Orioles Beef Up In-Game Productions With New Control Room

By Carolyn Braff

The Baltimore Orioles spent the winter of 2008 upgrading the entertainment system at Oriole Park at Camden Yards by installing high-definition LED boards throughout the ballpark. This past off-season, the stadium’s $9.5 million upgrade was completed with the installation of a high-definition control room, which will allow true-HD video to play on those newly installed video boards.

“Last year, we were able to significantly upgrade a lot of the elements associated with ballpark entertainment,” explains Greg Bader, director of communications for the Orioles. “But it wasn’t until this past off-season that we took it a step further and put in the new control room, which allows us to show live video in HD.”

Last year, fans were treated to HD graphics on the new video boards, but any live footage or game replays had to be shown in standard-definition.

“The video quality was significantly improved, but it was not true HD,” Bader explains. “Now heading into this year, with all-HD cameras and an all-HD control room, we are going to be able to provide everything in true HD format.”

Those HD cameras are Sony HDC-1450s with Canon lenses, accompanied by Sony HDCam VTRs. In addition, the new control room is equipped with a Ross Vision 3 switcher, Evertz Xenon router with VIP X Multiviewer, AJA FS1 frame sync, an Avid/Deko 3000 dual-channel character generator, Click Effects Crossfire HD, a Telex Zeus II 24-channel intercom system, and Evertz reference, test, distribution, and conversion equipment.

A brand-new sound system at the park — the first major upgrade to the sound system since the ballpark opened in 1993 — will bring the audio quality of the fan experience up to par with the video.

The Orioles’ regional sports network, MASN, is producing every Orioles game in HD this season, and, with the new capabilities of the HD control room, the in-game entertainment staff will be able to integrate that footage like never before.

“When we show replays, it’s often using MASN footage. Head-first slides, home-run swings, strikeouts — that’s all taken from MASN,” Bader explains. “Now, because of our control room, we will be able to take MASN game footage and air that in true HD during the game. We’ll be able to take advantage more of MASN’s capabilities in our own ballpark.”

MASN’s new X-mo camera provided by Inertia Unlimited and enhanced graphic elements will also boost the Orioles’ game-day productions, as the in-game staff will be able to replay those high-quality elements on the HD video boards using the newly upgraded control room.

Opening Day is less than a month away, and SVG is counting down to the first pitch with a look at the regional sports networks responsible for producing games for all 30 Major League Baseball teams. SVG is checking in with each RSN to detail the news and expectations leading up to the 2009 baseball season one conference at a time. For the complete SVG 30 In 30 Index, click here.