Alabama Taps Hitachi Cameras for Crimson Tide Facilities HD Upgrade
The University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, recently expanded its Bryant-Denny Stadium, one of the nation’s largest on-campus stadiums, and conducted a full HD video overhaul for game day entertainment within Bryant-Denny and its indoor stadium, Coleman Coliseum.
The HD upgrade included three new Hitachi SK-HD1000 HDTV studio/field cameras with Fujinon HD lenses. The camera system is composed of Hitachi’s CU-HD1000 camera control unit, RU-3400 remote control panel, and a custom fiber optic cable network.
“We took a great deal of time and care in selecting our camera package, since it’s a long-term investment for our facility,” says Justin Brant, Director of Crimson Tide Productions, University of Alabama. “We saw competitive cameras like the Sony HDC-1500 and found that the Hitachi compared favorably on picture quality but at a far more affordable price. Hitachi’s package pricing was extremely attractive, even when analyzing individual system components such as the lenses, CCU’s and remote set-up panels. Hitachi additionally offered technical advice that helped us pair the right lenses with our cameras and unique production needs.”
With the many students operating the cameras, ease of use was a determining decision factor for the school. “One of our chief concerns was that our new HD cameras be as user-friendly as possible,” says Brant. “When the cameras are used at Coleman Coliseum for men’s and women’s basketball and gymnastics, we give students the opportunity to operate them and gain experience. While many high-end, HD broadcast cameras have complex menus and switches, the Hitachi SK-HD1000 has a simple, intuitive interface, making it very easy to use.”
Additionally, remote setup on the SK-HD1000 cameras enables the video engineers to adjust the cameras remotely from the control room, including the control neutral density, color correction filters and white balance. The camera operators can then concentrate solely on operating the cameras and getting the best shots.
The SK-HD1000’s are low-noise, 2/3-inch (1080i/720p switchable) cameras, with 1,100 TVL of resolution, which University of Alabama runs in 1080i HD TV format.
The three Hitachi SK-HD1000’s are also used for remote production of three post-game shows seen on local television: “Coach Saban Show,” with football coach Nick Saban; the “Anthony Grant Show,” with men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant; and the “Sara Patterson Show,” with women’s gymnastics coach Sara Patterson.
The new HD control room in the Coleman Coliseum is equipped with a Ross Vision 3 multi-format production switcher, Pixel Power for live HD graphics, Grass Valley Dyno for HD replays, and a Yamaha digital mixer for audio. Daktronics HD displays are also deployed, including four in the football stadium and one system in the Coleman Coliseum.
The University of Alabama has 13 NCAA Championships in men’s football and four in women’s gymnastics; and its Men’s Basketball team has six Southeastern Conference (SEC) championships. For Crimson Tide football home games, the stands at Bryant-Denny Stadium are sold out with over 92,000 spectators and a waiting list of 30,000.