Blue Ridge Communications Provides Eight Hitachi HDTV Cameras for 2011 PNC Big 33 Football Classic Live Telecast

Blue Ridge Communications (BRC), a regional cable television, Internet, and VoIP provider serving Pennsylvania, provided a mobile video unit and crew to PNC Bank for its live production of the 2011 PNC Big 33 Football Classic.  Held on June 18 at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, PA, the Big 33 is an annual game between all-star football players from Pennsylvania and Ohio high schools.

While BRC’s truck is SD, the camera package for the Big 33 included a large complement of Hitachi HDTV cameras including four Hitachi SK-HD1000 and four Z-HD5000 HDTV production cameras, outfitted with Hitachi CU-HD1000 and CU-HD500 camera control units, RU-3400VR, RU-1000VR remote control panels, and Fujinon ZA22x7.6BERD, A42x13.5BERD,  ZA17x7.6BRM HD ENG/EFP lenses.  This year’s Big 33 aired on PCN — a nonprofit cable television network that provides news, sports, and public affairs programming for all cable systems across Pennsylvania.

“These Hitachi cameras delivered exceptional picture quality and performance for this sporting event, which is widely regarded as a ‘mini Super Bowl’ between Pennsylvania and Ohio high schools,” said Jason Will, BRC director for the Big 33 game.

BRC has two mobile trucks that spend much of their time on the road. Blue Ridge Communications produces over 200 live local high school games each year across northeast Pennsylvania and Lancaster County as a free service to their subscribers.  BRC also hires out its trucks and crew to production companies for numerous regional sporting events per year.  One such client is Sports Fever Television Network, which produces NCAA Division I and Division II events, including college football and basketball games, for broadcast by regional sports networks such as The Root, FoxSportsNet, and Comcast SportsNet.

To ensure the best possible coverage of Big 33 game action, BRC combined cameras from its two mobile trucks utilizing four Hitachi SK-HD1000s and four Z-HD5000s.

The Hitachi HD cameras were purchased as part of a gradual transition to HD for BRC.  The truck used for the Big 33 game is outfitted with a Ross VISION 2-M/E switcher, Chyron Lex2 graphics, and Yamaha M7CL 32-input digital audio mixer.  BRC’s Hitachi HD cameras were ordered through Lerro Corporation, a professional video equipment dealer and systems integrator based in Norristown, PA.

“We’ve been using Hitachi cameras since day-one, when we first started producing local high school sports almost two decades ago,” said Will.  “In fact, some of the older Hitachi Z-3500 SD cameras that we put into service in the mid-1990s are still in use. The Z-HD5000 is especially ideal for high school sports because it’s an affordable version of the SK-HD1000 that doesn’t compromise picture quality or reliability. Hitachi cameras have always given us outstanding price performance compared to other top HDTV broadcast cameras on the market, and that’s why we continue to be loyal Hitachi customers.”

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