-to-1 zoom capacity that doesn't lose resolution on the tightest of tight shots.

They're able to follow our ABC7 traffic trackers, letting us know the most accurate travel times and congestion information. When changes occur in a construction zone, Chopper 7 HD can show us what's going on and why there's a delay.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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