Ikegami Cameras Deliver HD Video to Penguins Fans at Brand New Arena

When the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins moved into the new Consol Energy Center for the 2010 season, they committed fully to HD video production with three Ikegami HDK-77EC full-digital multi-format HD CMOS camera systems and one HDL-50 one-piece full-digital multi-format HD “POV” camera.

“Our guys go non-stop – there is no off-season for us,” says Chris DeVivo, Director of Media Technology for the Pittsburgh Penguins. “We chose Ikegami because we needed cameras that would match our production team’s imagination and abilities. If someone is editing or compositing footage that was captured by our Ikegami HDK-77ECs or HDL-50, it looks as good as it came off of a network truck.”

In addition to providing live in-game video on the 18,087-seat arena’s 25-ft. x 15-ft. HD scoreboard, the Penguins produce a wide range of 1080i video content year-round, including promos, TV shows, advertising, and B-roll as well as supplying regional and national networks with footage. Diversified Systems was the systems integrator for the Penguins’ new HD media center at the Consol Energy Center. Given the opportunity to build an all-new production plant from the ground up with total 1080i workflow, DeVivo arranged a shootout to select the ideal camera for the facility.

“We did the test, and as soon as I saw the Ikegami, I said, ‘Whose camera is that?’ – it stood out that much,” DeVivo says. “It just looks more real. The CMOS image processing helped to separate the HDK-77EC from the rest of the pack, right out of the box. The value made it an even easier choice – I couldn’t believe the picture I was getting from such a cost-effective camera.”

Since the Penguins’ debut in the Consol Energy Center, DeVivo has deployed Ikegami’s HDK-77EC portable docking-style dual-format HD cameras throughout the arena. Meanwhile, the Ikegami HDL-50 one-piece “box” camera with 2.5 mega-pixel CMOS sensor provides a POV perspective shooting down at the ice from high above at the central scoreboard.

“We wanted to share as much as we could, and be sure that the networks would take our shots from every angle,” explains DeVivo. “We went with the HDL-50 up there, and it’s unbelievable. Every network that’s been here has taken that camera live to replay, and they can’t get over how good it looks for a center robotic camera. And – again – I’m extremely impressed by the quality we got for the price we paid.”

With the eyes of NHL fans everywhere on their work, DeVivo admits to being a demanding client that repeatedly puts his vendors to the test. “Ikegami has shown me that they’re just as agile and flexible as our work dictates,” he says. “We get immediate response and resolution from their service, whenever we have a need.”

Ikegami’s HDK-77EC HD cameras employ three 2/3-inch 2.5 mega-pixel CMOS imaging sensors with native interlace or progressive readout for 1080i/720p format flexibility, a wide dynamic range, lower power consumption, and reduced operating temperature. The HDK-77EC is a docking style portable camera that can connect to fiber or triax for convenient, lightweight, mobile flexibility via Ikegami’s CCU-890M camera control unit. Users can choose the type of camera cable with a simple switch on the CCU, combined with mounting a docking FA Fiber Adapter or TA Triax Adapter to the camera head.

Ikegami’s HDL-50 is a one-piece full digital native multi-format HD POV camera with matching sensors and digital processing with the studio cameras, and operating from the same remote control panels. It is designed for superior-quality video capture in inaccessible locations. This camera also employs three advanced 2/3-inch 2.5 mega-pixel CMOS imaging sensors; these provide native multi-format HD operation, including 1080/59.94i and 720/59.94p directly from the camera head. In addition to achieving a wide dynamic range, CMOS sensors include significant circuitry that provides a digital video interface between the sensor and Ikegami camera’s DSP. The technology is very small with low power consumption. This end-to-end digital processing has been realized through the use of a highly advanced ASIC chip for a full digital stream through the camera to the HD-SDI output.

“We stay in close touch with our fans, and they’re amazed at what they’re seeing this year,” Chris DeVivo says. “They appreciate the commitment we’re making to be top of the line. The performance of Ikegami is a perfect example of that.”

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