Fujinon at Center of Workflow Behind Seattle Mariners New Video Board

The Seattle Mariners debuted a new Panasonic Lighthouse HD LED video display at the start of the season. The board features images caught from new HD camera equipment featuring FUJINON lenses.

fujinonThe new camera equipment includes: two Grass Valley LDX 80 Premiere multi-format studio/field cameras paired with two FUJINON XA77x9.5 HD telephoto field lenses. The Seattle Mariners also ordered a FUJINON HA14x4.5 super wide-angle HD ENG/EFP lens for use on a Sony PMW500-HD02 XDCAM camcorder. A second XDCAM camcorder is paired with a FUJINON ZA22x7.6BERD ENG/EFP HD lens acquired last year.

Since the new camera equipment was installed and commissioned in late March 2013, it has been used for game-day entertainment at Safeco Field—the home ballpark for The Seattle Mariners—starting with the 2013 season opener. It has also been used to support and enhance a variety of community events, including a private Microsoft corporate party and a series of high school baseball games held at Safeco.

“Considering the size of our new, widescreen HD video board, it’s critical to have acquisition gear that can produce exceptional HD picture quality that stays clear and sharp on such a massive display,” said Yezmin E. Blue, BSCS, CBTE, manager of broadcast engineering for the Seattle Mariners. The new 11,425 square foot Panasonic LED display is roughly eight times larger than the Safeco’s previous video display.

“With 81 regular season home games and over 450 private events annually, our cameras and lenses are in constant use, often in windy, rainy, or dusty conditions,” Blue added. “We’re committed to producing the best possible big-screen video show and these rugged, reliable FUJINON lenses enable us to do that.”

After the public had a chance to see the new 1080i HD video display and camera equipment at an Open House and media event prior to the start of the 2013 season and during the season opener, the gear was used for a double-header featuring two Seattle high school baseball teams on April 20, 2013. These new resources were also used on May 2, 2013 when Safeco hosted a private party held by Microsoft to honor 750 employees who had reached their 10-year anniversary with the company.

“During the high school games, we featured the student athletes on our video board in Major League Baseball style,” said Blue. “For the Microsoft party, our cameras captured all the day’s activities for the video screen, including the fun the employees had running the bases, enjoying food in our private clubs, as well as the special music concert held in their honor that evening.”

To cover action on the field, the two studio cameras are situated on tripods on the club level behind home plate. Video signals are carried over 1,000 feet via triax cable to the control room, also on the club level, where they’re switched using a Ross Vision production switcher. The two camcorders are shoulder-mounted, and VistaLink HD RF wireless transmission systems enable the operators to freely rove the stands for crowd shots. The video for the HD screen is also displayed on TVs throughout the concourse and suites.

“When you make a significant investment in production equipment, you want assurance that the vendor stands behind its product. With our new broadcast-grade lenses, I can honestly say that the service we’ve received from FUJINON Sales Rep Josh Ewing has been outstanding,” Blue said. “When I recently requested a lens cleaning kit, Josh came out to Safeco with supplies, and even gave our technicians an impromptu demonstration on the proper way to clean and care for the lenses. I’ve been very impressed with our FUJINON lenses and the manufacturer’s commitment to excellent customer service.”

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