Case Study: MASN Combats Outdoor Elements With Creamsource LED Lighting

When it came time for Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) to upgrade its over eight-year-old lighting for its pre/postgame show at Oriole Park at Camden Yards — home of the Baltimore Orioles — the major concern was how to battle against the sun glare that was reflected into the back of the set during sunset by a warehouse just outside the stadium. This would be a pre-season team effort by MASN, Dragon Lighting and Barbizon Lighting, which would also include lighting upgrades to the press room, the hallway outside the Orioles’ clubhouse and the main broadcast booth. Chosen for this task were a total of 17 Creamsource Micro LEDs and six Creamsource Mini + LEDs.

“With first generation LED lighting fixtures now over eight years old, I found myself replacing or repairing lots of panels over the years, and that didn’t seem cost-effective,” said Drexel Wright, Senior Technical Manager, MASN. “I wanted a more rugged fixture for our open-air covered pre/postgame set, where we could leave most of them hung year-round. Also, the glare from the warehouse when the sun is setting is a huge challenge. In the past, I had to add HMI 800 Jokers as a kicker.”

Baltimore experiences wide temperature swings and humidity, which meant that a high IP rating was a must for the pre/post set, plus the lighting fixtures needed to have enough throw to meet MASN’s needs — without the need for an overwhelming light grid. With its 8-foot high grid, the maximum size that was specified when the project went out for bid was 1×1-foot, to accommodate guests and athletes without having to have them duck as they entered the set.

“We knew what we wanted for size and kick, so with JR Roberson of Dragon Lighting — who does the lighting for MASN and the Orioles — we put the project out for bid,” said Wright. “JR came back with the Barbizon Lighting package with Creamsource as the fill lighting for the pre/post set, which turned out to be a very solid move for us.”

But for Roberson, President and CEO of Dragon Lighting, being introduced to Creamsource by Barbizon Lighting was an enlightening experience. “I wanted to see what the Creamsource Minis could do, so Barbizon brought a fixture out to the set with several different lenses so I could see the spread,” said Roberson. “I took my readings and the numbers came out right. I was sold, not just for the pre/post set, but for the other areas as well, where I could use Creamsource Minis In fact, they were so good, I was able to downsize the press room from five fixtures we previously used to two Creamsource Minis, making the ceiling less overwhelming.”

When the press room isn’t available, MASN uses the hallway outside the Orioles’ clubhouse, where Roberson placed two Minis — giving him two Minis to use as spares. And for a bit of extra kick, he also added one Micro to the game broadcast booth grid.

“I like Creamsource, but I would have never have thought of it until Barbizon showed me ‘the light’,” said Roberson. “They’re small and rated at IP65 for weather resistance, and the blue finish just pops on the set, as opposed to the standard black other fixtures we use that blend into the grid. Folks come in and look up, and they say how good the set looks — and they’re looking at the blue colored Minis.”

For the pre/post set, Barbizon Lighting also added four AAdynTech JAB Hurricane LED lights for key and a standalone ETC Echo Touch system so MASN’s crew could have touchscreen lighting presets, which Roberson programmed for daytime sun, daytime cloud, twilight, night and other lighting situations.

“Selecting the Creamsource Micros and Minis for MASN’s bid was easy,” said Brian Diltz, Barbizon Lighting’s Systems Integrator. “The IP65 outdoor rating was one of the main factors, but when you add in the fanless and quiet operation, and that the DMX control lets us put all the fixtures under one controller, it makes the system more flexible and simplifies operation. With the JAB and the Micro in the pre/post grids, they now have enough punch to compete against the sunlight in the background.”

The entire setup took Barbizon Lighting three days for all four locations, including the installation of the ETC Echo Touch in MASN’s control room.

“It was a great installation and everything went according to plan,” said Diltz.

For the game broadcast booth, press room and hallway Creamsource fixtures, Roberson relied on the built-in LCD display and 4-button keypad controller on each light. “I set it and that was all there was to it. In the press room, the crew just turns on a standard wall light switch to give power to the Minis. For the hallway, the crew just takes the power cable from the ceiling and plugs it in. It really couldn’t be any simpler — and working with the video shaders, they know exactly what to do to get the look that’s needed.

“The day before we went on air this season, we set levels to see what would work well compared to the previous season,” said Roberson. “While we had to make some minor changes in the truck, those changes were very easy to make, with very little painting on the video end.”

MASN was so impressed with the Camden Yards installation that they will be using Creamsource in a similar situation at Nationals Park — home of the Washington Nationals — and in their studio at MASN headquarters.

“If you’re in the market for new fixtures, considering the Creamsource is well worth the time it takes to demo a light or directly switch to them,” said Wright. “It’s a very safe move with a solid light fixture that has a maximum color array with spectacular color temperature range. And the ETC Echo Touch touchscreen controller works well for non-technical folks, such as stage managers, who can operate unlimited presets for various conditions. What we have now is state-of-the-art.”