Broadcast News

Bookmark and Share

Hitachi HDTV: Major League Production To Minor League Baseball

News Image
When the Rocket City Trash Pandas – the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) Double-A Affiliate of Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Angels - relocated from Mobile, Alabama to the newly built, 7500-seat Toyota Field in Madison, Alabama, Hitachi Kokusai's Z‑HD5000 HDTV cameras where chosen to create superior in-venue, online, and televised fan experiences.

MiLB requires all of its franchises to offer games on its streaming service, but the Trash Pandas had even loftier goals for their video productions.

"We also want to put on what we consider to be a major league atmosphere in a minor league ballpark for fans attending the games," said Rob Sternberg, Senior Director, Production & Entertainment for the Rocket City Trash Pandas. "As such, we wanted our productions to be on par at least with the tippy-top of minor league stadiums, if not major league ballparks. Plus, I came to the Trash Pandas from the only MiLB team that had all of its home games available on cable television, so I wanted to accomplish that here too."

Sternberg's team had discerning criteria for the cameras and other equipment that would power their production operations, and even switched systems integrators during the project to ensure their goals would be met. "We wanted a professional-grade product that was going to look great on television, and also provide high quality for archival purposes. The equipment list from our initial integrator didn't seem to align with our objectives, so Conference Technologies Inc. (CTI) in Atlanta took over the project. CTI recommended Hitachi cameras, and after doing our own research, we agreed they were our best bet."

The Trash Pandas ordered five Z-HD5000 cameras in early 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the entire 2020 minor league baseball season. As a result, the team played its first home game in front of the new cameras in May 2021. Four of the cameras are stationed in fixed positions: behind home plate, center field, and near first base and third base at the ends of each dugout. The fifth is equipped with an ABonAir AB512 wireless transmitter and operated handheld for promotions, capturing footage of fans in the stands, and scenic shots for the broadcast.

The Trash Pandas video team produces two shows simultaneously with the same crew and equipment. The first is for in-venue fan engagement through Toyota Field's 65-foot by 25-foot Daktronics 15 HD main display in right field and recently added 30-foot by 4-foot ribbon display on the third base side, while the second is for broadcast. In addition to the live streams on, the Trash Pandas achieved Sternberg's goal by becoming only the second minor league baseball team – and only Double-A team – to have all of its home games on TV. Games are broadcast over the air on WAAY 31.6 "This TV" and carried by local cable providers including area leaders Xfinity and WOW! (WideOpenWest).

Sternberg notes that the Hitachi cameras' ease of use has been beneficial in allowing the team to rapidly achieve its production goals. "This is not our camera operators' full-time job, but they quickly got up to speed with using the Hitachi cameras quite well, even while juggling two shows at once," he said. "I'm not sure other solutions would have had such an easy learning curve."

Just as importantly, the cameras' outstanding visual quality enables the team to impress even the most critical viewers among its fanbase. "Quality is definitely very important, as we live in an area where many people are technology-savvy and in tune with the technical aspects of putting on a production," Sternberg explained. "We need to live up to their expectations, and to this point, our General Manager Garrett Fahrman, Vice President Lindsey Knupp and I believe we have done so."

While Sternberg has plans to continue enhancing the team's in-stadium experiences, the Z-HD5000s have already been key contributors to the Trash Pandas' successful inaugural season. "Our experience with the Hitachi cameras has been very good, from the value they offer to the ease of use and the quality of the content we're achieving with them," Sternberg summarized. "We couldn't ask for anything more."
Solidmate Ltd Memory Card Hire London

Top Related Stories
Click here for the latest broadcast news stories.

Pixit Media Adds To Team
Pixit Media has announced the addition of Jamie Bean to its team. With more than 20 years' experience in the Media and Entertainment industry, Bean jo
Axon Continues To Expand Team
Axon Digital Design has announced the expansion of its presence in the Russian Commonwealth with the appointment of Georg (Juri) Freibergers as Busine
dock10 Expands Team
dock10 has announced the appointment of Hannah Entwistle as Senior Producer in the VFX department. In her new role, Entwistle will work with, and mana
Version2 And LED Creative Team Up For Red Nose Day
Version 2 Lighting and LED Creative recently provided support to the crew and BBC Studios Production team for Red Nose Day 2017. This year's event was
Agile Remote Cameras Launches New PTZ Cameras & Controller
Agile Remote Cameras has announced the launch of two new PTZ cameras, each with a unique modular design, plus a desktop camera controller. The ARC360
'Making Their Mark' Shot With Cameras From Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design has announced that 'Making Their Mark', the Amazon Prime Video series that gives viewers access into the Australian Football League'
Gravity Media Debuts Globecam Speciality Cameras Unit
Gravity Media has been debuting its new Globecam speciality cameras unit across grounds in England and Wales this summer at The Hundred cricket tourna
CFN Acquires Studio Cameras From Hitachi Kokusai
The Catholic Faith Network (CFN) is a not-for-profit television organization that uses all forms of media to keep the Catholic community connected to
Team Talk Broadcast At Rugby Super League
Viewers of The Engage Rugby League Super League - which climaxed last Saturday with the Grand Final - have benefited from the flexibility of Bradley E
BBC Outside Broadcasts’ Special Cameras Team Pioneers HD Onboard Cameras
BBC Outside Broadcasts Special Cameras team recently pioneered HD onboard camera systems for the first time at Goodwood Revival Meeting. The meeting h
Rohde & Schwarz Team Up With zweiB
Rohde & Schwarz has teamed up once again with zweiB GmbH at the 35th International Munich Film Festival. The companies will use the R&S CLIPSTER maste
IMT Vislink And Movicom Team Up For Champions Hockey League Final
IMT Vislink and Movicom have collaborated to transmit referee point-of-view camera footage at this year's Champions Hockey League final. The companies
Production News : ITV2 Commissions Action Team
ITV2 has commissioned Action Team, a brand new 6 x 30 comedy from the creative talent behind award winning hit series Murder In Successville. Written
RTÉ Awarded Barclays Premier League Highlights
Ireland's national broadcaster have announced that it has been awarded the rights to broadcast Barclays Premier League soccer highlights for three sea
SPL Extend Relationship With BBC AlBA
The Scottish Premier League (SPL) and BBC ALBA today announced a new, ground-breaking two-year deal to continue coverage of the Clydesdale Bank Premie