High-definition screen content continues to makes its way to the mainstream sports fan’s viewing experience, whether at a live event or watching on television. First, Helinet Aviation Systems provided high-definition aerial shots of the Staples Center during broadcasts of games 3, 4 and 6 of the recently completed Lakers-Timberwolves Western Conference Finals playoff series. Second, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks announced plans to replace their control room that feeds scoreboard images with a new HD product.
HDTV viewers of TNT’s broadcast of the three Laker home games were treated to breathtaking, live images of the Staples Center and downtown Los Angeles skyline that were shot with Helinet's recently introduced Helinet/Cineflex HiDEF camera system. With its long-distance image capture capabilities, the Helinet/Cineflex HiDEF platform allows broadcasters to offer never before possible live, high-definition aerial images and has applications for sporting events, motion pictures, electronic newsgathering (ENG) and law enforcement.
Meanwhile, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks will spend more than $1 million to task the Venue Services Group (VSG) to rebuild its control room in the Arrowhead Pond Arena. In addition to the reconstruction of the arena’s control room, VSG’s contract calls for a full update of all audio and video production equipment necessary to make the transition to HDTV. VSG will install SMPTE fiber to nine camera areas within the arena that are similar to those the company installed at the Fleet Center and Fenway Park in Boston, MA. VSG will provide full system design and integration. Work is scheduled for completion in August in time for the start of the 2004-05 NHL season. VSG may catch a break in that the start of the NHL season may be delayed anywhere from a few weeks to an entire year or beyond due to a potential work stoppage in the NHL. The league’s current collective bargaining agreement ends September 15 and the owners and players are very far from reaching a new contract.
The presence of HDTV screens into ballparks and arenas has proliferated in the past few years. In addition to VSG’s work in Anaheim and Boston, HDTV screens are now a part of arena experiences in New York, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Diego and San Francisco among other cities.