Hitachi cameras selected for live sports production at US university
Syracuse University is using two Hitachi Z-HD5000 HDTV broadcast cameras to produce select Syracuse Orange NCAA Division I athletics events for ESPN3, ESPN’s online streaming service. The events include men’s and women’s basketball and lacrosse games held at the Carrier Dome, the university’s 49,262-seat on-campus, domed sports stadium.
“Having ESPN3 carry our games live is prestigious and provides greater visibility for our teams,” said John DeFrancisco, manager of technical operations for Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome, which houses a video production control room in one of its private skybox suites. The video operation is now responsible for live video production for ESPN3 broadcasts, closed circuit broadcasts to two HD Daktronics boards inside the arena, and webcasts of select games via its Cuse TV online streaming service.
When ESPN first contracted with the University to carry select Orange games on ESPN3, they provided a list of video equipment they wanted them to use on their productions, including the Hitachi Z-HD5000s and two Fujinon HA42x9.7BERD box-style lenses. “We acquired the cameras as part of a broader video production upgrade we did specifically for the ESPN3 contract, and they have performed exceptionally well,” said DeFrancisco.
The University’s existing complement of five HD cameras now supplements the Hitachi cameras so they can provide more varied shots and angles of game action. The video feed is delivered to ESPN in real-time via the sports network’s own dedicated fiber lines.
“We’re delivering a broadcast quality live show, complete with graphics and instant replays,” said Jacquie Ontano, the head of production, whose responsibilities include booking the crew and directing the games. “When our season is set, ESPN tells us which Orange games they want to have on ESPN3. Most of our games are in demand because our teams are quite competitive.”
The two Hitachi Z-HD5000s are similarly configured, including 7-inch color viewfinders, tripods, and the Fujinon box-style lenses with powerful 2X zoom extenders and Digi-semi-servo lens controllers for ergonomic operation. Featuring high-performance 2/3” CCD imagers, advanced digital signal processing and powerful picture controls, the Z-HD5000 cameras consistently produce outstanding image quality and exceptional dynamic range even under rapidly changing lighting and production conditions.
According to Syracuse University’s video engineer, Dave Beikert, “6he cameras are relatively easy to set up. We bring the camera control unit right out to the cameras and our camera ops take care of setting all the levels and painting and shading the cameras, with direction from Jacquie in the control room.” The Hitachi cameras are always operated by professional camera ops – such as Syracuse producer/videographer Jim Hamilton – and always used within the Carrier Dome.
Prior to the sale, Hitachi regional sales manager Kenneth Cyr provided Syracuse University with an on-site demonstration proving the technology of the Hitachi Z-HD5000: “We were happy with the cameras then, and they’ve since exceeded our expectations.”