Panasonic Powers Iowa Cubs’ Scoreboard

DES MOINES, IOWA—AVI Systems, a Minneapolis-based A/V and broadcast systems integrator, recently outfitted Principal Park—a 11,500 seat baseball stadium in Des Moines and home to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs baseball team—with an extensive Panasonic camera and switcher system to feed the facility’s new HD LED scoreboard.

The Iowa Cubs use Panasonic’s AK-HC3800 and AJ-PX800 cameras to capture Minor League Baseball action. Beyond this outdoor display, the signals from the three AK-HC3800 camera systems and an AJ-PX800 AVC-Ultra camcorder provide video through their Panasonic AV-HS410 production switcher to an internal cable system for live game coverage throughout Principal Park’s concourses and skyboxes. A signal is also sent to stream the games live on, the official website for Minor League Baseball.

When we met with the Cubs’ production team last fall, they didn’t look much further than the Panasonic. Video Director Justin Walters was very impressed with the image clarity of the HC3800s and the camera’s ability to color match, as well as the ease of operation. There was an immediate understanding that the staff of college interns could use the PX800 camcorder for roving portable video acquisition to give them a range of audience shots that they never had before.

AVI Systems installed the new equipment in February and March, and everything was ready well in advance of the Cubs’ season opener in April. We placed two of the HC3800s in the stadium seating above first base and third base. The main HC3800 camera is mounted on the upper level of the stadium directly behind home plate. The camera signals are sent via SMPTE fiber to the camera control units in the control room on the third level of the stadium, also behind home plate.

The Cubs purchased the complete HC3800 camera systems, including AKHCU200 CCUs, AK-HDRP200 remote panels, and AK-HVF70G 7-inch color LCD viewfinders and Fujinon XA20sx8.5 BERM lens with lens controls.

The three rackmounted CCUs are connected to the HC3800s via SMPTE hybrid fiber. Even though we didn’t need the distance, the SMPTE cable can pass signals of up to 1,000 meters to provide uncompressed video, communication, camera control and power over a single compound cable. The three camera remote panels are located next to the director in the control room, where one of the crew is assigned to shade each camera. This operator monitors the cameras with a Panasonic BT-LH2170 21-inch LCD monitor and uses the monitor’s internal waveform vectorscope to view and adjust camera settings.

The PX800 is equipped with a Wave Central wireless video transmitter receiver system. The AVC-Ultra camcorder has been color matched to the HC3800s, and has really enhanced the versatility of the Cubs’ in-game production. Previously, with their aging SD equipment, they were limited in getting the kind of crowd color coverage that now makes the scoreboard pop.

The Iowa Cubs absolutely love the new camera systems and we’d like to think we “hit one out of the park” for a franchise that regularly sends up players to the big show at Wrigley Field.

Les Hofland is the system specialist for AVI Systems. Les can be reached atles.hofland@avisystems.comor call 515-323-7302.

For additional information, contact Panasonic at 877-803-8492 or (opens in new tab).