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BMS Makes Double Play in Detroit

Dan Thoms (L), Joseph Productions operations manager and Bob Meloche, broadcast manager, discuss antenna placement.
LIVONIA, MICH.
As broadcast manager for Joseph Productions, I'm responsible for the acquisition and maintenance of equipment used to produce the scoreboard entertainment for the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.

Last June I received a call from the Tigers, informing me that Tim Noonan, a Broadcast Microwave Services (BMS) sales representative, would be dropping by to demo a wireless camera system and invited me to come over and take a look.

Thank goodness I did, because we needed what they were selling.

We'd been using an older analog microwave system that was unreliable at best and we needed to add more mobile camera shots in our productions.

BMS was demonstrating their CT2430SD/DR2524 low delay camera-back transmitter/receiver system that uses COFDM and promised a much more stable signal. And with its 1 Watt power output it has the ability to extend coverage well beyond line-of-sight.

VIDEO FROM FAR AWAY

As the COFDM receiver picks up signal reflections from every direction, we would be able to expand our coverage significantly. During the demo, we got pictures from areas of the ballpark that we'd never seen before, and the video was rock solid. The production crew's opinion was unanimous in favor of acquiring the system, with the only question being how soon we could take delivery.

We also decided to arrange a demo during one of the Red Wings early season exhibition games. The NHL team plays in an older steel and concrete block facility in downtown Detroit that has always created wireless camera coverage problems. We wanted to see just how much the BMS system would help us here.

The control room and equipment core is suspended above the ice and we decided to place the receiver and antennas in one of the spotlight nests above the playing surface. We attached the transmitter to our camera and turned the cameraman loose.

We then sat back and waited for what we assumed would be better coverage and stability. We were truly amazed, as the video never once froze or became unusable during the game. We had stable, high-quality pictures from hallways, and locker rooms deep inside the arena where no one ever even tried to go before. It was truly an eye opening experience.

After the game, we asked if we could keep the demo unit for the games later in the week to show upper management what we'd discovered. Tim agreed and left the system with us. Needless to say, the results were the same at the other games and we were given the nod to purchase this system. And the really nice part was not only the high quality video, but also a price that was more than reasonable.

REALLY SPEEDY DELIVERY

The season was due to start right away, and we needed to have the system installed and running very quickly. Tim put in a rush order and offered to let us use his personal demo unit until ours arrived. Normally, it takes 60 days for delivery as these systems are not off-the-shelf items, but the factory guys really put a rush on it and our system arrived within a month. We're now able to offer our audience the enhanced production values that this wireless system provides with no interruptions.

Bob Meloche is broadcast manager for Joseph Productions in Livonia, Michigan. He may be contacted atbmeloche@jpitel.com.

For additional information, contact Broadcast Microwave Services at 800-669-9667 or visitwww.broadcastmicrowave.com.