When Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005, YES Productions’ 48-foot Mobile Unit II was sitting in a parking garage that flooded. As a result, the truck stood in six-foot deep floodwaters for two weeks and was a total loss. Also destroyed was the truck’s video and audio production gear—including the production switcher, Ikegami cameras, and Fujinon broadcast lenses.
Before Katrina hit, YES Productions, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of WYES-TV, New Orleans, owned two large mobile units that were available for hire primarily by national and regional sports networks. Fortunately, YES Mobile Unit I had been driven to Houston because it was booked for a sports broadcast and was spared damage by the storm. But, Ikegami broadcast cameras and Fujinon lenses that were kept in the WYES-TV studios were also lost.
Today, Mobile Unit II, which had been destroyed in the Hurricane Katrina, has been replaced with a brand new 53-foot expando HD trailer outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment—including the Grass Valley Kalypso HD production switcher and EVS Live Replay System.
The HD truck also carries nine Ikegami HDK-79 HDTV portable cameras with a wide assortment of Fujinon field and ENG/EFP HDTV lenses. These include two XA101x8.9ESM Super Telephoto field lenses; four XA87x9.3ESM telephoto lenses; three HA22x7.3ERM/ERD high-performance ENG lenses; and one HA13x4.5ERM/ERD Super Wide Angle lens.
“Right now, many sports networks are going HD. And they are looking for the best quality equipment we can provide,” said Jim Moriarty, vice president and general manager for YES Productions, based in New Orleans. “So we carry Fujinon HD lenses because everyone likes the HDTV images they capture. Between all of the lenses on the truck, our clients can capture everything from the full view of the playing field to extreme close-ups of the players’ faces. And the Image Stabilization capability, which is vital to the live sports application, is quite amazing.”
Among the sports events that YES’ two mobile units have traveled to recently are: New Orleans Hornets Basketball (NBA); Louisiana State University (LSU) college football games, and over 100 other college and high school sports events broadcast annually by Cox Sports, a regional sports cable network serving the Southeastern United States.
In managing large mobile units, one of the biggest concerns is the weight of the vehicle when it’s fully loaded. For this reason, Moriarty said, “We only carry enough lenses for each of the cameras, plus one additional wide angle lens. So, if we have a problem with one of them, we have to get the matter resolved quickly, ideally within 24 hours, or the live show could be compromised. Our Fujinon sales representative, Dave Waddell, has been superb making sure we don’t have any issues.”
While YES Productions hasn’t had any technical problems with its Fujinon lenses, whatever they’ve needed, Moriarty said, “Fujinon has gone above and beyond with excellent customer service. Good customer support is huge for a busy mobile video business. We’ve been a long-time Fujinon customer because of the excellent service they have consistently provided us over the years.”
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