Ithaca College Selects Ikegami Cameras for Sports and Special-Events Coverage

Home to one of the oldest ongoing student television operations in the world, Ithaca College, in central New York State, offers comprehensive programs in television production, documentary studies, cinema, Journalism, and many related disciplines at the Roy H. Park School of Communications. Student-run ICTV, meanwhile, generates an ambitious and wide variety of programming ranging from news, documentaries, and reality shows to football and basketball telecasts.

Now, with the opening of the College’s new Athletics and Events Center – connected to the Roy H. Park School with 48 strands of single and multi-mode fiber – Ithaca College has upgraded its field-production capabilities with four Ikegami HDK-77EC full-digital multi-format HD CMOS camera systems, purchased through Audio Video Corp., of Syracuse NY.

As David Priester, Director of Technical Operations for the Roy H. Park School explains, the new Ikegami cameras will improve ICTV’s capabilities for providing superior HD and SD collegiate sports and special-event coverage, image magnification, other high-profile remote-production applications.

“We’ve had a good relationship with Ikegami over the years,” Priester says. “Their equipment has been extremely reliable. We have three 12-year-old portable Ikegami SD cameras configured for studio use, and they’ve given us virtually no trouble. When it came time to upgrade our cameras to dual HD/SD capabilities, Ikegami was one of the companies we looked at. We had demonstrations from three different vendors, and we discovered that the picture quality, capabilities, and affordability of Ikegami’s HDK-77EC cameras were the best fit for our matrix of performance and price requirements.”

“In terms of performance, we can run these cameras in SD or in HD 1080i or 720p mode,” Priester explains. “In terms of price, we also consider quality of service and responsiveness. Some vendors require a yearly service contract just to call them or to get a reasonable price for parts, especially if you’re past the warranty period. Ikegami doesn’t do that. We have been very happy with Ikegami service and parts support, not that we’ve needed it much. If we do need help with something it’s easy to get them on the phone.”

Designed to meet the demands of an increasingly varied HD market needing both 1080i and 720p video-capture capability, Ikegami’s HDK-77EC is an economical docking-style portable multi-format HD camera with CMOS imaging sensors for interlace and progressive format flexibility with reduced power consumption and lower operating temperature. The HDK-77EC can be used with Ikegami’s CCU-890M camera control unit for built-in fiber (and optional triax) connectivity for convenient, lightweight, mobile flexibility.

Users can choose the type of camera cable with a simple switch at the CCU, combined with mounting the docking FA fiber adapter (or TA triax adapter) to the camera head. An optional 1080/60p dual-processing capability is also available.

At ICTV, the HDK-77EC will be used with the compact, lightweight Ikegami BS-89 fiber base station to provide sufficient power to the camera for prompters in studio applications and for long-distance signal transmission of up to 2000 meters using standard SMPTE fiber. The camera system will also provide full functionality using a pair of simple single-mode fibers when power is supplied at the camera side of the fiber run.

“We have no relevant distance limitations with fiber, which is a big advantage,” Priester notes. “If ICTV has a major production going on at the new Athletics and Events Center, they’ll be able to switch it from the Roy H. Park School of School of Communications building, which includes a master control center (and two television studios). We expect to do all switching and camera control from there, and the hybrid fiber arrangement allows us to do that very easily at a very reasonable cost.”

“We also like the fact that our HDK-77EC cameras don’t corner us into not being able to do the highest resolution someday if we wanted to,” he adds. “For HD we’re doing 1080i now, but if we ever wanted to do progressive, we could. Our fiber infrastructure allows us to do 1080/60p 3G-SDI HD, should we ever want to in the future.”

Tripod-mounted and configured for studio and field use with Ikegami HLM-904 16:9 color LCD viewfinders, Ithaca College’s four HDK-77EC cameras provide students with real-world experience on one of the industry’s most advanced HD camera systems. The student-run ICTV unit produces hundreds of hours of programming each semester that is distributed through a local cable access channel to 26,000 households and streamed on the Internet. Other than a staff general manager and technicians, ICTV is virtually all student-run.

“ICTV provides students with serious hands-on production experience,” Priester explains. “Many Ithaca College alumni have gone on to important careers in television and media.”

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