The latest happenings from around the world of sports

Devil Rays acquire stadium images with XDCAM

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ production unit, RayVision, has upgraded its video production capabilities with a new streamlined SDI video control room and post-production facility at Tropicana Field.

At the heart of the new workflow is Sony’s XDCAM Professional Disc System, which is now being used to acquire and feed live video to the stadium’s 35ft by 65ft video scoreboard during games. The team is also making extensive use of the XDCAM camera’s in-camera editing, thumbnail previews via LCD screen and high-speed content transfer to nonlinear editing systems.

The XDCAM system allows crews to capture high-quality footage that they can go back to and easily pull content from to be used to create highlight reels, promotional videos and commercials for TV broadcast.

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ESPN adds production pizzazz to NCAA baseball championship games

For a third consecutive year, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU is televising up to 55 games of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship from June 1-25, including complete coverage from two Regionals, all eight Super Regionals and every College World Series contest.

Once again, ESPN and ESPN2 will jointly televise the entire Men’s College World Series (June 15-25), with every game in HD on ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD.

For the first time, this year’s on-air graphics will feature the score bar positioned along the top of the screen. ESPN and ESPN2 will also employ an on-field handheld camera on the College World Series telecasts, bringing viewers live shots of home run celebrations, head coaches’ trips to the mound, batters in the on-deck circle and more.

For the second year, coverage will feature a device that tracks statistical probabilities for key situations for the entire three-week tournament. In addition, every umpire will wear a microphone to capture the sounds of the game.

The dead center camera is placed in centerfield and shoots directly in line with the pitcher and catcher at an elevated height that allows viewers to see directly over the pitcher’s head, providing a true depiction of pitch location.

DIRECTV’s Red Zone adds Quantel Enterprise sQ system

Satellite broadcaster DIRECTV is now installing a Quantel Enterprise sQ server-based sports production system for its Red Zone Channel. The Red Zone Channel, an exclusive DIRECTV service available to NFL Sunday Ticket customers who subscribe to the Superfan option, delivers big plays and significant moments from NFL games as they happen.

The system comprises five Enterprise sQ servers that are controlled by Quantel’s sQ Record and sQ Play ingest and playout automation stations. Browsing the material on the Enterprise sQ server is accomplished in low resolution at the 10 sQ View and sQ Edit stations. These will form part of the general DIRECTV network and make shot selection ready for refining on the six sQ Edit Plus HD craft editors. The complete system environment is based on Quantel’s database management system ISA (Integrated Server Architecture), which locks browse and broadcast material together under a single systemwide database.

The Enterprise sQ server system will be integrated with Dixon Sports Computing and will allow DIRECTV to track multiple, simultaneous NFL games. The scores and plays can be broadcast as they happen or saved on the server for future playout. Meanwhile, editors can make highlights packages on the fly. Future plans for the system include interactive NASCAR coverage where the viewers can choose which driver to follow through multiple in-car cameras.

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