Thursday, September 24, 2009

Initial Equipment Review: Part 2

I decided to tackle something that I know very little about (a) because it will hopefully be a shorter post for me to write and (b) it will hopefully be a shorter post for you to read ;)  Please note that some of the links I are close to what we've got... I don't know the exact model numbers or specs, sorry!

We have four Ikegami HD cameras and Canon lenses for our show.  All the specifics?  I'm not sure :)  I know that the CCUs give us a greater amount of control than we've had in the past.  They look incredible!  It's pretty amazing that we can see pretty much from goal line to goal line with these things ;)  We have the typical broadcast setup of two build-ups/studio configs (one wide game follow, one iso),

In addition to the Ikis, we have a Panasonic P2 ENG camera that we can convert for our show.  This past Friday, we had our cameraman between the benches.  He'll probably be there again this Friday, as we do not get first pick of this spot during the regular season.  The nice thing about this camera is that for ENG work, it uses the P2 cards, just like the handhelds we bought last year.  This really helps our workflow because there are no tapes :)  Everything is file-based, and we can bring the clips right in to edit with them.

We had a few issues with them, including setting the auto iris in too narrow of a range.  Some of it is still trying to get used to them.  The cameras are, after all, the least used piece of equipment, as we only really get to use them on game nights (save the P2 cameras we use for shoots/ENG).

Another thing that I didn't expect was the "bend" in the image.  It's not severe, but you can certainly notice (zoomed way out) that the boards on the opposite side have a bend in them.  It's almost as if it has a wide-angle lens on it.  Which, I guess makes sense ;)  It's a wide-screen image!  I guess I wasn't expecting it... AND, you can't really notice it that much at even a small amount of zoom.

For those of you actually keeping score, you realize that I haven't mentioned the robotic camera yet.  If so, kudos to you.  And, you really need to get a life outside of reading this blog ;)

The camera itself is a tiny body Panasonic.  Again, I do not know many specifics.  As I write this, Cam Mate is currently re-designing our setup.  The company primarily deals with cameras on jibs, with the longest runs being around 80 feet or so.  The run that needed to be made in our case is closer to the 500-foot range.  There isn't enough power getting down the line to completely control the camera and get a solid signal.  We have tested the camera with several different cable lengths, as well.  We actually got a cable made for a jib (roughly 40 feet or so, I believe), and everything worked perfectly.  So, we know it works and we're working with Cam Mate to get it resolved.  We've been excited about this camera for some time, but we have serial number 0001 of the camera controller... it's going to take some time to sort it out.  We have several people working on this - from our engineer to DSI to Cam Mate - to have it up and running as soon as possible.

The last thing I think I will tackle for the day is our audio console.  We have a Yamaha M7CL, which is the little brother of the board in the production side of things.  So far, no complaints other than I'm not used to a digital board ;)  I'm fairly well versed in the analog side of things... the menu structure of digital boards never makes much sense to me :)  I'm learning, though!  We are also still trying to get the levels set for in-game.  Unfortunately, there's not much way to do it except... well, in-game.  So, for that, I'm thankful for pre-season :)


  1. Bend in the image when zoomed out? Sounds like you have an SD lens on that head. Need HD lens!

  2. I don't think so, but I have no clue ;) All I know is that the lenses were as much as the camera bodies (or more)... so I'm guessing they're HD ;)

  3. Okay, sorry this is a bit off-topic but they're just a few questions, one I forgot to ask way back at the beginning of the blog that I had been wondering about...

    Why didn't we ever see some kind of slideshow during the playoffs? Was that a 2006 exclusive kind of thing, or was there just some reason?

    I'm not expecting it any time soon considering the price of what was just put up, but will we ever get spotlights like there was for last year season's opener? I really like how ATL lights up/strobes the opposing goalie when a goal is scored, plus I think it would make a cool intro.

    And considering my attention to detail of all the stuff you do, I was curious if CanesVision (specifically... I know looking at the RBC website that the RBC Center in general does...) does internships?

  4. 1) Too expensive. It cost a crazy amount of money for the initial game (includes setup/design, etc.). After that, the cost dropped about 70%, but STILL was about the cost of a new small car PER GAME... so... needless to say, with everyone pinching the pennies these days, we thought better than to spend that much on it, no matter how cool it was... We actually looked into purchasing our own projection system but with three projectors EACH over six figures, again... too rich for our blood.

    2) Too expensive. We actually got new follow-spots (what most people think of as "spot lights") this year that are MUCH brighter. They usually try to follow the goal scorer, but it's been hard to see in the past. Perhaps it will be better this year :)

    3) We do internships, yes. They have to run through our HR department and must go through an initial interview process. It certainly helps if you have a passion for design/production :)

  5. Awesome, thanks for the responses. That's definitely something for me, I'll hopefully get the opportunity to do that in the next year or two.

  6. Working MAJOR overtime I see? :)