The Buzz: Installation Spotlight: Izod Center, East Rutherford, N.J.
Dec 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Jessaca Gutierrez
With the departure of the New Jersey Devils hockey team from the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., for a new home at the Prudential Center in Newark, the New Jersey Nets basketball team became the Izod's sole sports tenant. Previously, the two teams shared the arena. With the Devils' move, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the Nets decided it was the perfect time to do an audiovisual upgrade to the facility's event control room to equip it to be better focused on the Nets' game-day needs.
Originally, the event control room included an old analog-based system that required an intensive and time-consuming workflow to cut together game-day video content, such as highlight reels. The other obstacle for operators was the small footprint of the control room, which was only about 10'×10'. With CRT monitors and much of the old, large analog equipment eating up the space, getting around the room was difficult for the operators' largely on-the-fly workflow. Converting the analog system to digital would also open up the space.
Having had prior experience installing AV systems in more than 40 arenas and stadiums, integration company Diversified Systems spec'd the space as it would a mobile production setup, considering the size of the space is similar to the layout of a broadcast truck.
“Basically, it's a long, narrow room, so that presented certain design challenges and limited us on how much hardware we could put in there,” says Kevin Collins, COO of Diversified Systems. “So everything we put in was really value-assessed — if it occupied X amount of rack-unit space, it had to have multiple functions.”
After a complete gut of the room, Diversified Systems replaced the deep, space-sucking CRT monitors with three Samsung SyncMaster 400DX 40in. LCD monitors. The original Thomson Grass Valley Kayak switcher was kept. The most welcome piece in the installation design, however, was four For-A MV-16S multidisplay processors, along with five For-A MV-410RGB quad multiviewers and 10 For-A UFM-145DFS frame synchronizers. The processors give the control operators impressive capabilities that they didn't have before. For example, now they can set up different game-day scenarios on the monitor wall based on the type of event they're doing, or they can tap into broadcaster flying or remote camera feeds — such as those provided by CBS or Fox — and place that footage on the arena videoboard for fans to see.
“[Now] the people that operate the room can set up their favorite way of working, save it as a memory, and call it up by a keystroke — which is quite a leap for them, [along with] the ability to remotely control the frame syncs and time feeds into the system, so that you can, on the fly, pick up an external signal and bring it in as part of the in-the-arena, game-day show on the board,” Collins says.
The upgrade was a natural decision because these days, it pays to go digital.
“If you're not digital, you are spending a lot of money on converting it back to analog, which is just a painful thing to spend money on,” Collins says.
After the five weeks it took to complete the installation and a few last-minute setup changes, all the systems came online flawlessly, according to officials at the arena. Now the production team can do acquisition in a digital format and turn content around for distribution much faster.
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