Westlake High School tackles football coverage in HD with Broadcast Pix

The Westlake High School Chaparrals, in Austin, TX, open their football season Aug. 28, and the game will be covered in HD using a new Slate 5016Ghh integrated production system from Broadcast Pix. Westlake recently upgraded its video production capabilities as part of a renovation of the school’s 25-year-old Westlake Community Performing Arts Center.

At football games, student members of the Westlake Technical Entertainment Crew handle all production aspects of the game coverage, from pulling cables to directing the show. Westlake students had been working with a makeshift control room setup at the stadium built around an old analog switcher and a basic graphics system. All video inserts, from bumps to commercials, were fed via a DVD player.

The games will be shot using four Sony HDC1400R cameras with Fujinon lenses. Westlake also invested in two Sony PDW-700 camcorders that are permanently installed in the art center’s auditorium, which has been renovated to support a six-camera production. A Yamaha digital audio mixer in the center handles audio for home games; on the road, the crew uses a small Mackie mixer.

This season will be the team’s seventh with video coverage and its first in HD. The Westlake video program was developed after the school district renovated the football stadium and added a video board. School officials realized they needed to produce content for it. For the past five years, the school’s football coverage has been replayed on Sunday nights locally; however, one of the cable operator’s conditions for airing the football games is that Westlake shoots the team’s away games as well. As a result, the control room equipment has to be housed in flypacks that can be transported to other stadiums.

Beyond the built-in HD Inscriber CG, clip and graphic stores and multiview, Westlake is taking advantage of the Slate 5016Ghh’s integrated router. Each game will be recorded to HDV tape, hard disk and Panasonic P2 solid-state memory, as well as three additional Panasonic P2 decks for slow-motion replays. A DVCAM version is also recorded for Time Warner Cable, because the game is still broadcast in SD (although it is presented in 16:9).

The recent renovation, funded by a local bond issue, also included fiber connectivity to the football stadium, which allowed Poole to move the control room to the arts center across campus and use the video equipment for other projects.