University of Maine has deployed Hitachi Kokusai’s Z-HD5000 HDTV cameras for the capturing of live sports actions.

University of Maine shoots with Hitachi’s Z-HD5000

The deployment of the Z-HD5000 HDTV cameras has enhanced the university’s production processes for the streaming to ESPN3 and other social media platforms

With an objective to support new online and social media distribution opportunities, the Athletics department at the University of Maine has selected Z-HD5000 cameras from Hitachi Kokusai to deliver its live sports productions.

The university’s Maine Black Bears has been competing in the America East Conference of NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division I in most sports, except for hockey and football, which they compete in the Hockey East Conference and Colonial Athletic Association respectively.

While the university previously delivered live video production, the conference’s agreement to bring Maine Black Bears basketball games to multi-screen sports network ESPN3 required the school to deploy higher calibre workflows and solutions. For sports that are not aired on ESPN3, the school also wanted to deliver similar production values when streaming matches to social media platforms, including YouTube.

With prior experience in using Hitachi cameras for filming, Sam Hallett, director of digital content, University of Maine Athletics, said: “The camera doesn’t need much adjustment to look good in a variety of environments, giving me peace of mind when I deploy them in the field. The image quality is ‘night and day’ compared to the other cameras we had previously used, and the quality holds up very well even as available light diminishes, which is significant when we shoot outdoor sports such as baseball.”

The university currently uses two Z-HD5000s on tripods to provide main game and close-up shots, and has plans to add two additional handheld cameras on the sidelines in the near future.

Video, audio and intercom signals can be transported over a single SMPTE fibre cable per camera to half-rack width CU-HD1000 camera control units (CCUs) in custom flypacks, thus reducing cable runs and speeding set-up times as the equipment moves between venues.

Hallett concluded: “The Z-HD5000s have simplified the whole production process for us, taking a lot of the technical burden off the student operators so they can focus on the actual task at hand.

“From their visual quality and reliability to their ease of use, the result is that the cameras have made our overall production much better.”

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