News: U.S. Bank Arena Upgrades Hockey Coverage to HD with Broadcast Pix Granite X Integrated Production System
(Billerica, Massachusetts--March 20, 2014) When Jim Plummer, technical director for the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, was shopping for a new production switcher at the 2013 NAB Show, he kept coming back to Broadcast Pix™ integrated production switchers. His choice became even easier when he won a Flint™ system during the show, which the arena upgraded to a Granite™ X.
Home to the ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones, U.S. Bank Arena was built in 1975 had a major renovation in 1997, which included the installation of a Sony analog switcher with external DVE. As part of a 2013 upgrade to HD production, which also included new cameras and monitors, the new Granite was installed early last fall in time for the current hockey season.
According to Plummer, the downtown arena seats about 17,000 spectators and hosts more than 100 events per year, including concerts, NBA preseason games, and 36 Cyclones home games. The in-house, three-camera video production is primarily used for hockey coverage, as well as some preseason basketball games and some comedy concerts. A four-screen, center hung video board provides the most prominent view for fans during the game, but there are multiple small monitors throughout the concourse, suites, and on-site restaurant.
During each home hockey game, the director switches while a second operator coordinates graphics and roll-ins. “It works out very well for us,” Plummer explained. “With hockey, you don’t know when you’re getting a stop, so you have to set your cues and be ready to go.”
The control room team also houses light and audio operators, plus one person coordinating game operations and promotions.
U.S. Bank Arena uses several of the Granite’s 12 SDI outputs during productions. One delivers a feed of the high center camera to the coach’s office, where it is recorded for review. Another feed is recorded to DVD for league officials and the visiting team. Plus, the live game production is provided to America ONE Sports, an online provider of live and on-demand sports. “Those multiple outputs really help us out a lot,” Plummer said.
Most of the Granite’s built-in Fluent™ workflow tools have already been incorporated into productions. Granite’s clip, animation, and still stores have made it easy for Plummer and his team to incorporate graphics and sound effects for “Star Wars Night” and other themed events during the season. Plus, Fluent-View, the customizable multi-view, quickly became a favorite feature among the directors, who have created different layouts for hockey, basketball, and concerts.
The optional Fluent Rapid CG feeds score and game clock data directly from the Daktronics scoreboard into graphics produced with the integrated Harris Inscriber CG. Fluent Rapid CG also manages data from an XML feed, so lower-third graphics can include real-time player statistics. “It makes things so much easier,” Plummer added.
Fluent Macros, Granite’s file-based macros system, is being used to create complex transitions and effects. Some transitions, for example, now feature the Cyclones logo, an effect that could not be produced using the previous equipment. Plummer is also planning to incorporate cloud-based content such as Twitter feeds and Instagram pictures into live productions. “It’s something we couldn’t do before,” he said.
With more than half the hockey season complete, people are noticing the improved production values, and Plummer is very pleased with the new Broadcast Pix system. “We love it,” he said. “It does everything we want it to do. The more games we do, the more comfortable we’re getting and incorporating more into the production.”
Broadcast Pix will have two raffles during the 2014 NAB Show (Booth SL6325), which runs April 7-10 in Las Vegas, Nev. Attendees will have the opportunity to win a new fX3D real-time 3D graphics software package on April 8 and a Flint integrated production switcher on April 9. Raffle instructions will be available at the Broadcast Pix booth.
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About Broadcast Pix
Founded in 2002, Broadcast Pix is the leader in integrated production switchers, with customers in more than 110 countries. Available in several configurations, from compact systems with end-to-end integration to large-scale systems for high-end live productions, Broadcast Pix switchers include CG, dual clip stores, file-based macros, external control software, and customizable multi-view and virtual sets with patented control options. Broadcast Pix also offers ReVue next generation slow motion systems, fX3D real-time 3D graphics, Rapid CG dynamic graphic playout software, and VOX voice-automated live video production, each designed to enhance our highly integrated live production switchers. Customers include leading broadcast, corporate, education, government, religious, sports, streaming, and visual radio studios. Learn more at http://www.broadcastpix.com.