So I’ve received several emails this past week about what specific equipment we are putting into our control room at Consol Energy Center. I’m going to give you a big “what’s in the soup” rundown here, starting with cameras and video switcher.
Bit of a mixed bag here, as we have different cameras for different applications.
For our main “game cameras”, we’ll be putting in three Ikegami HDK-77EC cameras. This was probably one of the toughest decisions we were faced with, as the Sony units that we compared the Ikegami’s to were stellar as well.
For our hanheld ‘fan cams”, we added two more Sony PDW-F355L XDCam HD camcorders. This continues to be the most versatile camera that I’ve ever used, and it comes at a great price point.
Several years ago, when the deal for Consol Energy Center was finalized, we asked Ken Sawyer if we could jump to HD cameras before the transition. First, we needed new cameras to be able to support programming like Inside Penguins Hockey, PensTV online, and future expansion, which turned out to be Dan Bylsma Show, Road To The Cup, and Penguins Report.
Second, we knew that we were constantly up against it in terms of deadlines. We made the decision to go with XDCam HD not just for the quality of the cameras, but for the efficiency gains we’d make going with a tapeless format.
Finally, we knew that we were heading for a few specials years in team history. The last thing we wanted to do was move into Consol Energy Center and be forced to use a lot of pillar-boxed footage. Pillar box is what you see when standard def video is played over a HD channel and it fills the space on either side of the 4×3 image to fill out the 16×9 display. Looking back, it was a great choice.
Our center 360 robotic camera (hung under the scoreboard) will be an Ikegami HDL-50 with a CMOS sensor. Don’t quote me, but I believe this is the main camera that KDKA-TV uses for their HD studio camera. Amazing images out of a “box” camera.
Finally, for our wide shots, POV angles, and upstairs studio cameras, we’ll have Sony BRC-H700′s. These cameras are an amazing bargain for a much better image than you would expect out of a PTZ camera.
All of our lenses are Canons. One (70x), two (40x), and two wide angle ENG lenses for the fan cams.
Tied for first for the toughest equipment decision that we had to make when we were outfitting the control room. This choice on this went down to the wire – as a matter of fact it went beyond the wire because both Sony and Ross had such mind-blowing switchers and threw great deals at us.
In the end, we chose the Ross Vision QMD/X product. We purchased a four M/E model, but we actually are breaking off one M/E to our studio (studio? what studio??) for greater flexibility. We’ll also move the one M/E model around the facility for when we do live, multi-camera productions in the building.
Here’s a few pictures:
Compare this to our current model, a Grass Valley Group 200:
We’re talking some serious upgrades here. In regard to both the cameras and the switcher, we’re going to be able to bring a significantly slicker show with much much better image quality to fans sitting inside Consol Energy Center.
Tomorrow: graphics, replay and some miscellany.