Prudential Center, home to the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and NCAA's Seton Hall Pirates men's basketball team, has upgraded to Panasonic AK-HC5000 HD HDR studio/field camera systems for all in-game presentation on the arena’s massive center-hung LED scoreboards. In addition to capturing game action, the four AK-HC5000s and an AW-UE150 4K/HD 60p pan/tilt/zoom camera enhance the fan experience, including fan shots, player warm-ups, and timeout features.
Concurrently, Prudential Center’s content production department is using Panasonic’s VariCam LT 4K and AU-EVA1 5.75K cinema cameras for large-and smaller-scale production assignments.
“Prudential Center has been a Panasonic house since it opened in 2007,” said Joe Kuchie, senior manager, scoreboard and live production, Prudential Center and New Jersey Devils. “Our video board is used for various live events, including New Jersey Devils hockey, Seton Hall University basketball, multiple graduations, and select concerts and family shows. As a top-ten venue in the world, we need top-of-the-line and reliable equipment and that is what we have found with our partner Panasonic. Previously, we had used three DVCPRO HD tape-based cameras for board feeds. To replace our aging gear, we felt it was necessary to get a model that was similar—the HC5000—to make the transition easy for our operators. We could not be happier with the product.”
In terms of camera placement, two stationary AK-HC5000s are situated on tripods across from each other on either side of the rink, behind the lower section of seats. These cameras are placed on raised platforms that afford a good view of the ice action. Two roaming AK-HC5000s are used during timeouts in the action as fan cams or for in-game contests or presentations.
Prudential Center is also using the AW-UE150 PTZ camera mounted in the catwalk to afford a permanent live shot of the DJ and Organist for in-game features. “We go to our DJ each game and our organist at least 20 times a season, and the UE150 gives us the flexibility to free up our other camera operators to roam the building and not be locked down on a specific location for an extended period of time,” Kuchie said. “We went with this 4K model because we want to provide the best possible picture quality for our scoreboard and our fans.”
“The new cameras have been up and running since September and have significantly improved the picture quality to our scoreboard,” Kuchie said. “The purchase of a fourth HC5000 on the reverse side opened up a new world of potential fan shots and game situational angles that we could not produce previously.”
Regarding lensing, Kuchie said, “We have two Canon HJ24EX7.5B IASE 2/3-inch 4K/HD lenses for our two RF HC5000s that roam the building, and two Fuji XA55x9.5BESM HD lenses w/ Semi Servo Control for the two stationary cameras. The video board production format is 1080i/59.94.
Sergio Camacho, director, content production, explained that the New Jersey Devils Studios produce content that is seen nationally and regionally on the NHL and MSG networks. “Our department handles production needs ranging from in-game capture of Devils games to in-bowl audience reactions, to special projects in-studio, small- and large-scale post productions ranging from social media vignettes to national broadcast TV episodes, and global brand TV commercials from GEICO to Pepsi.”
“Generally, we’re using the EVA1 for in-bowl captures, Devils’ game action and smaller-scale productions, and the VariCam LT for large national broadcast documentaries, TV commercials, and web episodic in 4K HDR,” he added.
“The dual ISO for low-light captures on a more reasonable budget compared to the Red Gemini, which fits our needs as we shoot lots of hockey moments in very low light and spaces with non-ideal lighting conditions,” Camacho said.