SVC Podcast – Show Notes – Show 177-2
In this edition of the SVC Podcast, Contributing Editor Bennett Liles finishes his talk with Ben Cating of Idibri about the new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Spring training home of the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals. Ben describes a video coaching system that was installed with network video by Idibri. He also describes the opening day and assuring all tech systems were up and running correctly for the first game.
Links of interest:
- Idibri, technology designers in Dallas
- Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, Spring training home of the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros.
- Yamaha QL1 mixer
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This is the SVC Podcast from Sound & Video Contractor Magazine with Ben Cating of Idibri. Show notes and equipment links for the podcast are on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com.
Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is open for business and Idibri got the job done installing all of the sound, video, data and communications. Ben Cating is back to finish his story on how Idibri went into the project and came out with all systems working in time for the players and fans to hit the field for the opening game of spring training. That’s right here on the SVC Podcast.
Ben, thanks for getting with us for Part 2 on the SVC Podcast from Idibri in Dallas. Here to finish up the story on the brand new Ballpark of the Palm Beaches where the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros began spring training this year. Last week we talked about the general system setup and communication needs but I think there was something special here with a video coaching system that you installed on the project.
Yeah, absolutely. So with two baseball teams in and this being spring training, coaching video is very important to what they do and how they work with their players. So each ball team, the Nationals and the Astros, they each had a fairly extensive coaching video system. So in each clubhouse they have a central room where they have all their servers and media recording devices that connect to the network. And out on each practice field each team has two major league fields, four minor league fields, batting tunnels, pitching mound and agility field. From each of those different areas there’s four to six cameras that are connected to the network and that stream back to the main video room for each ball club. So they’re recording a lot of data and they’re analyzing that data, and then they sit down with the players and review that data after they do their practicing. [Timestamp: 2:05]
And that’s got to be a very valuable system for the teams.
Yeah. And we were responsible for all the data networks that connected to it and the video cameras on the far end; multiple pan/tilt/zoom and cameras for each of those locations. [Timestamp: 2:17]
That sounds like it was probably the most complex part of doing this whole thing. We’ve talked about the ballpark itself but that’s just one part of a lot of other spaces being set up and used in this complex.
Right, yeah. It’s a pretty large area.
A very large area to cover with network video. When you were working on this at the very beginning did you have a free reign to do whatever you needed to or I would think that you were working alongside of a lot of other trades in getting it all ready for the first game.
Yeah. There was definitely a lot of fingers in the pie, so to speak. So a lot of people to get it done. So local electricians, local infrastructure data cabling people, local AV guys. So there’s a hefty amount of crew behind this thing to make it all come together. [Timestamp: 2:59]
And I would think that with a project this complex it’s very important to keep things happening in the right order so you don’t end up with cables in your hand and nothing to plug them into yet.
Right, yeah. That’s kind of the part we play in the whole project is kind of overseeing everything and making sure that the owners’ needs are met and then everything does connect to where it needs to connect and everything operates the way it was intended and designed to operate. [Timestamp: 3:21]
Well, it all runs on power. What was the electrical situation here? Did you run into anything unusual with grounding or anything like that or was everything satisfactory on power?
Yeah, it actually turned out very well. Early on we provide electrical requirements in our design, just kind of overseeing those as they’re installed. Fairly hefty requirement at the truck dock, so we’ve got the ability to plug in two production trucks. And each of those trucks – we’ve got 400-amp feeders for each of those trucks. And Opening Day we did have two trucks producing the game, one for each of the teams, because on Opening Day the Nationals played the Astros so each of those teams had each of their networks there providing game coverage. [Timestamp: 4:01]
Okay, and that’s high-capacity, three-phase power for the big trucks.
Yes, absolutely. It’s 208, three-phase, 400-amp feeders.
Always so good to be able to just pull in and hook everything up without having to drag tons of copper around. You had to deal with Florida weather and that may sound very tame, but things can turn on a dime. Were there any delays for the weather sneaking up on you?
Yeah. There was one occasion when I was scheduled to go down there and they called me about four hours before my flight and said, “You know, we’ve got a hurricane coming this way so you might as well stay home.” So I stayed here in Texas for a couple of extra days before I went back out. So they had a few rain delays and times when they had to shut the site down, but in the end it all got done and they had a game on Opening Day. [Timestamp: 4:48]
Especially in Florida and the southeast at that time of year, if you don’t like the weather just wait a few minutes.
And the other things in the ballpark, they’ve got restaurants, bars, club decks, suites and you installed sound and video feeds to all those places?
Yeah. So like I mentioned, on the party deck up top you can buy a ticket that gets you onto kind of a party deck area where there’s a bar and there’s food. You can watch the game kind of overlooking a drink rail. And they’ve also got several concession stands built in. They’ve got portable concession stands as well, so lots of options. And they’ve got places for food trucks to pull in and they kind of have a food truck atmosphere on one of the sidelines, so it’s kind of unique. And yes, we’ve got audio to all those areas and then in addition, the site has a full IPTV system and we’ve got monitors in multiple locations distributing the game feed, but also other internal feeds that come across. [Timestamp: 5:48]
A lot of stuff to have working and a very hard deadline.
It has to all be working by the first game and you were there, I would think, for the opening game. Were you apprehensive or nervous about it at all?
We did some last-minute triage in the days before, getting all the systems online, but everything came up in good order and we were operational the first game. And really just the first couple of pitches just to make sure the PA was going to be outright and the video board was going to not all of a sudden die, so everything went off pretty well. [Timestamp: 6:19]
Well, on the broadcast of baseball games to make it as exciting as it is in the stands there’s a lot that goes into it, and if it were gone there would be no smack of the ball hitting the catcher’s glove and the crack of the bat. It just wouldn’t be the same at all.
But this one’s in the done column now so what’s coming up next for Idibri?
We’ve got a number of projects around the country. We also consult for large-screen display systems as we did here; there’s an outfield LED display. So we’ve got other projects, similar large-screen display projects, production control rooms. We do a lot in arenas as well, so we’ve got some arena sound systems we’re designing at the moment as well. So again, just a broad variety of projects that we’re involved with around the country and also worldwide. [Timestamp: 7:03]
I’m sure that keeps it interesting. Thanks for being with us for this one. It’s Ben Cating from Idibri in Dallas and the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, spring training home of the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros. Sound, video, data, the whole works and you got it all done on time. Thanks for giving us the story on it.
All right. Thank you for having me.
Thanks joining us for the SVC Podcast. Show notes and equipment links are on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com. We’ll be back next week, and I hope you will be too. Next time on the SVC Podcast.