Boise State Widens In-House Productions With Panasonic

Until this year, Boise State University’s in-house production team mixed and matched production gear to create the show for its 4:3 aspect-ratio video board. This year, while the athletic department awaits a 16:9 board — hopefully, to come next year — the production team has upgraded to a full Panasonic suite of equipment and begun capturing content in 720p, 16:9 widescreen.

“From a fan-experience standpoint, we wanted to be able to provide the best picture quality and be able to shoot everything in 16:9,” says Brad Larrondo, assistant athletic director and director of marketing, broadcast services, and corporate sponsorships at Boise State. “Our viewer experience was first and foremost.

“Secondary,” he continues, “was the ability to take advantage of the workflow and lessening of the workload that P2 provides, from digitizing and capturing video to getting it turned around and utilized on a lot more platforms. Viewer experience and workflow were our two main reasons for making the switch.”

That switch involved purchasing four Panasonic AG-HPX370 P2 HD shoulder-mount camcorders, two AG-HPG20 P2 portable recorders, and an AJ-HPM200 P2 mobile recorder/player. All the purchases were made through Boise State’s digital-media partner, Fiberpipe, which also provides four staff members to help with the streaming production on game day. The new Panasonic equipment replaces a hodgepodge of production gear, including mini DV camcorders, that Larrondo’s team had used in previous seasons, making Boise State a fully Panasonic house.

On game day, two of the HPX370s are used to shoot low-angle sideline shots, one is deployed in a high basket on the 50-yard line for main game coverage, and one is used as a roaming crowd cam. Two of the cameras travel to away games to shoot low-angle highlights.

Although Boise State’s stadium is still equipped with an SD video board, the suites and loge boxes do have HD capability, so fans in the club seats watch 16:9 replays and better (720p) picture quality, courtesy of the new cameras. All of the content is being archived in HD as well.

“We’ll also be looking to produce our first-ever season-ending DVD or Blu-ray in 16:9, so we have a much better shot of getting fans what they want from a viewer standpoint,” Larrondo says. “Using P2, we estimate that we are saving 20-30 hours in post every game, as we’ve eliminated the need to digitize the video.”

A downconverted version of the content is shown on the 4:3 video board.

“We’re shooting for next fall to have a brand-new video board, so we’re a year ahead on the technology,” he says. “We’ll be well-schooled in how to make it work by the time the video board arrives, which makes it a lot easier on us from a production standpoint.”

In addition to the game-day video for live board display and Web streaming, Larrondo’s team of six — two from Boise State and four from Fiberpipe — uses the new equipment to capture footage for highlight videos, coaches’ shows, live press conferences, and other digital features that surround the game-day content. Adobe Premiere is used to edit the HD archive and produce that content, in addition to video-board intros and analysis DVDs.

After football season, the Panasonic equipment will transition indoors, where it will be used for video-board productions and streaming of men’s and women’s basketball, as well as to create highlight videos for recruiting purposes.

“We’ll also be streaming softball in the spring,” Larrondo adds, “so the equipment will not be used exclusively for football.”

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