NESN relies on HD box cameras, fiber remote control for Bruins, Red Sox productions

Regional sports network New England Sports Network (NESN) has installed two Hitachi DK-H32 HDTV remote box cameras running via bidirectional fiber-optic network from Telecast Fiber Systems for the production of pre-game, intermission and post-game shows for Boston Bruins hockey games and pre-game shows for Boston Red Sox games.

NESN controls the two Hitachi remote cameras from its HD TV network operations facility in Watertown, MA. For Bruins games, live HD video, SD video, audio and data are transmitted across the 18mi separating TD Banknorth Garden and NESN’s operations facility via bidirectional Telecast Viper II fiber-optic system.

The cameras are mounted on Eagle PT-101 robotic pan-and-tilt heads that hang from the garden’s lighting grid, providing different viewing angles from above the ice. The cameras, pan/tilt systems and Fujinon HAs18x7.6 HD lenses can all be controlled remotely via the fiber network.

From the control room, a technical director switches the Hitachi cameras’ HDTV serial digital video for NESN’s live Bruins pre-game, intermission and post-game shows. NESN also maintains a live studio on the fifth floor of TD Banknorth Garden, which plays a key role in producing and broadcasting the live, end-to-end event coverage.

Prior to the initial use of the Hitachi DK-H32 cameras in October 2007, NESN produced its pre-game and post-game shows, and other interstitial programming, using traditional HDTV studio cameras that required a cameraperson for operation.

In March, NESN anticipates taking the two Hitachi DK-H32s to Florida to cover Boston Red Sox spring training. Once the regular season is underway, the Hitachi cameras will be relocated to Fenway Park to provide an announce booth talent shot during Red Sox home games and crowd shots during the pre-game show from a street adjacent to the ballpark. While the cameras for the HDTV pre-game stage are manned, the remote box cameras will be controlled from Watertown.

The Watertown control room has full control over every aspect of camera and lens operation, including iris, black levels, focus, pan, tilt, zoom and color painting and color correction — with the ability to control both Hitachi cameras simultaneously over the Telecast system. The Telecast Viper II system enables NESN to transmit uncompressed 1080i HD signals in both directions. Audio, intercom, data and Ethernet signals are also part of the signal bundle.

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