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02.19.2013
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
NBA All-Star Game fans witness 1080p slam dunk

This weekend, the eyes of NBA fans were on the Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets and venue for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game.

With dual 25ft-by-58ft HD video screens, fans on hand for the West’s win were treated to imagery on those behemoths courtesy of four Ikegami HDK-77EC HD native multiformat CMOS cameras.

The Rockets’ new board is the centerpiece of a $15 million upgrade to the Toyota Center, and the team’s cameras are an essential part of the video production center’s switch to 1080p HD. “When you graduate to a board this size, you do not want to compromise on image quality,” says Joe Abercrombie, senior production manager/producer for the Houston Rockets. “The screen is like a hot rod, but you’ve got to have the engine to go with it — that’s where the Ikegami cameras come in.”

The Toyota Center’s enormous video screens are capped by two additional 25ft-by-25ft screens, creating what is among the largest combined viewing area of any indoor center-hung scoreboard currently used in the country. In addition to shooting the live in-game action, Abercrombie and his team rely on their cameras to produce a wide range of content which Rockets’ fans view on the massive display.

“We use our Ikegami cameras to produce the entire show,” says Abercrombie. “That includes all player introductions, timeout videos, and sponsored elements. We’re on for the entire game, and we never take a break.”

“I love the CMOS sensor of the Ikegami HDK-77EC,” he continues. “It’s a great sensor with an extremely wide range — just amazing picture quality. The camera itself is very robust. It’s a big, tough rig, which is important because our camera operators get run over all the time by NBA players.”

The Ikegami HDK-77EC is docking-style portable multiformat HD camera with CMOS imaging sensors for 1080i/720p HD format flexibility, lower power consumption and reduced operating temperature. The Houston Rockets especially appreciate the flexibility of the HDK-77EC, with its ability to switch between fiber or triax cable use.

“One reason we went with these cameras was to take advantage of our existing triax infrastructure,” says Abercrombie. “The Ikegami HDK-77EC gave us the ability to reduce our overall costs, by bypassing an entire fiber overhaul.  

We weren’t compromising image quality, and we were able to use the savings to purchase a fourth camera."



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