Prudential Center, the world-class sports and entertainment venue located in downtown Newark, NJ, is recognized as one of the premier venues in the United States and hosts over two million guests annually. Home to the NHL’s New Jersey Devils and NCAA’s Seton Hall Pirates men’s basketball team, Prudential Center has supported video board production with Panasonic broadcast cameras since its opening in 2007. By last year, new cameras were required to support in-game presentation on the arena’s massive, center-hung LED scoreboards (almost four stories tall). Concurrently, the Prudential Center’s Content Production Department decided to upgrade to 4K production of content that is seen nationally and regionally on the NHL and MSG networks.
Prudential Center decided to upgrade to Panasonic AK-HC5000 HD HDR studio/field camera systems. In addition to capturing game action for the video boards, 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. Also, the Content Production Department is now using Panasonic’s VariCam LT 4K and AU-EVA1 5.75K cinema cameras for large-and smaller-scale production assignments. “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,” said Joe Kuchie, Senior Manager, Scoreboard and Live Production, Prudential Center and New Jersey Devils. “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.”
Two AK-HC5000s roam the arena capturing a wide range of activities that are shown on the video board.
Customizing the Solution
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 explained. “We went with this 4K model because we want to provide the best possible picture quality for our scoreboard and our fans.”
Regarding lensing, Kuchie noted, “We have two Canon HJ24EX7.5B IASE 2/3″ 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 his 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 said. “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 added.
The AK-HC5000 cameras support in-game presentation on the arena’s massive, center-hung LED scoreboards.
The VariCam LT camera is used to acquire content for documentaries, commercials and web episodics.
“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.”
For more information about Prudential Center, visit prucenter.com.
For info on Panasonic professional video products, visit: https://na.panasonic.com/us/audio-video-solutions/broadcast-cinema-pro-video/ or contact Panasonic by phone at 877-803-8492 or email: VideoProductionSolutions@us.panasonic.com.