FSU Taps Panasonic, EVS, GVG For HD Control-Room Upgrade

By Ken Kerschbaumer
Florida State University recently installed an HD control room in Doak Campbell Stadium to give new life to two Daktronics HD scoreboards and seven fascia boards. “This really enhances the fan experience, and the HD pump-up graphics become a part of the action, especially during a night game,” says Mark Rodin, executive director, Florida State University Seminole Productions.
The control room, which was on the drawing board for more than a year, houses a Grass Valley Kayak production switcher with 1.5 M/E, a Chyron Inscriber character generator, and an EVS[XT] replay server plus a 30-TB EditShare server. HD content captured with Canon lenses and four Panasonic AJ-HPX2000 DVCPRO camcorders, two Panasonic AG-HVX200 P2 camcorders, and four Canon camcorders, along with camera feeds from production trucks, is passed into the switcher and then out to viewers. A game-presentation system from Total Sports Entertainment that allows staffers to build scripts and change the rundown on the fly, much like a newsroom production system, also enhances the production.
“The EVS server is our biggest luxury item,” Rodin explains, “but it allows us to share melt reels with the TV networks and other ACC schools.”
The biggest challenge was a tight schedule, says Phil Jackson, Seminole Productions producer. “Our baseball season went well into June, and we only had until the first week of September to overhaul the facility. Plus, many of our equipment vendors were busy with the Olympics.”
The control room feeds a 48- x 100-foot HD board, a 48- x 56-foot HD board, and fascia boards in seven sizes. “The different-size boards mean we need different-size graphics and program feeds for each board,” says Rodin of a challenge that was originally overlooked. “But the quality is incredible as the HD signals are pushed to all the boards.”
Jackson, who previously worked at ESPN, brings a sports-network workflow philosophy to the project. “The system is as nonlinear as possible and pushes a lot of data around,” he explains. “We produce a lot of content in HD, and we accommodate SD when necessary.”
That meant bringing in 20 AJA FS1 frame syncs coupled to an Evertz VIP multiviewers, which makes all content feeds visible on two 65-inch and four 42-inch Panasonic displays (as well as three Panasonic 26-inch LCD displays for colorimetry).
“This is a huge paradigm shift away from our previous facility, which was based on popping DVCAM tapes into a deck,” says Jackson.
The EVS server, for example, pushes content back and forth with the EditShare server, which, in turn, is tied into four edit suites with Apple Final Cut Pro. “The edit suites are tied into the control room,” says Rodin, “and video packages can be built during the game.”
The challenge now is archiving, with content acquired on P2 cards. “Right now, we back up to DVCPRO HD, but right now, it’s easiest to back up to a hard drive or to Blu-ray disc burners,” says Jackson. “Each disc can hold about 60 GB and then be put on a shelf.”
In a tightening economy, the new HD presentation is expected to play a key role in making sure FSU boosters keep on boosting with dollars. The HD presentation, with its stunning clarity of both graphics and video, resonates with fans in the stands and is a very clear indication of booster dollars at work.
Says Rodin, “We’re pushing booster donations to continue to fund these kind of improvements.”